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My senior thesis at the Ohio State University.

The Problem

Movie theater attendance has consistently decreased over the last several decades, despite the huge amount of films being produced in this age of digital media. There is no doubt that consumers are still engrossed in film, television, and digital media, but theaters do not provide a compelling reason to be in a physical space to consume this media.

The Solution

FRAME is a new theater model that can provide unique, nuanced experiences for moviegoers. FRAME is movie theater franchise concept passionate about visual expression and cultural exchange. Utilizing different global locations of the theater, FRAME focuses on exchanging film, art, and other forms of media between regions and between nations. This provides a framework for discussions on film, culture, and global issues.

Research Methods

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Secondary Research

My secondary research focused on two areas: the historical tradition of theaters and market research into creative innovations in the field. The goal of this research was to discover how past design choices influenced the choices of today.

Target User Survey

The user survey collected information about filmgoer experiences, good and bad, and how those experiences could be enhanced or improved. My target audience includes primarily young adults, who drive a large part of the visual media industry.

Participatory Observation

The observational research consisted of visiting local theaters and taking notes on audience behavior, amenities, and variety of visual media available in the space.

Influencer Interviews

The most influential part of my research was connecting with theater directors and designers who are currently innovators in their field. I interviewed one local director at the Wexner enter for the Arts in Columbus and two individuals from the Metrograph in New York City.


Intimate vs. Social Interaction 

User opinions on personal vs. social experience vary (as seen in the survey results to the right), so the theater design solution must allow for different types of experience. Specifically, moviegoers should be able to have a personal experience while having the option to access social experiences as well.

Unique Experiences

Theaters have the opportunity to curate multiple forms of media for audiences, creating a unique experience that they would not be able to have at home. This could include an array of visual media that connects to real-world discussions and problems.

Living Local

One important subject that resonated with my target users was the idea of supporting local artists, filmmakers, and businesses. Having a theater that is integrated and unique to the user's city is important in creating loyalty amongst audiences.

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The User

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User Persona

Liza Watkins' main goals include having a unique and immersive experience and learning about issues she cares about. Some obstacles that Liza faces are: impersonal theater experiences, interrupting audiences, and a lack of opportunity for dialogue. 

User Behaviors

Enthusiast: The enthusiast is a passionate fan of film and visual expression who enjoys participating in a crowd of like-minded individuals.

Escapist: The escapist prefers to have immersive, individual experiences with film. They prefer not to be distracted by audiences.

Socialite: The socialite enjoys film the most when experienced with close friends or family members. 

The Concept Trailer

The Theater System

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The Program

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@framecolumbus on Instagram

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