Part of an ongoing series of articles that examines the particulars of that ubiquitious festival accessory, the all-important badge.
#1 - With this big (4.5 x 6.5 inch) badge plastered on your chest, there's no mistaking which festival you're attending, or what the dates are. I really like the date written into the sand -- someone really thought about bringing all the elements of the badge together. A badge this large could have supported much more information but the festival directors keep it simple and reveal that their primary focus is on branding and style rather than identity exchange or counterfeit prevention. There's really no reason you couldn't just loan your badge to a friend, and I get the feeling that the organizers have more important things to worry about, which is refreshing.
#2 - Badges are color coded by type - blue for VIPs, aqua for Industry, purple for Filmmakers, orange for Volunteers, etc. That makes it really easy to spot the kinds of people you're looking for, even if you can't "badge-peep" to find out who they are at a glance. (See #3.)
#3 - The section where one might expect to find an attendee's name instead displays their badge type. You can tell if someone is a filmmaker or industry type, but their name remains a mystery. You have to do it the old-fashioned way: introduce yourself. At least you're given some clues as to how to start the conversation. ("Which film is yours?")
#4 - The back of the badge is devoted to information, beginning with a listing of which events the badge will get you into. Sorry, you can't bluff your way past the bouncer by claiming that you bought that badge thinking it would get you into the opening night party -- the details are bumping against your tie-tack. I also like the fact that the procedures for attending screenings are also included.
#5 - A venue listing -- how practical! The only improvement here might have been some phone numbers for directions in case you don't know your way around. If I recall correctly, some of the party venues were omitted from the badge as well.
A few other tidbits might have been included on the back of the badge -- the fest web site or information number, for example, but overall it's a pretty good use of the space. Some fests sell the back of the badge to a sponsor, which is fine, but as an audience member I naturally prefer something functional. The badge is fully laminated rather than slipped into an envelope, so you'll need to keep those business cards in your pocket.
Newport Beach's badge matches the personality of the festival -- splashy and fun -- but also manages to be useful.