PORTAGE | When Alex Srednoselac was working as a projectionist at the Portage 16 IMAX theater, he'd tell himself that one day someone would be showing one of his films on the big screen.
"There was something cool and unique about running the movies," Srednoselac said about the projectionist job. "The movies would come in reels and we'd put them together. It was my favorite job and the one I miss the most."
That was a few years ago. Srednoselac, 24, is now a shift supervisor for the theater and a budding film maker. He's produced three public service announcements and an announcement video that run at the Portage 16 and other Goodrich Quality Theater properties.
He also recently filmed the changing of the IMAX screen at the Portage facility and made a time-lapse video of the work for in-house use.
Srednoselac, a Portage resident, got the job at the theater in 2007, when he was just 16. He worked as a staffer -- selling tickets and concessions and cleaning -- until he turned 18, when he became a projectionist. As a projectionist, he'd work to prepare the films for viewing, editing in the opening announcements and PSAs so that the film would run seamlessly.
At age 21, the theater went digital and Srednoselac was promoted to a shift supervisor position, where he works with other supervisors and staffers to keep the theater running.
The job also has him closely interacting with theater customers.
Srednoselac graduated from Portage High School in 2009 and from Purdue Calumet in 2013 with a degree in communications, focusing on radio and television, and a minor in graphic design.
He works an average of 27 to 29 hours a week at the Portage 16, which gives him time to pursue his first love and his career goal of film making.
Srednoselac said he started making videos when he was 9. An avid skateboarder, he'd film his friends doing tricks on their skateboards. That progressed into writing skits and filming them and then completing one short film before going to college.
He's also participated in the 48-hour Film Project in Chicago three times and worked as the production manager and editor for the comedy "Be Your Wo/Man" which won best feature in the Laugh or Die Comedy Festival in Chicago.
His ultimate goal is to write and direct films and television.
Srednoselac offers the same advice whether someone's taking on a career at a movie theater or hoping to make it on the big screen.
"If you don't get an interview right away, don't give up. It is the same advice for the video stuff -- keep motivated," he said.
As for his day job, Srednoselac said there is "tons and tons of room to move up in this company, tons of opportunities for corporate jobs; tons more jobs at the management level."
He said he loves his job at the theater because the staff, and even some customers, are like a big family.
How I got the job: "They were doing open hiring at the time because it was prom season. I was 16 at the time. I walked in and told them I'm not going to the prom and I was hired on the spot."
What the job pays: The median pay for a film director/producer in 2012 was $71,350 a year according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. The median pay for a film and video editor and camera operator in 2012 was $46,280 a year according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Median pay for first-line sales workers was $37,860
Job Growth: The Bureau of Labor Statistics projects job growth for film directors/producers between 2012 and 2022 will be 3 percent or 2,900 new jobs. The projected job growth for film and video editors and camera operators between 2012 and 2022 will be 3 percent or 1,400 new jobs.