15 May 2011

Cannes Guide - what to bring in my own words...

Cannes Guide
I started writing this last week. Then time got away from me and I tried to keep writing during Cannes and then....well its 1am and Im home now! 
So I thought instead of letting it linger any longer I'll publish it now!
Below is just an essentials for producers/actors/filmmakers/others to take as a guide of what to bring to Cannes.
Hopefully it helps you on your way, and if you are a longtimer maybe you'll find something new in there, or possibly just find yourself nodding!

What to pack, its simple really, when you are roughing it (which is probably most of you reading this), make sure you remember the little things:
Business cards: Yes if you don’t have any or forgot them or whatever. Sorry if you cant remember this one little thing I probably wont have much faith in your filmmaking/industry abilities.
There are always exceptions to this rule of course, but if you are starting out, then forgetting your cards makes a TERRIBLE impression on the exciting sales agent you just met or the wonderful producer who is keen to make your film……

Sleeping Bag/Sleeping Mat – you might be staying on someones floor (just check this out, don’t let it be a surprise) as its cheap and close to Cannes don’t forget this stuff.

Laptop, Phone – If you’re not here to work, just to chill out then Im not sure why you came. Honestly, if you are coming to Cannes you are trying to meet new people, sell films, buy films, get funding and my favourite work and best work ethic – COLLABORATE! So you need to be accessible via email and you need to be contactable on your phone. (Remember roaming rates are exhorbitant so text pls! Or else an unpleasant surprise can come in the form of a £300 phone bill….; (

Film Material - 
For producers, obviously your one sheet ( a beautifully professionally printed double sided sheet with all factual info on your film like loglines, cast, genre, etc), DVD's of the film, DVD of the trailer, have it on your phone, your laptop and dont be like me and have it on a memory stick that doesnt work ; (
Then ask yourself these questions:
What are you here for?
Who do you need to see to get it?
Why them?
What will you SHOW them?
This will go a long way in helping you find your path in Cannes.
As someone once said, the path is wind-y dont lose your way. Maybe that was me. Anyway, Cannes is a great ocean of sales, films, madness. So DO YOUR HOMEWORK, register to your country's Cannes Pavilion before you go. Then go to said pavilion and look up the sales/distribs/producers and email them early. Try to get meetings, pitch your work to anyone who'll listen and you'll be surprised what you find yourself saying (also a great way to refine your pitch!).
Another way is to hit the Croisette and door knock. I've heard a birdy say that during the first 3 days in Cannes all those big companies doors are fairly open, and getting meetings off the cuff is not so hard. Then after day 3 its lock down and everyone is hard at work. So go hassle your favourite sales agent in the world (even though they dont know you yet), talk to the Weinsteins - at least poke your head in and get rebutted by their interns (its a great story and hey who knows you might get lucky!), annoy Ealing Studios (no dont, just say hi), crash Arte's yacht because all they can do is say "we are busy". If you are smaller producer like me, or filmmaker you've lost nothing but your dignity and maybe pride - which you will get back, after several drinks, I assure you. But you might be lucky like me and in the midst of crashing the yacht looking for a meeting you wind up getting invited to a free lunch! Not bad going.

Then go to the Film Marche (Market) and try those guys, see what is selling, see what is not, then make a film of what will sell. Try picking up goodies in the March, freebies, there is happy hour at the Short Film Corner each night from 5pm I think. So go, drink, mingle with tomorrows talent.

Clothes – Boys Black Tie. Yes the Black tux and bow tie. I’ve seen security refuse red carpet attendees because they wore a tie not a bowtie.
Girls – Dresses Dresses Dresses!!!! This is the time to shine!  You cannot overdo it and you cannot bring too many. Trust me. (And bring flats to wear during the day as the walking is a killer, and you can shove them in your purse at night when the dancing starts!).

Sunglasses / Hat (got a free, nice one from the Kodak pavilion this year).

Chargers for EVERYTHING

Universal adapator for your iphone, laptop and ipad. Trust me these are always overpriced at FNAC so get it at the airport before you come!

Lastly, bring your character - come ready to meet great people, expand your network and Collaborate. I believe creativity is collaboration. You know how people talk about everyone knowing everyone at the top, well its because they've been coming to Cannes for years. They all know eachother, and soon you will know them too. Just keep on coming, keep being yourself and be open to meeting new and interesting types. You never know who you will end up working with, or for!
Bring your best smile, your fun and the party will come to you!

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