Up next in our Side-Hustle Series is Jake Zall, co-founder of Pop-Corn Heist! As a member of Bandalier’s sales op team, much of Jake’s work is behind the scenes. When he’s working with Pop-Corn Heist, he takes up the starring role! To celebrate the site’s first anniversary, we sat down to chat with Jake.

Pop-Corn Heist grew out of a passion for movies and pop culture. Jake and his best friend, Nick, always loved talking about and quoting films, and shared their passion with a radio show while working with Binghamton University’s student-run station, WHRW. After graduating, they realized that they wanted to continue the conversation. The duo transitioned to an online blog and started writing!

In the spring of 2020, Jake and Nick realized that they wanted to change the way they ran things. With the isolation of COVID looming over everyone, they opted to start building a community, rather than sharing their opinions.The re-branded and ramped up their social media engagement, starting conversations on Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter to reach a wider audience. On the blog, they invite guest writers to share their takes on new media, and invited broader conversations by polling fans on the brackets that they built. 

As Jake describes it, their content falls into 3 broad categories: movie news, TV news, and rankings. Who are the best and worst characters in your favorite shows? Which Pixar movies are the best and worst? What new shows are worth checking out, and which ones are better skipped? Pop-Corn Heist is here to help you find out! If this still leaves you craving more, Pop-Corn Heist publishes even more content for the most seasoned film buffs. They write in-depth analyses of their favorite films, such as Jake’s recent run-down on the Pros and Cons of Pop-Culture Time Travel. As Jake describes it:

“Our ultimate goal is to amplify the voices of pop culture fans. A lot of big sites have an agenda, and push out flashy headlines without much information. They’re not as inclusive and interactive as we want them to be. We want to have a conversation and hear different opinions from fans like us.”

Whether he’s working on a new social media post or a task for Bandalier, Jake is always in the middle of multiple conversations. He wears a lot of hats – he’s the primary SOA for five different programs, and he works closely with our Director of People to keep our Talent as a Service portal up to date. We asked Jake how he juggles it all, and he described it as a “madness method”:

“Nothing is regimented, I take tasks as they come and handle the most immediate tasks first. I don’t shy away from multi-tasking. Prioritize immediate needs, but don’t shy away from the chaos – embrace it and find a way to organize. You can find organization in the chaos.”

Jake credits his experiences at Bandalier as one of the foundations for his success with Pop-Corn Heist. His experience with outsourced sales helped him understand how to think like his readers to drive engagement, and encouraged him to take the leap onto new channels earlier this year. Seeing other entrepreneurs go through cycles of struggle and success with their passion projects encouraged him to keep grinding on his.

As Pop-Corn Heist continues to expand, Jake and Nick plan to start podcasting, to revive the conversational aspect of their radio show. To celebrate their first anniversary, they’ll be releasing their first podcast later this week! In the meantime, you can read more about Pop-Corn Heist by visiting their website. Join the conversation by finding them on FacebookInstagram, and Twitter!