Getting to Grips with MIP
A few weeks ago I entered an online global competition to win a ‘walk on the red carpet at Mipcom’ including free registration. Thanks to a swell of support from CMC friends and stalwarts I came an un-embarrassing second and resigned myself to palely loitering in the pavement cafés of Cannes.
Then, to my utter surprise and delight, the lovely people at The CMC and Reed Midem offered me guest registration for Mip Jr and Mipcom as a ‘consolation’ prize in return for me being an ‘ambassador’ for the conference and the associated UK@Kidscreen delegation. Thank you to both for a great opportunity and experience.
Here are a few things I found out – my ‘MIP Tips’ for other independent ‘newbies’:
1. You can do Cannes on a reasonable budget.
I’d been warned that Cannes was horrendously expensive. (The fancy Croisette hotels were charging €8 – over SIX QUID! – for a small bottle of still water!) My Jet2 flight to Nice was reasonable and sharing an apartment with three other delegates was cost-effective and reassuring. It was well-situated within an easy, 5 minute walk to The Palais (where most of MIP takes place) and just around the corner from a fantastic market, renowned across the French Riviera, Marché Forville, selling mouth-watering, regional produce. The local buses were also great value and MIP laid on free, frequent bus transfers and zippy tuk-tuks between The Palais and Palm Beach (the new MIP Jr venue).
2. MIP is MASSIVE!
MIP markets attract around 13,000 delegates I understand and for a ‘newbie’ could be quite overwhelming without a friendly bedrock, some familiar faces in the ‘Megamipatropolis’. The scale of MIPCOM was mind-boggling! It was easy to get lost so I was very lucky to be welcomed into The Technicolor Buyers’ Lounge by Alison Warner and Steven Wendland, to be introduced as creator of their latest show in development, ‘Bear, Bud & Boo’. The Buyers’ Lounge was a ‘safe haven’ with the added benefit of a coffee bar and water fountains which were surprisingly hard to find elsewhere in the venues. MIPCOM covers a very large area with several huge floors in The Palais and additional halls, marquees and tents outside. It’s wise to wear comfortable footwear. (I’m glad I didn’t wear my 7″ Westwood platforms…)
3. Mip’s a BIG DEAL!
MIP is BIG business – a global market for entertainment content. In my first meeting at MIPCOM, Mary Bredin of Guru Studio remarked, “You’re quite brave, coming out here as an independent creator!” I agreed that it’s possibly not the creative’s natural habitat but it was really fascinating to see the end point of delivery – where and how realised ideas are marketed, far removed from where the inspiration strikes (quite often the shower in my case!) Walking the halls and soaking up what’s being showcased from around the world gives a unique perspective of the sheer scale of the global entertainment industry and increased understanding of how children’s media fits into that.
4. There are always opportunities to learn more!
There’s a packed programme of talks, screenings and presentations at MIP. I attended a couple of really interesting Q&A sessions at Mip Jr, chaired by Sarah Baynes of The Creative Garden. The panelists were discussing ‘What do parents want in Family Entertainment?’ and ‘How to keep up with connected kids’. Their insights were useful and stimulating. There were scheduled opportunities to meet the speakers afterwards too, which was great.
5. It feels like EVERYBODY’S there…!
It was brilliant to bump into lots of friendly CMC and UK@Kidscreen people at MIPCOM, in the venues, surrounding hotels, cafés and streets around The Croisette. The vibe on the terrace overlooking the beach at Mip Jr struck me almost like a wedding party as the sun went down and the piñatas for the Mexican party were being hung up! The atmosphere was upbeat, social and newly-introduced delegates were happy to chat and exchange contacts. I’d made sure to arrange lots of meetings prior to going out to Cannes but was pleasantly surprised how I was able to see people ‘on spec’ out there too. There are wonderful opportunities to network and lots of fun parties to attend! The pace was pretty full-on and the MIP-lag lasted for a while afterwards but I returned with loads of leads, new contacts, really inspired and intent to return.
6. It sometimes rains in Cannes.
Actually, it sometimes rains A LOT. Take an umbrella!