TCMFF 2017 Just Days Away: A Few Tips
Next week is the week! The Turner Classic Film Festival begins Thursday, April 6. Hollywood Blvd. between La Brea Avenue and Las Palmas Avenue is all decked out in TCM regalia, decorating the venues, theaters, restaurants and hotels associated with the four day cinema event that fans look forward to all year! If you've been, then you know what I mean. If you haven't, be warned and prepared. If you don't, you may regret it. Even worse, you might not have as much fun as you could have.
It's crunch time for us die-hard TCMFF attendees. If you haven't done so already, then over the next few days you will be organizing your final travel plans. This includes a variety of things from confirming the house watchers to pet care for your furry friends, making absentee excuses for work, and arranging transportation to and from wherever you're staying in LA. There's also the packing and repacking of the clothes to be worn (a whether app is recommended for the latest reports from LA). And most assuredly double check your itineraries for each day of viewing. I have yet to meet anyone who hasn't had to vary their selections of choice once they're actually in the fray of the TCMFF. Including myself... each and every year, nearly every day. It just can't be avoided, because, well, life happens and the unexpected gets in the way. Sometimes in a good way, like an unscheduled special guest is added to a screening or worse, am anticipated star cancels. Stay head off these kind of scheduling surprises by using the TCMFF App which is available for FREE from the iTunes Store (link). That way whenever there's an update to the festival in any way you'll be notified and be able to plan accordingly.
And then, of course, there's food. TCMFF fanatics have been known to survive on popcorn and soda, but every once in a while the urge for real food persists and the next thing you know you've skipped a screening that would have been nice to see, but, hey, what can you do. You gotta eat. I suggest you carry a bottle of water with you (the TCM lounge at the Roosevelt gives them away for free), and some easy to carry snacks, like nuts or energy bars. They're no substitute for a sit down meal, but when you're in a pinch you can stave off the need for more until a more appropriate time suits you.
The best thing you can do is plan for alternative choices ahead of time. But be sure they're ones you can get to quickly if your ideal choice suddenly becomes unattainable, like for those of us who got shut out of a very popular morning screening last year. There were so many of us scrambling to make it into any theater that many gave up and did nothing during that time period. And that was on the first full day! I say plan an alternative for every screening, just in case. This will help keep the drama to a minimum should disaster strike. Always be prepared!
And if you're in LA either before or after the fest be sure to take in some other classic film related activities. There's special event screenings happening in the area all the time such as those hosted by the American Cinematheque, the New Beverly Cinema or the Academy, and of course there are the studio tours at Warner Bros. and Universal Studios. These are all great options, but be sure to also check out some of the more unique events, such as the tour of the Hollywood Forever Cemetery happening the day before the festival starts. No reservations required, just show up at 10A and the resident crypt expert, Karie Bible will guid you through the (grave)sites for two and a half hours of film history like you've never heard it before.
All in all, preparation is the key to making the most out of this year's festival, and any other. If you're not attending the TCMFF this year but get TCM as part of your cable or streaming package, don't despair. Much of the festival is covered by the station, with on the spot reports, live interviews, and conversations with the stars being broadcast right into your home! Obviously, it's not the same thing, but if you plan ahead and make a schedule of what you want to catch it should be a reasonable substitute, at least until you can plan to make it out here in person.