Witney Seibold has an extremely useful explanation of what a projectionist does, and why filmmakers should care:
There is, however, one person in the film industry who always, without exception, has final cut: The projectionist at the movie theater. It is they, after all, who are exhibiting the film on a ground level. It is the theater projectionist who is the final arbiter on how a film looks, how much lighting it has, how well displayed it is. The chef may have made a great meal, but it’s the polite waitress that you’ll remember.
On next week’s podcast, Craig and I will talk about exhibition (among other things), and how all parties involved want better projection systems — and why no one wants to pay for it.
If you read nothing else, keep this in mind:
Also, never yell “Focus!” while sitting in the theater. The projection booth is way up above the audience, and is usually sealed off, with no direct access to the theater. The projectionist is standing next to a hot, noisy machine. They cannot hear you. If there is a projection problem, leave the theater to talk to someone immediately. Yes, you actually have to be that a**hole. It’s worth it, though, to keep the film going, isn’t it?