This chapter explores several informal discussions regarding whether one needed to be an insider in order to speak with authority about how film festivals work. It examines some of the challenges presented by festival research, from trying to get a handle on festival ontology to suggesting strategies for how novice researchers can devise a manageable project. The chapter explains some of the ontological complexity and epistemological tangles that await festival researchers. The vast majority of people who have direct personal experience with film festivals approach them from the perspective of an audience member, and certainly any discussion of positionality in festival research needs to account for these public audiences. Successful festival research requires careful attention to questions of positionality, of access, and of our own relationship to power structures. The "archive" of film festival studies can be elusive and incomplete, a challenge especially for researchers coming to the field of festivals for the first time.