Monday, August 28, 2006

Advanced Ticketing for Coupon Holders

Tuesday, August 29 marks the beginning of the advanced ticket selection for those who bought passes (where films are not pre-selected by the festival) or coupons. If you ordered coupons a while ago, you should have already received in the mail your Envelope vouchers, your Drop Off vouchers, and your Pick Up vouchers. If you purchased a 2006 Programme Book, you should have also received a voucher for that.

Starting Tuesday at 9:00 AM, you can go to the Festival Box Office at College Park, 444 Yonge Street, south entrance, Market Level. Note this location is not the same as last year; also note that there is no advantage to arriving right at 9:00 AM, for reasons explained later in this post.

When you go to the Festival Box Office, take all of your Envelope vouchers. You exchange each voucher for an envelope plus a Pass and Coupon Ticket Order Form. If you have more than one voucher, then you get multiple envelopes and forms. Also pick up a free Official Film Schedule listing the screening times of all the films. If you have a Programme Book voucher, you can also exchange it for the full-colour, comprehensive festival guide.

Fill out each order form you received with your selections. You can consult last year's post on how to fill out the order form:

However, the process may have changed this year, so read all the instructions on the form and follow them rather than the above post if they differ from one another. I'll post an updated entry once I've seen what this year's forms look like.

Once you have filled out the forms, place each one in a separate envelope, and include a Drop Off voucher with each. Do not seal the envelope, and do not include any Pick Up vouchers; you need to keep those ones yourself for later.

Take your completed forms back to the Festival Box Office and drop them off no later than 1:00 PM on Friday, September 1, to be eligible for the advanced ticket draw. Any orders received after this date will not be in the advanced ticket draw. You can drop off the forms any time from August 29 to September 1 at 1:00 PM.

The festival staff then spends the weekend processing orders. You can then line up at the Festival Box Office any time from Monday, September 4 at 10:00 AM onwards to pick up your completed forms and see what movies you received. Take your Pick Up vouchers with you to exchange for your processed order forms.

Most people line up on the Monday to pick up their completed packages (and there is usually a substantial line). If you didn't receive all your desired films, you can usually line up in a different line that day to select alternative movies with any remaining coupons you have.

For anyone who did not order advanced tickets, general ticketing opens to the public on Wednesday, September 6, online, by phone, at the Festival Box Office and the Year-round Box Office.

Now, why don't you need to line up first thing on August 29th to get your order form? Because the festival has a lottery system to determine from what point they start processing orders. Therefore, there is no inherent benefit to getting your order forms returned early.

Here's how the system works:

1. The festival starts with a whole bunch of empty boxes, numbered sequentially.

2. As people turn in their order forms, the forms are placed in the lowest numbered box that has room:

Here we can see completed forms being placed in box #1.

3. Once a box is full, forms are placed in the next available box, in this case box #2:

4. And once that box is full, they move to the next one, in this case box #3:

5. Once all forms have been received by the deadline, the festival has a bunch of filled, numbered boxes:

6. They then randomly draw a number from 1 to whatever the highest number box they have, in this example, 80. The number drawn represents the box number from which the festival starts processing orders. Assume for this example that 33 was the number drawn:

The festival starts processing the forms in box #33. Once they have processed all the forms in the box, they move to the next one in numerical order, in this case #34. They continue until they reach the highest numbered box, here #80. Once they finish with that box, they loop back around to box #1 and start moving upwards, until they reach the box one number before the one drawn (#32).

At this point, all advanced orders have been processed and will be ready for pickup. In this example, if you were lucky enough to be in box #33, you would've gotten all your picks. But if you were in box #32, you probably won't get a lot of your picks. In that case, for each pick that wasn't fulfilled you will receive a coupon which you can use to select a film from whatever still has tickets available. You can use these coupons any time during the duration of the festival.


My experiences at the Toronto International Film Festival. Note this blog is not affiliated with the Toronto International Film Festival Group or the festival itself.
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