Archive for the 'Thought Process' Category


Don’t You (Forget About The Breakfast Club)

That's right . . . the Red Band Project is calling out all you voters of Ferris Bueller's Day Off.

*Disclaimer: This post contains potential spoilers for both The Breakfast Club and Ferris Bueller’s Day Off. Since these two films register pretty high on the pop culture meter it would be pretty hard to talk about either of them without giving away some plot details from either film. Though major spoilers will not be given, certain plot details will be mentioned and possibly discussed. You have been warned.

Yes, we are here today to throw the gauntlet down to Ferris Bueller fans and say that The Breakfast Club is the better John Hughes movie and should be the CLEAR CHOICE for Consolidated’s September Hana Hou Picture Show (HHPS). Though it is the clear choice, we still need your help. The goal of this post is to persuade potential voters (you, dear reader) into voting for The Breakfast Club on Consolidated’s Facebook page–or if you’ve already voted , to change your vote. Court is now in session.

Argument: Numbers Don’t Lie

Evidence: The Breakfast Club is a more critically acclaimed and fan loved than Ferris Bueller’s Day of and Grease. Take a look at these stats:

The Breakfast Club :: Rotten Tomatoes: 90%, MetaCritic: 62, Flixster: 90%, IMDB Score: 7.9

Ferris Bueller’s Day Off :: Rotten Tomatoes: 84%, MetaCritic: 60, Flixster: 89%, IMDB Score: 7.9

Grease :: Rotten Tomatoes: 82%, MetaCritic: 70, Flixster: 85%, IMDB Score: 7.0

Now I know what some of you might be saying . . . “well, critic ratings and reviews by other people don’t mean anything to me.” And you know what, you’re right. Just like box office receipts, in the grand scheme of things reviews and similar ratings don’t mean much if you don’t agree with those results. Now yes, Grease’s Metacritic score is higher than The Breakfast Club’s, even still though, Breakfast Club beats it in all other categories. Now, I’m not one to torpedo my own argument just as we’re getting started here. My inclusion of these scores is mainly to serve as anecdotal/circumstantial evidence that is just part of my larger case. So please, bear with me.

Argument: It’s a more relatable movie

Who doesn't know someone like Brian? Or any of the other cast of characters from The Breakfast Club who just wanted to belong.

Evidence: Don’t get me wrong, at some point in our lives any of us would have loved to have been Sloane or Cameron and spent a crazy day playing hookie from work or school with Ferris Bueller. The fact of the matter is, I think few of us (if any) ever took in a Cubs game, stole lunch reservations from the sausage king of Chicago, or became part of a parade on any of our days off.

The Breakfast Club could be anyone of us and finds its humor with the relatable plight of our five protagonists: the nerd, the popular girl, the jock, the badboy, and that weird girl. Yes, these are high school stereotypes, but stereotypes are generally based on some type of truth. I think that any of us that have gone through high school will be able to identify people we know in this film if not see ourselves in it. Now it may not be an exact match, hell it may even be a combination of personalities from in the film, but the fact of the matter is those protagonists represent the audience.

High school struggle is something that Hollywood has mined for years, but The Breakfast Club was one of the ones that got it so right. Saturday detention, five students who all walk in different social circles, the über hardass principal . . . how situations in the film are dealt with are all things that are illustrated perfectly both humorously and seriously. I believe that when you can relate to something that is going on in a film, it’s that much better because it almost seems true to life, and true to you.

Argument: Less is More

Like our five protagonists stuck in detention, the film also sticks to a single venue. That doesn't stop it from being totally awesome though.

Evidence: While it’s easy to enjoy the fanciful jaunt that Ferris and company take on their day off, I think that if a film can give you a good time AND stick to a singular setting, then that’s when you know you have some really great filmmaking. Setting wise, The Breakfast Club does more with less. Since The Breakfast Club takes place at a high school (a majority of which is in the school’s library) it doesn’t have the benefit of putting characters in unique environments and situations that arise from being in those environments like Ferris Bueller’s Day Off does. It has to work within the confines of Saturday detention.

