Frequently Asked Questions



Should you have any questions not covered by this FAQ, please don't hesitate to ask! Email upac-cinema@rpi.edu, or stop by any of our movies to talk to an officer!
  1. What is UPAC? What is UPAC Cinema?
  2. How do you pronounce UPAC?
  3. What is UPAC Cinema's relationship with other UPAC organizations?
  4. What is UPAC Cinema's relationship with other Union clubs?
  5. On what kind of media are your movies shown?
  6. What kind of equipment do you use?
  7. What is a 'film series'?
  8. How is UPAC Cinema funded?
  9. What is the operating budget of UPAC Cinema, and what does it cover?
  10. Are UPAC Cinema members paid?
  11. On what days and times are movies shown?
  12. How much does admission cost?
  13. What is a Sneak Preview?
  14. What are the jobs and benefits of UPAC Cinema members?
  15. How can I join UPAC Cinema?
  16. What is involved in being a projectionist?
  17. What's with the "Whoop"ing during trailers?
  18. Why don't you sell popcorn at concessions?
  19. What's that game you're playing?
  20. Why aren't you playing MahJong correctly?
  21. Did it really bleed for days?
  22. How can I get in touch with UPAC Cinema?
  23. What is UPAC Cinema's refund policy?

  1. What is UPAC? What is UPAC Cinema?

    UPAC is the Union Programs and Activities Committee. Technically, it is a standing committee of the RPI Student Union's Executive Board. Practically, UPAC is a collection of student-run clubs (officially sub-committees) with the common purpose of providing the campus community with a variety of entertainment events. Currently, the existing sub-committees are: UPAC Cinema, UPAC Comedy, UPAC Lights, UPAC Sound, Mother's Wine Emporiem, UPAC Concerts, and The Union Speakers Forum.

    UPAC Cinema is a subcommittee of the Union Programs and Activities Committee. It exists as a student-managed and student-operated second run 35mm movie theatre. UPAC Cinema's purpose is to provide the Rensselaer community with motion picture entertainment.

  2. How do you pronounce UPAC?

    "You-Pack"

  3. What is UPAC Cinema's relationship with other UPAC organizations?

    Historically, the seperate UPAC organizations have been run very independently. While there is some cooperation between the subcommittees (UPAC Lights and UPAC Sound often provide their services to the same event, for example), they are organized, staffed, and managed by wholly different groups of students. There is, of course, nothing preventing any particular student from joining more than one subcommittee.

    In recent years, an effort has been made to more closely allign the different subcommittees. A "Programming Board" (P-Board) has been formed, comprised of the chairpersons of each subcommittee. The P-Board's goals include scheduling a showcase each semester which involves all the UPAC organizations. Even with the existance of the P-Board, however, each organization's operations are still distinct.

  4. What is UPAC Cinema's relationship with other Union clubs?

    UPAC Cinema offers Union-recognized clubs the opportunity to sponsor a UPAC Cinema movie. This provides the club with both the ability to advertise or promote its events, as well as a fundraiser. Most clubs take the "50-50" option when sponsoring a movie. This means that UPAC Cinema will front the cost of the film, shipping, and projectionist, and the club will provide the manpower (other than a projectionist). If the movie makes a profit (after deducting the cost of the film, shipping, and projectionist), UPAC Cinema and the club split the profits 50/50. If the movie does not make a profit, the loss is taken soley by UPAC Cinema, and the club is not responsible.

    Daring clubs (and any non-Union-funded organizations) can take the "Full option" instead of 50-50. This means that the club or organization will front the full cost of the movie - film, shipping, projectionist, and manpower. Should the movie make any profit at all, that money goes directly do the club. If it does not, the club will be at a loss, and UPAC Cinema will not be responsible.

    Regardless of the option chosen, a sponsoring club is also permitted to sell their own concessions during the movie. Should a club elect to sell concessions, UPAC Cinema will agree not to sell its own concessions on that night. Any profits made from the sale of concessions will then belong to the club.

  5. On what kind of media are your movies shown?

    UPAC Cinema shows movies on 35mm film, the standard in the motion picture industry. On rare occasions (special events located outside the theatre, or very old or hard to locate films), we will use 16mm films and projectors. We do not simply project DVDs or VHS tapes.

  6. What kind of equipment do you use?

    Our projectors are two standard 35mm projector assemblies (affectionately nicknamed "Goblin" and "One-Eye"). Our sound system is a Dolby CP65 Cinema Processor. Every year, UPAC Cinema requests a sum of money to be put into an account which will eventually be used to upgrade the sound system. Any year now. . .

  7. What is a 'film series'?

    A film series is a category of movies that UPAC Cinema shows. Each series is managed and operated slightly differently. There are currently four film series in operation. The POP Films are the series of movies shown every Friday night. These are the most recent, most popular 2nd run films we can get a hold of. Club Films are movies shown every third Saturday. These are films that are sponsored by other Union clubs and organizations, both as a fundraiser and as a means of advertising for the sponsoring club. Clubs are allowed to choose any movies they want for this series - provided, however, that UPAC Cinema has not chosen it for a POP Films movie. MidWeek and Repertory Films are the two series which used to alternate every Wednesday. They now fall into a once-per-three-week Saturday rotation with Club Films. MidWeek Films are a combination of both movies that could be POP Films if we had more room in the schedule, as well as "New Classics" - movies that might have been POP Films a few years earlier. Repertory Films are movies that tend to appeal to a slightly smaller crowd. These include Cult Classics, Art films, and Foreign films.

    A different elected UPAC Cinema officer is in charge of each film series. The Friday Night Coordinator (FNC) is responsible for POP Films. The Saturday Night Coordinator (SNC) is responsible for the Club Films. The Midweek Coordinator (Mid) and Reperatory Coordinator (Rep) are in charge of the Midweek and Repertory series, respectively.

  8. How is UPAC Cinema funded?

    UPAC Cinema is subsidized by the RPI Student Union. Each year, UPAC Cinema (along with all other student clubs) submits a proposed budget to the Executive Board, detailing our expected costs and income. The Executive Board then decides how much money to give to UPAC Cinema for the coming year. In addition to the financial contribution of the Union, UPAC Cinema uses its income from the ticket sales and the selling of concessions to help pay its operating costs.

  9. What is the operating budget of UPAC Cinema, and what does it cover?

    Each Spring, UPAC Cinema submits a requested budget to the Union's Executive Board. The following year's actual budget is decided by the E-Board after a series of reviews, decisions, and appeals. For the 2004-2005 academic year, UPAC Cinema's budget is aproximately $62,000. Among the line items this amount covers are: Rental of about 52 Friday and Saturday films; Rental of 3 or 4 Wednesday films (back for 2004-2005 on a trial basis); shipping fees for all films; trailers and posters for as many of our movies as we can purchase; publicity materials such as the weekly posters hung on Campus Notice boards and semesterly schedules printed four times each year; and projectionists' payroll.

    All activity-fee paying students are entitled to view the budgets of any Union club. To see UPAC Cinema's (or any other club's) budget, go to the Admin office of the RPI Union, and ask to speak with Martha McElligott.

  10. Are UPAC Cinema members paid?

    Qualified Projectionists are the only paid position in UPAC Cinema. These are the students who spend between one and three semesters training to learn how to operate the projection equipment to show UPAC Cinema films. They are paid an hourly rate for the time they spend projecting each film. Each film is projected by one projectionist. The number of QPs in UPAC Cinema varies greatly, from as few as 2 to as many as 15.

    All other members of UPAC Cinema are volunteers. They help to operate UPAC Cinema's events for fun and for a small set of member benefits (see below). They do not receive any financial compensation from UPAC Cinema or from the Union.

  11. On what days and times are movies shown?

    Movies are shown every Friday and Saturday evening throughout the academic year. (No movies are shown during school vacation weeks). Standard showtimes are 7pm, 9:30pm, and 12am. These times are occasionally altered for longer films.

    Throughout the academic year, UPAC Cinema tries to hold a few special events movies on non-standard days and times. These include Weekend Matinees of films that appeal to families with children, a special GMWeek presentation of The Rocky Horror Picture Show, Sneak Previews, and film shorts during the semi-annual UPAC Showcase.

    UPAC Cinema's current schedule, including day and times, can always be found at http://cinema.union.rpi.edu. We also advertise our showtimes via weekly posters hung around campus, one-sheet posters in the DCC and Union, ads in the Polytechnic, and on the RPInfo Campus Events calendar. (Note that the Poly and Events calendar have been known to get the times wrong - always check our website to verify).

    Prior to the 2002-2003 academic year, UPAC Cinema also showed movies on Wednesday nights at 7pm and 10pm. These days were eliminated due to a decreased budget. Starting in 2004-2005, UPAC Cinema is bringing back our Wednesday films on a trial basis. Check our website for our full schedule.

  12. How much does admission cost?

    A single ticket for one showing of a UPAC Cinema film is $2.50. Cash only is accepted for single tickets. UPAC Cinema also sells "Bulk Passes". These cost $25 and are good for 13 shows. Bulk Passes do not expire. They can be paid for either with cash, or by charging the cost to your student bursar account. (Once purchased, Bulk Passes are non-refundable in whole nor in part and cannot be replaced if lost or stolen).

  13. What is a Sneak Preview?

    Occasionally, a movie studio wants to get the public talking about an upcoming film. One way they do this is by releasing the film to a limited number of locations, aproximately one week before its national release. UPAC Cinema usually manages to acquire one or two of these sneak previews each year. Because the film studio gives us these "sneaks" to increase their own advertising, there is no cost for admission. A sneak preview is shown only once, generally on a Tuesday or Thursday evening. The film studio requires UPAC Cinema to hand out passes for the week prior to the film. They can generally be obtained in the Union's Admin office. It is very important to note that a pass does not guarantee admission to the film. To ensure that we have a full house, we are required to give out many more passes than the theatre can accomodate. For this reason, the passes have the phrase "First Come First Served" printed on them. When you show up to the theatre, you can exchange your pass for an admission ticket. An admission ticket does guarantee admission to the film. For popular sneak previews, it is recommended that you arrive, with a pass, well in advance of the show. (Some customers have been known to arrive 3 hours early... or more).

  14. What are the jobs and benefits of UPAC Cinema members?

    There are four main jobs available to all general members of UPAC Cinema: Selling Tickets, Ripping Tickets, Selling Concessions, and Security. These jobs are open to all members who come to any show. The film's coordinator will usually decide which members will work each position for each showing.

    In addition to these positions, a member can elect to become a Projectionist-In-Training (PIT). PITs work with Qualified Projectionists, learning how to operate the projection equipement. The training process generally lasts between one and three semesters. When the QPs believe a PIT is ready, the PIT is tested. If the PIT passes, the PIT becomes a QP. All QPs are paid to project the UPAC Cinema movies.

    Members who desire a deeper involvement in UPAC Cinema can run for an officer position. Officers are elected at the end of the Fall semester. Officers have additional duties and responsibilities beyond those of the general members.

    All members who fullfill an 8 show/semester requirement are entitled to member benefits. These benefits include: 25¢ off concessions while working, free food (generally pizza or Chinese) on nights they work, one free ticket to each non-Club-sponsored movie for that member's own use, admission to each movie's preview conducted by the QP a day or two before the show, and entry into the semesterly poster lottery.

  15. How can I join UPAC Cinema?

    Joining is very easy. UPAC Cinema will have a table at the annual Activities Fair in the first week of the fall semester. There, you can sign up for Cinema's mailing list, and you will be notified of the date and time of our first meeting. If you cannot make the Activities Fair, or you want to join after the fair, simply come to any of our movies in DCC 308. Ask to speak to an officer, and express your interest in joining.

    There are no membership dues or fees of any kind for being a member of UPAC Cinema. You can work as little or as often as you wish (though to receive benefits, you must fulfil an eight-show requirement - see above).

  16. What is involved in being a projectionist?

    The process towards becoming a Qualified Projectionist starts with talking to a current QP. They can explain to you everything involved in the job of projecting UPAC Cinema movies. Some of the duties include: Assembling ("building") the films from several small reels onto two large reels; projecting a test-run (preview) of each of your movies (usually one or two days before the movie is shown); recording statistics such as movie length, film quality, changeover locations, etc; projecting all three showings of the film on its night; disassembling ("breaking down") the film back into its small reels; and of course, training new Projectionists in Training on their way to becoming QPs.

