THE MAGAZINE FOR THOSE WHO MAKE IT ALL HAPPEN - EDITION 09 - AUTUMN 2012
NEWS TEAM EMPIRE VISIT LONDON OLYMPICS
............. FACES OF
STEPHEN BUSH EMPIRE LEICESTER SQUARE
............. BEHIND THE SCENES AT TOMMY TUCKER CANDY POP FACTORY
............. FILMS IN FOCUS
TWILIGHT SKYFALL LOOPER RUBY SPARKS
............. HELPING YOU TO DELIVER
Enjoy your day with delicious milk chocolate
A let er from Roz
ell that was probably the wettest summer I can remember! Luckily for our customers we were able to provide them all with a welcome shelter from the rain. With so much happening in Britain in 2012 however we’ve all had to work hard to make the most of every £1 we’ve taken. In this edition we have all your usual favourite features and more! We are excited to launch this year’s film competition so check out the back page for details. The Autumn looks set to bring us more great films and opportunities to show our customers who really does provide the best Cinema experience! Listed below are all the permanent colleagues who’ve joined us within the past 3 months. Enjoy reading your first staff magazine and being part of the best team in Cinema. Always keep your fingers on the Pulse.
Head Office Sarah Owen - Marketing Excutive Neeta Oza - PA to CEO Birmingham Jodie Brooks - Team Member Abbie Foster - Team Member Amber Hussain - Team Member Gabriella Jandu - Team Member Jessica Manning - Team Member Fay Mieczynska - Team Member Kirk Neale - Team Member Rosie O’Brien - Team Member
Craig Laird - Team Member Jemma McKinley - Team Member Emma Muir - Team Member Laura Phee - Team Member William Whitehead - Team Member Hemel Hempstead Chris Morrison - Team Member Robin Slade - Team Member
Poole Fiona Doyle - General Manager
Slough Randy Adeji - OA High Wycombe Rao Kamran Ejaz - Supervisor Charlotte Godfrey - Team Member Kirk Rayner - Team Member
Bromley Serene Guinan - Supervisor
Leicester Square Artem Bjork - Team Member Liam Crosbie - Team Member Kedus Getahun - Team Member Arturas Kavaliauskas - Team Member Roisin Kennedy - Team Member Karolina Palvlovic - Team Member Lucy Salazar - Team Member Ernesta Vainouskaza - Team Member
Clydebank Kimberley Baird - Team Member Patrick Bayliss - Team Member William Boyd - Team Member Grant Fraser - Team Member Daniel Hanley - Team Member Jacqueline Hunter - Team Member
Newcastle Jake Armstrong - Team Member Ashleigh Groves - Team Member Melissa Hair - Team Member Mohammed Harron Ayub - Team Member Andrew John Elsy - Team Member Carl John Watson - Team Member
Bishops Stortford Christopher Cooper-Davis Team Member Benjamin Halliday - Team Member Dan Lane - Team Member Carryanne Lane - Team Member
Bethany Jones - Team Member Daniel Lupton - Team Member Sian Morgan - Team Member Kimberley Pascoe - Team Member
Produced by: BA (Hons) Magazine Journalism and Feature Writing Editor: Charlotte Webb Deputy Editor: Linzi Radwell Staff Writers: Sarah Abrahams, Gemma Clapp, Catherine Earp, Alec Malloy, Gary Peters, Charley Ward, Sophie Westrope. Designers: Chelsea Allen, Sam Ribbits, Harry Smith
Sutton Victoria Allen - Team Member Joseph Colley - Team Member Nathaniel Dacres - Team Member Matthew Gupta - Team Member Susie Humby - Team Member Abdullah Hussein - Team Member Aaron Lewis - Team Member Justyn Matlock - Team Member Kyra Sutherland - Team Member Natalie Thompson - Team Member
A extra big welcome to all the new Empire staff!
OLYMPICS TEAM EMPIRE AT LONDON 2012 COFFEE KEEPING COFFEE IN THE FAMILY GUEST BLOG ANNA KASPERKIEWICZ NEW SILVER E DONNA, LEO, EMMA AND MARGARET CINEMA IN FOCUS BASILDON JOB SWAP BEN SPENCE BUILDING THE BUZZ WHAT DOES YOUR EMPIRE DO?
FACES OF EMPIRE STEPHEN BUSH
LETS GO SWIMMING DOUGLAS KING PIRACY ACROSS THE CINEMAS CUSTOMER FEEDBACK LETTERS BEHIND THE SCENES TOMMY TUCKER GO! GO! GO! LIVE SHOWS FILMS IN FOCUS REVIEWS COMPETITION CORNER
8 9 10-11 12-13 14-15 16-17
20-21 22-23 24-25 26 27-33 34-35 36
BACK COVER FILM COMPETITION
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london 201 The final race has been run and the last medal has been awarded, drawing the London 2012 Olympic Games to a close. Empire Cinemas has been following the event every step of the way, getting involved and cheering Team GB to victory, whether that be by hosting our own sports days or attending the Games.
wo of our top General Managers were given the opportunity to attend the athletics at the Olympic Stadium with Retail Manager Gordon McDonald, thanks to the kind donation of three tickets from Cadbury. Newcastle’s Margaret Turnbull was given a ticket after earning a Silver E award, presented by Operations Director Paul Baxtor in May. She and Gordon were joined by Sunderland’s John Hodgson, who received a ticket as a reward for his cinema’s excellent performance against this year’s retail KPI’s. “I’m absolutely thrilled to be going [to the Olympics],” Margaret excitedly said before the event. “It doesn’t matter what you go and watch; just to be one of the thousands of
spectators in a once in a lifetime event will make it a day to remember. “I remember watching the 1984 Olympics and seeing Daly Thompson win gold in the decathlon, and Seb Coe, Tessa Sanderson and Fatima Whitbread all became household names. It’s historical live action – you never know what you’re going to be part of.” “I’m just excited to be going, whatever we see,” John agreed. “I was already pretty excited [about the Olympics], but then having the Olympic flame pass by the cinema has just added to the anticipation. “My favourites for gold are Jess Ennis and Mo Farrah. I’m sure we’ll win lots in the rowing and cycling again, and it would be
good to see Tom Daley on the podium,” said John, showing off his apparent psychic skill in predicting our medal winners. Margaret also predicted Chris Hoy’s golden double. So after such a huge build up, did the day live up to expectations? “I was so excited to go to the Olympics, and it exceeded all of my expectations,” said Margaret. “On a personal level, it will probably be the only Olympics I will see in my country, so the experience was incredible. With 80,000 people in the stadium, the atmosphere was fantastic.” John was as equally pleased to attend the once-in-a-lifetime event. “It was amazing – I would have regretted it for years if I hadn’t
“It’s historical live action – you n what you’re going to be part of 06 | PULSE MAGAZINE | AUTUMN 2012
PULSE LONDON 2012
The Opening Ceremony (left), inside the Olympic Stadium (right) and Margaret and John at the Games (below)
12 been,” he explained. “It was great to see the Olympic flame and to soak up the atmosphere in the stadium – there was a real buzz, especially when the British athletes were competing.” “I was pleased we saw the athletics, as for me they epitomise the Olympics, and although I would have been happy to see any event, sitting in the fourth row of the stadium just 50 metres from the finish line was both amazing and unbelievable,” explained Margaret. The pair and Gordon saw day one of the men’s decathlon, including the exciting 100 metre sprint, and they also saw the women’s 800 metre heats. But one particular highlight of their day was seeing Mo Farrah qualify for
never know f!”- Margaret Turnball
the 5000 metres final, an event he later went on to win to secure his place in history as a double Olympic Champion thanks to his 10,000 metre gold medal. “The men’s 5000 metre heats were absolutely electric. Watching Mo Farrah, the noise in the
stadium was deafening,” said Margaret. Despite this, John and Margaret both said that this was not the biggest cheer of the day. “There was a massive cheer for the Saudi Arabian runner who was the first woman to ever represent her country at the Olympic Games. She finished last by some distance, but the whole stadium roared her down the finishing straight,” explained John. “It was also the first Olympic Games to feature women’s boxing. Although we didn’t get to see this event, it is difficult to believe we can still have these firsts for women in 2012,” added Margaret. Of course, Team GB’s support spilled outside of the Olympic Village’s gates. Many Empire cinemas hosted their own sports days to get team members and visitors alike into the sporting spirit. Empire Wigan was just one of our cinemas to host their Olympics, which even featured a visit from Wigan’s very own Olympian Jenny Meadows. Empire Newcastle was another cinema to catch Olympic fever, joining in on The Gate complex’s celebrations by hosting demonstrations in their foyer, such as gymnastics and basketball.
Andy Bush and Gordon Both John and Margaret would like to thank Cadbury, Paul Baxtor, and exciting event. historic a such McDonald for giving them the opportunity to attend
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Keeping Coffee PULSE COFFEE
in the family
An artists rendition of the Coffee Shop
Empire is moving away from Costa and starting our own brand of Coffee. PULSE finds out why, and what the change means for the company and our customers.
ersonal appearances are easy to change. Hair colour, style, dress sense and so on. With a cinema the task is slightly harder, but we’re giving it a go. Here at Empire we have decided to change to our own brand of coffee. Pulse magazine talked to Gordon Macdonald about the switch.