When you’re restricted to just a few locations in a film, it’s easy for things to get boring and stale since your characters don’t have anywhere to go. They mainly have to interact with one another. What makes The Breakfast Club so great is that the film doesn’t fall into this trap due to great writing and great filmmaking. It’s a better film because it focuses on the characters and tells a really great story about them. It also finds ways to be entertaining and engrossing that work within the confines of a small setting.

Argument: Breakfast Club has the better [bad] principal

Ed Rooney & Richard Vernon . . . just imagine a trip to the principal's office.

Evidence: Great villains usually make for a great story and The Breakfast Club is no exception with Principal Vernon. Oh sure Ferris Bueller’s Day Off has Principal Rooney who tries to hunt down Ferris, but the fact of the matter is, Rooney is a doofus. We pretty much laugh at him during the entire film, then at the end, you just kind of feel sorry for him during that final scene during the credits.

With The Breakfast Club, you hate Principal Vernon the entire time. “Show Dick some respect!” No thank you. He despises his job, the school, and even the students (and takes his agression out on them too) . . . the perfect villain for our five protagonists to go up against. He’s someone you love to hate and someone that makes you cheer for our characters all that much more.

Argument: Better Quotes

Is that all you got?

“Don’t mess with the bull, young man. You’ll get the horns.”

“Screws fall out all the time, the world is an imperfect place.”

“Eat my shorts.”


“Two hits. Me hitting you. You hitting the floor.”

. . . and these are just to name a few. Yeah, yeah . . . I know Ferris has “Life moves pretty fast. If you don’t stop and look around once in a while, you could miss it.” Aside from that, and Ferris talking to the audience, what does it really have? Bueller Bueller Bueller? Ben Stein made that line.

Also, The Breakfast Club has one of the best songs to ever close out a film . . . Don’t You (Forget About Me) by Simple Minds.

Argument: The Breakfast Club is an underdog

Evidence: Let’s face it, Ferris Bueller’s Day Off is the most well known John Hughes movie. How can The Breakfast Club compete against that kind of popularity? By being the underdog that’s how! David vs Goliath, Average Joe’s vs Globo-Gym, hell even UH vs BYU . . . history, America, and Hawaii all love underdog stories. Isn’t it about time we had one for Consolidated’s Hana Hou Picture Show?

A vote for The Breakfast Club (scroll down) is a vote for underdogs everywhere!


For the record, I do not hate Ferris Bueller’s Day Off, I love that movie just as much as anyone else. I just like The Breakfast Club just that much more. So having said my piece, I welcome any and all friendly debate on the subject. In the end, I know a lot of this is pretty subjective and we all have personal preferences that no one will be able to assuage. This is just a friendly call to action for local film lovers who enjoy seeing their favorite films on the big screen again.

However, the Red Band Project will GUARANTEE that you will have a good time if The Breakfast Club is shown at the next Hana Hou Picture Show!


(5) Days of Summer

Name the movie that this view appears in . . .

LOS ANGELES, CA. We knew we had made the right choice for our hotel stay when shortly after we checked in we discovered Tom’s park from the film (500) Days of Summer. It was such an unexpected discovery that we had to check it out before we left. The name of the park is Angels Knoll and if you’ve ever seen the film, the bench is right were you’d expect it to be.

What’s pretty cool is that there’s a plaque on the exact bench that they filmed at indicating that this was in fact the spot:

For movie geeks such as ourselves, stumbling upon the location from one of our favorite films definitely was a happy accident that make our vacation to LA that much more fun.

Also around our hotel in the downtown area were recognizable locations from Inception (the train scene through the street) and other notable landmarks such as the Walt Disney Concert Hall, the Los Angeles Times Building, and the Los Angeles City Hall.


No Texting During the Movie Please!

So there’s been a video going around the internets this week and I find its popularity pretty interesting. Here’s the setup . . . the folks over at the Alama Drafthouse Cinemas had a disgruntled patron call and leave a voicemail complaining that she was kicked out of the theater for texting during the movie. I know, imagine that. Now for those that don’t know, the Drafthouse is considered one of the best theater chains in the country and they have a very, very strict policy on talking and using cellphones during shows.

