opening night at TIFF

As a volunteer for the Group and not the Festival, I get to forgo the oversized volunteer T-shirt (a lovely terra cotta colour this year) and dress like staff (sans official dangly tags). I also get to stand in the lounge and greet high-end donors who have purchased tickets to the Gala screenings. Excruciatingly back-breaking work.

We'd been informed that the first two nights of the festival would be the busiest for the galas -- and that while most patrons would be pleasant, others might try to push us around to get what they perceive to be better seats. I looked forward to dealing with the latter group, because saying "no" with a smile to the self-important is always a joy for anyone who has to deal with customers. The usher beside me agreed.

As there are more donors than there are seats in designated areas at Roy Thomson Hall, later requests for busy screenings are relegated to the upper balcony. While there really is no bad seat in the house, some of the donors who were sent up to the balcony seemed to sniff at the idea of being seated with the general public.

If you are a donor and are not happy with your assigned balcony tickets for tonight, I would suggest that you do not try:
  1. flashing your ticket quickly at the usher/staff/volunteer while blurting out that you're a Gold Circle patron as you hurry through with your date stumbling behind you. We check every ticket. Muttering "Oh, that's not how I remember it being printed out" will not save you the embarrassment of getting caught.
  2. claiming that you've lost your ticket, with the hope that we will replace it with a lower level seat. We'd be happy to issue you another balcony ticket.
My favourite line of the evening: "I won Canada's Producer of the Year Award and I've been sent up to the balcony? I can't believe it."

Michael Clayton premieres tonight. I bet George will smell really good. He probably smells great all the time.


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