Ben Snakepit Interview
Took a minute to have a chat with former Manager of I Love Video about the video rental industry. One of my favorite places to rent films and television stuff from. One of my favorite pass times is renting films and just being a film nerd. Been renting movies since 92 and maybe earlier. It deeply saddens me to see the Video Empire slowly crumple into a Cat5 cable to your computer or a Video box rental from the grocery store. Here's his thoughts on things.
How long did you work in the video rental industry and where did you work?
My first Video Rental job was at Tower Video in Richmond VA in 1997. After I moved to Texas I got hired at I Luv Video. I worked in the industry from then until the end of 2010.
How did you get your start and what was it like to work at the beginning?
When I first started, DVDs had just come out. At the time, they were the most expensive, top-of-the-line media you could get. It was sorta like when CDs replaced tapes... At first you would only get really awesome movies on DVD, and regular stuff on VHS because it was cost-effective. Over time as VHS phased out, DVDs took over. The industry tried to do it again with the HD/Blu-Ray battle of the early 00's, and while Blu-Ray "won", it never really caught on.
What were some signs you noticed in the decline in sales in the video industry?
There were two huge glaring signs that the end was near... First, all of my friends that had previously always bugged me for free movie rentals stopped coming in to the store altogether once Netflix streaming started. Second, I knew it was over when a customer requested a certain rare title and I found it was ONLY available on Netflix streaming. I realized this was quickly going to become the rule, rather than the exception.
What are your thoughts on Net Flicks and the sudden rise of Video rental box units around town?
The Redboxes are stupid. They're intended for John Q. Popcorn to watch summer blockbusters on the DVD players in their SUVs. Nobody that actually enjoys movies uses Redbox. Netflix streaming is the future. All the movies you can watch, unlimited for ten bucks. No late fees, you don't even have to put on pants. Some people may argue that Netflix doesn't have everything, and those people are correct. Unfortunately, nobody has everything. Even Scarecrow Video in Seattle (the world's largest video store) doesn't have everything. I can assure you though, as a movie buff who's seen thousands and thousands of films, there is never a time where I can't find something I want to watch on Netflix.
How are things changing that you noticed in the past time that you were working to now?
Something I noticed working in video rental was that ten years ago, a lot of people preferred to purchase and own movies rather than rent. I think the biggest reason for this was that a lot of people didn't feel comfortable leaving their credit card info in the hands of underpaid, unappreciated teenage video clerks. Also, many video stores deliberately make their late fee policies as confusing as possible, to trick customers into paying more than they need to. Nowadays, with almost everything readily available on the internet, there's no need to even go into a video store anymore, and I don't ever see things going back to the way they used to be.
What are some other side projects that you enjoy?
I play in bands, hang out and get drunk, etc.
Who is your favorite film monster?