    Due to the more involved duties of being a projectionist, QPs are the only paid position in UPAC Cinema. Talk to a current QP for more information.

  17. What's with the "Whoop"ing during trailers?

    This is a long standing tradition in UPAC Cinema. Some reports from former students have the tradition going back as much as 20 years. After the policies, if we have any trailers for upcoming movies, we show them before the feature presentation. The very short 'tags' that precede the trailers have a disturbingly catchy jingle. At one predefined moment during this tag, a voice on the soundtrack shouts "WHOOP-WHOOP-WHOOP". Shortly after these tags came into use, UPAC Cinema's customers started chanting along with these Whoops. Thus, a tradition was born. Somewhere along the way, a side tradition was developed of replying to the Whoop'ing customers with a hearty bellow of "Shut up, Geek!". In more recent years, this side tradition somehow morphed into the rather nastier reply that exists today. (UPAC Cinema, of course, neither condones nor in any way prohibits such phraseology, though our customers would do well to take into account the demographic make-up of the audience before engaging in this tradition - especially during any "kid" films, or perhaps during Family weekend...).

    Should you ever come to a less popular show, you may be able to hear that the Whoop's are in fact still part of the sound track of the trailer tag.

  18. Why don't you sell popcorn at concessions?

    Very simple. UPAC Cinema members have to clean up after our customers after each show. To clean up Popcorn, we'd have to take a broom to every level of the entire DCC 308, rather than just walk up and down the stairs picking up candy wrappers and cans and bottles.

  19. What's that game you're playing?

    We play a variety of games in the hours between needing to sell tickets and restock the concessions. At any given moment, you may see us playing MahJong, Uno (Mortal Kombat style), The Great Dalmuti, Durak, Apples to Apples, Trivial Pursuit, Scopa, Risk, Pictionary, or any other game we might be trying. If you're not familiar with whatever game we're playing when you walk by, feel free to stop and ask us about it.

  20. Why aren't you playing MahJong correctly?

    We are. There's two possible explanations for your confusion. The most likely is that the game you're familar with that you were told is 'MahJong' isn't. The game that uses MahJong tiles all laid out face up about 3 or 4 high in which the object is to clear the table by matching tiles is actually called 'Tai Pei'. While most variations of Tai Pei use MahJong tiles, the similarity ends there. MahJong has far more in common with the card game of Rummy than it does with Tai Pei.

    If you are familar with the actual game of MahJong, then it's quite likely you are used to a different rule set than we use. MahJong is played in many countries throughout the world, and has many different sets of rules for both playing and scoring. (The MahJong game produced by Four Winds comes with over twenty different rulesets). The rules that UPAC Cinema uses are based upon the Hong Kong rules. For a brief overview, see the game 'Hong Kong Mahjong' produced by Nine Dragons. We do also occasionally add in our own rule variants as well.

  21. Did it really bleed for days?

    It did not bleed for days!!!    (If you want to understand this one, you'll have to stop by and ask us about it.)

  22. How can I get in touch with UPAC Cinema?

    The best way, of course, is to stop by any of our movies on a Friday or Saturday night in the DCC and talk to us. You can also email us at upac-cinema@rpi.edu. Our officers can sometimes be found in the UPAC office in the Northwest corner of the third floor of the Union (phone number 518-276-8585). During movie nights, you can also try calling the projection booth at 518-276-6877.

  23. What is UPAC Cinema's refund policy?

    UPAC Cinema does not give cash refunds for any of our shows. Should circumstances force the cancellation of one of our shows, customers will be entitled to receive one free ticket to any future UPAC Cinema movie (including a later showing of the cancelled film, if applicable) upon exchange of their ticket stubs at the table outside the theater.

    Any customer asked to leave the theatre by UPAC Cinema, Public Saftey, or Troy Police as a result of disruptive behavior will not be entitled to any refund nor exchange.