Festival lifejacket: Tips for staying dry at the Fest

You're ready to take the plunge and dive headfirst into the Film Festival. To help you navigate the treacherous shoals of multiple movies in one day, The Hook throws a lifeline to make the experience as painless as possible, for both you and your fellow festival-goers.

This is no time to be late: There's nothing worse than driving around looking for parking just when your movie is about to begin. This scenario is most likely to happen at Culbreth, where the Film Festival will be competing with Family Weekend for scarce parking on the UVA Grounds. The wise moviegoer allows at least 30 minutes to get situated there. Also, if you need to pick up tickets, especially for sold-out events, get there before they're released to the general public.

Getting into sold-out screenings: All unclaimed tickets go on sale 10-15 minutes before the screening. The Festival holds back 20 to 25 percent of the tickets, even to sold-out events, so it is possible to show up, wait in line, and get a ticket. At press time, the screening of Nicolas Cage's Sonny and Roger Ebert's shot-by-shot Chinatown workshops were sold out, and Leaving Las Vegas and The River with Sissy Spacek were close. Again, get there early for the best chance at nabbing a ticket.

Culbreth warning: The Festival's largest venue is also the worst in terms of parking, concessions, and just plain uncomfortable seats for watching movies. Festival organizers promise a "detectable improvement" in the food offerings, but don't expect to be able to grab a sandwich. Bring your own hearty provisions, especially if you're seeing more than one movie there. Tailgating is the civilized way to feed between screenings when you don't have time to dash out for a bite.

Cast your fate to public transportation: As chilling a thought as that is, sometimes taking the free trolley service from downtown to UVA really is the best way to avoid the parking hassles of movies at Culbreth. The trolley is supposed to run every 15 minutes until 11:53pm. You're still going to have to allow at least 30 minutes, and count on walking from the Rotunda to Culbreth.

Bring reading material: You've allowed plenty of time, so of course you'll run into no delays. Be prepared.

Set your clock back one hour: Daylight Saving Time ends at 2am Sunday, and you won't want to show up an hour early for a movie.

There are no stupid questions– not ! The scourge of the Festival is the proclaimers, those who squander the opportunity to ask people connected with a film about the film, and instead want to talk about themselves or make statements, as if we care. Quick test: if your question has the pronoun "I" in it, don't ask it.

Don't bring your autograph book: Sure, this may be your only chance to see Cage or Sissy Spacek, but in Charlottesville, harassing celebrities for autographs really makes us cringe. Worshipping from afar is the preferred method of honoring the famous.

No talking: It seems so obvious that we really shouldn't have to mention it, but every year we run across some moron who wants to talk during the movie or worse, sing along. Remember, talkers, you'll be facing a hostile crowd, one more than willing to pummel you with popcorn or toss you into the Aquatic Pool without a lifejacket.