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:


  • Avatar of Dukes
    Dukes said ...

    Awesome advice thank you

  • Avatar of Raincloud79
    Raincloud79 said ...

    Sadly this picture was taken at the venue I went to. It is incredible how many people just LEAVE their trash. I understand people are drinking and forget but that’s no excuse. Walking in from the parking lot we saw a couple throw a glass bottle in the trash and a recycling bin was in sight, I took it out of the trash and put it in it’s proper place and got a glare from the couple as if I had insulted them. So confusing to me, especially this circumstance as it is just as easy to do the right thing than the wrong. All over the ampitheater were recycling and trash bins and a ton of people, this simply shouldn’t happen. I can’t imagine Mr. Mraz actually reads these posts but his effort to make a more earth friendly tour was the reason my husband and I attended the show, I am sure this picture was a difficult one to take as it is for me to look at. My husband and I would have gladly stayed and helped for a while to clean up but volunteering at the end of a show in my experience is never an option. If everyone picked up one or two things around them and put them in the proper place we would all be doing a great service to our humanity, and Mother Earth!

  • Avatar of MamaQ
    MamaQ said ...

    Best birthday ever! Thanks Jason for being my gift. Concert at SBC was amazing. Loved the Brita filling stations.

  • Avatar of MaggieMay13
    MaggieMay13 said ...

    The show in Camden was Awesome!
    Thanks for playing All Dialed In. It really is one of the most beautiful songs you’ve ever written.

    We’re all connected.

    Much Love,

  • Avatar of jennyc
    jennyc said ...

    My friend and I were also at this show. We walked around pretty bummed for a few minutes afterwards looking at all the trash. Funny, we were wondering how we could ask you to do a shout out about trash pickup. Glad you’re on it. :-) And thanks for arranging the free water for our permanent water bottles. They almost didn’t let us bring our bottles into the venue. Luckily, as we were kindly stating our preferences, a more-in-charge staff person came running up to the person checking our bags and said,”You’re going to see a lot of this…he’s very green, let ‘em in!” The more-in-charge-honcho even let us bring in grapes, cherries and apples. Although, she did make sure to tell us that if we came again for a different show, we wouldn’t be allowed to bring in water bottles-even if they were empty. Sadness. BUT- Thanks for a great show and pretty please pass on to Mona that she was fucking AMAZING during “You Fuckin’ Did It”(she fuckin’ did it! Yowsa!).

  • Avatar of yourbodywild
    yourbodywild said ...

    In the grandeur of cinematic effect! in the pulse of life’s quiet mysteries, as an apprentice midwife I was driving this morning to the birth center to help catch our third baby in under 30 hours, hungry for sleep and stillness, overwhelmed by creation, trying to prepare with fresh love and presence under the cloudy moon, and in those small moments you pray for a song and word or something to get you through before you arrive–and ‘I Won’t Give Up’ happened to be on the radio in the newborn hours amongst the mountains of Taos this Sunday.

    In the pause of cinematic effect, for the audience members of birth in home or hospital or birth center, remember too those who are cleaning up the bloods and runny poops and vomit and meconium and sweat and piss and the general heave of body has womyn urges forth her babe–we won’t give up, we’ll be there always through sleepless days and nights and love and fear and fierce burn, waiting, watching, coaching, soothing, arriving with a weave of intuition and evidence, as it gets rough and smooth and scary and calm.

  • Avatar of normason
    normason said ...

    Dig it!

    Gotta take up percussion…


  • Avatar of loopylisa
    loopylisa said ...

    I just wonder what these peoples houses look like? I live in England and we have problems with people discarding rubbish everywhere but in bins and their pockets we also have a huge carrier bag problem I wish they would just ban them no one seems to care only the very few so finding Jason Mraz and like minded people on here is a god send and is showing me that I am not the only one who cares about the planet. Is there going to be something like reverb at your eurpoean concerts I think its a wonderful thing they do and I would have loved to have helped spread the word on helping our planet. Well done Jason keep up the great work and writing beautiful songs I will plant a couple more trees in my garden to make up for some of your plane journeys!

  • Avatar of Marleen73
    Marleen73 said ...

    Jason could start his venue with singing a version of ‘picking up trash in… theathers”.. XD

  • Avatar of Marleen73
    Marleen73 said ...

    Good idea!!

    The ‘cinema effect’ is everywhere, helas!
    When I go for a walk.. I always take my camera to make pictures of the lovely nature i see..
    and also get confronted with a annoying human habits: discarding stuff everywhere. Therefor I always take 2 plastic bags and collect stuff where other have forgotten to do right by nature and leave it untainted..
    Usually I collect about 3-4 bags, for either I find a trashbin to empty the bags, or I find other plastic bags to fill.

    Took pictures of empty trashbins and loads of rubbish next to it..
    Took a wonderfull line I saw on the internet and put it along side it on paper:
    “when i see this, i think.. Somebody has to do something about this!
    Well, I am somebody.. How about you?!”

    taking a sheet of paper along recently, with a rough estimate of what I’ve collected that day:
    .. plastic bottles, glass bottles, sigarette boxes, candy wrappers, miscellanious.. (~like a whole bike, trashed).. and I live in a small village, with godfearing people (yes, not spiritual, though religious folk)… a pity..

    I feel like posting it in the supermarkets/or sending it to schools, both pamflets:
    to urge kids, teachers and parents to take up their respons-ability.. and have fun with it..
    “I collected … today, how about you?!”

  • Avatar of normason
    normason said ...

    “Nómada cuyo único rumbo es la verdad!”

    Since translation software isn’t all it could be yet, I decided to translate what Alinay said in response to the last instagram. I liked it because it sounded poetic. I think you’ll like it, too. Toca or the Grooveline horns can translate the rest.

    Alinay said you were a nomad whose only direction was toward the truth.

    Love to you and to Alinay’s poetic soul

  • Avatar of mrazwordplay
    mrazwordplay said ...

    That is not a beautiful mess. I’m with you 100%. I can’t believe people do that. I remember one blog post about the girl who was cleaning up everyone else’s mess after your show. Some cities have banned plastic bags, I wish they’d ban plastic bottles and styrofoam containers too.

    We’ve been using a tiffin to get takeout food for a few years now and came across this today…someone is trying to get all restaurants in Vancouver to use tiffens instead of take out containers…hooray! http://www.thetiffinproject.com

    I’m bringin’ my water bottle, takin’ home Tricia’s compost, and I promise not to leave a mess.

    That stage shot is epic! I know it will be. I (truly) can’t wait <3

  • Avatar of costellocrew5
    costellocrew5 said ...

    Keep up the messaging Jason! Some may be lost – old habits die hard, but the younger generations are paying attention! They get a bad rap for being “entitled” in some cases (and over-parented) but I see a LOT of great kids caring for our environment and picking up after themselves (well…not at home – that’s another story). I get scolded by my boys for not recycling a post-it note. I knew they were soaking up the messages when that happened for the first time. Things will change (and are changing) if we just keep trying. Thank you friend. You are a LOVE and we are right there with you. Jane

  • Avatar of normason
    normason said ...

    Instagram: That’s a beautiful picture. Kudos to the photographer. Subject ain’t so bad either.


  • *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.