Sunday, October 19, 2008

[TIFF 2008 Day Two]

It's Day Two of the Festival, and I'm still pretty much impressed by the way things are run, from efficiency in queue management, as well as little things like considerate preparation for press photographers. A couple of firsts today were achieved as well.

Today marks my first press conference coverage, one by choice, and the other, well, if it was up to me, I would have opted to watch the show instead. But alas a full house menat that the press conference for The Shonen Merikensack it will be. Compared to the two conferences, the size of coverage for Echo of Silence relatively paled in comparison, perhaps because of the presence of Aoi Miyazaki in the former that more would be inclined to cover it given her popularity. Translators were also on hand to assist us non-Japanese speakers a chance to partake in the Q&A sessions.

While I may sound like a green horn, I thought it was a nice process to have a stand in find and position himself for press photographers to stand by, while the subject can take a few moments away from the harsh flashes to freshen up a little, before coming back to the stage area for the photo roll-call. And talk about discipline, should it be announced that there would be no photography during the Q&A segment of the conference, I didn't see anyone attempt to violate that rule, because sometimes you do expect to see someone try to wing it and take a picture sans flash. Punctuality and timeliness again are key, and conferences are kept to end on time or earlier than scheduled, which I have mentioned, just the way I like it, for planning purposes.

Japanese subtitles run from right to left in vertical fashion. Only realized this as I begin to watch a slate of foreign language / non-Japanese language films that had Japanese in addition to English subs.

The Queue managers at the Toho cinemas also deserve special mention. I guess it is one of the most thankless and stresful jobs, despite having the queue system organized and optimized, there's always the running of the risk of meetinig some really nasty patrons who don't think twice about raising their voice. As if in doing that, the situation would improve. But what I found to be admirable, was the ability to stay calm and eat humble pie, even though you know that you're not the cause of the situation. While I thought it would be alright to wait in line for many minutes given only one counter operating for walk-in guests trying their luck, apologies to the customers in queue seems to be the norm, with nice gestures like updating everyone on those films that have already been sold out, so as not to waste their time.

And it's not just managing people in the queue, but those that are outside of it trying to cut it. Through a system of walkie talkie communications, everyone ensures that lost sheep are attended to every step of the way, so even if there's no malicious intent to upset those in the queue, you can be sure that you're well taken care of and not abandoned halfway through instructions given for you to go somewhere else – there will be someone looking out for you. This is Day Two, from the Tokyo International Film Festival.

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