When was the decision made to move away from Costa?
At the start of 2012 we began talking with a number of other high street brands. However we felt that we could offer our customers a good range of hot drinks that were both exciting and fairly sourced.
What are the advantages of using Rain Forest Alliance coffee beans? It is more of a moral / ethical stance than an advantage. The Rainforest Alliance works to conserve biodiversity and ensure sustainable livelihoods by transforming
land-use practices, business practices and consumer behaviour. They also have 25 years of experience including the first coffee farm to earn a Rainforest Alliance certification in 1995.
Who was involved in the naming decision ‘CUP’?
The name was the most difficult part of the branding exercise! The group was pulled together from within HO, Richard at Empire Hemel Hempstead and our interior designer. The look and feel came from visiting independent stores across London, both coffee shops and food offerings. This was agreed quite quickly, but the name however was very personal. Cup was chosen for it’s simplicity, honesty and clarity.
too big and don’t offer anything unique. With a small brand you can work together better and develop promotions and offers. We can develop seasonal blends, filter coffee, take home packs, iced drinks, loyalty cards and even run a Free Coffee Day!
How will you market the launch of CUP? It will go into a few cinemas to start with on test and then roll out through the remainder of 2012. Ideally we’ll have a loyalty card to start along with it’s own website and Facebook page.
Why do Empire feel they can offer customers a better range of hot drinks compared to high street brands?
Whilst the high street coffee chains generally offer great coffee they can become
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&XS&RYHQ /RJR$UW: BB
PULSE TEAM BLOG
Anna Kasperkiewicz After starting at a Polish film festival, Anna Kasperkiewicz of Leicester Square is now filming adverts for upcoming films, and mini clips for EMPIRE.
y first film was a documentary about a Mime artist who’d always fascinated me. I often passed him on my way to school, so decided to interview him. I soon discovered he was homeless and that working on the street was his only livelihood. Due to a technical glitch I was unable to use the interview in my film. But I did instead show the footage in pictures; a black and white observation of one day of his life on the street. It was a great success at an Amateur and Independent Film Festival in Poland, winning 14 prizes. Another documentary of mine featured a young man who decided to leave his metal band and city life in favour of religion, eventually settling in a forest. It was challenging as at first I struggled to gain
permission to film his everyday life due to his strict rules as a hermit. However, finding more out about the hermitage he lived in aided my final footage. Making this film was an adventure for me. Unfortunately due to the strict hermit lifestyle, I was unable to publish my work and could only use my recorded findings solely for my studies. I hope to one day share the full story. The first film I made for Empire Leicester Square was The Magic E for the Big E competition, which I worked on with my colleague, Alan Pressland. It proved to be educational work for both of us and led to our General Manager, Stephen Bush, asking me to make short adverts for upcoming films and publish them on YouTube. So far I have made adverts, including The
Muppets, Woman In Black and even a video of our Ben and Jerry’s free cone day. (All of which are on the Empire Leicester Square YouTube channel, EmpireLsq) Making adverts and mini clips for Empire was brilliant. It allowed me to direct, film and edit with spontaneity and through this I’ve discovered my capabilities. When I first moved to London I assisted the camera team as a Clapper Loader for British production The Grind, which was released in March this year. I am also in the process of setting up my own YouTube channel to use as a platform to showcase my work. My inspirations come from observing the reality which surrounds me. I can be inspired by anything that fascinates or interests me. All of my ideas stem from the same source: my own interpretation of the world.
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R E V L I S EA THE
rewarded for re a es ye lo p em ire p Em t It is always important tha Silver E Awards are a way to make e all of their hard work. Th and shared throughout Empire. d sure that thisis recognise
rd fo rt o t S s p o h is B Donna Maynard
onna Maynard of Bishops Stortford was speechless when General Manager Adam Root announced that she was to receive a Silver E. Donna has been at the company for nine months and throughout that time she has been working towards receiving an award. Now all of her hard work has paid off. “I had to pinch myself as it really did feel like a dream. That night I could barely sleep because of my excitement about receiving the certificate and all important Silver E pin the following day,” Donna explains. As a team member, one of the biggest parts of Donna’s job includes upselling and ensuring that all customers receive exactly what they are hoping for from their Empire experience. “I love working as part of a team and as a
Leo Collins - Sunderland
mpire Sunderland is home to another Silver E award recipient: 22-year-old Leo Collins, who won thanks to his outstanding customer service and ability to enjoy himself at work. At the time Leo had been working for Empire for little under a year and it was a huge achievement for him. “When I was told about the award I was very overwhelmed. I first thought maybe a joke was being played on me,” Leo says. General Manager John Hodgson told Leo about the award during an Empire Christmas party. “I was a little bit merry at the time and I really wasn’t expecting it - I was blindsided,” Leo explains. His nomination for the award came through a number of customers complimenting him on his excellent customer service and through new staff
referring to him as a role model. “During Big E training new members of staff would mention my name and say things like ‘what Leo does…’ This made me feel really good because it meant the new starters were watching the way that I work and learning from it.” Being cheerful and having fun while you work will always reflect in a positive way, which is why Leo claims that working alongside his team members is like working with friends. “I try to always enjoy myself because customers recognise this. It relaxes them and they find it easier to chat to me.” As part of the award, Leo attended the premiere of Chariot of Fire, which was part of an Olympic Launch. He admitted that he had been looking forward to the overall experience more than the movie itself.
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Silver E it encourages me to work ‘that extra two miles’ instead of just one mile. I try to make my working experience very enjoyable and aim to become even more valuable to the company. I want be the shooting star among the shining stars,” Donna says, showing the enthusiastic attitude that contributed to her award nomination. “I am so happy working for this wonderful company. I would like to say a massive thank you to everyone at Empire for making my working life a fantastic one.” At present Donna is unsure as to which premiere she will be attending as part of her award. Having never been to a premiere before, she is naturally very excited. “I cannot wait to see what its like to be at a premiere with red carpet treatment, alongside meeting a mass of stars,” she says.
PULSE SILVER E AWARDS
S D R AWA
r a t s g in t o o h s e h Donna “I want to be t aynard M !” s r a t s g in in h s e h t g n o m a ld e fi ld o C n o t t u S Emma Chawner -
mma Chawner of Sutton Coldfield is another employee to have her hard work and dedication to the company recognised through the Silver E. On being told the good news by General Manager Tristan Murtagh, she says: “I really couldn’t believe it when I was told that I had received the award. I was overwhelmed.” Emma provides excellent customer service, always remaining happy and polite: qualities of an excellent Empire employee. “I really enjoy serving the customers and then seeing them leave in
high spirits,” Emma explains. She works hard to make sure the customer is receiving the best Empire experience and that itself is reward enough for Emma. The customer is always the number one priority and that is what she keeps in mind through every day at work. Before Emma attended the premier of The Dark Knight Rises at Empire Leicester Square, she told us, “I can’t wait for the premiere as I have never been to one before. “I am expecting to get Tom Hardy’s phone number,” she jokes.
Margaret Turnball - Newcastle
eneral Manager of Empire Newcastle, Margaret Turnball is another of the recent Silver E award recipients. After two and a half years working with the company Margaret was absolutely delighted with her achievement. “I continuously try and live up to the expectations of the Silver E award but I have always appreciated that it is a tough one to achieve,” she says. “I was given my award letter by Andy Bush at a recent Health and Safety meeting and I later received the Silver E and certificate itself from Operations Director, Paul Baxter (left).” It is her constant support of the company that has lead to her Silver E award. “I strongly believe in all of our company aims. It is easier to drive something if you can actually believe in it yourself. After all, customers are the reason we exist as a business and we simply cannot survive without them. Sometimes we just have to stop
and remember that fact,” Margaret explains. She will also be attending a film premiere as part of her award, which will be an exciting new experience. Although she has worked in cinema for 20 years, she has never been lucky enough to receive the opportunity to attend or work at a premiere. “I don’t think you can underestimate how much of an event this is; we should be shouting about it to all of our staff,” she says excitedly. As of yet, she does not know which premiere she will be attending or when. “I didn’t want to rush in to attending the premiere as there are a lot of other Silver E’s still waiting patiently due to a number of months where they were not held at Leicester Square.” Margaret highly appreciates that the Silver E is not just a material award and the prize is not the most important thing. It is a badge of honour that you have to continuously earn through every day at Empire cinemas.
