Thursday, August 23, 2007

TIFF TIP: Scheduling Pt.1 (The Technique)

What I consider to be Christmas in August is the day the Festival Guidebook and Schedule arrive at my doorstep. This year that day is August 29th and it’s already less than a week away. So before the three day hysteria of studying 349 films, 3AM scheduling debates, and strategic time management exercises, I thought it might be helpful to share my TIFF scheduling technique, and hopefully you, the casual reader will feel inclined to share yours!

The TIFF website traditionally offers a helpful resource to organizing and saving your films with a system called My Film List. You can currently find buttons on the official site that read “+Add”. This will add the film to a master list of films that you have personally selected. You can log in to retrieve this list and even update it to reflect your actual final selections. Its handy and quite easy to use, being that the interactivity resides alongside the film descriptions. I use it to get a head start on my planning the day the schedules go live, simply to create a general list of the films I’m interested in.

But I leave the tool to do only that. It’s useful, but not yet perfect (but who knows, this year may be different). Next, I will print out the schedules from the website by day, for each day I will attend. Sometimes the day’s schedule doesn’t fit onto one page so I’ll have to tape them together vertically. This allows me an easy way to get the entire day’s schedule at a glance. You can also photocopy the pages in the official festival schedule book, but being that I am in Michigan, I do not receive it until Wednesday, so this option allows me an extra day to work. It’s important to note that it’s good to print the pages in black and white as opposed to color. It will make your notes and markings easier to read.

At this point, the selection process begins. I use a pencil to immediately circle anything I know I want to see, and cross off anything I know I don’t want to see. Then with a range of colored highlighters, I will highlight the films that I am interested in ranging from very interested, to hardly interested. I will most likely have more than one copy of each day on hand in order to transfer my findings/notes from the “draft” onto a new “working” version. That just makes it easier for me to read after all the highlighting and pencil markings.

What comes next is determined by the types of films you want to see while there, and what type of festival-goer you consider yourself to be. The next TIIF Tips I post will explore those questions.

Again, feel free to use the Comments section to share your neurotic, systematic, or just plain logical scheduling solutions, to what I consider the three day scramble of TIFF scheduling madness!

1 comment:

Shannon the Movie Moxie said...

The method to my madness was:

I made a chart in graph paper of the days attending the festival. Dates along the top, timeline from top to bottom of the page (9am-1am), and I gave 15 minutes per square.

I went through the program book and online film list and made lists:

Must See's
Not interested

Only films I felt strongly about made it to these lists.

I looked up when my must see's were one and plotted those out.

There gaps on my chart I cross referenced the schedule to my 'interested' and 'not interested' list. If nothing fit either of those, I looked up descriptions in the program book.

Worked pretty well so far!