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December 10, 1998 - Image 4

Resource type:
The Michigan Daily, 1998-12-10

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4B -Ie Michigan uaiy weekend magaziei - mumuay, cue s

The Michigankaify Weekend
2- State of the Arts

'U' student helps
movie studios keep
up with the ir films


LSA senior Steve Thomson got to know "A Bug's Wfe" characters pretty well this past weekend. The film debuted as one of
the nation's biggest Christmas hits, and since it's a Disney Pictures release, he got to see it for free. Thomson is one of hun-
dreds of 20-somethings nationwide that Disney and other studios hire to see movies and previews and pass information about
audience and theater to the studio itself. Above, he poses with two of his newest best friends.

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Fax 414-287-4209
The Medical College of Wisconsin is an Affirmative Action/MFDV Employer.

By Will Weissort
Weekend, Etc. Editor
Thousands of miles away, studio
executives in Los Angeles are wait-
ing anxiously for LSA Senior Steve
Thomson's call.
"I had these guys from Disney
paging me over and over," Thomson
said. "When I finally got a chance
to call back they said 'tell me exact-
ly what you saw.'
Thomson is part of what studios
term the College Student Network,
20-something moviegoers hired
across the nation by nearly all major
studios to watch dozens of movies
and dozens more previews almost
every week. The best part: It's all
Thomson, who works for the Walt
Di s n e y
Company and
its smaller dis- . Where
tributing satel-
lites, including you get Pa
Buena Vsa
and thousands Watch free
of moviegoers-
like him head movies.
to local the-
aters mostly
just to catch the
before all the movies or to view
audience-response to a new Disney
"We rate audience reaction to
each preview they see on a scale of
1-5 - or if it's opening night we
see how many people are thereand
what they try to judge what they
think of the movie," he said. "Then
we input all that onto a studio
Website online so they know almost
immediately what audiences think
of a particular preview or of a new
The best preview in recent memo-
ry is the trailers for the long-await-
ed latest Star Wars epic - "Episode
One: Phantom Menace, Thomson
"You have people cheering and
clapping whenever they see those,"
he said. "That's definitely a trailer
that would get a top rating."
Besides grading how well pre-
views are received by local audi-
ences, Thomson also checks to
make sure that area theaters aren't
cutting any corners Disney execu-
tives would not approve of. He
looks especially for such no-nos as
showing outside ads and commer-
cials before Disney previews or
using one copy of a studio-issued
movie print to "interlock" or show
the single movie print to two audi-
ences at the same time.
The search for would-be violators
sent Thomson to a theater outside of
Southeastern Detroit over
Thanksgiving break.
"They call it inter-locking films

- using the same print to show the
same movie to two audiences,"
Thomson said. "Whenever you have
a theater that has purchased only
one copy of a movie and where they
are showing the same movie at the
same time or just a few minutes
apart from one another it can be a
problem. That's why they sent me
out there."
When checking up on theaters
that may be bending the rules,
Thomson said he reports directly to
officials at Buena Vista by phone.
Buena Vista company executives
said they were familiar with
Thomson's work for them but could
not comment officially on the work
of any of their College Student
'elSe canp But while
Thomson admits
31d to such espionage
missions can be
exciting, most
of the time he
just sticks to
- Steve Thomson watching all the
LSA senior previews and
heading to
"That is the only time they've
ever sent me to check out a problem
with like that," he said. "The the-
aters in Ann Arbor have no prob-
lems at all."
A media representative from
United Artist at Briarwood says the
theater is used to having people like
Thomson around.
"They've been doing things like
this as long as I can remember and
the people they send have always
been very professional," the repre-
sentative said. "It's all very routine.
They ask for ticket counts and
check seating capacities in the the-
aters - this is something that
comes with the territory of running
a theater."
Though Thomson says the tough-
est part about his job is that he is
required to sit through the previews
of every movie showing at one com-
plex -- even huge movie mini-
"Places like Showcase have 20
theaters and I have to go to every-
one," he said. "It's OK if the pre-
views are good but if they aren't its
like listening to an awful song over
and over."
Thomson also finds time between
trailers at each theater to catch at
least some of the other movies play-
"I've seen bits and pieces of
almost everything out there right
now," Thomson said. "But where
else can you get paid to watch free

For many individuals at the
University, the end is near.
As we fight the crowds at job
fairs, where many of us feel we
totally don't belong, print out oodles
and oodles of resumes on fancy
paper for companies we know we
might not even like, we face the
worst of it: The unwanted event of
letting go.
It's inevitable that we all have to
face this at some point in our lives.
Everyone does it, and I guess most
of us survive. But why does it have
to be now? I mean right now, when
everything seems to going so well -
when life is comfortable and, for
lack of a better word, peachy.
Come to think of it, everything in
life is about letting go. It's like tak-
ing baby steps toward some greater
Writers, for instance, must even-
tually submit their work to a profes-
sor, an editor, a director or even sim-
ply an audience. Writers sit there
and witness those cretins crush what
they put so much creative activity
into. Sometimes the reader under-
stands the ideals behind the work,
but generally misinterprets it beyond
all recognition. What can you do?