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Empire Basildon is proud to be part of the Empire family and will stop at nothing to be the best cinema in Essex. General manager, Phillip Pierce, and his team share their big hopes for the cinema and divulge what’s made them this issue’s ‘Cinema In Focus.’ asildon prides itself on its dedicated team of hard-working and enthusiastic employees who strive for nothing short of perfection, going out of their way to ensure that every visitor thoroughly enjoys their cinema experience. When Philip Pierce joined the cinema as General Manager just two years ago it was the first day that Empire Basildon’s Impact Screen opened to the public. He kicked off his Empire career with a momentous occasion, sharing more of the cinema experience with his customers. Phil’s previous employer, our rival, Odeon, was based in London but he wanted to quit the city life and head to Basildon where the attraction of a smaller company won him over. “We may not match up in size to others but
we deliver a priceless experience. We show them how it’s done,” said Phil. The cinema sits in Basildon’s Festival Leisure Park, dubbed Bas Vegas by locals because of its famous or infamous (depending on which way you see it) nightlife. It boasts three night clubs and several bars, which all add to the hustle and bustle of Basildon. With a huge free car park and virtually every large restaurant chain present too, the park is a major attraction to the surrounding area, with Empire at the centre. “We are hoping to have over one million paid admissions in 2012,” explains Phil. “It will be a first both for our cinema and for Empire too.” Such an achievement would only be a testament to the hard work that Empire
Basildon’s team puts into bringing The Big E to life. Phil believes it is vital that they accommodate for the local area’s schools, clubs and groups and by investing in their facilities they sit at the heart of the community. Their continuing dedication to building an extensive customer base is inspiring. Empire Basildon boasts itself as a family and child friendly cinema with kids films proving particularly popular with its customers. “We can always expect the annual summer holidays to be a busy time,” says Phil. When Empire took over the Basildon premises it had a mere 12 screens. Gradually over the last four years the cinema has grown and added smaller studio screens to those pre-
‘WE ARE HOPING TO HAVE OVER 1 MILLION Empire Basildon’s extensive foyer
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PULSE CINEMA IN FOCUS
Facts Figures and
BASILDON existing ones. After revamping over the years Empire Basildon now possesses extra studios with more seating meaning they can open their doors to welcome in more film lovers and keep customers leaving with a smile on their face. “We showed box office smash The Artist from its opening week, while also finding space to play smaller titles like Cosmopolis, Victim and Joyful Noise,” says Phil. The newer, more spacious screens allow films to be shown for longer and it also means that Empire Basildon has the advantage in playing features that most films do not cater for. Empire Basildon’s employees pride themselves on their ability to continue working hard for the people filling their seats. Karl Browne has worked at the cinema for over four years and has now worked his way up to Manager. “I thoroughly enjoy my job at Empire; every day brings something different” says Karl.
Busiest film of 2012
“I especially love meeting the public and helping to make their visits more enjoyable. The cinema’s overall atmosphere is brilliant and we are working hard to make this the first-class cinema it has the potential to be.” Basildon’s managers and supervisors have climbed their way up from team member which is a great advert for Empire investing time and confidence in its staff. Stacey Clarke, one of Empire Basildon’s supervisors, is happy that their focus is well and truly on customers. “We are a cinema and it is important that we remember that people come here to watch films above all else, so this is what we must concentrate on,” she says. “From film knowledge to value for money, we want to be the best.” Like most cinemas, Basildon has its own celebrity regulars. From Ashley Banjo and the rest of Diversity to Lee Evans, and from the stars of The Only Way is Essex to Frank Bruno; there is always an array of faces that you might recognise. In fact, 2007’s Big
ADMISSIONS THIS YEAR!’ pierce
Avengers Assemble in February 2002 for Montsers Inc. 38,407 visitors on February 14 2012 (Valentine’s day) 9,093 visitors Busiest week ever Busiest day ever
18 Auditoria 12 screens & 6 studios, including 8 3d and empire’s first ‘inpact screen’
Brother winner Brian Bello was a former team member at the cinema before setting out on his somewhat short-lived search for fame. Phil explains how Basildon is looking to continue growing its ever-expanding audience and help Empire’s brand to become synonymous with quality. Empire Basildon has the million barrier in their sites and is determined to break it. Phil also wants to make sure he can maintain the stealthy development of his staff and ensure the promotions continue. “We are going to need luck,” he says. “But I believe we can make our own luck with good old-fashioned hard work.”
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JOB SWAP T
he Job Swap programme at Empire Cinemas is designed to allow members of staff to discover different areas of the company and to develop their skills as an Empire employee. For one day a member of staff will work alongside colleagues in another department. This has proved popular and is helping spread knowledge and understanding across our team.
Ben at his new job
Benjamin Spence, from Empire Sunderland, spent a day at Empire Leicester Square shadowing Jon Nutton and Sarah Owen in the marketing department. What does your current position involve? I do the usual multifunctional role of working on Box Office, Retail, Bar and Ushering, whilst delivering The
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Big E. Myself and a colleague also run the Empire Juniors kids club. I also have an active role in marketing and managing cinema events. What were you expecting from the Job Swap? I was looking forward to seeing how the marketing team operates on the inside from the daily tasks to strategies and campaigns. It is a great
PULSE JOB SWAP opportunity to see how the brand is marketed and to see plans for its future.
future. I felt like a marketing guru!
Did you find anything challenging? What was the first thing that you I had a nice 9-5 shift but Jon would had to do? usually work from 7.00am until To start the day I was given a tour of 7.00pm, sometimes staying awake Head Office, positioned above the until midnight to send out Movie Leicester Square cinema. It was really Mail. It sounds like a nightmare to good to see how it all works and me. everyone was so friendly. What was the most rewarding part This was followed by another tour, of the day? this time of the Leicester Square Seeing how everything works site. I was shown all the different behind the scenes. As a team screens, including of course Screen member you take things for One, which is used for the premieres granted, like the work that goes into and has 1,300 seats. There’s another a website. It was rewarding to get a impressive screen which is used for different insight. an actual theatre performance called ‘The Go! Go! Show’. The show itself What is the most important thing sounds fab so I’d be keen to give it a you learned about the marketing watch. department? That it’s vital to maintain a good Who were you working with? overall brand. The guys work really I worked alongside Jon and Sarah hard to keep the Empire brand at a who together form the marketing high standard. department. They made me feel welcome and the whole day was How will this experience aid your relaxed and very interesting. I also own role? loved the fact they were so keen to At Sunderland I was involved in have me involved. marketing for the Ladies Night for Magic Mike, with the ever so What did the day involve? popular topless waiters. I’m set to There was a real mixture of tasks be transferring to Empire Leicester for me to get stuck into. I learnt Square in August and I would love about the website and marketing’s to continue working with marketing essential responsibilities. They deal there. with preparations for premieres and with The Dark Knight Rises premiere the following evening, Sarah was able to show me how the artwork and screens are prepared for events. I attended two meetings with the department - the first with House PR, based in Soho Square. It was great to see how they work alongside PR to make sure Empire keeps on top of its game with promotion for upcoming events. What parts of the day did you enjoy the most? I think it was probably meeting with House PR. It was so interesting learning about the different projects that Empire has planned for the
Pulse spoke to Sarah Owen about how she and Jon enjoyed working with Ben during the Job Swap. How do you think Ben grasped the tasks you gave him? Ben is professional, hardworking and above all friendly. He demonstrated admirable qualities of working beyond his job duties helping the smooth running of the marketing department. Did you enjoy having Ben work with you for the day? It was a pleasure having him. He’d already shown good marketing skills and demonstrates maturity in his role as a Team Leader at Sunderland. Do you have any advice for Ben and team members like him? Having a good work ethic is key. Being willing to go the extra mile is also a great skill to have. Think outside the box and use the tools at your disposal and of course, enjoy yourself!
If you would like to get involved with the Job Swap programme, you can get in touch by emailing email@example.com
Hard at work
AUTUMN 2012 | PULSE MAGAZINE | 15
BUILdINg THE z
You cannot deny it - for our customers going to the cinema is a wonderful experience. Whether it be for a family who have saved up for weeks to see the latest Disney blockbuster or for a young couple out on their first date who’ve come to watch the newest romantic comedy. It’s about having fun.
hose who work for Empire Cinemas recognise that the industry we work in is fantastic with an exciting product that is ever changing. Empire Cinemas strives to make it extra special and all employees work hard to make it personal for all customers and memorable for all the right reasons. One of the company’s focuses is the environment in which we create for our customers. Paul Baxter, the Operations Director says: “When you walk into a Cinema and feel the excitement its fantastic. Seeing our staff interact with Customers who then share their own excitement is what its all about and what we need to strive for each and every time.” In the Cinema Industry a lot of the anticipation comes from the customers. The Film Distributors have helped us by producing attention grabbing trailers and other media to tease our audience so we all end up counting down to the day the film is released.
