Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Interview with Jeff Medley

Truckey speaks with Big Sky's Volunteer Coordinator Jeff Medley about his inability to get a job at a grocery store in Missoula ("Come on, I have a degree!"), documentary directors' fascinations with nail files, his plan to sing before each screening on Valentine's Day, and, of course, the perks of being a volunteer BSDFF.

TRUCKEY: What are the perks for the volunteers who work long, arduous hours at the fest?

MEDLEY: The perks, for my beloved volunteers... I would have to say the camaraderie. There's a certain buzz in the air that time of year.

They do get a nice t-shirt (American Apparell again this year, I think), a ticket per shift and for those crazy few who sign up for 12 shifts - the VIP All-Access Pass!!! That is a huge time commitment of approximately 36 hours, but that's four hours easier than last year. With that pass, these crazed volunteers can hit the lounge in the morning for coffee and snacks, happy hours several of the afternoons and parties quite a few nights allowing them to maintain a steady buzz for the entire festival. Not to mention all the great films. Crap! It's fun!

The biggest perk is that I'm planning to sing My Funny Valentine before each screening on Valentine's Day, if time allows, to serenade my volunteers and the people out on dates. There will be so many people at films on dates with their sweethearts! This probably will not actually happen since I haven't even mentioned it to any of the powers that be... I'm a little shy, too.

T: If you had to do one of the volunteer positions for the fest, which would it be?

M: In the morning, I would probably have to choose the lounge... the filmmakers' lounge. It's tough to beat coffee, tea, pastries or something similar. The resident volunteer has to sample the wares to monitor the level of freshness...

I should be plugging the box office and will call. We need people in there selling tickets... the front line of the public interface, making change, swiping credit cards.

T: How long have you been working with Big Sky?

M: This is my third year at the festival.

T: How did you get involved?

M: Three years ago, I was still pretty new on the Missoula scene, trying to get involved in the community, meet people and find gainful employment in a tough town. I was on the verge of throwing myself off a cliff... I had been rejected from a grocery store hiring for a frozen food stocker. Come on, I have a degree! But, I didn't have any experience handling large quantities of frozen food. It was a dark time.

Anyway, this girl, Mary, mentioned that the festival was looking for volunteers. I had a lot of time on my hands, went in to talk with them, started signing up for a few blocks of time and ended up leaving with the distinguished title of VIP Liaison. which meant picking up directors at the airport and taking them out to buy nail files, Missoula's best burger and things like that.

Last year, I was encouraged to become the volunteer coordinator and here I am again.

T: What's the best thing, hands down, about working at Big Sky?

M: The best thing... it's that buzz, I suppose, not the caffeine/alcohol buzz, but the love/Pisces sort of buzz. These creative directors are coming to Missoula from all over the world and sharing their labors of love... these works of art that, in some cases, they have devoted years of their lives to making. And the crowd, while mostly made up of the lovely people of Missoula and surrounding areas, is made up of people from all over the country and the world, for that matter. It is a special event.


See Medley's plea for volunteers below. 


The Big Sky Documentary Film Festival wants you!!!

We need so many volunteers from Feb. 13 - 22, it's not funny! Well, maybe a little depending on your sense of humor.

I'm the volunteer coordinator and I need your help.
So, please, contact me at volunteer@bigskyfilmfest.org and I'll explain everything... EVERYTHING.
We need ushers, box office/will call, pass line, projectionists, lounge attendants and more!!!

Here's the site for the festival: http://www.bigskyfilmfest.org/
And this one has descriptions of the films being screened: http://bigsky.bside.com/2009/films
It'll be fun, you'll see some great films, meet interesting people.
Think about it and don't hesitate to get involved!

Tell your friends, colleagues and strangers about this great opportunity. Forward this message, so you and the recipients will be able to explain everything just by contacting me and it's possible that millions of dollars will appear in their bank accounts from Nigeria or the Philippines!


Jeff Medley
BSDFF Volunteer Coordinator

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