Well, what did our good friends over at the Alamo do? They turned the voicemail into a PSA that will run in front of all their R-rated films THIS weekend. Here, take a look:

So like I said, this thing blew up, got posted all over the internets, and was even on TV in a few places. I can attest to the popularity of it all as it showed up a lot in my Twitterstream as well as on Facebook as well. Why I want to bring this up though, and the thing I find interesting, is that there must be something in this video that people identify with in order for it to be this popular. Granted the video is funny in and of itself, but I think the video’s popularity speaks to a bigger issue . . . people want a movie experience where they’re not bothered by people who are texting, using their cellphone, and talking loudly during the film.

I think the reason why so many people identify with this video (myself included) and find it funny is that to us, this seems like justice being served. I’m sure a number of us have experienced this problem in the theater at some point and have always secretly dreamed for the person to have been kicked out. Whatever the case may be though, common sense or theater etiquette (call it what you will) has precipitously gone down since the prominence of cell phones.

What are us moviegoers to do? Not all of us live in Texas and have the luxury of going to the Alamo Drafthouse. While I do think that theaters themselves should be the primary instigators of stricter policies (similar to the Drafthouse), as moviegoers I don’t think we should wait for them to make the first move. Hell, if they haven’t done anything by now, who’s to say they will in the foreseeable future? No, we ourselves have to take initiative to resolve some of these issues. Now I’m not condoning getting into fights or using threats. All I’m saying is that at the very least we have to stand up and say something . . . whether it be to that particular individual (politely and in a non-confrontational way) or to theater management, something needs to be done.

One good thing that has come out from this video/PSA is that it hopefully can bring more light to the inappropriateness of texting in theaters. As a follow up, Alamo Drafthouse CEO Tim League had this to say about the notoriety of their video going viral:

So what say you? Are you a movie cell phone user? Or do you want your movie experience to be a good one.


Dim Bulbs: 3D, Digital Projection, and the Movie Experience

A slew of articles and blog posts came out last week reigniting the hot button topic of movies shown in the third dimension.

So last week a story ran in the Boston Globe blog about area theaters running dark showings of digitally projected 2D films, with the main problem stemming from a 3D lens on Sony digital projectors not being removed for 2D films:

A description of the problem comes from one of several Boston-area projectionists who spoke anonymously due to concerns about his job . . . He explains that for 3-D showings a special lens is installed in front of a Sony digital projector that rapidly alternates the two polarized images needed for the 3-D effect to work.

“When you’re running a 2-D film, that polarization device has to be taken out of the image path. If they’re not doing that, it’s crazy, because you’ve got a big polarizer that absorbs 50 percent of the light.’’

-Excerpt from A movie lover’s plea: Let there be light by Ty Burr, Boston Globe

What makes this story so poignant is that it piles on to the ever growing battle between moviegoers and studios/theater owners. More specifically, it gives us moviegoers even more of a reason to hate putting on those glasses.

My stance on 3D has been this: I hate it. Ok well, I don’t hate it, but I definitely do not prefer paying a higher ticket price for glasses that I don’t want to put on my face. This mainly stems from the fact that I’ve had to wear glasses/contacts since I was in the 7th grade; and let me tell you something . . . you do not wear glasses if you can help it (which is why I pretty much wear my contacts from when I get up till I go to sleep.) So yes, if I can help it, I try not to see films projected in 3D. And I’m sure I’m not the only moviegoer that feels this way.

The Truth of the Matter

Well then the question becomes, “Why do we have these godforsaken glasses to begin with?” Apparently it’s a money thing:

But there is also a deeper problem: 3-D has provided an enormous boost to the strongest films, including “Avatar” and “Alice in Wonderland,” but has actually undercut middling movies that are trying to milk the format for extra dollars.

“Audiences are very smart,” said Greg Foster, the president of Imax Filmed Entertainment. “When they smell something aspiring to be more than it is, they catch on very quickly.”

After a disappointing first half of the year, Hollywood is counting on a parade of 3-D films to dig itself out of a hole. From May to September, the typical summer season, studios will unleash 16 movies in the format, more than double the number last year. . . . . The need is urgent. The box-office performance in the first six months of 2011 was soft — revenue fell about 9 percent compared with last year, while attendance was down 10 percent — and that comes amid decay in home-entertainment sales.