The range of anticipation and excitement might differ between our customers but one thing is for sure, they always come to the Cinema for pleasure! So what is our job when it comes to making the Cinema experience special? Our customer Experience Manager says: “Having fun at work is one of the most obvious ways. There is nothing better for a customer than being served by someone who is equally excited about the film and looks like they want to be there!” She continues: “We have recently produced more comprehensive training materials to help managers train the staff to be really competent in their roles. When the staff are efficient and confident it gives them the chance to interact with customers and have fun with them. A completely different business to us has worked hard to transform its customer service and create a unique atmosphere. It’s an interesting comparison however and you could argue their job is a lot harder than ours as they sell fish! Pike Place
Fish Market in Seattle, USA transformed its customer service and branding across the globe, purchased in 1965 by John Yokoyama, the market started life as a small, unassuming place. What happened next was to change its future, ensuring it would become world famous. On the official website, Mr Yokoyama says: “In one of our early Pike Place Fish meetings we began an inquiry into “who do we want to be? We wanted to create a new future for ourselves. One of the young kids working for me said, “hey! Let’s be world famous!” At first I thought, “World famous...what a stupid thing to say!” But the more we talked about it, the more we all got excited about being world famous. So we committed to it. We added “World Famous” to our logo and had it printed on our shipping boxes. “We created our own definition. For us it means going beyond just providing outstanding service to people. It means really being present with people and relating to them as human beings. You
“There is nothing better for a customer than being served by someone who is as equally excited about the film” 16 | PULSE MAGAZINE | AUTUMN 2012
PULSE BUILDING THE BUZZ
Star Wars characters were a hit with customers at Empires Newcastle & Wigan
Spiderman making an appearance at Empire Slough
Kids at Empire Slough having fun with Spiderman
Children could also have their faces painted at Empire Slough
“it’s fantastic to see interaction with customers” know, stepping outside the usual “we’re in business and you’re a customer” way of relating to people and intentionally being with them right now, in the present moment, person to person. We take all our attention off ourselves to be only with them...looking for ways to serve them. We’re out to discover how we can make their day.” Pike’s drive and ambition to provide a unique customer experience then lead them to a new method - throwing fish. Staff began to throw fish to one another, interacting with customers at the same time. It created an infectious atmosphere, gaining recognition from people whether they were shopping for fish or not. Mr Yokoyama adds: “People want to copy us - to do what we’re doing. We keep telling them, ‘Your success isn’t in doing what we do; it’s in discovering your own way. Don’t do what we do - we made it all up... do what inspires you...make it up! You just have to be yourself. And it means commit yourself to who you say you are: act like it, think like it, look like it, feel like it, speak it... be it.” This is what we are striving for here at Empire Cinemas - an infectious, vibrant atmosphere. Paul Baxter, Empire’s Operations Director, says the bottom line is for staff to “feed on and build upon the excitement that customers have when they come to see a film”. He says: “We want people to get excited because the customers that are coming in the door are excited to see a film. This may mean simply talking to the customer, asking if they are looking forward to the film and sharing their level of anticipation. “Improving the customer’s experience is one of our top
priorities. A trip to the cinema is an escape from their day to day routine and what we have to do is to build upon the emotion of that. It’s as much as, if not more, about conversation with customers as it is about dressing up in costumes. The general language of ‘yes, I couldn’t wait to see this... it was fantastic’ can go a long way. “We haven’t done a great deal of activity in this area yet but if people have ideas that can build upon the excitement then we are happy to have those conversations,” he says. “It’s a balance between being silly and improving the customer experience.” He continues: “The storm troopers from Star Wars at Empire Newcastle and Wigan created great theatre and were a good example of what we can do with a bit of thought.” The storm troopers who Paul is referring to are the 99th Garrison, a group of keen Star Wars fans from Birmingham to Newcastle. Empire Newcastle’s Duty Manager, Nick Mapplebeck, says that the “interaction with customers was fantastic to see”. Paul Baxter says: “When we provide children with colouring posters, hats etc. we want our employees to make sure they also talk to the children, not just their parents. It’s such a useful tool and if used in the right way can make children want to come to our cinema as we’ve made the whole experience exciting and memorable.” So, no matter what the film is the message is simple. Enjoy the fact you work for a fantastic and exciting industry and a company that wants you to have fun at work. Remember to share that fun with customers and together we shall offer our customers the best cinema experience around.
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PULSE FACES OF EMPIRE
MINUTES STEPHEN BUSH
What is your job role? I am currently the GM at Empire Leicester Square and my role is to coordinate all activity within my business. What is a typical work day for you as the General Manager of Empire Leicester Square? A typical day starts at around 8am. We do all the exciting day-to-day things that all of the other Empire cinemas do like planning for business expectations, managing the team and so on. What makes it different here though is the amount of time we need prepping for events such as multimedia shows, press shows, premieres, and corporate bookings. I also have lots of meetings too that involve the distributors and the Metropolitan Police Force. I normally head for home around 6pm. What is the best thing about working for Empire Cinemas? We have an incredibly diverse work force from all nationalities and walks of life. When you have that fantastic work force and put them into the dream factory that is cinema, itâ€™s great to see
that most people thrive on the energy and imagination that comes out of the movies! What has been your biggest achievement at Empire Cinemas? Premieres and events and the sheer numbers that we are doing now. They are a great team effort and by team I am including my own team here at the Empire, the wider head office team, particularly Paul Baxter who is always on hand to clear the bar, and also all of those fantastic team members from the cinemas around the country who come and help us out. Have you seen many changes in the industry since you started? I have worked in the industry 23 years just gone in July and there have been many changes over the years. Our teams have become much more streamlined and efficient and we are much more customer focused than we have ever been before. The range of items and services we are able to offer is enormous. But I suppose the most noticeable thing for us at The Empire specifically, is that digital technology has allowed us to
create auditoriums that would have been unthinkable even 10 years ago. We have 8 screens here now from 23 to 1330 seats. There are more exciting technological advances still to come at The Empire, but the West End has never been a dull place to work! What is your ideal day off? Taking my dog, Fox, for a walk in Devon where I grew up.
INTERESTING FACTS Upcoming film you are looking forward to watching: Anyone that knows me will scream Star Trek 2 in 2013! Yes Iâ€™m predictable. Also, Skyfall in 2012. Favourite film of all-time: The Empire Strikes Back (1980) Favourite actors: Harrison Ford. Michelle Pfeiffer - sorry, she is still Catwoman for me. Favourite cinema snack: Nachos
A special thank you to Stephen Bush for sparing the time to talk to PULSE Magazine. 18 | PULSE MAGAZINE | AUTUMN 2012
PULSE DOUGLAS KING
swimming! Pulse sat down for a chat with Scottish filmaker and Empire employee, Douglas King, to talk about his new film, Let’s Go Swimming.
to Glasgow. It’s based on her experiences and some of it’s quite autobiographical. In terms of the script, Josie would write the content for it in stand-up form and I would write it in script format and restructure it.”
What is your film about?
How did you get in contact with Josie?
ouglas King is a 26-year-old film-maker who has worked for Empire Clydebank since September 2011. His latest production stars comedienne Josie Long and some well known faces from Glasgow’s music scene. “It’s a hypothetical situation that worked out as Josie moving up to Glasgow. She’s playing a sort of alter ego of herself. She’s based in London and she thinks it’s going to be an indie band theme park; she’ll be walking down the street high fiving Belle & Sebastian and Aidan Moffat and all these types. Of course it’s not like that at all. She ends up wandering around cafes and eventually decides she’s going to go swimming, but never does. It’s going to be funny.”
How did you get the idea for it?
“Most of it came from Josie. She’s in a time of life where she doesn’t really know what to do with herself in London so she escapes up
“I was commissioned to make a film for Arts Installation in Newcastle. Josie was doing a gig for it and we just started hanging out afterwards and kept in touch through Twitter. She watched all of our short films and got in touch with us so we could make Let’s Go Swimming.”
What was the overall budget for the film and did you write the script? “I think it came to about £700 in total. We had free catering too because a big fan of Josie provided it for us; a place called Where The Monkey Sleeps. We would get up at 7am and have a cooked breakfast in the morning and he gave us amazing packed lunches which were different every day.”
“Working at Empire made
me see another side to the industry and start to understand how it works - Douglas King
Have you always been interested in making films? “I’ve been making short films since I was about 11 really. I think the first film I made was a lego stop-motion film. At school I managed
Douglas King directing on set of his latest film
to convince my art teacher to buy editing software and I started making films from there with my friends. One film I made with my friend in our flat was nominated for a Scottish BAFTA for his acting performance in it. The film itself only cost 56p.”
Has working at Empire helped develop your interest in film making? “It’s good that you can see another side of the industry and start to understand how it works. It also means you get to see a lot of films for free which helps.”
Have you got any ideas for further films?
“We’re going to make another film with Josie in October. She has a very busy schedule so we’ll do it after Edinburgh festival. We’ll write it in September as it’s a quick turnaround. Let’s Go Swimming took eight weeks to make from writing to shooting and then to post-production.”
