I used to work at a movie theatre…

August 20, 2012

I used to work at a movie theatre. On a good day I tore tickets and admitted my friends for free. On the lesser days I cleaned the theatres. I didn’t work there long enough to ever see a projection booth, but I did see Batman Returns about a dozen times, and heard Kiss From A Rose about 100, which, in an era before internet, was an awesome way to hear a song for free.


Like all the short-lived jobs on my resume, this one too gave me time to be quiet, work alone and mull over life’s greatest mysteries.


A great puzzle from those days is one I still ponder; that which I call the cinema effect:


It’s when an audience brings in refreshments to a show and then somehow during the course of the feature abandons the snacks as well as all consideration for the environment. Thus, the job of the theatre sweeper-upper remains in demand.


Since working there I have become immune to the cinema effect and always exit a movie with my popcorn bucket, filling it with other discarded cups, buckets and napkins along the way.


These days my friends and I are the ones putting on a show; and a brilliant one I might add, with live music and cinematic landscapes. And just like the movies, we too offer snacks. Here’s a snapshot of our epic concert coming to a city near you.



If you’re planning on joining us this summer, beware of the cinema effect and lets inspire others to leave the environment better than we found it. We’re doing our part backstage and on the road, and we invite you to do your part in the theaters and in the parking lots. We’ve even set out a surplus of recycling bins for you to use to make it easy.  Thanks for being an awesome steward of the Earth. You’re going to make a sweeper-upper’s night, and mine.

The after show shot that inspired this blog post:


  • *sigh* I was at that show…

    I call it movie theater mentality. People leave their shit because they know/think/believe someone will clean up after them. …and unfortunately, those same people that leave their trash like that… do so everywhere. No one likes a dirty beach/park/concert venue/movie theater….

    …if all the world is a playground, then I shall treat all the world as my backyard.


    How to change this? Cleaning it up isn’t the answer… we need to begin to fix the problem before it starts. Preventive measures, if you will. Here’s a thought. I was at your concert volunteering with Reverb. Throughout the night, we talked to SO many different people and had so many opportunities to raise awareness on so many different topics. Since, Reverb is there with volunteers to educate concert goers about greening efforts of the tour… why not utilize those volunteers to really encourage people to not leave their trash… help keep the venue clean (it sounds silly to say, but people need this) and in turn the efforts to educate concert goers about this topic would ripple into other areas of their lives and no doubt help clean up our world. <– I would have rocked that job!

    I just filled out my Reverb volunteer survey yesterday and I wish I would have thought to write all of this. (so, please snag Chris and tell him this is important!… thanks!)

    ~ D

  • Avatar of Jean-Canale
    Jean-Canale said ...

    It has always puzzled me that people leave trash behind…or throw it out of car windows. I always ask…”who do they think is going to pick that up?” Such disregard for fellow humans AND the Earth. Thanks for raising awareness.

    I hope Merriweather Post Pavilion will look better than than tomorrow night…perhaps you can give a reminder!

    Looking forward to another great concert! ♥

  • Avatar of normason
    normason said ...

    Instragram: Where’s the LOVE?!!!

    Life-size trunk. Nice place to get away from it all. No one would ever think of looking for you there?!!!

  • Avatar of saramraz
    saramraz said ...

    I think that what you are doing to help promote the care for the environment is great and a lesson for many to learn from. I hope to meet you in Cleveland on Sept 5th so I can finally say I have met you. I work for a hospital and we have to always spell our last name to confirm results and when I give them mine, the response is are you related to Jason. I tell them that unfortunately no not that I know of….maybe back in the motherland! :) Hopefully Cleveland will be respectful and keep it clean!

  • Avatar of macrow
    macrow said ...

    I could not help but notice after the show in Orange Beach last week the rediculous amount of trash on the floor. The least each of us can do is pick up after ourselves. Great show Jason! You guys were awesome! You kept me on my feet singing and dancing the entire night!

  • Avatar of gamachan
    gamachan said ...

    I’m sorry, I can’t reach you. You should be sorry too..

  • Avatar of CarmenS
    CarmenS said ...

    “Act as if what you do makes a difference. It does.”
    ~ William James

    A little something to count on.

    Much love,

  • Avatar of MarLuna
    MarLuna said ...

    I try to restore beauty whenever possible: at restaurants (piles ready for busboy)at the grocery store (I walk distances for cart returns 99% of the time-Mama taught). I bring my own bags and help bag my items while chatting with checker (my Dad was a good looking flirt-it’s his fault). From my Dad who was truck driver: I always let them in with a strobelight effect flash and a emergency blink for a thank you; when kindness is returned. I always let drivers backout while I wait to cross their path (mom & Dad taught)wish more people would especially with kids in tow. I want the inhabitants of the world to live a beautiful, happy organized safe life. I have more work to contribute, but those are my pebbles to the pile of earth we all share.

