Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Tribecca Rants

One reason why my blog took a week long hiatus is that I started volunteering at the Tribecca Film Festival. I basically spent every evening over 10 days watching movies. Free movies or writing blog posts….um do I even need to explain. My friend Dana and I signed up to be volunteers, and I lucked out getting the easiest job possible (well mostly because I listed absolutely no skills on the form so I was essentially only qualified to tear tickets). Yeah, I spent about the first hour in my first shift tearing tickets and depositing them in the bucket. Ohhh, difficult I know. Well next I was promoted to head counter. Yes, all I did for 3 hours was count heads in the line. I had a fancy walkie-talkie headset and red poncho! Seriously, I would count approximately how many people were standing in each line and help the person in charge count those who entered the theater. Seriously, they would say over the headset “let in 20 ticket holders”, so I would count out the 20 people the other girl in charge would let in. Well the best part of working the line was wearing the headset….and hearing all the shit that went down behind the scenes. Obviously, all the people in charge are Arts & Drama majors who don’t know how to organize shit (my apologies for Arts & Drama majors who can count ON THEIR OWN). Seriously, they didn’t even know basic math. If a theater has seating capacity for 200 people, and you have 180 ticket holders, then there are 20 tickets left to be sold or given to special badge holders (basically industry people like distributors, producers, directors, and their entourages). For The Wackness premier (yes I worked that and a dozen other movie premiers), all hell broke loose. There was a line around the block for ticket holders. Here is the conversation that the public wished they could hear:
Man #1 (inside the theater): ticket holder line, release the first 20 ticket holders
Woman #1 (at the line outside with me): copy, 20 people
[this continues for the next 30 minutes where they say release X amount of people, and we release X amount of people]
Man #1: ticket holder line, release the next 10 ticket holders
Line Woman: copy, 10 people
Head Woman (overall in charge person): box office what is your count
Box office man: box office count is 325
Man #1: release the next 10 people
Head Woman: NO NO NO, shit shit shit, stop, we are oversold…OVERSOLD!
Line Woman: we still have 40 ticket holders in ticket holder line, it is 5 minutes before showtime, what do we do?
Head Woman: tell them to wait, tell them the movie is running late
Man #1: we have people sitting in the aisles, what do we do?
Box office man: box office count now 340
Head Woman: shit, stop letting people in!
Line Woman: not my fault, I haven’t released any more people
Head Woman: where are these people coming from, who the fuck is checking tickets
Man #1: what do I do with the people in the aisles?
Head Woman (screaming): get those fucking people out of the fucking theater
Man #1: copy they are now out but more are trying to get back in
Line Woman: we still have 40 ticket holders and now the ones kicked out of the theatre are getting back in line. What do I do?
Head Woman: send them away
Line Woman: ummm….they paid for their tickets and are pretty pissed off since having a ticket guarantees them a spot in the show….what can we do?
Head Woman: Okay, give them a refund, just this one time.
Line Woman: copy, box office, I am sending 40+ angry people over to you
Box office guy: shit no, don’t do this to me, we can’t handle this, stop sending people!

The Line Woman and I are cracking up about all the chaos that is going on inside, and she has me walk the angry people over to the box office. One guy was yelling at the Box office Man and Head Woman, “I came in from Long Island to see this movie, and I bought the ticket several weeks ago, and now you are telling me I cannot see the movie because you fucking people do not know how to count, this is bullshit, I have to drive two hours back to Long Island tonight for nothing…NOTHING, you people are worthless, WORTHLESS!” Yeah it was hard to hold a straight face while seeing the people in charge get bitched out (they deserved it), and I later had to tell the 90+ people waiting to get any cancellation tickets that they have stood in line for 2-1/2 hours for nothing.

Well later the Head Woman came over to the line to yell at the Line Woman. Too bad the Line Woman left for the night and only I remained there. Well the Head Woman sternly talked to me that I misunderstood their instructions and it was OUR fault that the theater was oversold. Excuse me….I wasn’t going to take the fall for them being idiots. In my moment of glory (and in front of several other lowly volunteers hanging around), I talked back to her and said, “misunderstood you…wait so when you say release the next 10 people, you didn’t really mean it…was it a test?”
Head Woman: “well you were not authorized to release people at the time”
Me: “so you are saying we let people in when we were not supposed to….correct me, but you heard the same thing over the headset as we did, how did we misunderstand that…you said release people and we did”
Head Woman: “no, it is just that you let too many people in”
Me: “um, you said 10 people, and we let in 10 people….how are we wrong….are you saying I cannot count to 10”
Head Woman (backpedaling now): “no just, you were not trained to understand the instructions”
Me: “what, release 10 people, I released 10 people, I’m sorry is that really THAT difficult to understand”
Head Woman: “well you are just a volunteer, and when you work again, I just want you to know what happens when you are not listening properly”
Me: “what, no, this is my last shift, so blame someone else…I’m going to watch a free movie”

Honestly, I did only sign up for the free movies. You work one 4 hour shift and you get a free ticket to any regular movie. Plus we had several free volunteer only screenings each day. Additionally, if a movie was not sold out, we could stand in the line with the regular people who also wanted tickets and get a free ticket by showing our badges. Seriously, I was seeing movies non-stop! Monday, I watched 3 movies alone! If it was a shitty movie (you know independent movies are hit or miss), I liked to walk out and think “thank God I didn’t have to pay anything for that crap”.


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