Once upon a time in Hollywood, Jeff was born & raised until starting his first job, running reels of wire for the U.S. Army -- Headquarters of the Headquarters Battery, 1st Battalion, 3rd Field Artillery, 2nd Armored Division, Hell on Wheels -- with an Honorable Discharge.
It was this experience that helped Jeff feel comfortable in the projection booth, as it was the first day of class at Loyola Marymount University (in Westchester, CA), he had work-study money to earn -- on his way towards his screenwriting major -- and instead of running reels of wire, he would run reels of film, buffing-up on the classics, cult favorites and movies-coming-soon, to boot!
On that 1st day, while interviewing for the position with the Communications Dept.'s Chief Tech, a Senior Projectionist ran into his office & shouted, "We have a show starting in 30 minutes!" Maria looked down at me and said, "Are you a projectionist?"
I looked over at Fritz and asked "Am I projectionist?"
He looked back at me and replied, "I don't know. Are you a projectionist?"
I jumped up and exclaimed, "I'm a projectionist."
One 3-hour crash course later and it was true: I was a projectionist. :)
Jump-cut to after Loyola, still pursuing my screenwriting, I took a job as a paid script reader for Tim Burton Productions (located on the old Warner Bros. lot in Hollywood), before an opportunity arose to work as a projectionist at the New Beverly Cinema.
This was September, 1995. I was low man on the totem pole, and my 1st shift was the Friday midnight shift that no one wanted, screening the last two months of the 2-year run of "Reservoir Dogs."
By 2001, after cutting my teeth running Super Simplex projectors--manufactured circa 1935 -- and repairing 10 million feet of film (most, long-before the restoration movement came along), I became Chief Projectionist at the New Beverly.
During that time, the New Bev was the only repertory theatre in Los Angeles. Unbelievable! And, being that it was a Mom-and-Pop neighborhood business, I had to subsidize my pay by freelancing on ocassion at the L.A. Film School, the old Charlie Chaplin Theatre -- located at Jim Henson Studios -- and at Deluxe Laboratories, in Hollywood.
Finally, in early-2007, Quentin Tarantino discovered me. He programmed 2 months of double features, leading-up to his release of "Grindhouse," and he & his 1st-hand woman, Julie McLean, asked me to handle it.
This was to be my trial-by-fire, running titles that were well-loved -- that is, well-worn -- and doing justice for all.
Two weeks after the two-month run, Quentin hired me to be his Personal Projectionist.
Special Mention must go out to my friend & mentor, Tim Burke, who was the first Motion Picture & Sound Tech to upgrade the New Beverly, in 2005 -- on his own time & dime -- has helped me learn ever-more about my craft, and was instrumental in helping to save the New Beverly Cinema.
If not for Tim's interest, the dedication of Sherman Torgan and his son, Michael -- founders of the New Beverly -- and the generosity of Quentin's love for film, the New Beverly would have been twinned and turned into retail space.
Thank you to all who've supported the Bev throughout the years, and the rest (as they say) is history.