TIFF Diary (2) : My First Volunteer Shift

by shirls on September 25, 2007 · 0 comments in 加拿大多伦多生活,大节大日,帮帮小忙

DAY TWO (Sept 7th, Fri)

早上六点,在闹钟还未来得及吵醒我时,我已自动醒来。朦松间,心里有点诧异 :我怎么这么疯? 在药剂行上班时也没这么早起床!

我七点钟已到达Cumberland 戏院,竟早到半个小时。有一,两个volunteers也已到了,人人都有点似醒非醒的。

今天,我是一名ACE volunteer, 即是紧急工作人员。依常规,ACE 要到自愿工作人员的休息室报到。在值班的时间,如果接到任何一个部门或戏院请求帮忙的电话,ACE 工作人员就会马上被分派到该地工作。听说,如果在值班的时间的头两,三个小时,没接到请求帮忙的电话,ACE 可以提早放工。

在昨天,我已收到电话,所以今早不用到自愿工作休息室等电话,直接到Cumberland戏院报到即可。在等待组长抵达时, 我向一位有经验的工作人员请教,如厕所在哪,售票处在哪等。Cumberland 属于中小型戏院,只有四个放映室,还算容易熟悉起来。

约十分钟后, 我们的组长一到,我们就先开始佈置,如安置好指示牌,将指定的排队范围围栏起来,摆放好TIFF放映时间表的小册子等等。准备妥当后,组长就开始分派工作,如有些人在戏院外控制排队的秩序,负责分派小册子等。

我被分派到戏院内的工作。戏院内的工作有几种 :有人负责剪票的,有人控制进出戏院秩序的。还有,一工作人员用计算器计算进场的人次。这样我们就可以正确地知道院内有多少空席,以便让Rush Line 排队的人进场。这也是为了记录每场电影的观众总人数。另有一人会分派投票表格给观众,以在戏后评价电影。当电影节完毕后,最受观众喜爱的电影会以此选出。

工作算很轻松。每隔两小时左右,我们还有休息时间。 我们也准时放工。组长再三声明,如遇到麻烦或刁难的人, 不用自己应付, 马上找组长即可。组长也一再谢谢我们的帮助。每一部电影开映前,都有一个谢谢自愿工作人员的前奏短片。我看了那么多电影,每一次这个鸣谢前奏上映时,观众们都会热烈鼓掌以示谢谢。

我见过好几个观众对我们说:“每次进场前,我都很开心,因为有那么多自愿工作人员对我微笑。” 真的,每个人都真的很友善。

我和几个自愿工作人员谈天, 每个人的背景都很不同。有位当地的退休人士,有位上大学的学生,有位日本旅客,有位上班人士, 有位刚刚辞职而想要转行的印度女士,有妈妈女儿一起来的,等等。来当自愿工作人员也为必爱电影。很多是想有一种新体验,有很多已做了很多年,还都很喜欢这个工作环境。所以,虽没酬劳,每人都很乐意和认真地工作。

其实,当被友善对待和珍惜时,哪有人不认真工作的。这么简单的道理,真不明白为什么有那么多商业管理层还不懂。TIFF超过两千多名的自愿工作者就是最好的例子,这也是TIFF成功的原因。

如果明年我还住在多伦多和有空闲时间的话,我会回来工作。

Before the alarm clock rang, I woke up on my own at 6am. I wondered what’s wrong with myself and why I was never this serious even during my working days in pharmacy.

At 7am, I arrived at Cumberland Theatre. I was half an hour early and some volunteers had arrived too. Everyone looked like only half awake.

I was an ACE volunteer today. ACE volunteers were the emergency volunteers whom would be dispatched to the areas that needed help the most. Normally, the ACE volunteers would be expected to report to the ACE Volunteer Lounge, then they would be dispatched according to the phone calls for help. I had heard that if no particular request within the first two to three hours of the shift, ACE volunteers could finish the shift early.

I was not that lucky 😉 I received a phone yesterday from the the Volunteer Officer and I was informed to go Cumberland Theatre directly instead of reporting to Volunteer Lounge.

While we were waiting for the arrival of our captain, I tried to familiarised myself with the theatre. I found out where the toilet are, where to buy tickets etc with the help from an experienced volunteer. Cumberland Theatre is a medium size multiplex cinema with only four cinemas within the building, hence it was not too difficult to familiarise with.

15 minutes later, captain arrived and we started the set up immediately. We placed all the signages at the appropriate spots, we arranged areas for line up, we took out TIFF brochures for distribution later etc. After set up were done, we were assigned to specific responsibilities. Some volunteers volunteered to work outside of the theatre to control the traffic and the line up, some to give out TIFF brochures and so on.

I volunteered to work inside the theatre. Usually, each cinema had about at least three volunteers : one being the movie ticket tearer; one to control the in-out flow of audiences; one volunteer to be the head counter. An accurate head count was an important measurement to decide amount of people from Rush Line were allowed to go into the cinema. We also had to record the total number of audiences for each film. Another volunteer would give out ballot to audience to vote the film. At the end of the festival, an audience’s most favourite films would be voted out through this ballot.

The work itself was pretty simple and easy. We were treated very well. For example, we were entitled to 15 minutes break every two hours or so and we finished the shift on time. Also, we were advised that we did not have to handle the difficult audiences ourselves, instead we were asked to immediately get the captain to handle the situation. The captain said thank you to us most of the times. In addition to that, at the beginning of each film, there were a special thank you to all volunteers. Every time when I was in the cinemas watching movies myself, I never fail to hear the applause from the audiences to show their appreciation to the volunteers. I was so touched by it.

There were a few audience told me personally how happy they were when they saw our smiles before they entered the cinemas. Frankly, it was true, most volunteers were really friendly people.

In between films, I had the chance to chat with a few volunteers. Everyone of them had such diverse backgrounds – one was a local retiree, one was a university student, one was a Japanese tourist, one was a office worker, one Indian lady was in between jobs and wanted to change career, one came to volunteer together with her mother. Some volunteers might not love films, instead they wanted a new and different experiences. Some of them had worked as a volunteer for many years and still loving it. I saw their seriousness and joys working here even without any returns.

I think when people are treated respectfully and are appreciated, they will definitely work hard. Sometimes, I wonder why some corporate companies still don’t get this right. More than 2000 volunteers work happily and voluntarily for TIFF is a good example and this is the one of the reasons why TIFF has become one of the most successful film festivals in the world.

If I am still living in Toronto next year and has free times, I will come back to volunteer without any hesitation.

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