River City Six: Derek Dillon
Located at 12750 Westport Pkwy in La Vista, Alamo Drafthouse Cinema (drafthouse.com/omaha) and the Liquid Sunshine Taproom combine to offer an entertainment experience that’s second-to-none. Derek Dillon is the Creative Manager at Alamo Drafthouse Cinema Omaha.
How did you get started in the business?
I had been a major fan of the Alamo Drafthouse Cinema for a couple of years when I decided to go to this horror movie mystery marathon at the Alamo KC to give it a shot. It absolutely blew me away. I knew they were building one in Omaha so I decided to tweet at them to see if they were looking for any help. Turns out that Tyler Calabrese (who hired me) was running the Twitter account and reached out to me inquiring about my interest in an available position. About a month later I was traveling down to ATX for 6 weeks of training.
What is the biggest challenge you’ve faced professionally?
Attempting to manage and stay on top of so many different projects and initiatives. I wear so many hats; programming all of our films, managing all marketing and advertising, staying on top of public relations, overseeing and managing every special event in the building, and making sure Alamo is part of the Omaha community. It takes a lot of work but it is a truly rewarding experience. Witnessing people get joy and happiness from what we put on at the theater is truly the most gratifying thing.
What has been your most important achievement professionally?
When I learned that I could use our theater as a platform to give back, I knew that we could do some really great work in the Omaha Metro and prove we are a community theater first and foremost. By partnering with local charities and community partners we’ve been able to give back so much with toy drives, non-perishable food drives, fundraising and just basic awareness for causes we believe in.
What do you see as one of the biggest turning points in your life?
For the longest time my ultimate dream job was to show movies to people. My first love had always been storytelling and to share that passion through the cinema had been a goal. When Tyler gave me that opportunity I knew my life would never be the same. I’ve learned so much about the film industry and how my favorite stories come to life, that I don’t know if I could ever go back to the real world.
What is your favorite thing to do on a day off?
If I’m able to be outdoors on my day off or to read a good book, I know I’ve had a productive day. Relaxation and mindfulness are the names of the game.
What is the most unique or interesting thing about you that most people probably don’t know?
My dad and I share the same birthday and I once was the Adams County Fair Mutton Busting Champion.
If you could choose any other profession to be successful in, what would it be?
What local non-profit organization(s) are you passionate about or involved with, and are there any special reasons why?
I have just joined the United Way of the Midlands Young Professionals Committee and I greatly enjoy the fact that they have a strong passion for education. My mom is a teacher so education is part of my DNA.