CE Pro of the Week: Sam Cavitt, Paradise Theater

"Design for fee and not for free," advises this home theater architect.

Tom LeBlanc · September 10, 2010

Sam Cavitt, president, Paradise Theater, Kihei, Hawaii and Carlsbad, Calif.

Each week, we aim to provide an informative - yet colorful - profile of one of your fellow CE pros. Interested in being featured yourself? See below.

How would you use Twitter to describe what your company does (140 character limit)?

We’ve built a reputation of providing the finest private theater design services; a fusion of aesthetics and performance.

After you complete a project, what do you think your typical client tells his friend about the experience?

Here is an exact quote from one of our clients: “Sam Cavitt was just a delightful man to work with.  He instructs, and he teaches, specifically about the sound component of the theater.”  Our experience is the clients end up with a greater experience than expected.

Paradise Theater
  • Principal: Sam Cavitt, president
  • Location: Kihei, Hawaii (design studio); Carlsbad, Calif. (corporate office)
  • Web site:
  • Years in Business: 11
  • Number of employees: 4
  • Residential/Commercial Split: 100%/0%
  • Number of 2009 Installations: N/A; 50+ consultations per year
  • Top 3 Brands: N/A

What can CE pros learn from your company to make them think differently and run their business better?

Paradise Theater is founded on the philosophy of core competency, meaning we perform services where we excel and do not try to be all things. Ironically, in today’s economy, many companies go the opposite direction. 

Trying to be a one stop shop sounds good on the surface but once an organization starts to move outside of their core competency, performance suffers.  Not only is the company attempting to function outside of their best skill set, they will be forced to stretch their resources so even the core suffers. 

By performing services in our core competency and collaborating with others who do the same, Paradise Theater always becomes part of a team offering the best efficiency, value and performance available on every project. 

What trade tip can you offer your fellow CE pros?

Design for fee and not for free. 

Our value is in our intellectual capabilities and developed skills.  Thus, when performing these services we should be compensated.  Once we are willing to give away our valuable skills we have sacrificed our perceived value. 

It takes discipline to do so and the ruinous competitors will continue to give away their services.  Remember to confidently advise existing and prospective clients that in order to perform your services professionally there is an investment. 

Remember, the bitterness of poor performance will far outlast the sweetness of low price. 

What’s the wildest request you’ve ever had for an installation?

The most challenging project to integrate is a theater and golf simulator.  This doesn’t mean just a simple screen that serves multiple purposes, but a two-level theater with a 14-foot curve 2.4 theater screen and an 11-foot wide golf simulation screen below! 

Motorized shades, lifts, and numerous other complexities are all required to make it work and, of course, don’t forget the elevator between levels.  This is an ongoing project which really stretches the term “design integration.”

What is your 3D strategy and do you think the technology will live up to the hype? 

We engineer the rooms to accommodate current 3D projection equipment whether the room is outfitted at completion or not, meaning we design enclosures and engineer rooms which will accommodate the equipment. 

We believe that technology will continue to develop and, as content becomes more available, the format will become more compelling.

What is your absolute favorite piece of audio demo material?

I like the Eric Clapton CD and DVD, “One More Car, One More Rider.” We use this to listen to rooms after they are completed.  We are familiar with the material; it includes acoustic, voice and electric music and is very dynamic.  Also it is fun! 
Many of our clients go ahead and buy it and some were surprised at how realistic the concert hall experience was.  I think some may have enjoyed “flashbacks.”

What is your absolute favorite piece of video demo material?

I also like it for video.

What is something most people don’t know about you?

I am involved in some fairly intense water sports in Hawaii. I’m currently training for the annual Molokai Hoe canoe race (a 42-mile race from Molokai to Waikiki Beach on Oahu), which is considered the Super Bowl of Hawaiian outrigger canoeing. 

In 2012 I will be part of a group paddling a Hawaiian outrigger canoe from Maui to Tahiti, over 3,000 miles.  We expect to complete the voyage in less than 45 days!

Sam Cavitt, second from left, is a serious canoe racer.

Want to be a CE Pro of the Week? .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) with “CE Pro of the Week” in the subject line and I’ll ask you some questions.

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  About the Author

Tom has been covering consumer electronics for six years. Before that, he wrote for the sports department of the Boston Herald. Migrating to magazines, he was a staff editor for a golf publication and an outdoor sports publication. Now, as senior writer/technology editor of CE Pro magazine since 2003, he dabbles in all departments and offers expertise in marketing. Have a suggestion or a topic you want to read more about? Email Tom at

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  Article Topics

News · CE Profiles · 3D · CE Pro of the Week · Demo · Design · Home Theater · Installation · All Topics
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