-Excerpt from 3-D Starts to Fizzle, and Hollywood Frets by Brooks Barnes and Michael Cieply, NYTimes

Basically, Hollywood is looking to recoup lost revenue from other areas and they’re making 3D films to offset these losses. Theater owners are being obligated to show 3D and digital films because that’s what Hollywood is impressing upon them.

Local Implications?

So how does any of this affect us here in Hawaii (more specifically Oahu)? Well the cost of seeing 3D films is generally the same nationwide . . . moviegoers here along with our mainland counterparts pay a surcharge (ranging anywhere from $3-$5) to see movies in 3D. After the higher ticket price though, one can only wonder if local theaters here on Oahu may be falling prey to what’s happening in Boston with dim digital projection on 2D movies. This even sparked a small discussion on Twitter last week on whether or not the practice was being applied here:

Conversation begins on the bottom and works its way up.

While as of right now no one can really be certain, I’d like to think that our local cinemas aren’t following this practice. I’ve patroned both Consolidated and Regal Cinemas and haven’t found this to be a problem as described in the Boston Globe piece. As I note in my Twiiter conversation, this may only be an issue with our local Regal cinemas as they use Sony projectors with RealD 3D technology (which are the projectors that the Boston Globe piece calls into question). In the end, though it may be Sony’s design flaw in their projectors and Hollywood’s insistence on producing 3D films that are driving factors, it’s ultimately in the hands of theater operators that us moviegoers have to put our faith and trust in to deliver us movie magic . . .

Their [Ty Burr & Roger Ebert] general concern is correct.  A theater should NEVER be underlit.  There are industry standards for acceptable light levels for both 3D and 2D presentations.  Cinemas should always operate within this range.  Alamo owns a light meter and we check light levels on all of our screens monthly at a minimum, sometimes as much as weekly.  It is a very easy tool to operate, all cinemas should own one, despite the reasonably high price.

-Alamo Drafthouse CEO Tim League, Agreeing and Disagreeing with Roger Ebert on Dim Projection

I think that in the long run what it comes down to is moviegoers standing up for ourselves. One way that we are already showing it is by seeing 2D viewings in lieu of 3D ones. Data has already shown that this past weekend, the highest grossing weekend at the box office so far this year, was skewed towards 2D rather than 3D. Hopefully if trends like this continue, it will send a clear message that moviegoers don’t want 3D.

However, this may not be enough and we may need to be more proactive by bringing attention to bad theater experiences to theater management. Yes, sometimes the “one person can make a difference” mentality can seem a bit cliche’d, but if we don’t do it, who will?

I began by asking if you notice, really notice, what a movie looks like. I have a feeling many people don’t. They buy their ticket, they get their popcorn and they obediently watch what is shown to them. But at some level there is a difference. They feel it in their guts. The film should have a brightness, a crispness and sparkle that makes an impact. It should look like a movie! — not a mediocre big-screen television . . . A movie should leap out and zap you, not recede into itself and get lost in dimness.

-Excerpt from The dying of the light by Roger Ebert, Chicago Sun-Times

Next time you go to the theater, think about what that $10+ ticket you’re paying for is getting you. Then decide if it’s worth it to take a stand or not. What’s the value of the movie experience to you?


The Top Gun Experiment

Oahu residents came out last week to be Maverick's wingman on the 25th anniversary of the film's debut. The question now is, will they be Consolidated Theatres' wingman should the theater offer more old favorites?

What started off as a nostalgia showing of Top Gun could potentially open the door for other beloved pop culture, geek, and cult classics to make their way onto a theater screen near you. More specifically, a theater screen here on Oahu. Last week Monday’s special presentation of Top Gun drew a nearly packed house for the 7:15pm showing and a respectable half full auditorium for the 10pm showing–no small feat considering that it was a Monday night and that tickets were north of $14. Oh yeah, did I also mention that the movie being shown was 25 years old and not some 2011 summer blockbuster?

I’m proud to say that I was there before the 7:15p showing and that a number of people coming up to the box office were definitely disappointed when they found out that there was only front row seating for the night’s first showing. With so many people coming out to see Top Gun a question on everyone’s mind was . . . “What’s next?”

