The Toronto International Film Festival. It’s a celebration of celluloid, cinema and celebrity but for PRs and publicists it’s a full contact endurance sport.
Ultra-marathons? Puh-leeze. Iron Man races? You know nothing.
We’re up at 6 a.m. compiling audience feedback, confirming interview spots and sending out press breaks. Then it’s off to screenings, booking more interviews (often finangling them on the fly) and shepherding our talent around town. When 7 p.m. rolls around, we’re off to events and parties for networking.
And just as your teachers told you at school, failing to prepare is preparing to fail. So without further ado, here’s our battle-tested TIFF survival guide:
Think you can just grab your purse and go? AMATEUR! Fail to tote these things around with you at your peril –
- Phone charger
- Spare pair of flat shoes
- Breath mints
- Make-up essentials
- Make-up remover wipes
- Laptop and power cord
- Hairbrush, mini hairspray and mini dry shampoo
- TTC pass
- TIFF programme
Sleep is for the weak. But if you must, sleep when you can, where you can.
The couches in hotel lobbies are completely fair game for a 10min power nap.
A publicist cannot live on popcorn alone. Sling some nuts and dried fruit into that bag of yours to make sure you have a high energy snack on hand to stop you passing out in a dead faint. That’s never a professional thing to do.
Prepare to be polite but firm about swiping canapes as they go past.
If you find a stash of cheese and crackers in some neglected hotel ballroom, tell only those most dear to you. Once word gets out, a junket of journalists will descend on it like locust and your cunning plan of getting at least 500 calories a day will be ruined.
Perception is everything, so decide right now to think of TIFF as your enforced 5:2 diet and you’ll love it.
For the love of all we hold sacred, get the Uber app on your phone.
DocScan allows you to scan coverage and press breaks from anywhere. That means you’ll be getting your hard-earned column inches seen by your clients in minutes.
When the crowd of actors, directors, journalists, who-are-you-and-why-are-you-here’s start muttering about where to get a bite to eat, turn to AroundMe for an instant list of the closest dining options. It’ll also sort you out for ATM’s which is also a lifesaver.
The longest spa appointment you can manage.
Book it now. Knowing there’s whale music, acres of fluffy towels and a masseuse asking “how’s this pressure?” at the end of it all will get you through it.
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