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Fight the film pirates D Empire team members are on the look out for the film thief’s hiding in our screens across the country.
espite the adverts and police warnings about piracy, the illegal filming and distributing of new cinema releases is at an all-time high. However, thanks to Empire’s quick-thinking and dedicated teams we have recently caught thieves in the act, arresting them before they were able to distribute the illegal footage and fuel the piracy fire. You might think it would be easy to catch someone sitting in a screening, brazenly holding a camera in hand and capturing every second of footage, but these thieves are much more subtle than that. It was thanks to the eagle-eyed approach of Empire Newcastle’s Victoria Landale and Danielle Carver and Empire Slough’s Salimah Azim Adatia and Muhammad Imran Wattoo that the teams resolved the situations, which occurred in May this year and October 2011 respectively; Newcastle’s culprit using a hidden camera concealed on his person, and Slough’s using a mobile phone. In Newcastle, Victoria raised the alarm during a filming of Sacha Baron Cohen’s latest hit The Dictator after spotting a red dot emitting from a customer’s pocket. Under the advice of Operation’s Assistant Nick Mappleback, Victoria and Danielle followed the FACT procedure, allowing the
suspect to continue filming whilst they carried out further checks on the screening using night vision goggles, then be questioned once the final credits began to roll. Although the customer was later found to have only audio equipment on his person, he was arrested in breach of Section Six of the Fraud Act 2006, after it was deemed a good enough quality to be later synced with a pirated visual copy. In Slough a customer spotted a group of men openly filming the screening on a mobile phone and the Good Samaritan informed Operations Assistant Salimah during the films intermission. Along with team member Muhammad, Salimah was then able to catch the group redhanded and confiscate the device to hand to the police as evidence. All staff involved in the two incidents were recently rewarded for their actions at our bi-annual awards ceremony; an event which highlights Empire’s strong stance against piracy. Victoria was granted £500, Danielle £400 and Salimah and Muhammad received £350 for their valiant efforts. Piracy has always been a threat to the film industry, jeopardising revenue from cinema viewings worldwide. For most people, downloading movies illegally online is seen as merely
Victoria raised the alarm after spotting a red dot emitting from a customers pocket
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harmless, they hold no personal responsibility as the camera was in someone else’s hands. Our Operations Director Paul Baxter stresses the inevitable cost of piracy will be a loss of jobs and opportunities. This means it is vital all teams remain vigilant and follow the example set by those awarded in Newcastle and Slough. “Every time someone downloads a pirated film or buys a dodgy DVD it means a shortfall of money coming into the industry,” explains Paul. “Studios will gain less profit, which slows the development of new production and technology.
Left to right - Muhammad Wattoo, Salimah Adatia, Paul Baxter, Danielle Carver and Victoria Landale For Empire it could mean less money for jobs, paid deals and refits. It may seem extreme but the threat of piracy is very real. Every pound we lose is one I cannot use to improve our business.” But how can our teams prevent this? “The culprits like to get into the screens early. By checking them before the adverts start and talking to them, you are not only pleasing the genuine customers but deterring the criminals, who will know you’re watching closely,” says Paul. “Take in the night vision glasses
once the film has started too and don’t be afraid to act upon other issues that you spot.” So next time you see a customer acting suspiciously, do not be afraid to follow the FACT procedure. Catching and preventing piracy continues to help keep the film industry alive. Check out www.fightfilmtheft. org.uk – a website managed by FACT and the FDA which provides an educational resource for the UK’s cinema staff around the issue of piracy. And don’t forget to enter the quiz for your chance to win £500!
Victoria won $500
AUTUMN 2012 | PULSE MAGAZINE | 21
K C A B D E E F R E M O CUST D R A O B E C NOTI h to again on the 8t re coming back fo be stom, cu ne Ju de t ru 1s even after on Sunday tantly smiling ted your cinema ns si co vi d I an y te sa li to po , I just wanted all really nice . The staff were see another film ers. all! Congrats to them
h ky enoug been luc er e v o ’v I e . r e a c u i ster Sq er serv e m c o i t e e s L r u i c n p Em te good events i e at The apprecia e bigger movie s servic paying s a n l e c h e I really t t b s f e ad fir some o ing I’v h h d s t n y e e a m t o t w s l a or to ve a ry event s and ha n indust the year a n e e b it’s t much I whether itter. No w T n o seats. e . for uys ar f extra g o e u l o p y u t o s a c how grea two book entioned ower or l l o f I have m a t I hope know, bu
Basildon A big thank you for lookin g after us on Wednesday afternoon. It was especially nice to have a young lady hold up at sheet of paper saying ‘Thank you’ and on another saying ‘Enjoy your film’ and we did. Many thanks, From two Joans
r had am membe y e t e h t y ll Evidentl d litera voice an reat way g a t a lost her h W . k a e still t sp could no g the customers s of n i tandard of ensur nd our s a e m o c l felt we ip! didn’t sl service
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oldfield Sutton C ren nd child achers a st wanted e t e h t f of hool, I ju rning at On behal unior Sc J y e l m great mo l n at Wa u for a o y k have bee d n a h is team h an d to say t t n n a e i n t rista and pa g n i t a r Empire. T d o r mo ny accomm yed thei jo n e y extremel l l dren rea the chil ing. will be rvice, we e s t a e r g for the Thanks back! ith
rrowsm Claire A
PULSE REPRESENTATIVES PULSE FEEDBACK staff that excellent e ell th r fo you shows as w t to thank e Seniors th m so a to I y o, g rl I just wan y time I o regula g er I v . E y . n lo p re a d you em ndchil your st ff ith my Gra d helpful w n a s y er p h p a ot h as ly, how friend pleased by ifference. d a ch es su . are, it mak good people loying such p em r fo again Thank you
McCarthy Mrs Eileen
Basildon I really need to bring to your attention a member of staff that dealt with me on Tuesday the 26th of June. I only know his name is Wayne. He dealt with my problem fantastically, some of the best customer service I have ever received. He was so passionate about his job and the cinema he works in it was really refreshing. I’ve never had a guy be so genuine and interested about films that actually worked in a cinema let alone be a manager. Everybody always goes out of their way to complain, but no one takes the time to commend the people that do there job well.
Birming ham During my rece n t vi I was v ery imp sit to Great P ressed ark Emp wi ire cin ema custome th one of you I was p r staff leasant r servi ’s c ly gree e . Steff, u ted by n a young sold ou fortunately t lady na h t, but s me he apol e film i went see ano ogised to see w d ther fi & sugge as lm. She Engage s te recomme me nded th d to me to she dir nt” & explain e “Five e ected m Year e to my d to me what i t was a screen bout, & hoped I reall e n jo that I y the f y would ilm. her per enjoyed the fi sonally lm & wa s going but was to tha told I will finishe that her shif nk look fo t had d. rward t Cinema o my ne at Rube xt visi ry and t to Em hope to pire see Ste ff agai n. Many Th anks, Joan Bo ne
I will continue to champion my local Empire cinema and I hope Wayne knows he really has made a difference to my movie going experience. Ben Johnson
Sutton Coldfield I visited an Empire Cinema for the first time to watch The Amazing Spider-Man, and I wanted to give some brief positive feedback. Birmingham and my on my birthday We went to Rubery en we got home. wh d ce ti no ly on we , ne ho I-p s husband lost hi we e phone back, so nema and got th ci e e th th ed to nd ck ha o ba We raced the lady wh in k you to Steph, ck an ba th y us sa g in to tt ed want ys for le the security gu s who were phone in. Also to and the employee ed os cl y ad re al s hlights wa as fl ma dbringing when the cine ing lights on an rn tu , ok lo us d. g helpin tually locate before it was ac great day by uing what was a Thanks for resc d superhelpful. being honest an
The cinema was very clean and the staff were extremely helpful, especially over a parking query. I was impressed with the customer service and the service overall. The next film I plan to watch is The Dark Knight Rises and I intend to use Empire Cinema, Sutton Coldfield, for all future movie experiences. Thank you Stephen Parry
Kind regards, Ramona Toy
AUTUMN 2012 | PULSE MAGAZINE | 23
E H T SCENES AT
Cinemas and popcorn have always gone hand in hand. So when Steve Wooldridge and Carl Frisby from Empire Basildon decided to find out the inner workings of popcorn factory Tommy Tucker, Pulse couldn’t wait to hear their story. irst can we say a massive thank you to Gordon and the people at Pulse for arranging the visit to Tommy Tucker. Plus an even bigger thank you to the great people that work there for making us feel so welcome and making it such a great day. As soon as we read Pulse Magazine we knew straight away that there was only one place we wanted to go and that was to Tommy Tucker. A few people we had told about the trip thought that we were silly for wanting to go and couldn’t understand why. To us popcorn makes the cinema what it is. If there is one thing we could not run out of at Basildon, it would be popcorn. So we wanted to see how they could cope with the amount of popcorn that we manage to get though in a week, let alone having to pop everyone else’s to. Our day started at 6:30 am with a three hour drive from Basildon to Worksop. Popcorn aside, we didn’t really know too much about Tommy Tucker, which meant we weren’t really sure what to expect. Like big kids we
tried to think of different things that might happen and our different ways of how they make so much popcorn. As soon as we had arrived we could smell the popcorn from the car park and knew we’d be in for a fun day. After meeting David Gregg we started with a tour of the Worksop Factory. Being a medium risk food product, Tommy Tucker has to stick to strict guidelines, so we had to put on hair nets and white lab jackets. Then off we went for a tour around the factory. As we went through the doors we were met with only four staff members. One was popping salt popcorn on 10 poppers. Yes that’s right, one person was using 10 popcorn poppers in a row. As soon as one had popped they would empty it on to a conveyor belt that took it to a machine that can only be described as a big tumble dryer that turned the popcorn. This process meant that all the unpopped kernels fell out. Once it had passed through this machine it then flowed to the next, where there was a second staff member with a popcorn bag over a large hole and a foot pedal
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Steve and Carl outside the factory
PULSE BEHIND THE SCENES
One hours worth of popcorn waiting to be delivered
“IT’S LIKE BEING IN WILLY POPCORN FACTS WONKA’S FACTORY!” that operated the machine that would shake the popcorn into the bag. When the bag was full, the same staff member would seal the bag. It would then have to be passed through a metal detector to ensure there is nothing other than popcorn in the bag. To ensure that the popcorn is as fresh as it can be as soon as the popcorn is popped it is put on the truck and delivered to the person that ordered it. The other two staff were doing the same but with sweet popcorn, with the best part being that it was the popcorn that was being delivered to Basildon that afternoon. We then went upstairs to the sweet factory, where they made their pre-packed pick and mix, toffee popcorn and kids popcorn bags. It was like being in Willy Wonka’s factory. The next room we entered instantly became our favourite for a few reasons. Not only did it store all the flying saucers, but it was the candyfloss room. There were 16 candyfloss machines making the best candyfloss you will ever taste. To make enough mixture they have to use a cement mixer as there is just too much to do by hand. It was then that we travelled to their main factory in Retford where they do everything on a much larger scale, but still with only a
The Tommy Tucker factory
few more staff, even down to Rachel who is the lady that takes your orders and then goes in to the factory to ensure the best quality possible. This was very impressive to see as we were first amazed to see their supervisor using 20 poppers at one time to make sweet popcorn. The one person can make 3,000 bags of popcorn in one shift, meaning that what we thought were big orders of 200 to 300 bags in a week, could be done in an hour or two. The second amazing machine was their new fusion machine, which uses 12,000 volts to add flavours to the popcorn, from caramel to wasabi. When we were there, they had just made sweet and salt mixed. I know you’ll say we can do that by just putting the wrong bag in the warmer or doing half and half for a customer. But this is different and so much nicer. They first pop sweet popcorn and then use the machine to infuse salt over the top. Once you put it in your mouth you first get that salt taste and as you bite the sweetness comes though. Truly amazing. We were then shown their new product, which was chocolate drizzle popcorn. It sounds great and it was - aimed at being a
Popcorn has been traced as far back as around 4,000BC!