And that’s where we seem to find ourselves at the moment, what is next? Consolidated Theatres, striking while the iron is hot, put it out to us-their customers in a vote on their Facebook page:

Out of the four choices available, Back to the Future narrowly won out (Raiders of the Lost Ark, Dirty Dancing, and Blade Runner being the other options). In total 59 people voted, and though it’s a small sample size, it definitely says something about what local residents want to see at their local cinema.

If you didn’t know it from reading this blog (or this blog post for that matter if this is your first time to the blog), I’m a movie lover. I don’t need to be sold on going to the movie theater. The rub comes when Hollywood tries to get THE AVERAGE PERSON to go to the movie theater. Factors such as ticket price, format (2D/3D), location, and content all come into play in trying to get the average person to go to the movie theater. Not just any movie will get people to come out. And that’s why our recent showing of Top Gun can be viewed as an experiment of sorts . . . if that many people came out for Top Gun, will they come out for Back to the Future? What about other older films? Only time will tell I guess, but this much is clear: there are definitely people here who would pay current ticket prices to see other movies similar to Top Gun.

With a good showing for Top Gun I think we’ve (Oahu moviegoers) definitely proved that we’ll come back for more. I only hope that should older films continue to come out locally, that moviegoers continue to come out and support this time of programming. Otherwise who’s to say when we’ll see cool old movies again on the big screen.

Patrons Sound Off on Bringing Back “Classics”

Things definitely got heated last week with regards to bringing back old school favorites onto the big screen to be viewed in the way they were intended to be. As previously stated earlier in this post, 59 people participated in the poll on Consolidated Theatres’ Facebook page. In the end it was basically a two horse race with Back to the Future beating out Indiana Jones and the Raiders of the Lost Ark in the polls 26-23 (respectively). There was some lively conversation/campaigning going on in Consolidated comments, some of which even I participated in offsite on Namesake, the newest social networking platform enamoring the Hawaii tech community.

Even local film critic Burl Burlingame of the Star-Advertiser talked up Consolidated’s showing of Top Gun and made a case for seeing some of these older films in a theater:

Movies have been the language of dreams for the last century, and many of the greatest films (particularly in Technicolor) deserve to be seen in the arena they were created for, the movie theater. It really is a different experience than the corner of the living room.

Check out his full post over at

Movie Night Photos

The Titan theater marquee all set for Top Gun.

Entrance to the theater adorned with the 94.7 KUMU flags.

Crowd filling up the 490 seat Titan XC theater.

You gotta love it when people dress up for the movies.

More photos from 94.7 KUMU.


Film Festivals to Watch Out For

There are a TON of film festivals out there. And while I have only been to our hometown one here at HIFF, there are a few that I like to keep track of to kind of find out what projects there are out there that people are talking about, what’s generating buzz, and could possibly be coming to a theater near me sometime later in the year.

The importance of film festivals provides filmmakers the opportunity to showcase a film they’ve made or funded on their own–in the hopes that it will secure some form of distribution (films made by big studios often have distribution deals set up before the film goes into production). This is why having your film selected at a big name festival can really make your career as a filmmaker. With the Sundance Film Festival  going full steam right now till January 30, here’s a short list of festivals that I try to keep tabs on.

Sundance Film Festival

mid-late January :: Park City, Utah-United States :: Focus: American Independent Cinema
Probably the most well known film festival in the United States, the Sundance Film Festival has been a launchpad for a number of directors that include: Christopher Nolan, Kevin Smith, Quentin Tarantino, and Bryan Singer just to name a few. Though so many films go through Sundance unnoticed, unseen, and unheard of; a good number seem to break through to wide distribution to the rest of us later in the year. The best descirption of why Sundance is so important can probably be summed up best by /Film’s Germain Lussier:

“Plain and simple, the best films that you will see in theaters for the next 12 months are being shown at Sundance now. And while you probably haven’t heard of them in January, you’ll definitely have heard of them by December. Don’t you want in on the ground floor?”

Check out his full post on /Film here.

Festival de Cannes

mid May :: Cannes, France :: Focus: European Cinema
In terms of glamour, ceremony, and prestige, the Cannes Film Festival has all other film festivals beat. Filmmakers, stars, distributors, producers, and studios from all over the world flock to the small resort town in the south of France each May hoping to discover new talent and vision from filmmakers across the globe. The big award here is the Palme d’Or (Golden Palm) which is awarded to the top film of the festival.

