Monday, August 24, 2009

Scheduling Pt.1 (The Technique)

Since the TIFF09 schedule will be released tomorrow, I thought some of my previous posts would prove useful for anyone looking for thoughts on film selection, so I've updated the posts with some new information and republished them below. Enjoy:

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 tomorrow, August 25th. So before the three day hysteria of studying 335 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 benefit from it and feel inclined to share your system.

This year, one of the more significant changes to the ticketing procedure is the additional time allocated to those that purchased the Out-of-Town Ticket Selection Service. In past years, the general public received their schedules and program books on one day, and anyone with the Out Of Town service received it a day later. We also lost an additional day in order to get the schedules back to Fed Ex in time for them to meet their deadline for the lottery. But this year, we receive the program books and schedules on the same day (if Fed Ex comes through - fingers crossed) and have been allocated an additional day for the scheduling. Schedules are not due back to Fed Ex until Friday at 5:00.

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 It”. 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.

You can also try TIFFR, an independent system that also aids in organizing your TIFF schedule. Also worth mentioning are TOFilmFest and TIFF Reviews. Both have a wealth of information about each of the titles that include the synopsis, links, and reviews, so don't forget about them when doing your research. I use those sites as well as a handful of others to help determine my interest level in each selection.

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, and since the festival doesn't supply printer-friendly versions of the schedules, I’ll 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. 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 different colored highlighters, I will highlight the films that I'm 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 now four day scramble of TIFF scheduling madness.


TIFF said...

FYI... there's over 160 official trailers posted on

TOfilmfest said...

Thanks for mentioning our site,

TOfilmfest & TIFFreviews now have all their films linked to each other...

if you're picking up your tickets on Thu.03.Sep,
drop by 225 Queen West!
-- 2 blocks from box-office/city-hall --
food + drink + film-chat!

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