Archives for the month of: September, 2016

Monday is a “members only day”, this is the day that members get to trade tickets throughly the box office, no public sales are processed. Fun and games begin at 9am.

I sleep in.

When, I wake, I’m up and out. There is already a line up, greet star and volunteers. Members are more subdued today, focused, not chatting with each other. I overhear a conversation a volunteer has with someone in line – the ticket pool was cut in half this yea, so the ability to make trades is depends on where you bought your tickets. 

I call the volunteer over and explain our tickets situation. We should be ok.

I wait.

I chat wi people in line, trying to get them to tell me what they are doing. So far, most of the movies I want, they don’t want, but I have some movies others want. This is a good sign.

I’m three from the front.


I’m up!

I greet the volunteer, it’s someone I saw yesterday. I explain “I have 3 trades to do, so let’s just go in order and we will see what happens, ok?”

She agrees and it’s game on.

First trade – “Magnificent Seven” (Friday night) for “Personal Shopper” Saturday night. 

She confirms that I have two tickets for “Personal Shopper” the following Sunday and if I do this trade my friend and I are seeing this film twice. I agree. No issues.

It’s done!

I list of the second trade. No luck.

The third trade, no luck.

I’m done.

When I get home I try online. 




I get news the site has crashed so online trades can’t be done.

Put on my shoes and I’m back to the box office.

Volunteers greet me and wish me luck.

There is no wait this time. 

My trades don’t happen.

I’m sad.

I try four more times from home and then it’s time to pack to visit a friend for dinner and staying  at her place.

I stop in at the box office, just in case.

This time, after not being to complete my trades, they let me know I can use the mobile site, but so far I haven’t had luck.

I ask them to show me how and they start talking me through only to discover that they can’t, the site on my phone is missing functions.

I ask for a solution and the volunteers don’t have one so they take me to see a person working box office. I explain the situation and show them, they don’t have any insight so get a manager for me.  I sit with the manager and show the manager and they don’t have any insight either. We try to problem solve. 

Finally I ask “what would happen if I go to the full site? Maybe you can’t do trades fromthe mobile site?”

I’m told it does make a difference.


We try it anyway and it does.

So. Trades through the full site. But not through the mobile site.


I leave, have a great visit with my friend.

At work the next day I get on the site and call the box office.

I’m on hold for an hour, listen with half an ear while I work.

Keep checking the website to do my trades but I have no luck.

Get someone at the box office and my trades don’t happen.

Call back half an hour later and hold until I’m hungry.

Go grab an easy lunch and eat at my desk while I listen to hold music.

I’m about  to give up or cry or something, this year is going to be a disappointment if I can’t us what we really want.

So I’m waiting and chewing on my sub and suddenly I hear a welcoming voice.

I’m asked for my account number, which I don’t know, so I offer my mbership number instead. The person suggests that I give my name so I spell my last name and she says 

“Bex?” Like. She knows me. Does she know me?

“Yes, that’s me, I have a couple of impossible things to do this afternoon and I’d like you help me. I won’t hold it against you if we can’t do it, I’ve had no luck.”

She laughed, which I think is very kind.

“Ok, what do you want do?”

“Ok. My first trade, I have two films for ‘Certain Women’ but I don’t like the time. I need the Sunday September 11 show.”

“Two tickets?”

“Yes. I’ll take one.”

“But you want two?”

“Yes, but it’s been off sale since last week, so if one is all you cane find, then I’ll take it and sort the other later.”

“Ok.” She laughes again.

I guess there is humour in dealing with a person who is obviously a bit mad.

“Oh! Two tickets right?” 


“Oh! I think…hang on. Yes!


“I just got you two tickets for the Sunday September 11 show!”

“Wow! How did you do that?! They’ve been off sale since last week!”

“Hang on, just let me make sure I got them. Ok, I did!”

Wow. I’m not sure how this happened but wow.

“Ok, is that everything?”

“No, maybe this is my lucky day. Ok, I’ve got two tickets to ‘Lion’ and I really want to see ‘The Handmaiden’ on Sunday September 11.”


