Is it just me or does it feel like MIP Jr. is right around the corner? While I’d prefer to be eating ice cream on a lovely beach this week, I’m here at Little Airplane booking my meetings and making dinner reservations in Cannes. You may think I’m over-zealous, but I’m just taking care of business. We’ve actually been in pre-MIP mode here for about a month now and, if you’re an indie planning on going this year, I would recommend that you start your planning soon, too. Why? Because for those of us who cannot afford to buy a banner outside the Hotel Martinez or hire a sand sculptor to sculpt our characters on the beach, the best marketing tool we have is good and early planning.
For example, if you want to get your project into some of the long-lead publications that are distributed free of charge at MIP, most of those deadlines are already upon us. And if you want to get a better rate at a hotel that is not kilometres away from the action on the Croisette, you’ll need to hurry as most are already booked up. And if you’d like to do more than just wave to your favorite broadcaster from across a crowded room, then you should probably start drafting your, “I’d-really-like-to-get-on-your-busy-schedule-at-MIP,” e-mails now. (In some cases, these e-mails will help you get that meeting, in others, they will simply give the broadcasters more time to ignore you.)
There’s a phrase I learned once from a taxi driver in Tel Aviv that I always think about whenever I’m getting ready for any sort of industry conference, “If I am not for myself, then who will be for me?” If you’re an indie in 2011, there are no truer words. You must be for yourself, because no consultant, no agent, and no distributor, will ever be able to talk about your show and your passion the way you can. If there’s one thing I’ve learned in this business, it’s that you simply must blow your own horn.
I know that for many of you, MIP Jr. sounds like a dream, and you tell yourself things like, “That’s awfully far to go to pitch my little show” or “Boy, I bet it’s expensive flying all the way to France.” Well, my response is this: If you’re in the business of making and selling children’s media of any kind, then to skip MIP Jr. is to miss one of just two chances this year to share your property with the world (the other being my beloved KidScreen Summit.) And, as you know, the kids’ business these days is nothing if not global. As for the costs, I have never taken one of these trips that did not end up paying for itself in the form of new opportunities, new contacts and new friends.
So, finish that corndog and drain that last Margarita. Summer’s over. If you’re an indie with a heartbeat, the time to start planning your adventure in Cannes is now!