In case you wondering how to fill out an order form, you'll need the following:
1. The Official Film Schedule:
2. The Advance Order Book:
3. A yellow highlighter.
4. A green highlighter.
Let's consider an example where you want to see the film L'Annulaire on one of the days of the festival. Note this is an example from a previous year. The order form looks as follows:
First, write the number of tickets you want in the box labeled "1st" next to the name of the film. In this example, we want 2 tickets. This will represent your first choice for this timeslot.
Next, highlight the name of the film with a yellow highlighter (you will have received one if you picked up a programme book, otherwise supply your own). Note the colour MUST be yellow. Do NOT highlight the barcode.
Next, find a film around the same time that will be your backup choice if your first choice is already full when they get around to processing your order form. Note this step is optional. If you do not specify a backup film and your first choice is full, you will receive a ticket voucher which you can redeem at a later date for another film at the festival.
In this example, Battle in Heaven will be the backup choice. Next to your backup film, write the number of tickets you want in the box labeled "2nd". In this example we still want 2 tickets.
Next, highlight the name of the backup film with a green highlighter (you will have received one if you picked up a programme book, otherwise supply your own). Note the colour MUST be green. Do NOT highlight the barcode.
Your form should look as follows:
Repeat this process until you run out of coupons or choices. For example, if you ordered a 10-ticket Package, and you wanted 2 tickets for each film, you would select 5 1st choice films and optionally, 5 2nd choice backups. If your second choice for a film is not close to the first choice, or it is not obvious what or where the second choice is, feel free to write a note or draw an arrow, but don't write over any of the barcodes, and don't make things difficult for the festival staff by making it complicated.
Note the restrictions on your particular package when selecting films, to ensure your order is processed correctly:
- Festival Package: 1 ticket per screening, maximum of 50 tickets across all screenings in the order, no screenings at Roy Thomson Hall or the Visa Screening Room
- Festival Lite Package: 1 ticket per screening (this is less than in previous years), maximum of 30 tickets across all screenings in the order, no screenings at Roy Thomson Hall or the Visa Screening Room
- Daytime Package: 1 ticket per screening, maximum of 25 tickets across all screenings in the order, screenings must start before 5:01 PM, no screenings at Roy Thomson Hall or the Visa Screening Room
- Daytime Lite Package: 1 ticket per screening, maximum of 15 tickets across all screenings in the order, screenings must start before 5:01 PM, no screenings at Roy Thomson Hall or the Visa Screening Room
- 10-ticket Package: 4 tickets per screening (this is less than in previous years), maximum of 10 tickets across all screenings in the order, no screenings at Roy Thomson Hall or the Visa Screening Room
- Family Package: 4 tickets to 2 out of the 4 films in the Sprockets Family Zone programme.
You can place all your choices in a single Advance Order Book, regardless of how many passes or packages you bought. If you bought 3 10-ticket Packages, then all 30 1st choices and all 30 2nd choices can go in the same book.
For any tickets that you choose not to use in the advance order process, or any choices that can't be filled because the film is sold out, you will receive vouchers that you can use towards other films with availability. You can do this alternate selection on September 1 when you pick up your completed order, or during the festival itself.
When selecting films, don't forget to account for the following:
- Films may not start or end on time
- Times in the schedule do not include time for Q&A sessions after the film if the director or actors are present
- You should account for travel time between theatres, as some are far apart from one another
Once you have finished picking your films and filling out the Advanced Order Book, ensure you fill out the "Ticket Order Form" information at the bottom of page 3 of the Advance Order Book. If you want the festival to call you in the event of any difficulties regardless of the time of day or night, you could place a note on the form, but that's not a guarantee the festival will call. Note they process orders around the clock, so they could call you in the middle of the night if you so note.
Once you have filled out that information, place the completed Advance Order Book in the envelope you received when you picked up your form:
Fill out the "Total Number of Tickets Requested in this order" box at the top right of the envelope. If you have 3 10-film packages, then you would write 30 in this box.
Fill out the contact information on the envelope. If you include an e-mail address, then the festival should notify you by e-mail which of your choices were filled and which were not when they have finished processing your order. If you bought the pass or 10-film package for someone else, ensure their name is also included on the form in the spot provided.
Take the Drop Off Voucher that you should have received in the mail a while ago and place it in the envelope window. Do NOT include the Pick Up Voucher; you need to keep that to pick up your completed order starting Monday, September 1 at 10:00 AM at the Toronto Life Square box office.
Do NOT seal the envelope; leave the flap open or tuck it in, but do not seal it.
If you have a Festival or Daytime Package, then I believe you submit one envelope per Package. If you bought multiple 10-ticket Packages under your name in one order/transaction, then you will submit one envelope for all the packages. Basically, you should have one envelope per Drop Off Voucher that you have.
Drop off the envelope at the Toronto Life Square box office before 1:00 PM on Friday, August 29 (that's this Friday!). Note this is the only box office that will accept these forms. If you do not turn in your envelope by 1:00 PM on Friday, then you will miss the lottery, and your form will be processed after everyone else's.
The festival staff then spends the weekend processing orders. You can then line up at the Toronto Life Square box office any time from Monday, September 1 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 them for your processed orders. If you receive an e-mail from the festival saying you got all your choices, then I would recommend that you do NOT show up first thing in the morning, as there will be long wait (Shannon the Movie Moxie spent 6-1/2 hours in line last year to get her orders and make alternate selections). If you didn't receive all your picks, then you should line up in the morning, as you will receive ticket vouchers in place of your missed picks. You can then move to another line to immediately use those vouchers to pick other films that are still available; alternatively, you can wait to use those vouchers during the festival.
Now, why don't you need to speed through getting your Advance Order Book completed as soon as possible? 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). The festival usually sends e-mails out letting you know which of your choices you have gotten.
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 typically 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.
Note that there is a twist to the process this year. Festival patrons that donated at least $250 to the festival this year get processed before the other boxes mentioned above. And even amongst donors, the ones who contributed more money get priority over other donors. It will be interesting to see how many people end up in the donor boxes, and how that affects everyone else in the process.
Just for interest, the graph below gives you an idea of when people submitted their order forms in 2006:
The bulk seemed to drop their forms off in the final three hours or so before the deadline. Last year, box 66 out of 75 was randomly drawn as the starting point. My friend and I had forms in boxes 21 and 49, and we didn't get only 3 out of the 60 films we selected (but then we didn't pick many big name films).