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First time at True/False

Tips on how to dress, what to do and where to go


Last year, people patiently waited in line for their tickets. Observe these veterans so you know what to expect this year.

March 1, 2012 | 12:00 a.m. CST

Being a True/False rookie can be intimidating, especially if you’re planning on running between screenings in shoes without arch support. These hints will help newbies make sure they walk in with their Kleenex and out with their dignity.

Layer up, and check the forecast

Layer properly so that you can adjust to maximum comfort as you transition from waiting in a windy outside Q to a venue that rivals an inferno from the body heat, says Jess Soete, venue captain. Don’t forget your umbrella because it should rain on Friday. Otherwise, the forecast shows sunny skies on Thursday and Saturday.

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Have a game plan

Planning ahead will give you more options. Seven-time attendee John Foley says his wife makes a color-coded schedule ranking their first-, second- and third-choice films. Peruse the selections on our True/False decision matrix to help create your own game plan.

Bring your kleenex

If you’re a crier, stock up on tissues, and consider a waterproof mascara. Venue Captain Eric Soete says some of the films can make you cry from pure joy, others from overwhelming sadness.

Don’t be afraid of the Q

That line might look impossible, but don’t discount your chances of getting in, Managing Director Jeremy Brown says. The odds of getting into Little Ragtag might not be great, but the odds of getting into one of the 1,732 seats in Jesse Auditorium aren’t too shabby.

Know your limits

Even those who aren’t especially prone to fits of tears can get overwhelmed by the emotional documentary roller coaster, so make sure you space out the heavier films. Eric says you’ll be able to tell the burnouts when you walk into a coffee shop and see the people who look like they got hit by a train.

Don’t Tweet about Secret Screenings

They have “secret” in the title for a reason. By the way, according to Jess, these are the films you really want to see.

Be courteous

Keep your cell phone turned off and the talking to a minimum, Foley says. It’s not just your fellow True/Falsers you’ll be disrespecting. There’s a good chance the person who made the film will see your screen lighting up the theater — even if it’s only to check the time.

Check your biases at the Q&A

Go to the Q&A with directors without preconceived opinions, and ask questions. The directors are open to different viewpoints and an open mind will help you better appreciate the story that’s told, Eric says.

Take In the night life

The festival doesn’t stop when the reels stop turning. The March March on Friday, the Gimme Truth trivia game on Saturday or the music showcases that take place every evening at Café Berlin can keep first-time True/Falsers occupied until the wee hours of the morning. Volunteer Ben Schwenker says festival goers who forget about the night life are missing out. “Some people feel like True/False is only about the documentaries, but when you get to the root of it, it’s more about the culture.”

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