“Before I look for those tickets and try to make that trade, I have to ask. Are you sure? ‘Lion’ so about the hottest ticket of the festival right now. If you trade them away you will someone really, really happy.”

“Yeah, let’s make someone really, really happy and make that trade.”

The ease which the trade is made is amazing.

My tickets are all confirmed.

I say I will come down and get my tickets printed at the box office, I live nearby and I need to trade my tickets in anyway.

My friend is busy every time I go over to tell her the news.

When she is free, I’m at my desk and she meshes me, expecting bad news. 

It’s done. We have our perfect schedule with our perfect films. 

I’m so happy.

Later, I go down to the box office and it turns out that the tickets I traded in weren’t processed correctly and I could still have used them. It’s ok,  we made those trades and I’m not looking to scam anyone or make any sort of profit. The tickets are taken and each one gets a thick, red line through it to show “invalid”.

And that’s it. 


The next day, in the afternoon my friend lets me know that rush seats are available to see Michael Fassbender speak. 50$ and standing in a line. I figure what the heck, it’s on the way home.

I get there and there is less than 20 people. I get in line and wait.

This line is a better mood, I get into a conversation with someone who works at TIFF.

An hour and half later, we both get in, the whole line gets in!

And I see the interview/talk.

And that is how TIFF was won.


The next day I’m back at it, it’s a day of patience, waiting and trading tickets. Only members can play.

I’m there, in line about an hour before the game begins. We wait. People are less friendly today, they are focused, eyes on the prize. Prizes.

I over hear a conversation one of the volunteers has – something about where you bought your tickets matters. There are two ticket pools – one through the festival, one through a third-party vendor. Oh, third-party vendors, what have you done?

I ask for clarification, explain how I boug my tickets and she assures me it should be ok. 

 What if it’s not ok?

What if?

I wait. We don’t talk too much today, the tension, it’s. You can feel it in the air. Palpable. 

I’m third from the front. They keep taking people upstairs but I’m going to stay here, downstairs is the site of my most triumphant ticket victories so far, I’m keeping with a good thing.

Second from the front.

Look, I take a deep breath, the movie at the time I want, it’s not happening. I’m preparing for disappointment. Thinking about next steps and how I compose a text that gives me friend the bad news.

I’m up.

I do it!

Well. The volunteer helping me does it. I’ve got two tickets for a show time and film I wanted, my friend’s first choice.

Ok. No time to dwell, not a moment to enjoy and savour. I’ve got two more trades and time matters.


Those trades don’t happen.

I go home. Celebrate, briefly, with an iced tea and discuss next steps with my friend. It’s all about sticking to the plan and having perfect timing.

And being relentless.

At home, I check the website every twenty minutes, or so.

Nothing. The site crashes. I’m frustrated.

I go back the box office, if not for the volunteers and staff I’d burn this this film festival down. Metaphorically.

They greet me like a friend and welcome me as if I’m coming home.

But they still can’t get me the tickets I need.

Back home.

Pack. Let a friend know I’m on my way for a visit. 

I stop one more time at the box office, still nothing.

Disappointment runs through my veins.  Worst film festival experience ever.

I won’t have any time to check from the website or call the rest of the evening. So I’ll be back at it tomorrow. 

Film festivals are hard on my sensitive soul. 

I slept in. I don’t know what happened to my alarm but I didn’t hear it and I slept in. 

There was a bit of time. Right? I need a good breakfast this morning, gotta have enough energy to stand and wait and be patient. 

Being patient is a lot of energy.

The line started yesterday morning, I walked by around 8:45am, just taking a a walk, and the line was there, two men with sleepi bags. To get film tickets.

I couldn’t bring myself to do that. Besides, we had other plans. Big plans.

I walked by the line three more times yesterday, watched it grow. And I didn’t join.

I had two eggs, one piece of toast and half a glass of almond milk (unsweetened), my multi-vitamin and my “bone builder”. 

I’m set and after a quick shower, a light coat of paint and some of my luckiest clothes, I’m out.