Toronto International Film Festival

mid September :: Toronto, Ontario-Canada :: Focus: Awards Season Films
The last big festival of the year, the Toronto International Film Festival is the first stop on any film’s run to potential awards season gold. Once dubbed “the festival of festivals” (because it got other film festival leftovers) TIFF has now become known as a launchpad for films with (or hoping for) awards season potential. While many festivals want to host exclusive premieres of big films, Toronto’s openness to attendees, ease of getting to the city, and volume of features shown provide studios with opportunities to show their films to a greater media audience. Also different from other festivals is the fact that there is no jury that selects the festival’s top prize: The People’s Choice Award. This award is selected by the entire festival going populace.

Fantastic Fest

late September :: Austin, Texas-United States :: Focus: Horror, Fantasy, Sci-Fi Cinema
If you are a fan of the horror, fantasy, or sci-fi genres in cinema, then you have to one day make sure that you get yourself to Fantastic Fest. It is the biggest genre festival in the United States and features films that come from all over the world that fit these categories. Partly organized by Ain’t It Cool News movie website master Harry Knowles and run at the prestigious Alamo Drafthouse Cinemas, Fantastic Fest brings in a lot of cult programming, filmmakers, and events for fans and attendees.

Telluride Film Festival

Labor Day Weekend :: Telluride, Colorado-United States
What makes the Telluride Film Festival very unique and at the same time very big on the film festival circuit is that they have an informal tradition of requiring films to not having been shown in North America to be eligible for entry AND they do not announce their lineup until the first day of the festival. It is these two aspects that have made Telluride a ‘must stop’ for film and cinema media since a number big films and award season contenders are shown. Somewhat of an ‘anti-Sundance,’ since attendees do not know what they will be seeing beforehand, media hype and promotion is very subdued and makes walking the streets of Telluride not as difficult of a challenge as it is in Park City.

Hawaii International Film Festival

mid October :: Honolulu, Hawaii-USA :: Focus: Asian Cinema
You didn’t think we were going to complete this list without listing the hometown Hawaii International Film Festival did you? It may not be as prestigious as the other film festivals I’ve listed here but, they do bring in a lot of quality films that we might not otherwise see here and it’s the only festival I’ve been to (which definitely gives it a leg up on the other festivals in my opinion). Besides, where else can you go to a festival in shorts, slippers, and t-shirt? Gotta support the local fest!


HIFF 2010: Diary of a HIFF Volunteer-Oct 19

The long hall at Dole . . . it's not for the faint of heart.

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.

On the back of every volunteer's pass is a cheat sheet for the day, and it's pretty handy.

  • 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.


    HIFF 2010: Diary of a HIFF Volunteer-Oct 17

    Popcorn box full of ripped ticket stubs.

    “Let me take that.” *rips ticket*  “Here you go, enjoy the film.”

    Yes, this is where all your ticket stubs end up . . . in little popcorn boxes on the floor of Dole Theaters. Where do they go after this? Who knows. On opening night they were collected, then Sunday night we were told they weren’t needed so we tossed them. I will say one thing though, whenever you need a container at the theaters, grabbing a popcorn box is definitely not a bad move. They’re quite multi-purpose. They not only hold popcorn/candy/drinks/hot dogs, but they can hold so much more as well.

    More musings after another night working HIFF . . .

    • Still meeting really cool people . . . worked with four, check that-make it five, cool people that I hadn’t worked with before. Same deal, we just introduced ourselves and talked during downtime and by the end of the night . . . everything was cool.
    • I don’t like cliques, never have . . . Call me old fashioned, too work oriented, too serious, or whatever, but I don’t understand why you would work something like this and limit yourself to sticking with your own group of friends. Yeah, I get that since you’re already with your friends, it makes sense that you would stick together and work together if you all decided to come to participate in an event like this. But I feel that this type of “grouping” might alienate you from the rest of the workers. I don’t know, like I said, maybe it’s just me. I don’t see why you can’t work with your friends, but be cool with other people as well. Maybe I’m just weird.
    • Saw old friends . . . Relatively speaking of course. Old as in Thursday night old. One of my “festival friends” that I mentioned in my previous post I saw again last night. She was taking a break and was on the floor seeing what was going on. Another guy I met on Thursday I saw coming out of The Housemaid. Said it was a typical K-drama but got kinda weird at the end. Korean cinema I tell you!
    • You can tell a lot about a film from the last 10 minutes . . . this I now know from firsthand experience. Caught the end of both The Housemaid and Legend of the Fist. While I won’t spoil the endings, from how each film ended, it definitely told me a lot about the tone and style of each film. Why did I just watch the last 10 minutes you might ask? Well, we were waiting to collect ballots before each film got out so some of us went in to check out how the movies were playing. Then right as the film ended we promptly ran out and took our ballot taking positions. Which leads us to this . . .
    HIFF ballots

