This week I had planned to work on my PhD, putting the finishing touches to one of my early chapters. Instead I have been burning dozens of DVDs, folding hundreds of pieces of paper and printing mountains of order forms. There has also been a lot of shouting at computers. This is the glamorous life of a film festival chair less than a week before THE event of the year.

As usual formatting the DVDs to play at the red carpet screening has been a nightmare. Damaged discs, garbled tapes and incompatibility between PCs and Macs have turned a simple job into one that has taken about 10 hours to sort. I am very tired. I am very grumpy. I hate Macs even more than I usually do – but at least the job is now done and the films look and sound fantastic on the screen. However there has to be a more efficient way of doing things and next year we hope to get rid of hard copies all together and rip straight from You Tube, meaning I get more time to do other things, like sleep.

The other monotonous task of the week has been putting the programmes together (they will be on sale for the bargain price of £2). Designing and laying them out was the fun bit but once they were printed it meant folding up 400 pieces of paper and stapling them together. We got a steady production line going, but we could really do with some Film Northants elves – I’m looking into it for next year.

Getting drawstring bags at short notice has been another problem to overcome. They seem innocuous enough but the week after kids have gone back to school and suddenly the drawstring bag shelves are bare. Thank goodness for the internet then and let’s just hope they turn up in time, otherwise prize winners will be carrying around DVDs, books and merchandise in their bare hands – heaven forbid.

Fortunately a quick scout at the cinema this morning was one of the less frustrating jobs of the week and everything seems to be in hand. The films were tested on the big screen, and what a big screen it is. Upgraded from the 145-seater we had last year to the 250-seater means we have a giant screen and massive audience. Cineworld have been fantastic throughout and this year really is going to be our biggest and best joint effort to date.

Just a few (dozen) things to do before the big night. Thankfully my team of volunteers are fully briefed and taking some of the burden. The job this evening is sorting the prizes and goodie bags which can be done whilst catching up with series 3 of Sons of Anarchy, so all is good.

Despite all the hard work and grumbling I can’t wait for the big night and hopefully this time I will get to chat to the finalists and guests. Come and say hello if you see me running past as it would be great to hear your feedback on the night.  See you all on Monday and good luck to all the finalists!