How I Got Myself into the Invite-only TIFF 2015 Opening Night Party

Sep 13, 2015 by

09.13.2015 - How I Got Myself into the Invite-only TIFF 2015 Opening Night Party

          Two Septembers ago, on opening day of the Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF), I spent hours researching how to get into the invite-only opening night party. I had wanted to go to a TIFF party for years, but that year, 2013, I had begun The Happiness Experiment, so I had the motivation to actually try. I found an article written by a woman who successfully did it, and it was quite the production: she got all dressed up, had her hair professionally done, and used the name of a contact she had gotten through the magazine she worked for. Giving up already, I went downtown on opening night with my best friend, dressed in daywear with intention to scope out the opening night party at Maple Leaf Square and go to the street festival when we didn’t get in.

          Last September, I was too wrapped up in going to Paris for TIFF to make my priority list. Like every year prior, I told myself I’d actually, for real this time do it next year. But this September came so quickly that I completely forgot about TIFF until I heard it mentioned on the radio last week. Given that the festival was scheduled to begin soon and I hadn’t budgeted for it, like always, I shrugged it off for next year.

          That is, until I saw an email in my work inbox at end of day on Wednesday with a subject that read, “TIFF Opening Night Party Tickets.” One of my coworkers had done work for TIFF in the past, putting her on the invite list. Because she and her friends could no longer go, she had six tickets up for grabs. I don’t believe in signs, but I took that email as a definite sign. When the hell was I going to get another legitimate chance to get into the opening night party?

          She was selling the tickets for $130 a piece, which included unlimited food and drink. When I asked her about the price, she brought it down to $120. Still steep. I had the money, but I wasn’t sure if it was worth it. While on the fence, I texted a friend to see if he wanted in. He spent hours going back and forth to ultimately decide that he couldn’t afford it. Meanwhile, I had been having dinner with a couple friends, making me forget about TIFF for a bit and allowing my impulsive wind to come down to a breeze. Like him, I decided not to dish out the money.

          That is, until I woke up the next morning, TIFF 40 opening day. Throughout my entire workout, I could hear applicable happiness tips in favour of TIFF running through my head:

          #222. Say yes.

          #111. Realize that your life is as exciting as you choose to make it.

          And most tauntingly:

          #92. Do what you’ll regret not doing.

          Fuck the money! (#127. Do something fabulously foolish with your money!) I couldn’t not go. This wasn’t just something I kind of wanted to do anymore. This was a Happiness Experiment must. I texted my coworker to let her know that I wanted one ticket.

          “I’d like to sell them as a pair, because otherwise the other ticket will just get burnt,” she replied. “If I don’t end up selling these two by lunchtime-ish, then I’ll let you know. These are my last two. I already sold the other four! So I’ll get back to you again soon,” she said with a smiley face.

          Totally understandable.

          I texted another friend that I thought might be interested. He also really wanted to go but couldn’t. At that point, I reluctantly dropped the TIFF idea.

          That is, until I was on my way to aerial after work, kind of disappointed in myself for not trying harder. I received a text from the second friend who declined, telling me how much he wanted to go (but still couldn’t).

          “You’re killing me. I want to go so bad!” I responded. “And I have this white dress I’ve been saving for something good. The invite-only TIFF opening night party is totally white-dress good!”

          I was still thinking about it while in my cocoon at the end of aerial. On top of this being something I needed to do for The Happiness Experiment, it was now something I felt I needed to do for single people everywhere. I was not okay with missing out on something because I didn’t have a plus one. I’m an advocator of independent adventures. I believe almost anything typically done with people can be done solo, and I needed to continue to make that point.

          After aerial, I sat outside of the studio in my car for at least 45 minutes, trying to figure this out. I had friend two still texting me about wishing he could go, I had TIFF on hold on the phone, and I had Google on a mad search.

          And then I saw it.

          While Googling for tickets to the already sold-out closing night party (which is open to the public) to try to make this up to myself (although it wouldn’t feel like as much of an accomplishment as getting into an exclusive TIFF event, which was kind of the point), I saw a Craigslist ad. Someone was selling a single ticket to the opening night party! It was scheduled to begin in less than three hours, so I emailed him immediately. He got back to me within minutes. We arranged to meet outside of his downtown condo for 9:30 pm. The party was scheduled to start at 10 pm at the TIFF Bell Lightbox.

          I rushed home, showered, curled my hair in record time, and slipped into that white dress that’s been waiting for me. I got to the guy selling me the ticket by 9:25 pm, which FYI, is miracle work for me, given that 15 minutes late is my definition of early. I parked my car and finished what was left to do of my hair, quickly sticking bobby pins in various directions to create some side thing that a girl at The Keg on King (where I stopped to use the washroom) told me looked stunning (loved her!).

          “I should have just said fuck it and went,” friend two texted me while I was on my way.

          “You should have! I’m going!” I told him before texting friend one with an update: “I’m going! And for only $75!”

          “Whaaaat!!” he exclaimed. “That’s solid savings!”

          You’re probably wondering how the party was. Honestly, I’ve been to better parties and for free. But it wasn’t about the party. It was about showing myself that I could make it happen, even without an invite, even without a connection, and even without a plus one.

Happiness Tip: Make it happen.

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