This year’s especially harsh winter has forced many of us around the country to spend extended periods of time cocooned inside our homes, drawing on our creativity to keep our kids busy and our own winter blues at bay. For some, nothing beats cozying up with a good book in front of a roaring fire, but modern times also enable modern entertainment options like the AV systems and private theaters designed by our industry.
I will personally attest to the solace that my family has found this winter in watching escapist fare on our own big-screen during many of those depressingly gray days and bitter-cold nights of January. In showcasing Oscar nominees from Toy Story 3 (we own it; we’ve watched it a lot) to Aaron Sorkin’s dialog-driven Social Network and Christopher Nolan’s convoluted and cerebral Inception, our home theater is, in a lot of ways, better than the local multiplex.
Nothing beats a big blockbuster on the big screen opening weekend, but chatty crowds, sticky floors, and the sound of munching popcorn sometimes can make a “public theater” experience more irritating than enjoyable. This winter, my wife and I have seen six other Best Picture candidates on the multiplex screen. We’ve loved getting out of the house to see our favorites; The King’s Speech (even from the front row with a view of Colin’s Firth’s nostrils) and The Fighter, but generally preferred the theater experience at home to that of the multiplex.
My point is that for the well-heeled homeowners served by our industry, a welldesigned private home theater seems like a no brainer. Times might be tougher than they used to be for electronic systems contractors, but convincing an affluent client to include a home theater in his or her project shouldn’t be that difficult if framed in the right way.
In this month’s Theater Design column, Paradise Theater’s Sam Cavitt laments a “disturbing trend” among the ESCs with whom he works, who say, “people just aren’t doing private theaters like they used to.” He contrasts that defeatist perspective with another group of ESCs and sales designers that bring his design company “project after project and continue to raise the standard of excellence in our field.” So Cavitt took a closer look and found a number of differences between successful and struggling ESCs and realized that there is an approach that fosters a better perspective and method of communication with prospective clientele. One of the keys for successful sales people, he said, is conveying the passion that they have for home theater to their clients.
Every time I lose myself in a Best Picturequality story on the big screen without leaving the comfort of my own home, I can’t imagine life without my home theater. It’s also a great cure for the wintertime blues.