Dude, my post just deleted itself.  Not cool.  Trying to recapture the wit…please note that this entry was written over two different days so if you think, hey what just happened, Chelsea just decided to bag what she was writing and continue, then I tell you, you are perceptive and correct:

3 PM, 11/14, Chelsea had an interview to be a volunteer at the Northwest Film Forum (an indy movie theater 4 blocks from her apartment).  As a “volunteer” said person shows up, works 4 hours shifts once a week for no pay and then earns $5 in credit to the NWFF.  Let’s say you wake up one day and say, “I want to go spend $60 on popcorn,” well, if you’ve worked 12 hours as a volunteer at NWFF, you can eat that $60 of popcorn for free. Similarly, if said person wants to see a movie for free, said person can work there for 2-3 hours.  Or if said person wants to rent video equipment/take a class/be amazing, said person gets to do that by volunteering at NWFF.  You get my drift.  Does anyone else see the irony that said person needs to interview to work for *free* at these places?  Did I miss something about today’s economic downturn?  Are people not allowed to volunteer to be good samaritans anymore?  Next thing you know, I’m going to have to write an essay about why I should be allowed to donate my blood platlets, which btw, is the most painful process ever.  Before you know it, the world will be raided with 30 year olds working for free at independent film theaters and all those 18 year olds will forever by unemployable because they will never have worked a day in their lives (note: I don’t envy those just graduating college).


The roles are outlined below, just to add some color to this situation and because I’m not sure you understand what an office admin and/or box/concessions person does these days at a movie theater:

Nathan and I have been in touch since October 23rd.  Being that I somehow never have a life, we have taken about a month to actually meet each other and “talk shop.”  Believe it or not, I was only 5 minutes late to my interview as I was speaking to my grandmother on the phone about the preposterous-ness of interviewing for a volunteer position.

Nathan:  So, this interview is really about making sure you are able to ask any questions about the positions and understand what would be entailed of you as a box office volunteer or office admin.  I see that you’re available in both the days and nights so you can do either one but this is really to just clear the air…make sure you know what you’re getting into.  So to get started…

ruffling papers.  Clearly not finding his pre prompted interview questions.

Nathan:  hmm, do you have any questions about the roles and what you would be doing?

Chelsea:  I mean I have no immediate questions.  I think the roles are pretty self explanatory.

Nathan:  Right, right.  Yes.


Nathan:  Why do you want to volunteer here?

Chelsea:  Well, I love the movies.  I come here pretty regularly and I think it would be wonderful to be involved and I have the time now.  Just makes sense and seems you guys need help.

Nathan:  Mhm.

Nathan:  Have you worked in an office environment before?

Chelsea:  Oh yeah.

Nathan:  Have you had time to read about the roles on our website?

Chelsea:  Yes.

Nathan:  Okay, okay, great.

shuffling papers

Nathan:  Why don’t you tell me about how you learned about NWFF?

Chelsea:  Well, you know, or you don’t know, I’m new here.  I came out here about a year ago…to Cafe Vita actually (pointing in the general direction of the coffee shop)

and saw the Film Forum.  You see I moved from New York,

had a friend who lived a few blocks away so I literally saw NWFF and made a mental note that the neighborhood was awesome.  In New York, I moved to my neighborhood based on the fact that we had an indy art-house movie BAM.  Have you heard of BAM?

Nathan:  I think so but I don’t know.

Chelsea:  It’s an art-house movie theater.   They have classes, concerts, plays and one of my roommates used to work there.

Nathan:  Mhm.

not writing down anything I say.

Chelsea:  So I always wanted to work there and you know, be involved.  My roommate worked at BAM.  And then I moved here a few months later, saw some movies here, went to SIFF and lived in the movie theater for about a week and then I said, ‘hey, I should be volunteering and helping the cause!  and getting to see movies for free!'”  So I signed up for SIFF and other volunteer things.

Nathan: Mhm.

Chelsea:  And then the same girl who I visited a year ago, told me about volunteering here but then I was always so busy working but now that you know, I don’t have a job, I figured why not help out, volunteer. It sounds like you guys need some volunteers.  And I would love to do it.  Here I am!  I love movies…studied film in school.

Nathan:  Yeah.

