Monday, September 5, 2011

How to festival ...

Can't wait for my staycation to start with the festival! Lots of amazing films to see and I will be blogging daily ... check out the great films available. TIFF is to filmgoers what Comic-Con is to Sci-Fi nerds. Yes, we salivate at the mere thought of the event. We line up and spend a ridiculous amount of time choosing and talking about films and the objects of our desires.

If asked by non-TIFF going friends what the ordering process is like they look at you as if you have lost your mind when you explain it. It is a process ... you need to be organized, you need to be patient for the "best" fill on your ticket order. Now I will only see 10 - 12 films during the festival which is really small time compared to many who may see 30 - 40. Yep, that's about three to four films a day and although this will sound odd it is very tiring at the end of the eleven day long festival.

For next year you might be thinking you'd like to try it. How to do TIFF? First things first ...

Step 1: 
In the first week of July you will need to purchase a voucher package/pass in one of three ways to get a jump on the general public and do an advance order: in person, on-line, over the telephone. Check as to the exact date. Sign up to receive their e-mail alerts. If you do it on-line, you will need a Member ID and a VISA card as they won't accept Mastercard. There are at least ten or fifteen different packages to purchase to suit your needs - day films only, galas only, TIFF hand-picked films. You will be given a series of vouchers including a pick up voucher (to get the Advance Order Book/Film Schedule) in late August.

Step 2:
Pick up the Advance Order Book as well as entire Film Schedule at the Festival Box Office (this year available August 23rd). Choose your films. Fill in the Advance Order Book - try and pick an alternate close in time to avoid disappointment. You usually have about eight days to make choices. You will need your "drop off voucher" when you drop off your Advance Order Book. This is how they select the advance orders:

"All orders are placed in numbered boxes as they are submitted.  A draw occurs to determine which box of orders will be processed first. All other orders will follow the numerical order from the number that is randomly drawn. For example, if box 18 is drawn, the next box of orders to be processed would be 19 and so on."

So it's a bit haphazard in terms of whether you will get a good fill rate in that it does not depend on when you put in your order but where you are in the random draw. This year I got 10/15 choices. I've had better years and I've had worse.

Step 3:
In the first few days of September (this year on September 2nd) you will be able to pick up your tickets and exchange your tickets or vouchers for other films. Yes, already at that stage people start second guessing their choices and making exchanges. This is the part that rankles TIFF filmgoers: you leave one line when you pick up your tickets and join another to exchange them. Although I must admit that the pick up was very smooth and the exchange probably took half an hour to three quarters of an hour. This is very small potatoes. Depending on when you arrive it can take a very long time, sometimes hours.

Voila ... some people are very put off by this whole procedure. I/we have been doing this since we left university and, for me, it's part of the excitement building to the actual festival. Give it a try next year - I will walk you through it!

1 comment:

Christine said...

It sounds a lot more stressful than Hot Docs but it does sound like a lot of fun. I know what you mean about tired ... I get zonked after 2 films in a day. After a few days, I just want to sit in a bath with nothing to concentrate on besides my navel.