Americans consume enough popcorn every year to fill the Empire State Building over 18 times! The world’s largest popcorn sculpture was over 20ft high, 12ft wide and weighed over 5,000kg! The record for the largest tub of popcorn was set in 2009, measuring 3.6m high, 3.3m wide and contained over one tonne of popcorn! healthier option as it is air popped so they use no oil when popping. They then take their toffee, - which taste just like Werther’s Originals - mix it with the finest cocoa and then drizzle over the popcorn twice giving it a fine misting of hard toffee and chocolate - just the perfect balance and a great way to end a great day. We did then go and have lunch courtesy of David but that’s a different story altogether. We would lastly again like to say a massive thank you to all the people that made our day possible, with special thank you to David Gregg, Rachel Hague at Retford and Liz at Worksop for such a great day.
AUTUMN 2012 | PULSE MAGAZINE | 25
PULSE GO GO GO
GO!GO!GO! The Show 4 Kids joins forces with The Empire Leicester Square to launch The Go! Go! Go! Show.
Annie with a member of The Go! Go! Go! show
he Empire Leicester Square opened its doors this summer to a greatly anticipated addition with The Go! Go! Go! Show, a new pop musical perfectly designed for young children and families. With live shows every weekend and throughout the day during school holidays, the kids have plenty to look forward to with this energetic display, choreographed by Paul Domaine, who has worked with the likes of Sugababes and The Saturdays. The brains behind this fun-filled family entertainment are three world renowned music industry leaders – Mike Stock, three-time winner of the Ivor Novello Songwriter of the Year Award (who has composed hits for Kylie Minogue, Bananarama and many more!) and Steve Crosby, the man responsible for the creation of Steps and their first hit 5, 6, 7, 8.
tarring five main characters - Carl, Gemma, Jade, Holly and Steve – the show is bursting onto UK screens with its original songs such as Wake Up Smiling, This Is The Life and The Get Along Song. This live and interactive action show has been created for the whole family to enjoy and has had nothing but great reviews from the little ones watching. Nine-year-old Annie told Pulse how much she loved watching Go! Go! Go!. “I loved their outfits,” she said. “They all looked incredible. I really enjoyed the show and my favourite song was Heaven Bound but my brother liked Questions, Questions more.” It’s not only gone down well with the kids, but thankfully has received admiration from the usually-suffering-in-the-summer-holidays parents. One mother of three, Sophie Collins told us how pleasantly surprised she was with the whole experience. “I hadn’t taken my kids to a show before and I must admit I wondered if they’d be overwhelmed with it all but they loved it,” she said. “It kept the three of them completely mesmerised for the entire performance, which is a hard feat with a five-year-old boy. The songs were catchy and you couldn’t help but sing along and join in with the easy-to-learn dance routines. “I’d recommend it to families with small children aged four to eight. It certainly seems like a perfect setting to celebrate a birthday to keep all of the invited kiddies amused. The cast of the show were lovely, as well as the staff at Leicester Square Empire which made the day even better.”
The cast of The Go! Go! Go! show
Steve Crosby, Producer and Creative Director for The Show 4 Kids explained his decision to join forces with Empire Cinemas. “The show is a unique proposition and we’re positive that The Empire Leicester Square is the perfect home for it,” he said. “It’ll be the launch platform for our UK performances and what better place to start than in the West End? It’s wonderful to be able to put on a live show in a cinema setting, just like the old days.”
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The Go! Go! Go! Show enforces Empire’s strategy of livening up a visit to the cinema and keeping its customers satisfied, giving parents and their brood a whole new experience that won’t leave them fidgeting midway through a featurelength film. Justin Ribbons, CEO of Empire agrees that this is a fantastic venture. “The Show4Kids is an ideal fit for Empire’s strategy of bringing the magic back into cinema whether through live events or premières,” he said.
SKYFALL October 2012
fter a return to form with Casino Royale and a slight dip with Quantum of Solace, 007 is back on the silver screen with Skyfall - the 23rd instalment of the Bond franchise. Four years have passed since the suave super spy last graced our screens, thanks to MGM studios’ well-documented financial troubles. However, Oscar winning director Sam Mendes and returning star Daniel Craig have deemed the money worries to have been a blessing in disguise. This time the writers have been given extra opportunities to pour over the screenplay to tie up loose ends ensuring the story is as exciting and enticing as possible after writer’s strikes nearly crippled Quantum of Solace. Slipping comfortably back into the iconic tuxedo, Craig has promised Skyfall will be “funny as hell” signalling a return to the lighter side of Bond after the darker tone the franchise has taken in recent years. That’s not to say Bond, although no stranger to quips and puns, will be a comedy. Although plot details are thin on the ground, Craig has hinted that the film will be a more personal affair for Bond than ever before, as he finds his loyalty to M, once again played by Judi Dench, pushed to the edge as MI6 comes under attack. Perpetrator of the assault on MI6 is Javier Bardem’s Silva. Bardem’s portrayal of the menacing Anton Chigurh in Best Picture winner No Country For Old Men won him the Oscar for Best Supporting Actor in 2007. Bond films live and die by their villains, so an award winning
KNOW YOUR STUFF Genre: Action Director: Sam Mendes Starring: Daniel Craig, Javier Bardem, Judi Dench Movie Recommendations: The Bourne Identity, Goldeneye Inception
performance in an utterly villainous role can only mean that Silva will be a formidable foe for Bond. Bardem and Dench are not the only Oscar winners to be involved. Ralph Fiennes will portray Gareth Mallory, a government agent. Due to the secrecy surrounding Skyfall’s plot, it remains to be seen whether Mallory is friend or foe to 007. Of course no Bond film is complete without a Bond Girl, and Skyfall features two in the shape of Naomi Harris’ MI6 field agent Eve and Bérénice Marlohe’s mysterious Sévérine. Though Eve is clearly in cahoots with the British government, Sévérine is harder to pin down. However, Marlohe has said that she drew inspiration from Goldeneye’s hypersexual Bond Girl, Xenia Onatopp, which gives some indication of the character’s modus operandi. Returning at long last to bond will be weapons and gadget expert Q, made famous by Robert Llewellyn. Stepping into Llewellyn’s shoes will be young actor Ben Whishaw, who acted alongside Craig in 2004 Brit-flick Layer Cake. The action, which Mendes promises will come thick and fast, is another globetrotting affair for Bond, with action taking place in Shanghai and London. Both JJ and Billy will appreciate and love this next action-packed instalment of the Bond Franchise and the combination of glitz, glamour and girls will be sure to entertain Dan and Sarah. Jane and friends will enjoy the girl-power on show from Sévérine and Harris, and maybe, just maybe, catch a glimpse of Daniel Craig in those tiny trunks once again.
FANTASTIC FACTS First time an Academy Award winning director (Sam Mendes, American Beauty) will direct a James Bond movie. Development and production on this movie was delayed for around eight to nine months during 2010-11 due to the bankruptcy and delayed sale of studio Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer (MGM), with the production being officially suspended on 19th April 2010. Daniel Craig personally requested Sam Mendes to direct this instalment of the Bond franchise.