a beat

Nathan:  Have you ever worked in customer service before?*
Chelsea:  Yeah, well, I mean I’ve worked in sales the last few years where I educate people, cold call and build relationships all day so I would say I’m fairly well-versed in the customer service arena.  And 7 years ago, I had this exact job as an internship.  I worked at my county art museum and filed papers, built packets, helped coordinate events, did basic admin work behind a desk.
Nathan:  Okay, okay.  feverishly taking notes.  Pause.  
Nathan:  Do you have any questions about the role?
Chelsea:  Well, no, not really.  I think an office admin is an office admin.
Nathan:   Yeahhh….well you know, it’s really important that we have people who have worked in customer service.  People that know how to talk to people.  If you work at the box office, you’ll work in concessions and help ring people up and greet them.  You’ll be the first face you see so it’s important you want to be doing that.  We’ve had problems in the past so I just want to make sure your expectations are clear.
Chelsea:  …about greeting people at the box office.
Nathan:  Yeah.
Chelsea:  Yeah, I mean, I think that’s pretty clear.  You’re the face of the company and you want to make a good impression.  I know that game.  Ha.  Like that’s what I do and have done.
a beat
Nathan:  Okay.
a beat
Nathan:  So are there any other important things you think I should know about your past working in office jobs?
Chelsea:  Um, I mean, not really.  I have worked in physical offices, if that’s what you mean.  I like having a family and getting to know my colleagues and adding some energy into the space.
——(New post moment…day 2 of writing this post begins here…)—-
During the course of this interview, I spoke about my production internships
and the fact that I had called called potential clients, even retirement homes, asking them to come on field trips to see free movie premieres.  This actually started my hatred and love for Starbucks since you can’t walk into a big corporation and leave fliers on their counters.  You need to call that little Korean deli instead.  Little did I know, at the mere age of 20, that not everyone wanted something based on the fact that it was free.  Hey, here’s some free crap, don’t you want it or in on the experience of a free movie telling the tale of a man who gets laid off and then goes to Virginia to see his Dad and they go on an unforgettable road trip?  That’s the only movie I truly remember and that a retirement home was supposed to take 8 elderly citizens to see that movie.  Then they never showed up and I was reprimanded.  And I had an Orange Usher shirt from that gig but I digress…..
As I emphasized in this grueling interview, I understand customer service from the past-lives of a busser/bus girl, hostess, Gap employee, intern-galore at production studios and oh yeah, working in sales for the last 3 years.  Or doing fundraising at Penn every six months (also an unpaid gig.  I’m also available to donate blood, just putting that out there).  I wanna make people happy and make sure people are pleased with their experience.  also, much of my past life was building a community so they felt supported and then, by the way, would you like to give us $20-$50 so we continue to have this great restaurant/movie theater/Ivy League institution?
These are some of my favorite moments with Nathan:
Chelsea:  So, just to confirm, do we need to do any cold calling or just ‘receive’ calls?
Nathan:  Ha, no.  You would just answer the phone.  We leave the calling to the professionals.
Chelsea:  Okay.
Nathan:  You just need you receive phone calls as they come in.  It’s really important that you understand the way the office environment works.  You need to know what each person here does (note: I later found out that there were only two people that I would be working with, max of three volunteers at any given shift.  note two:  I have not figured out how to use footnotes in wordpress yet.  note three: Rachel, please help me.).
Chelsea:  Right, I need to know who George is to transfer x person to George who wants to know about candy distribution at NWFF.
Nathan:  Right.  It sounds like you know what I mean.  But these days, the phone system is so sophisticated, I mean the system is so sophisticated that you have to push one button to transfer the call.  You don’t even have to dial a number anymore.
After Nathan explained the significance of knowing each person at NWFF and what their role was to transfer a call to said person, he explained the significance of being the face of NWFF….of being able to effectively communication what the company did, as well as count money properly and talk about concessions, after many, times of being asked, “Are there any other jobs in which you’ve worked in customer service?” questions were asked; I talked about life at the Gap.
Chelsea: Seven years ago, I worked at the Gap.  That was one of my favorite jobs.  I got to help people pick out outfits, doll them up, establish relationships with regulars but the register was my favorite part, especially doing exchanges and returns.  I loved the math…
Nathan: Ha
Chelsea: but you know I doubt I’d be doing any of that here.
Nathan:  Yeah.
Nathan:  So is there anything else that you need me to know about your experience working in the office?
Chelsea:  No, I think that about covers it.  Not sure if I mentioned I did fundraising volunteer work at Penn.  Would cold call from a list some alumni’s, schmooze them, make sure they were happy, and then ask them for some money.
Nathan:  Do you have a preference between working in the box office or in the office admin position?
Chelsea: Well, I think I would actually enjoy working in the box office more– getting to greet people and being the face and everything.  I really value community so having the ability to make a community and get to know people in the neighborhood.  But, logistically speaking, the other side of me, the left side of me, thinks working in the office admin position would make more sense…actually, I would probably even prefer the morning shift.  I like having a routine and 8 am is totally fine wake up call time.
I would think a lot of the people would not enjoy working in the morning, but I’m a morning person.
Nathan:  yeah.
Chelsea: right?
Nathan: Yeah.
Chelsea: yeah, but I’ll do any of them.  I just want to be involved. so I’m in a be happy to work in the morning have no problems doing that.
Nathan:  I mean, this isn’t the type of place where you show up at 9:15 and we say, ‘oh hey, you’re 15 minutes late.’  But I am in charge of logging everyone’s hours and knowing their shifts.
Nathan:  So I seem to have noticed that you’re not working right now.  The only thing that could be a foreseeable problem is that we need someone to require you to be here for at least three months.  We find it takes a long time, you know, for people to get up to speed.  So we want to make sure someone is here for at least that timeframe.
Chelsea: Oh yeah, I mean, assuming I have a job in the next three months, which I hope I do, I would just switch to the box office night shift.  Before, I was never out of work at 6 but the jobs I’m looking at would let me out at six so no problemo.
Nathan: yeah, we just found that, you know, we want to have people here for three months; there’s a lot to learn. The ramp up takes a bit!
Anything else I need to know about your office experiences?
Chelsea: Well, if you mean like, literally working in an office, I’ve been doing that for the last 10 years so I like to contribute to the office dynamic, and create some energy, be a little family –know the staff, know the community, but if you mean the literal roles, I’ve been there done that.  I think we’ve talked about most of those…it’s pretty self explanatory what an office admin does, unless there’s something I’m missing…
Nathan:  No, it’s exactly what it sounds like.
The interview ended with me talking about Nathan’s role in NWFF.  It turns out that he is a volunteer who volunteers as the volunteer coordinator.  It’s a good place, he tells me and I should be contacted to know what role I have been chosen for, if I am indeed chosen to volunteer, for free, at the NWFF on Friday.
*Please note that I filled out an application about a month ago with all this criterion.