Musings and notes from my third night of working HIFF and Day 6 of the festival:
- Best job–Turning Over a Theater . . . One of the many tasks that theater ops (operations) volunteers are sometimes charged with is “turning over” a theater. This basically involves us going into theaters immediately after a film gets out, going through all the rows picking up trashing and throwing it away, and turning up all the armrests. It’s not a difficult job, but I know some people don’t like to do it because you have to pick up other moviegoers trash. It’s also a pretty critical one as well since the festival runs on a tight schedule and sometimes there may not be a lot of time in between films, so saving a few minutes by having us help clean the theater makes sense.
Why do I think it’s the best job? It’s the best job because you are able to make friends with the Dole theater staff. I had just finished turning over a theater and as I was walking out, two of the theater staff came in to clean up. Now I don’t know if they know that the festival is helping them out on cleanup duties, but they we’re really glad that all they had to do was sweep. Then later that night as me and another volunteer were in the middle of turning over another house, the same two theater workers came in and helped us finished. Afterward, while we were standing outside the theater workers came out and one of them asked us if we wanted anything to drink and offered to get us soda, juice, or water. I just opted for water, but he asked me again if I was sure cause he could get me soda. I told him it was cool. He came back a minute later with two small employee cups of ice water for me. I told him thanks and he turned around and told me, “no, thank you for helping us clean up.” Definitely great to know that we helped them out and that they were appreciative for the help. Oh, and getting cups of water wasn’t too bad either.
- Problems with Volunteers . . . It never fails when you have free labor, you always have some people that will give you problems, HIFF being no exception. It took till Day 6, but Tuesday night I heard my first gossip from volunteers about other “problem” volunteers. I’m not going to go into details and since I’ve already sort of given my stance on this already, all I have to say is this: people [volunteers] need to realize why we’re there, know what the rules are and abide by them, and have the mentality that we’re they’re to work. If people could acknowledge these simple facts, things would be a lot easier for everyone, whether you’re a volunteers, staff, or festival patron. Believe it or not you can still have fun AND watch movies if you do your job. I have no sympathy for any volunteer that needs to be pulled on the side to be reminded of any of these things.
- Cheat Sheets Come in Handy . . . To help us out with running things, on the back of every volunteer’s badge is a small spreadsheet that list all the films that are being shown for the day with tons of information such as: which theaters each film will be in, the running time, when it should start and get out, and a notes section for if people will be speaking before or after a film. It’s super handy as you can kind of plan out where you need to be ahead of time or if you’re just showing up, where a good place to go can be. Also, it helps you direct festival-goers to the right theaters if you’re on the opposite side. Definitely a lifesaver in a pinch.
- Downtime in a movie theater . . . What do you do when you have 30-40 minutes to kill at a film festival? The obvious answer would be to go watch a movie. While that might be the case for most people, the truth is when there’s nothing you’re terribly interested in to watch, the alternatives aren’t that great. Definitely using the bathroom and sitting down top the list, but after that, the pickings are pretty slim. Eventually I just ended up sitting through the last 25 minutes of Hot Summer Days–mainly because it would be the next film to get out and I could do something productive by turning the theater over afterward. However, from what I did see it was kind of interesting as there were a ton of story arcs going on all at the same time. Just goes to show you, you’ll never know about a film till you actually watch it (for a little bit anyway).
- Even Our New Mayor Takes in the Festival . . . Yeah, the blurry picture above is of our new mayor Peter Carlisle believe it or not. I didn’t realize it was him till he was pretty much coming through the door, hence the blurry image. I give him props for coming out to the festival. Wonder if he got his sponsor badge before or after he won the election? If it was after, definitely not a bad perk! (I joke of course)
With another night in the books and only four days left, who knows what else will happen.