Watching movies, because we have to!

Don’t get me wrong, everyone in the RunPee family loves movies, but sometimes we really dread going to the theater because, you know, it’s a job.

One of the first things we learned about getting the best Peetimes for a movie was to make sure that we at least see movies within our favorite genres. For instance, in general I don’t like horror movies. And the ones I do like usually span across genres in some way. So if I’m forced to do Peetimes for a horror movie I have a hard time selecting the best Peetimes, because I don’t know what people like about horror movies in the first place. Thank goodness for my sister — Christene Johnson — who loves horror movies. Good or bad horror (mostly bad these days), we count on her to get the best Peetimes for horror films because she knows what fans of that genre like and don’t like.

Likewise, I see most of the science fiction and action movies, along with Jill. RunPee Mom sees most of the kids’ movies. I guess it’s a little ironic that the elder in the family sees the movies for kids, but she really loves them and has trained herself to see them like a child — even going so far to talk to families about a movie afterward — to get a feel for what sort of scenes stand out for kids,  so she can be sure to not use those scenes in a Peetime. Over the years she’s gotten pretty good at it. (Let’s forgive her for her Peetime in Frozen. How was she to know Let it Go was going to become such a hit?)

Now, when we watch a movie, it isn’t like we can relax and enjoy it. We literally sit there with pen and paper and take notes, jotting down the time and possible cue for a Peetime, and hoping we can go at least three minutes without running into a scene that’s important. If that happens, and it usually happens about twelve times a movie, we cross it out and start looking for another possible Peetime.

It varies from movie to movie, but it’s not uncommon to have 10-15 potential Peetimes in a two hour movie, of which we’ll cross out most of them, and hopefully, be left with 2-4 that are worthy of becoming Peetimes.  On some occasions we have multiple people seeing the same movie so we can debate with each other which Peetimes would be best and why. Then we further weed out the selected Peetimes by seeing how they are grouped. If there are two Peetimes in a 10 minute span, we usually select the one we think is best and discard the other.

Possibly the hardest part of the job is reviewing our notes and writing the synopsis for each Peetime. We have to make judgement calls on just how much detail we put into each synopsis, because we realize that someone using the app only has around 20 seconds or so to read what happened while they were away. Plus, we have to be very clear with our pronouns and such. Too many he/shes and suddenly the reader is left wondering, “Wait, who? What?” That’s not good. We write our synopsis and proofread it, and then it gets edited by Jill (our Editor in Chief).

As subjective as all this sounds, you would think that we’d get lots of complaints about this scene or that one being in a Peetime when it shouldn’t have been. I certainly expected that sort of criticism would be commonplace, but it isn’t. I can honestly count on one hand how many critical comments we get each year about a chosen Peetime. And it’s not because people don’t want to take the time to email us. We get plenty of user emails and corrections for the slightest detail mistake — which we’re always thankful for. So it seems we’re doing something right. 🙂

As hard as this job is to keep up with every week, every year, we love it because we get so much positive feedback and thanks from the fans who use the app.

Creator of RunPee. Aspiring author.

2 Replies to “Watching movies, because we have to!”

  1. I can see your job as almost ruining the excitement of going to movies. I would bet that you would have to watch movies at least 2 times just to really relax and enjoy it. The need for your line of work is completely understood and very much appreciated. At some point I hope that you are all able to sit down and watch a movie together without subjecting it to RunPee terms.
    Thank you again for all that you do for the movie goer community.

    1. Hi Deanna, Thank you so much for the thoughtful comment. Yes, for movies that we really, really, want to enjoy we often see them twice; The first time we go to the opening show to get Peetimes asap, and then we go the following week to just sit and enjoy the story.

      It isn’t just that taking notes to find Peetimes is distracting, but there’s also the anxiety of finding the best Peetimes possible for a blockbuster movie. I mean, all movies are important, but some are more important than others. 🙂

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *