Today TIFF 2017 officially kicks off, which means that in addition to not being able to drive down King St. West in Toronto, every movie in the world will be debuting and every movie star in the history of time and space will be spotted at various restaurants you don’t normally eat at, but will start if it means you get to sit next to George Clooney. (Although I mean, none of us will. And if we do, what are we going to do? Interrupt his dinner? “Hey George, can I grab a pic?” Absolutely not. We’ll tell people we saw him once and move on with our lives.)
And while I assume we’re all on the same page, just to cover my bases, here is my guide to doing TIFF properly. There will be no mention of parties, and no guides to where to spot who. This is just a list of everything you need to do to ensure you TIFF like no one’s watching and do not annoy me or others in the process.
Remember: it is a movie festival
This means that this is a fun thing. It is a good time. You aren’t fighting fires, and you aren’t working a 12-hour shift in the ER. You are hanging out and watching movies and going to fun events and, even if your job is within TIFF (the institution) or you’re a person debuting a film (congrats), it’s going to be okay. You might get very tired and that’s super fair, but also when you do get tired, you get to be tired in an air-conditioned theatre in front of a movie. Take three deep breaths. See? It’s fine. You’re fine.
You can leave whenever you want
My favourite rule in life is remembering that unless you’re on a plane and flying over the ocean, you can literally leave anything any time you want. You just get to leave! So this means that if you find yourself at a party complaining that a PR company is out of the free hats they were giving away, you have sent the universal signal that maybe it’s time to leave. Maybe you go home and have a tea and fix your energy because no one is keeping you at the party where you don’t like the appetizers and keep talking about how you’d rather be in bed. You can go to bed! You’re allowed to go there. No parties are supposed to be terrible, so leave when it starts to feel that way. YOU CAN JUST GO.
But seriously don’t complain about free things
Like, don’t. Don’t do it. If the food tent is out of the free tiny sandwiches you were excited about, they are free, so I don’t know what to tell you. This isn’t a problem? A lack of swag bags is not a problem. Not getting the perfect selfie with Idris Elba is upsetting (like, in one’s soul), but it is not a problem. Everything is okay. My go-to rule is: “If I say this complaint out loud to a person outside of this bubble, will I sound deranged?” And look: getting angry at a rep who doesn’t have the complimentary can of La Croix you were craving will make you sound out of your mind. Being bothered over a shoe stand running out of your size of free sneakers or whatever is bananas. And not in the Gwen Stefani sense of the word.
Do not walk like, eight across, slowly, on the sidewalk
There are no words for how much I hate this. Don’t do this at TIFF, don’t do this ever. Why would you do this? Why do you hate me?
Remember that parties are super cool but also nobody cares
The other thing about parties is that nobody is thinking about anybody about themselves when they’re at them. This means that you can stuff a lot of small appetizers in your bag and no one will see. You will never be free until you realize everybody is so preoccupied with wanting to be befriended by a famous that they are only thinking about how good they look in those dimly-lit spaces. Go through their bags. JK. But for real, just begin hoarding complimentary bottles of water because they’re very useful to have in life.
All celebrities you meet will fall in love with you, so please be careful
We don’t tend to talk about it, but it’s true: if you meet a famous person, they will 100% fall in love with you regardless of whether or not you’re interested. This is just the way it works. Maybe it was because you were screaming by the red carpet or maybe it was because you stood, looking intentionally bored, by their car in the parking lot. Either way, they will set eyes on you and decide you’re the person they need to be with. It’s up to you not to break their hearts. It’s up to you to say, “Wow, this is very flattering [name], but you don’t even know me — we can’t do this.” Because your rejection will add another layer of mystery to these already sensitive souls. They will give the performance of their lives in an attempt to win you over. Then, they will be nominated for an Oscar. And just as they’re about to get over you, you find a way to contact them and say, “Yes, I will go with you to the Academy Awards.” And you do, but you don’t walk the red carpet, and while no one publicly knows about your relationship to keep your life peaceful and quiet, you sleep every night knowing that he only took that role in The Revenant to impress you.
Or at least that’s how you begin dating Leonardo DiCaprio, particularly if your name is Anne T. Donahue.