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im Burton is often a byword for slightly off kilter, quirky and darkly imaginative filmmaking. After experimenting with stop-motion animation by producing the 1993 classic The Nightmare Before Christmas and directing Corpse Bride in 2005, Burton returns to the medium with Frankenweenie, once again animated using traditional stop-motion techniques. Originally conceived and filmed as a black and white live-action short while Burton was working as animator at Disney, the original film was not deemed a success and was dubbed a waste of Disney’s money but it was instead the launch pad of Burton’s own weirdly artistic brand of cinema. The new version of Frankenweenie retains the original short’s monochrome look and same basic storyline. Clever and industrious 10-year old inventor Victor Frankenstein, voiced by Charlie Tahan, loses his beloved bull terrier Sparky in a car crash. Using science to resurrect Sparky, Victor must convince his neighbours that, despite his appearance, Sparky has a heart of gold. His parents, voiced by comedy legend Martin Short and actress Catherine O’Hara, are supportive and encouraging of Victor’s scientific endeavours. Winona Ryder voices Victor’s neighbour and schoolmate Elsa Van Helsing, whose own pet poodle, Persephone, has an instant attraction to Sparky and his Bride of Frankenstein-esque coat of hair.
October 2012 Victor has his own rival in the form of Toshiaki. Voiced by James Hiroyuki Liao, Toshiaki takes the role of the traditional mad scientist who stops at nothing to beat Victor at his own game and win the school science fair’s first prize. Horror institution and veteran actor Christopher Lee even pops up to voice a television appearance of Dracula, a role he’s not played for 36 years. As you would expect from Burton, the black and white animation is unique to itself but also charming as characters are rendered wide-eyed and pale reflecting the boundless inquisitiveness of its main characters. Frankenweenie is also distinctive for being the first stop-motion to be filmed and presented in IMAX 3D. Always one for practical effects when possible, Burton and his crew, most of which return after working on Corpse Bride, constructed three soundstages to house the sets including Victor’s family attic, the high school interior and exteriors of a cemetery at Three Mills studios in London. Overall around 200 separate puppets were made and used for the film, including 18 different versions of Victor. With its unique visual style, simple story and adorable zombie dog, Frankenweenie will be a perfect film for the Palmer family to enjoy. Billy and JJ will appreciate the wildly imaginative aesthetics and slightly off-beat attempt to break Pixar and Dreamworks’ monopoly on mainstream animation.
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FANTASTIC FACTS This is the first Tim Burton film since Big Fish not to star Johnny Depp and the first since Sleepy Hollow not to feature Helena Bonham Carter.
In the lead up to the film’s release in October, there will be a travelling art exhibition detailing the work that has gone into creating the film. During the exhibition it will be possible to see sets and characters that were used for the stop motion feature film. It is the third collaboration between Winona Ryder and Tim Burton. As their last work together was Edward Scissorhands, it marks a gap of 21 years.
KNOW YOUR STUFF Genre: Family/Fantasy Director: Tim Burton Starring: Winona Ryder, Catherine O’Hara, Martin Short, Charlie Tahan Movie Recommendations: The Nightmare Before Christmas Corpse Bride Wallace and Gromit: Curse of the Were Rabbit
RUBY SPARKS N
KNOW YOUR STUFF dy/Drama Genre: Romantic Come Director: Jonathon Dayton and Valerie Faris nno, Zoe Kazan, A Starring: Paul Da liot Gould nette Benning, El
Recommendations: Little Miss Sunshine Lost In Translation Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind
ow is a better time than any to pitch quirky, independent movies to Hollywood after the resounding mainstream success of Little Miss Sunshine. Fox Searchlight, the smaller, indie-orientated wing of 20th Century Fox, are constantly on the lookout for original, inventive films to act as an antidote to caped crusaders and action stars. With romantic comedy Ruby Sparks, Little Miss Sunshine directors Jonathon Dayton and Valerie Faris are hoping to repeat their previous success by presenting a more fantastical slant on the usual rom-com formula with their long awaited second film. As you can expect from these purveyors of heart warming, alternate takes on genre pictures, Ruby Sparks is not just another straightforward boy-meets-girl story. Calvin, played by Paul Dano, is a young novelist who achieved phenomenal success early in his career but is now struggling with his writing - as well as his romantic life. Finally, he makes a breakthrough and creates a character named Ruby, who inspires him. When Calvin finds Ruby, played by Zoe Kazan, in the flesh, sitting on his couch about a week later he is completely flabbergasted that his words have turned into a living, breathing person. Cinemagoers will know Dano best for his fiery performance as fanatical preacher Eli Sunday in Paul Thomas Anderson’s oil epic There Will Be Blood and last year’s sci-fi action flick Cowboys & Aliens, although often at his best when eschewing mainstream Hollywood fare by appearing in smaller productions. Kazan who, in addition to starring as the titular Ruby also wrote the screenplay, keeps the indie credentials in check as an actress wellknown for her work on independent films.
October 2012 FANTASTIC FACTS Directors Jonathon Dayton and Valerie Faris got their break directing music videos for bands including Smashing Pumpkins, Oasis and The Ramones Zoe Kazan is granddaughter of noted director Elia Kazan who directed the classics A Streetcar Named Desire and Cat on a Hot Tin Roof This is the second feature that Zoe Kazan has written for her and Paul Dano. The first was romance He Loves Me.
Onscreen chemistry between the two leads is only intensified by Dano and Kazan’s real life romantic relationship, which brings an authenticity to Ruby Spark’s romance. Joining the cast are veteran actors Elliot Gould as Calvin’s psychiatrist and Annette Benning who plays Calvin’s latter-day hippy mother Gertrude. Latin heartthrob Antionio Banderas supports as Gertrude’s artist boyfriend. Rounding off the cast are Alia Shawkat, star of quirky sitcom Arrested Development and British comedy institution and Alan Partridge creator Steve Coogan. After Little Miss Sunshine garnered much praise, netting four Oscar nominations including Best Picture and Best Screenplay, Fox Searchlight will be optimistic about Dayton and Faris’ ability to create charming films that appeal to a wide audience while retaining the spirit of indie filmmaking. Dan and Sarah will be enthralled, enchanted and swept along by this unique take on the standard romantic comedy. An alternative choice for a date movie than the latest Hollywood cliche chick-flick or superhero film.
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A KNOW YO
Genre: Fanta sy Director: Sam Fell, Chris Butl er Starring: Kod i Smitt-Mcph ee, Leslie Mann, Anna Kendrick Movie Recom mendations: Wallace and Gromit: Curs e of the Were Rabbit Flushed Awa y
tiny town in New England which goes by the name of Blithe Hollow falls prey to an attack of the undead. Whilst the grown-ups dither in a rather aptly blithe fashion, it becomes apparent that only one person can save this town from the paranormals that have besieged it. Meet Norman Babcock, a strange little boy with an uncanny ability to converse with the dead. The film sees his abilities pushed to the limit as he takes on witches, zombies and a ghostly grandmother whilst simultaneously looking after the adults involved, too. State of the art animation from the makers of Coraline means that for all its ghouls and gore, the otherworldly feeling of this film, with its Tim Burton-esque wide eyed characters and quirky stop motion style, is a pleasure to watch unfold in front of you. Added to this is a great film score composed by Jon Brion, which really brings the film together. Brion’s previous compositions have been used in Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, Punch Drunk and Magnolia. Kodi Smit-McPhee, who voices Norman, is a relatively unknown actor, previously featuring in the likes of Dead Europe and Let Me In. Norman’s Mother is played by Leslie Mann (Knocked Up, I Love You Philip Morris); an esteemed professional in comedy who is sure to bring some humour to this tale of the undead. Anna Kendrick (Twilight, Scott Pilgrim vs The World) plays Norman’s sister-come-cheerleader. With this budding and talented cast behind it, ParaNorman is sure to bring a smile to the most
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September 2012 cynical of grown-ups. The painstakingly perfect animation comes with thanks from the artistic talent of Chris Butler; designer turned director for this title, which showcases his first time in the director’s chair rather than the art department. With successful titles such as Corpse Bride, Tarzan 2 and the aforementioned Coraline under his belt, viewers can be assured that despite his inexperience as a director, his creative vision plus a cast of talented actors and actresses will ensure that this film is a great watch for all the family. However, if you’re still dubious, the film is co-directed by Sam Fell, who was nominated for a BAFTA for his directorial work on 2007’s Flushed Away. Animated films are still proving to be a joy to watch regardless of your age group, and ParaNorman is set to be a must watch for both animation fans and zombie fanatics alike. JJ will definitely be queuing up for this feature, and the Palmer family too for a Sunday afternoon out.
FANTASTIC FACTS Score composer Jon Brion co-produced Kanye West’s sophomore album ‘Late Registration’ Voice of Norman, Kodi Smit-McPhee is the son of Andi Smit-McPhee, former professional wrestler turned actor.