    Yes, voting is important.

    • Everyone has their own system for counting ballots . . . Myself, I like the tick mark counting system. You know, make four marks and when you get to the fifth one you make a slash through the other four to count five. Well let me tell you, everyone has their own style. Saw someone do the count and write down, but perhaps the craziest one was where this guy I was working with seemingly laid out all the ballots in front of him and did this super quick counting. I don’t exactly know how he did it, but it was right.
    • Parking is horrendous leaving Dole . . . even at 11pm at night. Say everything you want about Dole, there is one thing you cannot deny–leaving the Dole parking structure after a 400 seat house gets out is not fun or quick. Check out the gridlock in the parking lot after the screening of Legend of the Fist got out at around 11pm.  I opted to just stand outside my car to wait till things died down. I can only imagine how much longer this line would have taken to subside if the parking attendant was still working (they were gone by this late hour).
    Cars leaving the Dole parking structure.

    The line to leave the structure . . . between floors five and six.

    All in all another great night working HIFF. Can’t wait to see what’s next.


    HIFF 2010: Diary of a HIFF Volunteer-Oct 14

    Shirt and badge issued to HIFF volunteers

    The shirt and badge issued to HIFF volunteers at check in.

    For those that may not know . . . I’m an event guy. Promotions, field marketing, running event operations–for some weird reason I like doing these sorts of things. And after a while of doing it, I’d like to think that I’m pretty ok at it. So naturally when I decided to volunteer for this year’s Hawaii International Film Festival I thought, why didn’t I do this sooner?

    Generally in the past my schedule has been really hectic, leaving me with scant opportunities to actually see films at the festival. Why then decide to volunteer this year when I usually only have limited availability anyway? Well, it’s mainly because volunteering at the festival takes two things that I like (movies and working events) and combines them together. While it won’t be easy balancing the time issues (from Sunday, October 17 through Sunday, October 24 I’ll be packing in the hours at the movies till the late hours) I’ve come to realize that sometimes you just need to make time for these types of opportunities.

    Here’s some of the things I learned my first day on the job on HIFF’s opening night:

    You meet and work with interesting people.
    From the people that are in charge of you, to your fellow grunts, to the people that you’re assisting at the event–you definitely meet and work with a lot of interesting people, and HIFF is no exception. From the moment I checked in on Thursday evening everyone that I dealt with was pretty nice and cordial. Slowly though as my shift went on, I slowly got a feeling for people, their personalities, and their demeanors. In many ways it was like the first day of school where you try to figure things out. Also like any first day, you slowly figure out who you’d like to be “friends” with. That first night I met and worked with two really great people and I hope I get to see or work with them again in the coming days. Both of them had great attitudes and had one or two years of HIFF experience under their belts (only their 2nd & 3rd years working the festival). Talking, joking, sharing stories, and working together definitely made the time pass by faster.

    Of course with any volunteer job, you always run into people who are “characters.” Now this isn’t a bad term, but there are always those whose personality definitely shines bright. Sometimes this could be a good thing, and sometimes this can be a bad thing, but it always adds color to your volunteer experience when you work with these individuals.  My experience at HIFF wouldn’t be as fun or as memorable if these people weren’t involved as well.

    No matter what the event, things always get hectic.
    You would think the life of a ticket taker is easy. Believe me when I say it’s not. For Thursday night’s big opening night film, two 400 seat house were made available for the film Under the Hawthorn Tree. Needless to say that is a lot of people. Now, while our job responsibilities are relatively straightforward, when you have a ton of people bombarding you (half of which don’t speak your language) any job can get overwhelming. My job was simple in theory, when people come to enter the theater it was our job as volunteers stationed there to 1) take their tickets, rip them, and return their stub to the patrons, and 2) to give them a ballot to vote on the film they were seeing.

