Hello Film Doctor friends.
Today’s Monday Prescription is dedicated to anyone attending Cannes for the first time, but could also serve as a general checklist for next year.
1 Month Before Cannes
Now, of course, if you’re working in distribution, exhibition or sales, then you could be planning for Cannes all year round. But, for writers/directors/producers, one month is about the latest you can leave it – especially for No. 1 and No. 2. If you’re behind on any of these, get things in gear pronto! Or you’re likely to a). face a mad organisational dash, b) miss out on the action altogether.
1. Get Your Accreditation & Register for any sessions/workshops/events you might be attending – Unless your plan is just to simply show up in Cannes and loiter around hotels & bars, chancing a meeting, you should first & foremost get your badge.
Some things you can book on the spot while in Cannes, but a lot of the workshops/events will fill up as soon as registration opens. Make sure to book your place early for the following: Producers Network, Producers Workshop, and Marche du Film itself (although, Marche du Film and sites like the American Pavilion do have Walk-in Registration – a much more expensive option). Apart from the risk of not getting a slot, you’ll also face doubled prices, if leaving it till the very last minute.
2. Book travel & accommodation – Pretty self-explanatory and the longer you leave it, the more money you’ll have to spend and/or the less options you’ll have to chose from (if any!). Try not to chance it with an overpriced villa 4 hours away from the Croisette, as you’ll find yourself cut off from major events.
3. Have a completed screenplay/Have your short in final post-production/Have a project pitch (or press) pack underway – You’ve got to have something to show at the meetings, right?
4. Do your attendee research – Are you planning on ‘doing business in Cannes’? You need to ‘do your homework’: who are you targeting? Who’s attending? Who’s buying what films? Names, faces, where are they staying? – prep yourself the very best you can. One way of doing your due diligence is to study all the available trade publications (e.g. Variety) in the run up to Cannes; sign up and follow the Cannes Dailies online, and then arrange a little spreadsheet/folder: the company, what they do, name & position of the person you’re interested in meeting, any contact details you might get before the meeting, a photo of that person (so you at least know what they look like, if you fail to secure the meeting but happen to bump into them anyway).
5. Set-up meetings – People’s diaries are filling up quickly, so if you’re attending Cannes this year for some fruitful business meetings, make sure to start firing out those emails well in advance.
Doing the aforementioned research will actually help you craft an appealing ‘meeting email’ – you could include a line or two about the person’s/company’s recent successful project, something they’re working on at the moment and something more personal/a real ‘insider’s scoop’, which you somehow connect to. It’s just all a means to getting the attention of that contact and securing a meeting, so don’t be afraid to “sell it” a bit – this person is likely to receive a lot of meeting requests in the run up to Cannes, so you need to find a way to stand out and get their time of the day.
2 Weeks Before Cannes
From today until 13th May 2014, you should be tying up the following ‘loose ends’:
1. Set-up meetings – Or, rather, finalise setting-up any pending meetings and have your daily schedule in place.
2. If you’re having a film presentation at the Market, make sure your screeners are ready and malfunction-free. Make any necessary shipment arrangements if/where required.
3. Get yourself a French number – If you’re in for some serious business, it might be worth investing in a local SIM card, with a French mobile number. This would save you the international call bills (unless, you’ve organised a special tariff).
4. Work the Cinando – If you’re a registered Cannes Film Market attendee, you’re also a member of Cinando, the online platform/community for Cannes participants of all kinds. Start your networking there: build a profile, add projects, follow people, message and arrange drinks/meetings.
5. Business cards – Have enough of those for the whole duration of your stay at Cannes. So, if there’s a chance you might be running low on business cards, do a quick round of printing!
1 Week Before Cannes
Get spare chargers, batteries, etc.; get plug adapters (depending on the country you reside in). Get your Euros ready (anyone traveling outside of the EU). Rent/buy evening attire – Red Carpet events (and many parties) are strictly tux & bow tie/evening gowns – and prepare to pack a smart suit for any business meetings. Print out everything you need for the trip – e.g. tickets, pitch packs, screenplay, etc. Get some sleep!
So, welcome to Cannes Film Festival & Film Market 2014. You’ve made it!
How do I survive it and what should be my checklist for my stay? Here’s some “insider essentials”:
- Always have a plan – If you’re here to do business, this is the only effective way of attending Cannes. Hoping to just bump into someone or gate-crashing a reception might be fun, but rarely productive.
- Time is money – so bear this in mind: every sales agent or distributor that gives you their time, is missing out on money. So use their time wisely and make an offer they can’t resist. We’ve talked before about a killer pitch being your first weapon http://filmdoctor.co.uk/2012/10/22/monday-prescriptions-pitch-perfect/ , http://filmdoctor.co.uk/2012/10/29/monday-prescriptions-pitch-perfect-2/
- Don’t get stuck at the American Pavilion – Sure it hosts events, serves as an office (with available Wi-Fi, desks, etc.), serves coffee & lunch, but a). you can only take full advantage of it in return for a nominal fee; b). it really is only the hub of American film presence at Cannes – and there are so many more countries represented. Likewise, don’t spend too much time in your own country’s tent – go and visit other Pavilions & stands, “travel the world”, mingle.
- Don’t skip on breakfast – In a day full of meetings, networking & general hustle-bustle, the right breakfast will set you off nicely. Furthermore, it’s likely to be your most affordable meal of the day – especially, when included in your accommodation arrangements.
- Want to party? Be nice – Pushing your way in isn’t going to get you far, but schmoozing and being genuinely nice to any Publicists, Security and Assistants just might do the trick. Don’t force it, you weren’t meant to be there in the first place, so people are doing you a favour.
- Have comfortable shoes – Cannes is one place where everyone still walks around, cabs are scarce and traffic is immense. There’s a lot of walking to be endured, so bring comfy shoes & blister pads.
- Find an escape spot – When you start to feel overwhelmed or just need to re-charge before the next meeting, make you sure you have your little “getaway haven” in place. It could be a stroll to the beach & quick swim; a tucked away coffee shop in the old market part of town, with a nice table, you’ve spotted on the first day; a backstreet; a local market. It’s important to find a way to wind down, get your head together and just take it all in. You’re human after all!
Looking for further insights on attending Cannes? Hear it first hand from our past interviewees:
- Cannes Attack tracks director Christopher Presswell‘s Cannes experiences and his advice for newcomers.
‘Monday Prescription’ No. 103 – As with anything, do your ‘homework’ before attending film festivals/markets. You can have a simple checklist or elaborate diary, anything that helps you stay on top of the game and make the most of Cannes madness.
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