IMAX Screen Cleaner
Michael Quaranto, 28, co-founder of 1570 Cinema Services, Houston
By Jenny Mero

(FORTUNE Magazine) – MY BEST FRIEND and business partner, Andrew Brown, and I are airline pilots looking to make extra money. We started this company in 2004 after working for a 35mm movie-screen cleaner. Now we travel around the country and clean eight-story-tall IMAX screens after- hours. With 14 days off a month, we can do that in our spare time.

We make all the equipment we use. An aluminum pole that holds our device is attached so that the cleaning head hangs over the front of the screen. A winch powered by an electric motor moves the cleaning head up and down. One person works at the top of the screen, adjusting the machine and moving it horizontally across the surface after vertical sweeps. Another works an electric motor that moves the machine up and down. Lamb's wool is the best material for removing dust and debris. Theaters that carry concessions often have Gummi bears or soda thrown at the screen. We also find spit wads.

Large-format screens last 20 to 25 years without being replaced if properly taken care of. The biggest problem is that they get dusty. The most dust we've ever seen was a quarter-inch thick. We usually have to empty the vacuum cleaner at least two or three times during the process. We're covered in dust by the end of the night.