For the writer, it all comes down,
to being willing to accept whatever
happens - good or bad. It's one of
those risks that
one just has to
take if only to
see what
too, face simi-
lar disturbances
-or so I'm,
Think about
the countless
stories of great Kristin Long
bands who have Daily Arts Editor
had their music
modified by
that mighty giant called the record
label, or even those who have chal-
lenged the money mongrel and
refused to let their integrity be com-
So, there comes this point when
musicians - whether professional
or amateur - have to let go.
They find this point of stability or
equilibrium or something, and say,
"OK, I'm ready to put this down and
move forward because holding this
in my pocket isn't going to get me

anywhere" - and for some strange
reason, anywhere is exactly where
you want to go.
There's just this moment when
you have to face the truth - even
when you can't handle the truth -
that you have to move on and leave
the past behind.
It's a matter of hiding your emo-
tional attachment when you leave
your personal world of safety
behind. Sticking around only makes
you look weak.
It's also about knowing full well
that there's always going to be a part
of you that knew it could've been
better - that you could've knocked
the world dead, if only you'd had the
One has to wonder why this is
such a prominent facet of human
emotion. And if we often-bizarre
humans know that at some point
someone else has to read it, hear it,
see it, say it in order for you to get
somewhere, why can't we just let
them do it?
Today is a very difficult day for
me. I have to let go of The Michigan
Daily - something that I have
devoted more time to than anything
else in my life.
Top .10o videos
(last week's top videos and the
studios that produced them)
1. "Armageddon," Touchstone
2. "Deep Impact," Paramount
3. "Godzilla," Columbia/TriStar
Home Video
4. "Small Soldiers," Universal
5. "A Perfect Murder," Warner
Home Video
6. "Hope Floats," FoxVideo
7. "The X-Files," FoxVideo
8. "The Horse Whisperer,"
9. "City of Angels," Warner
Home Video
10. "Mercury Rising," Universal
Source: Billboard Magazine

Top 5 TV Shows
(The most watched TV shows in America and when and where they appear.)
1. Movie: "The Christmas Wish" CBS, Sunday, 9 p.m.
2. Touched By An Angel (R) CBS, Sunday, 8 p.m.
3. 60 Minutes CBS, Sunday, 7 p.m.
4. Football: Giants v. 49ers ABC, Monday, 8 p.m.
5. Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer (R) CBS, Monday, 8 p.m.
Source: Entertainment Weekly

Maybe initially I jus
for the ride and thou
casual contributor. Bu
sucked in and am no'
hard to get out.
But no matter how
cism, how much praise
infantile humor abou
from dinosaurs to 24-
rants we generated, it's
hard to move away -- a
er to let go.
The funniest part wa
thought I was so ded
suppose we never kno
we really care about sot
it's gone, until it's no I
our reach - until we ha
It's an amazing wor
building at 420 Mayna
ever see.
Between the Mi
(please note: one wor
"e," pronounced Mih
and The Michigan Dai
some tremendous ind
whom I am grateful th
the chance to work witi
Like a musician's f
product, a writer's cov
director's precious ima
Top 10 movies
(Last week's top grossing m
1. "A Bug's Life," Disr
2. "Psycho," Universal
3. "Enemy of the State
4. "The Rugrats Movie
5. "The Waterboy," Di
6. "Meet Joe Black," U
7. "Babe: Pig in the Ci
8. "Elizabeth," Gramer
9. "I Still Know What
10. "Home Fries," Wa
Top 10 Books
(The week's bestselling book
1. "A Man in Full," Tom
2. "The Simple Truth,"
3. "When the Wind Blo
4. "Bag of Bones," Ste
5. "Rainbow Six," Tom
6. "Mirror Image," Dani
7. "The Vampire Arman
8. "All Through the Nig
9. "The Path of the Da
10. "The Poisonwood B
Top 10 Singiei
(The nation's top-selling song
1. R. Kelly and Celine Di
2. Deborah Cox, "Nobod
3. Divine, "Lately"
4. Lauryn Hill, "Doo Wo
5. Shania Twain, "From
6. 98 Degrees, "Becaus
7. Faith Hill, "Love Like
8. Shawn Mullins, "Lulla
9. Britney Spears, "... B
10. Brandy, "Have You E

Top.10 Albums
(The nation's top-selling albums
for the week)
1. Garth Brooks, "Double Live"
2. Metallica, "Garage Inc."
3. Celine Dion, "These are Special
4. Jewel, "Spirit"
5. 2Pac, "Greatest Hits"
6. 'N Sync, "'N Sync"
7. Mariah Carey, "#1s"
8. Jay-Z, "Vol. 2 ... Hari Knock
9. Backstreet Boys, "Backstreet
10. 'N Sync, "Home for



Source:Billboard Magazine

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