The Buzz: Johnny DiLoretto, Six Months in at the GFC
You probably know him from his morning show on Fox 28’s “Good Day Columbus,” but for Johnny DiLoretto, the past six months have been dedicated to the Gateway Film Center.
In March of this year it was announced that DiLoretto would be accepting the position at the Gateway Film Center as the Director of Operations.
As Director of Operations, DiLoretto said that he is in charge of the staff and responsible for the daily operation of the film center, along with helping the marketing team, reaching out to those who book events there, and creating video pieces for some of the films.
Prior to his position at the film center, DiLoretto emerged onto the Columbus scene through his film critiques in The Other Paper, which eventually lead to his entertainment reporter role on Fox 28.
He started with food and film reviews, and satellite interviews with various celebrities before moving to the morning show, DiLoretto said, but then felt as though he would no longer be interested in the topics being discussed.
“I felt at the time ‘Oh no I’m getting derailed here, now I have to cover all this local stuff,’” he said. “I started out as somebody who had the freedom to tell other people what I thought and I didn’t want to let go of that editorial aspect.”
However, DiLoretto then realized this wasn’t the case.
“I had initial misgivings about ‘Good Day Columbus’ because I felt like I would have to talk about things that I’m not interested in but as it turned out, it really opened my eyes to the city and what was going on here and all the exciting things and interesting people and talented people,” DiLoretto said. “The morning show turned out to be a really great experience and I did what I could with it and I had a lot of fun and I had all these amazing opportunities to do things that I would never have otherwise sought out to do.”
During the morning show, DiLoretto said his priority was the audience’s attention and keeping them intrigued.
“Part of what I really wanted to do was just propose really bizarre locations so I always thought it was funny if one day you tuned it and I was at a knitting convention and the next day you tuned in and I was firing an AK-47 at some target,” he said. “So I was always conscience of trying to keep the audience on their toes so they wouldn’t know what was coming next.”
DiLoretto left Fox 28 earlier this year, which he explained as a result of several factors, one being his concern for job security every couple of years.
“TV is a weird business where you’re eventually either pushed out or you burn out. It’s also very stressful never knowing if you’ll have a job when your contract is up, especially when you’re raising a family” he said. “Furthermore, there were some, I felt, creative conflicts, I was being told what was and was not funny and entertaining by people who were neither funny nor entertaining. And that was no longer stomachable.”
After leaving “Good Morning Columbus,” DiLoretto immediately started looking for work, but only at places in which he felt were doing something significant, and that’s when he found that the Gateway Film Center had a position open, he said.
“When I decided to leave, the first places I approached about working were the places that I felt were doing something interesting, that I felt were doing something vital to the growth of this city. Gateway Film Center was one of those places,” DiLoretto said. “So they’re obviously doing great things already but I just felt like this is a place I can make a difference and where I want to make a difference.”
According to the film center’s president, Chris Hamel, he is making that difference.
“He (DiLoretto) is doing exactly what you would expect him to do. He’s got such a diverse set of skills that he’s really able to help us in a lot of different ways and sometimes it’s exactly what I hired him for, which was to be that guy who greets our patrons and makes sure they have a great experience,” Hamel said. “He’s got so many skills, none of which should be overlooked but certainly the fact that he’s a huge lover of film that he’s really helpful in a number of ways.”
Although DiLoretto enjoys learning the business aspect of the job, he said the more imaginative aspects of his role are the most enjoyable.
“I’m still learning how a business operates, and that’s fascinating to me, I’ve always been a genuinely curious person and so I enjoy learning how that works. However, the more fulfilling part of it is the creative stuff I’ve been able to do while I’ve been here,” he said. “So I only see more of that down the road, more creative input. And that’s where I think I’ll really leave my mark here.”
DiLoretto went on to say that part of the huge reason taking the position was a great move on his part was because of the film center’s upcoming project.
“We are going to start producing our own local in house pre show. There’s nothing being done like this certainly in the state, and there’s only a handful of places in the country,” he said. “This is where I think that I’m going to shine here and where I’m going to make the biggest difference and I think along with my partners here and my co workers, I can change the way people think about going to the movies here in Columbus.”
And Hamel agrees that DiLoretto was a great choice.
“Johnny is such a great people person and brings so many intangibles to work with him every day, it was just a great choice for the position,” he said.
Hamel also said that DiLoretto has been a benefit to Gateway as well as a joy to work with.
“He’s a great guy to be around on a daily basis,” said Hamel. “He’s always got a smile on his face, he’s always got something funny to say and people gravitate to Johnny. He’s just a great asset to the film center for sure.”
More information can be found online at www.gatewayfilmcenter.com.