  • Avatar of GoodGoodMusic
    GoodGoodMusic said ...

    Jason that is beautiful!

  • Avatar of mrazfan1031
    mrazfan1031 said ...

    I agree with you. Leave the earth a little better than you found it. That is an awesome picture of you and your stage! Can’t wait to see your show. I promise to not leave my trash. : )

  • Avatar of ames
    ames said ...

    yep..pretty disgusted by what was left behind…embarrassed that there was so little respect shown. But, hopefully this will jar a few more people into action. One more person can make a difference.

    Jason, thank you So much for such an amazing experience Sunday evening. When you came out to introduce Christina Perri, it just spoke volumes about who you are. No other headline performer I had ever seen did that. After the show, you signed a picture my daughter drew for you and gave her a hug…as my husband said, you are a kind soul. Thank you for giving so much of yourself out of concern and care for others. Have an amazing rest of your tour!

  • Avatar of margongue
    margongue said ...

    I couldn’t agree more. Thank you for being in that way, Jason :-)

  • Avatar of NormaBackwards

    I know where that picture was taken and I must say Im not too happy with my fellow concert goings from that night… I had by far one of the best nights of my life Sunday night and I am very sorry to see how everyone left the place!
    Jason it was wonderful to meet you and dad. There are a lot of things I would have loved to say to you, but maybe that is meant for another time or another life. Thank you for spreading your love through our lives and giving my daughter and I a reason to dance every day! You are WONDERFUL!

  • Avatar of Rose
    Rose said ...

    Oh no you didn’t…. seriously…I don’t want that song stuck in my head right now!! Quick give me a different one… I am thinking the song in the picture is 93 million miles so I will focus on that one. There is a part of me that automatically dislikes any song with “Rose” in it. The Rose, Kiss from a Rose, Every Rose has it’s thorn, Cracklin Rosie….the list just keep coming. I am sure if you used the name Rose in one of your songs I could make an exception :)

    I pledge to help pick up trash at the Gorge on September 22. I will start at the front and make my way to the very top of the hill! It is such a beautiful venue and I am so excited to see you play there! It’s been a while for you…almost 8 years I think? When I saw you there you will a little geek in the pink wearing a trucker hat…I was holding a 9 week old…You were supporting Dave. What a great night…there is no wonder my 8 year old sings himself to sleep everynight and wakes himself up every morning!

    Thanks for making a difference!
    Tell Tricia I will take your compost! My Chickens and my compost pile will love it…they love special treats!


  • Avatar of SimplyEmilyy
    SimplyEmilyy said ...

    I was at this show:( When we met you told me my undercut was sexy. Shoulda asked me to stay and help clean up!

  • Avatar of stephtrom04
    stephtrom04 said ...

    This is exactly what I commented about to my concert buddy the 19th when exiting the concert. I stated Jason is putting all this effort and time to get his message of supporting a cleaner and healthier Mother Earth and here people are spitting on the idea and belief by leaving their recyclables and trash. I grew up in the area where arbor day was founded and it was always a large part of the community. Now living away we compost, recycle, reuse and have a meek attempt of a garden. If one has the ideals and willpower it is little effort to maintain! It is extremely eery that he would mention that after I not so quietly stated that remark and my pack was full of my concert neighbors neglect.

  • Avatar of Telluselle
    Telluselle said ...

    I love your passionate commitment to walk your talk and inspire others to do the same without pretense. And I love that you always are able to surprise me with your creativity, yet making it completely understandable with good logic; a rare trait that extremely few can compete with because you somehow manage to always put your heart into it at the same time.

  • Avatar of amyneedscoffee

    Jason, I felt so honored & lucky to have been given the chance to meet you before the concert yesterday in Raleigh. Your music has been so inspirational to me (which I wanted to say but I just said “uuhh..I love your music”. Now I’m freakn embarrassed to see that picture with all that trash!! I have to say although I took care of my own trash , I passed by enough to think how much trash was left… but I didn’t think to pick it up. Please don’t let that picture affect your feelings towards the fans there last night! You could give us a do-over & give us a second chance :) I nominate myself to be an official trash picker-upper & remind others next time. Oh yeah…BTW AWESOME CONCERT!!

  • Avatar of Mandylu
    Mandylu said ...

    From the time I was a teenager, going to the movies was a privilege. It was also a place where people seemed to forget their manners too. I am proud to say that I have never left my garbage in the theater and have raised my daughter the same way. And as much as it is not litter, I have the same issue with shopping carts. Put them back or at least in the corral in the parking lot that is 5 feet from your car. I know so many people who say “they pay people to do that”! Just because a job exists, does not give a person the right to ignore common courteous behavior. I am more than proud to say, I will have my Cafe Gratitude water bottle in hand for the show and will not leave a speck of trash around my seat in Section 100 at the Hartford, CT show this Saturday and I hope my fellow Mraz fans do the same.