I got involved with the festival when we moved to Utah and I figured it would be a great place to meet other movie fans and network with folks who might possibly help me find an interesting and rewarding job. My first year, 2004, I volunteered (with my left foot in a soft boot due to bunion surgery) at the Broadway Theater. I also had several pre-fest assignments in Park City. The day after Christmas found me working at the Festival store selling t-shirts. That was the slowest and most boring day I ever spent. The night before it snowed over a foot and Park City, due to its mountain location, was a mess. I think we had five customers during my eight hour shift. A total snooze and not what I expected at all. Bleh.
For my next non-Salt Lake assignment I was slated to assist the stage crew set up on Main Street for the band The Presidents of the United States of America. Apparently, unbeknownst to the powers that be, stage erection is a union thing and they not only did not need my help, they did not want it. So I was reassigned to ice patrol. They gave a 42 year old woman with her foot in a medical boot a shovel and told her to chop the built up ice in the gutters that were cut down to accommodate wheelchair access. So I spent most of my shift wandering around Park City packing a shovel, obliterating ice, and getting the hairy eyeball from festival patrons.
"The crowds parted with a gasp as the suspected Shovel Murderer slowly made her way up the steep and icy sidewalks of Main Street, the erratic rhythm of her hideous step… drag… step… drag… sending chills racing up their collective spines. She brandished her instrument of torture, a pointed garden shovel stolen from True Value, and the image was intimidating enough to scare even the brattiest child, or most hardened, spoiled Hollywood celebrity, into behaving themselves…"
Ahh, good times.
The following year, 2005, *they* asked me to be the waitlist manager at the Broadway Theater. This means you work outside wrangling the waitlist line. The term "Crowd Liaison" is bandied about, but technically you're more of a combination bouncer, person who tells you to take a number at the deli counter, and playground monitor. I firmly believe I was suggested for the job not because of my sparkling wit and personality, but because I had the proper outdoor attire, (carriage driver, you know…)
Now I'm at The Rose Wagner Theater, what I believe is the best venue in Salt Lake. We have a beautiful 477 seat auditorium, fully appointed green room that we use as a volunteer lounge, and best of all, no hills to slog up and down. YAY!
So volunteering didn't get me what I thought it would, a job, I got that on my own, but I have made some fabulous friends that I stay in touch with 11 months out of the year on Facebook, and get to go and play with for a two week period in January. Only one of them is in the filmmaking business, but we're all fans. And a little insane. And starting next week we get to dance together for 10 days, after which we will go back to our regular lives, exhausted, and with a little more swag than we started out with. And a lot more memories.
Ahh, good times.