AnnaKarenina September 2012 such upper class social dishonour yourself in be to sky n a crime. eclared by Dostoev circles was worse tha e d an ,” art s the rich and grandios of rk mi “a flawless wo Anna Karenina xe th wi a ssi l ve Ru st no century marked as “the greate ting of affluent 19th s 2007, set in e intertwined love storie Tim s, by wn n” go ll itte ba wr s rou ever mo gla the in on ssi act to follow with his and dramas with an abundance of pa Joe Wright has a tough l. ve no c ssi cla ty. ’s face of adversi adaptation of Tolstoy ht Beryl and Jane h society Russia, This movie will delig Set in 19th Century hig n ma drawn into this wo ed rri tale of ma her friends as they are all d an some the story follows the indulge themselves in d by Keira Knightley bourgeois world and have Anna Karenina, playe can rah Sa the d s an ise, Dan an) and illustrate true romance. Likew is at (Pirates of the Caribbe wh ing s see ter er en aft ad her life as she faith that love’s not de classic peaks and pitfalls of affluent and adaptation of a truly the ing th nn wi stu air a aff be g to gin set as on a life chan em cin t UK un debuts in ll complicated Co novel. Anna Karenina highly regarded yet sti the 7th of September. Vronsky. ion of the book tat ap ad t firs the t no This is se’s 1997 attempt, however. Bernard Ro au as Anna and Sean rce starring Sophie Ma s met with mixed Bean as Vronsky, wa s when the actors’ reviews from the critic aracters’ emotional ch ability to pull off the o question. This should turmoil was called int re willing audience only leave an even mo FANTASTIC FACTS Wright’s vision of th ready to try again wi chaos the d an air aff ate on Robert Pattinson was considered to play Karenina’s passi Count Vronsky that ensues. ing solid cast includ The film boasts a very n) tai un Mo Holmes, Cold Anna Karenina was originally published Jude Law (Sherlock exei Karenin, Aaron Al nd sba as a serial in the Russian Messenger, from as Anna’s hu . y) as lover Vronsky 1873 to 1877. however, due to a political Johnson (Nowhere Bo y’s Knightle This also marks Keira fall out involving Tolstoy the first complete t igh Wr or ect th dir edition was published in book form third collaboration wi rring in two sta er aft e, rol e titl in the & busters Pride The director of photography could not of his previous block nt. This is a clearly me ne Ato d an continue to work after completing proPrejudice d twinned with charismatic pairing an duction due to illness. He was replaced by in d t is well verse the fact that Joe Wrigh Seamus McGarvey, who is the director’s w ne s thi s s mean the art of period drama regular collaborator. hit at the box a be ll wi on ati ret interp offices. al soundtrack The floating orchestr rianelli perfectly written by Dario Ma y, glamorous feel compliments the dream age where a clean to the film. Set in an honour and to family name was your
KNOW YOUR STUFF Genre: Drama/Romance Director: Joe Wright Starring: Keira Knightley, Jude Law, Aaron Johnson Movie Recommendations: Pride and Prejudice, Attonement, Doctor Zhivago
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breaking dawn part 2
he Twilight Saga has been one of the biggest runaway pop culture sensations and most successful Hollywood adaptations of all time. The silver screen versions of Stephenie Meyer’s best-selling novels have grossed over £1.5 billion worldwide, rivalling other huge franchises like Harry Potter and Star Wars. Now the supernatural love story comes to a close with Breaking Dawn Part 2. In this second instalment the Cullens must protect their newborn child from evil Vampire clan the Volturi with the help of other Vampires they enlist to aid them. Before the franchise took off its stars were practically unknown but the success of the films has catapulted its actors into superstardom. The primary cast members, Kristen Stewart, Robert Pattinson and Taylor Lautner, are all returning to reprise their now iconic roles as star-crossed lovers Bella and Edward and werewolf Jacob Black. Also returning to reprise their roles are the majority of the cast of Part 1, including Michael Sheen as the villainous Aro, leader of the Volturi. Filmed back to back with Part 1, the shoot stretched from November 2010 to April 2011, filming in a range of worldwide locations. Filming locations included Rio de Janiero, Brazil and Vancouver in Canada, providing exotic locales in which to conclude the story. Director
Bill Condon was a Twilight newcomer before directing Breaking Dawn Part 1 but nevertheless boasts an impressive resume. His greatest successes have come as a writer, winning an Oscar in 1998 for Best Original Screenplay for Gods and Monsters. He also penned and directed biopic Dreamgirls which earned star Jennifer Lawrence an Oscar for Best Supporting Actress. Such an impressive CV means that Twilight is in safe hands for the conclusion of the franchise. Breaking Dawn Part 2 is guaranteed to be a success as Twi-hards are some of the most devoted fans in cinema history. Lionsgate is confident that the film will perform well and after Part 1 took in over $500 million in just 12 days, they may well end up being very happy with Part 2’s box office takings. An alternative take on the quintessential tale of forbidden love, Jane and friends will be swept up in the romance of the Twilight saga once again. JJ and Billy’s female friends will definitely enjoy the more supernatural elements which underpin the traditional parts of the series which should prove perfect for date night.
November 2012 KNOW YOUR STUFF Genre: Fantasy/Romance Director: Bill Condon Starring: Kristen Stewart, Robert Pattinson, Taylor Lautner Movie Recommendations: Snow White and the Huntsman Twilight: Eclipse Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2
FANTASTIC FACTS Had a $75 million dollar budget making it the highest out of every Twilight instalment filmed. During the filming of both Breaking Dawn Part 1 and 2, child cast member Mackenzie Foy had a “swear jar” and would make the cast hand over their money if they cursed in front of her. Both an animatronic baby and 3-week-old babies were used in the film. Kristen Stewart preferred working with the real babies because she felt they helped her give a better performance.
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LOOPER September 2012
FANTASTIC FACTS Joseph Gordon-Levitt’s eyes had to be digitally altered to be the same colour as Willis’ eyes as they both effectively play the same character. This film is the third collaboration between director Rian Johnson and lead actorJoseph Gordon-Levitt after he firstly took the lead role in Brick, and secondly played a quick cameo role in The Brothers Bloom as a bar patron with guitar
KNOW YOUR STUFF Genre: Action/Sci-fi Director: Rian Johnon Starring: Bruce Willis, Joseph Gordon Levitt, Emily Blunt Film Recommendations: Inception Surrogates Limitless
irector Rhion Johnson is undoubtedly a talented man. He received 14 different nominations and no less than ten awards for his first film Brick, a mystery thriller in which the main character is investigating the disappearance of his ex-girlfriend and thus finds himself embroiled in the shady world of a high school crime ring. Now Johnson is back with action packed sci-fi thriller Looper. Looper is of the same dark, heavy and mysterious ilk as Brick and introduces to us a certain type of specialised assassins branded ‘loopers’, who eliminate bad guys... in the future. Time travel has been invented yet is being kept under wraps, only available illegally on the black market. Joe, played by Joseph Gordon-Levitt (500 Days of Summer, Inception) works for the mafia in the year 2042 as one of these assassins. He is a special agent used to kill those who are known as ‘Gat Men’; criminals who are sent by their own corporate headquarters in Shanghai from the year 2042 when they are ready to be eliminated.
Being a looper is lucrative, but only if all the targets you are assigned to are disposed of, even if that target happens to be yourself. One target arrives and is taken hostage. This man happens to be Joe’s older self, played by Bruce Willis, and hesitant to follow through, he gives him an opportunity to escape. This causes the Gat Men to come after him in an attempt to close the loop, leaving him no choice but to fight for his life whilst completing the tricky task of destroying himself. The film itself is set in the future but pays homage to the gangsters of the 1930s and 40s with a few futuristic twists. The sci-fi nature of the film means that crazy technology is featured heavily and pimped-out versions of present day machines such as solar panel powered cars and sci-fi hub caps are an exciting focal point of the film. There are also a number of futuristic vehicles designed especially for the film. If this talented cast, which also features the feisty and beautiful Emily Blunt (The Adjustment Bureau, The Five Year Engagement), live up to their impressive reputation, ten this mixture of high action, incredible technology and a generous supply of guns and blood will most definitely have Billy, Dan and all of their mates counting down the days until this film’s release.
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Enjoy the puzzles and enter our competition below to win a years supply of a Cadbury’s chocolate of your choice! Well done to AMY MITCHELL from Empire Bishops Stortford who was last issues winner.
Competition FILM QUOTES Which three different films do these quotes below come from? 1. ‘I’ll be back’ 2. ‘Make me a bird, so I can fly far, far away from here’ 3. ‘I’ll never let go’
Email puzzle answer, with your name, cinema and the heading “Competition Corner” to firstname.lastname@example.org Answers for SUMMER 2012 Edition: Who Am I? Forehead: Dame Judi Dench Eyes and Nose: Tom Hardy Mouth: Arnold Schwarzenegger 26 |PULSE PULSEMAGAZINE MAGAZINE||AUTUMN SPRING 2012 34| 28| 16| SUMMER 2012
PULSE COMPETITION CORNER
SPOT THE DIFFERENCE Can you spot the seven differences?
SPRING 2012 AUTUMN SUMMER 2012 || PULSE PULSE MAGAZINE MAGAZINE || 27 29 35
IN N O I T C A
This year’s Big E In Action gives you 2 options to show what your Cinema has achieved with improving the Customer Experience in 2012.
You can either produce a 90 second information film
500 maximum word pamphlet with photos
Your brief is to show the audience/reader who Empire Cinemas is and why. The film/pamphlet should include participation from team members, projection and managers from your Cinema and “in a nutshell” give customers, suppliers and new staff an understanding of what makes your Cinema special and Empire Cinemas stand out from the crowd. Entries must be received by the 1st December 2012 Details on how to do this will be sent nearer the time.
The winner(s) will receive £500 and be announced on Wednesday 19th December.