When Shane Bliemaster graduated from in 2001, he wasn’t sure where he was heading, but he knew that wherever he was going, he would take his Shelby Township wits with him, and be a part of something revolutionary.
Fast-forward 10 years later, Bliemaster is sitting in his Manhattan office, guiding an Internet startup company as it prepares to launch a website that could change the way Americans go to the movie theater.
Bliemaster was the first hire, and now Director of Marketing and Operations for MoviePass, which is a subscription-based website that allows subscribers to see unlimited shows at their local movie theater.
“It’s like Netflix for the movie theater,” Bliemaster said. “We’re excited. We think we have something—an untapped area of entertainment—that nobody has done before.”
For the serious movie buffs, or just before the Oscars, when people are trying to catch up on the nominated films, MoviePass can be the solution for marathon trips to and from the movie theater.
While MoviePass remains in beta version for several more months, it's invite only as the company analyzes users’ experiences and works to improves the product before it goes live, said Bliemaster. Users can rate their movie experience, get first dibs on purchasing a show once it hits DVD, and gain access to early movie screenings and special events.
Bliemaster said that it’s important for the company to bring back the golden era of the movie theater experience.
“Movie theater attendance was down by 20 percent last year, so we’re trying to use social media and technology to boost the numbers,” he said.
“Going to the movies used to be glamorous. People used to dress up to go. We’re trying to put the glamour back into it,” said Bliemaster.
MoviePasses’ idea to re-ignite America’s love of going to the movie theater has sparked the interest of venture capital firms such as AOL Ventures and True Ventures. In fact, Bliemaster works out of AOL’s incubator space in Manhattan.
So how does an Eisenhower graduate find himself working on Broadway Avenue and working for a company that may be on the brink of a solution to spark Hollywood’s slumping movie sales?
Bliemaster Moves to California and Finds himself in Silicon Valley Heaven
After high school Bliemaster packed his bags and headed for the unknown in sunny California.
He held down odd jobs while attending San Francisco State University, where he graduated with a degree in communications with an emphasis in political rhetoric.
“I wanted to do some punditry or be a political reporter,” he said. But after a short stint at the local NBC TV station, he decided media wasn’t his thing.
Bliemaster took an unpaid internship at Peanut Labs, an Internet research firm, started by teenage Silicon Valley whiz kids. It was there Bliemaster discovered his passion for launching startups in the 21st century.
“I got a lot of knowledge about products and what people want online. In a year and a half it was a crash course on business and I owe that to Peanut labs,” he said.
Bliemaster said his hunger to learn more about the business was evident, and that’s when he was contacted by MoviePass co-founders and offered a job in Manhattan to help launch MoviePass.
The rest as they say, is history.