“When you provide a good purchasing experience, and offer a great purchasing experience at a higher price, that’s good customer relations. When you provide a miserable purchasing experience and offer a slightly less miserable experience at a much higher price, that’s extortion”. — Me, explaining to the TIFF telemarketer why I didn’t want to pay more money for a TIFF membership.
What hasn’t changed this year: physically lining up at a minimum of 3 times on different days to select your movies. 1) Pick up your selection package, 2) Drop off your selection package, 3) Pick up your tickets, 4) Exchange your vouchers from the movies you didn’t get to other films. There is absolutely no reason this cannot be streamlined to an online process.
Another thing that hasn’t changed is that corporate sponsors and high dollar donors get first crack at the red carpet events and all other tickets, which often leaves no tickets to the galas for everyone else. They should at least allocate some seats for the real fans. TIFF’s solution seems to be to have more “red carpet galas” (and bigger revenues since these cost more than regular screenings). This is both good and bad; there are more gala events available for the masses, yet perhaps many of these movies should not have been galas in the first place? You still cannot order galas from the regular ticket packages (which sucks), they can only be ordered with individual ticket purchases.
What has changed: Choosing films is now easier because the online schedule now has brief descriptions when you hover your mouse and direct links to detailed descriptions when you click. This is a big improvement, but still has a long way to go before I would actually call it easy to use. You cannot ctrl-click to open the description to a new tab, it always opens in the same tab and when you go back to the schedule page, all your scroll bars have been reset and you lose your place. The size of the window into the schedule is always small, regardless of your monitor size, so you are scrolling a lot. When your hover description is off the page, you have do a keyboard scroll to read all of it (if you use the mouse to try to scroll, you stop hovering and the description vanishes).
Another thing that has changed is that members now get their own line and get in earlier, further increasing my misery.
They are now sending an email confirming all ticket selections. This allows for better advance planning of ticket exchanges and additional purchases. Yay!
In prior years, on the first day of individual ticket sales, you would go to the purchasing web site and it would be so overwhelmed with volume (hint: add more servers) that the servers would crash. Go to the first page and there would be about a 1 in 20 chance you would get through. There would be a list of 300 films in chronological order all on one gigantic page. Find the films you want to order and hit submit. There would be a 1 in 20 chance of getting to the payment page. If the servers failed, OR if one of the movies you ordered was sold out, then start over from the beginning and find all those films again on that gigantic page. If by some miracle you got to the payment page, then enter all your payment information and hit submit. Again there is a 1 in 20 chance of succeeding, and if you don’t, start over from the beginning. [For the mathematically inclined, if you multiply all those odds, your chances of a successful purchase would be about 1 in 8,000]. It wouldn’t help to go line up at the ticket office, if the servers were crashing online, the same servers would also be crashing at the box office. So your choices were either wait in front of your computer for 10 hours until people give up and volume subsides, or wait in line at the box office for 10 hours in a line that wouldn’t move. This year there was a virtual waiting room, so at least you could go do something else while the timer counted down instead of being actively and constantly frustrated with page not found errors. Much better, except that there were at least 2 crashes where you had to abandon the waiting room and start again, and the only way you would know is if you liked the TIFF facebook page you would get the notification to begin again. Also the gigantic page is in alphabetical order with letter indices and the films are much easier to find. So the experience is much better than previous years, but still extremely bad.
So my solution to lessen my misery is not to pay more money, but to pay less. So this year I will only be seeing 20 to 25 films instead of 35-ish. Without further ado, my tentative schedule.
Thurs Sept 8
?9:00pm Ryerson: Restless
+11:59pm Ryerson: The Raid
Fri Sept 9
?2:15pm Scotiabank3: Alois Nebel
?3:00pm AMC9: Twilight Portrait
?4:00pm Lightbox2: Restless
+9:00pm Ryerson: The Hunter
+11:59pm Ryerson: God Bless America
Sat Sept 10
+11:00am Elgin: The Ides of March
?3:15pm Isabel Bader: House of Tolerance
?5:00pm Lightbox4: Breathing
?7:30pm Scotiabank3: The Cat Vanishes
?8:00pm AMC1: Alois Nebel
+11:59pm Ryerson: You’re Next
Sun Sept 11
+2:00pm Princess of Wales: Twixt
+6:00pm Scotiabank2: Extraterrestrial
+11:59 Ryerson: Livid
Mon Sept 12
?11:00am Elgin: Rampart
?6:00pm AMC5: Breathing
+9:00pm Elgin: Life Without Principle
+11:59 Ryerson: The Incident
Tue Sept 13
?2:00pm AGO: House of Tolerance
+9:00pm Elgin: Countdown
+11:59 Ryerson: Sleepless Night
Wed Sept 14
?2:00pm AMC6: The Invader
+7:30pm Lightbox2: Michael
+11:59 Ryerson: Lovely Molly
Thur Sept 15
?2:45pm AMC3: Breathing
+6:00pm Elgin: Violet & Daisy
+11:59 Ryerson: The Day
Fri Sept 16
+11:00am Elgin: Hysteria
?6:00pm AMC9: Twilight Portrait
+11:59 Ryerson: Smuggler
Sat Sept 17
?9:30am Lightbox2: The Skin I Live In
+3:00pm Lightbox1: Headshot
?6:45pm AMC3: House of Tolerance
?7:00pm Scotiabank11: Sons of Norway
+11:59pm Ryerson: Kill List
Sun Sept 18
?3:00pm AMC2: Alois Nebel
+6:00pm Ryerson: people’s choice
?9:30pm Scotiabank3: The Cat Vanishes