Wow. The lines are long.



Kick myself for sleeping in and join at the end and start to chat.

There is a certain kind of person who gets into lines for hours. I’m not sure I’m that kind of person, but I like meeting them. It’s the first day, so people are friendly and helpful and supportive. Good chats. Media is all over the place, doing interviews. I grab some funny pics. The woman behind me brough her doggie, which in not sure about but it sure provides a interest dynamic.

Time is ticking. It’s live at 9am.

The volunteers are managing he lines, getting the queens set up and ready to go.

Finally we are taken down. 

My friend texts me and suggests I get on line ‘cuz they sent out this as a tip this morning. So I do.






The site crashes.

I’m in line so I get on the site again. I’m on the site line.

I hear it has crashed again.

The physical line isn’t moviving.

The online line isn’t moving.


I’m in!

Get my ticket.

Issues checking out. The ticket is gone. Gone! Poof!

Log back in. The line I’m physically in isn’t moving.

Find another ticket, I can’t check out. What are the issues?

Log out. Log back in.

I’m in the on line queue. Nothing is happening.

Nothing. Is happening.

The physical line moves.


We are moving. The people I’ve been chatting with all morning, they are next. Online I’m stuck. Ok. Front of the line.

My turn.




Here we go.

The volunteer is super friendly and indulgent of my quirks (I have quirks). 

When we are done, I’ve got what I came for. 


Let me friend know and she’s happy. 

I treat myself to a fancy iced tea and Cooke even though it’s not even noon yet.

We break separately.

Time for review.

Six films. Two are the films we want, when we want and where we want. We will hold those.

 Two are films we want but the when isn’t good. We will trade those.

One is a film that we will see but we can trade it for something else.

One of a film we aren’t going to see, that need to go as soon as possible.

So. Four steps.

Back at it tomorrow.

We started hearing about problems on Monday. Monday, the first day first access was available. Problems with the site, problems with screenings going “off sale”, problems with accessing the site and understanding how to use the site.

I’m not on Twitter and I don’t pay attention to other people’s problems. I leave that to my friend who I do the festival with. I’m the “designated ticket person” out of our duo, so it’s up to me to keep track of important dates, make sure our membership is paid up and current, manage our calendar, stand in lines, collect tickets and find face-to-face information. I keep track of the payments too. My friend tracks movies and does research and finds films that are going to blow up, she also connects with people to find out what is going on and feeds the information to me.

It works. It works for me and, I think, for her.

So. The problems started and I got nervous. Every day it was the same thing – crashes, off-sales, issues on top of issues.

Our selection window for our package was the last day, second last time slot.

Angry tweets kept happening.

My friends was getting nervous and upset.

By Wednesday I asked if we could switch roles – I’m more comfortable being tense and worried and I like it when she is calm. She agreed, so back to our usual roles.

Our ticket selection window came – 10am Friday.

Logged on – no issue. Loading time was slow and then. Agony. The filter wasn’t working. The films took forever to scroll through. Films we wanted kept being off-sale and didn’t tell you until you selected the film. 

Our time was ticking. Our window was closing.

I panicked.

I suggested a film I was adamant about not seeing. Just to complete our purchase, I didn’t want to do vouchers.

There we are – five films. Ready. 

I don’t know how to check out so I try something.

We lose all our tickets.



Get back in, my friend has made a list so she reads them out, in order and I re-find the tickets.

This time, click “Find Tickets”. ‘Cuz. Look, I already “found” the tickets, but I have to find them again? I guess?

Right button this time, we get our tickets.

Time to review. Out of the tickets we got, three are movies we wanted, one is a movie we can live with and one is a movie I don’t want at all. Two are at times I’m ok with, the other three I don’t like the times. Two I don’t like the venues.


We break and review separately.

Disappointing process.

But I’m not done.

It’s only just begun.

Come back to together and discuss next steps. So. Two of our tickets are the movies we want to see, good timing and good venues. We’ll keep those.

The other three. We need to do something.


Let the games begin.