    Well, when the lines started coming in it seemed like it was a cattle stampede. People seemed to move by in a blur and I made sure I did my best to rip tickets in a timely fashion, but when you’re dealing with such a huge mass of people, slow downs are bound to happen. However, I did my duty as best I could, ripping tickets and all the while explaining to people why we needed to do it, providing instructions, and making sure to do it all with enthusiasm in my voice and a smile on my face. What can I say, I’ve already explained that I’m an event guy–I love this stuff. So yeah, taking tickets for a movie . . . not as easy as one might think.

    Show up to work, but be sure to enjoy yourself.
    I can’t stress this enough. As a volunteer you’re there to work as your first priority–anything else after that should be gravy. It also means being open to do any job you’re called on to do. Through all of the work though, be sure to talk to your fellow volunteers, get to know them, make jokes when appropriate, and above all–be able to laugh at hilarious situations you guys find yourselves in. During the down time that I had on Thursday night, I did my best to talk with fellow volunteers. You know, the typical getting to know you stuff, but after a while you tend to bond with your fellow works and start to get a feel for people. As I mentioned earlier, I met and got to work with two really great people. It wasn’t long before we started trading jokes with one another and were having a great time . . . even though we were working. Work might be work, but it doesn’t have to feel that way.


    So those are just a few stories that I have to share from my first night of working HIFF. Who knows what kinds of interesting stuff will happen tonight . . .


    It’s a Poster: Eat Pray Love

    It’s a Poster is an infrequent feature discussing movie posters. Using my graphically designed background I’ll be taking a look at posters that I like or find interesting, talk about why I like them and what I think makes them interesting.

    I’m not going to lie, more often than not I see far more uninteresting movie posters than I do interesting ones. However, every once and a while a few come down the pike that actually make me want to go out and buy them. Such is the case with the first movie poster for Eat Pray Love from Columbia Pictures and starring Julia Roberts.

    Why do I like it? Well, first let’s start off with a few basics. 1) Movie posters should catch your attention. What will make you stop in the theater and get you take a second look at a poster? Maybe it’s a picture of a hot actress or maybe it’s the layout of the poster. Whatever it maybe, if a poster can hook you, then it’s already done it’s job. 2) A good movie poster will also tell you a story or a little bit about what the movie is about (without literally saying what it’s about from wording on the poster). Sometimes you can tell what a movie is about from looking at a poster and sometimes you may not. Now I’m not talking about looking at a Toy Story 3 poster and know that “oh, it’s an animated movie about toys!” No, I’m talking about what the actual plot of the movie might be.

    With the poster for Eat Pray Love we seem to get both of these. First of all what hooked me was that it was a single photo of Julia Roberts really enjoying gelato or something in that cup. Being a single shot overlaid with the star’s name and title of the movie the poster really wants to you focus on this one moment. What’s so special about this moment that it’s the focus of the movie poster? It’s this intrigue that stops you. In fact this could very well be a scene from the movie. Which brings me to our second reason for this being a good movie poster . . .

    Just from looking at the poster and asking a few basic questions, an idea of the movie starts to form in your head. What is she eating? Where is she eating it? It must be good if she has that look on her face. What is she looking at off to the side? This poster tells me that the movie is about good food. What makes me say this? The look on Julia Roberts face. It almost makes me want to have what she’s having. When you combine this image with two of the words in the title, “Eat” and “Love” it’s almost certain that this movie is going to be a culinary adventure. This poster also tells me that this movie might occur in Europe. Look at the background, it doesn’t seem like she’s in an American city (although she could be). From the iron fence in the background to the cobbled stones at her feet seem to hint at old European city tones.

    I think what impresses me most about this poster is how uncommon a poster like this is. Usually movie posters like to clutter up the canvas with pictures of all the stars in the movie as a way to draw an audience. Not the case here. Granted Julia Roberts is the star of the movie, but this photo shows none of the other actors in the movie. An uncommon poster for an uncommon movie? We’ll have to wait and see.

    Eat Pray Love hits theaters August 13.

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