Report – First Timers Lunch

Posted on: Thursday 04 July 2019 9:13am by Cate Zerega

The Hubs Hideout hosted Ester Kaufmann and her ‘conference buddies’ – CMC experts who have been attending since at least 2013 – for a relaxed lunch packed with tips and tricks to help new attendees navigate the conference hustle with confidence and aplomb.


  • Newbie homework from Esther Kaufmann – catch one research session, they are always interesting and in her opinion underattended.
  • Brolly Brollyman – Read your fellow delegates’ body language and pounce when the body language is laid back and not before.
  • Chella Quint has found Karaoke to be a great boundary leveller.


Jonny Ford recalled sweating at his first conference whilst thinking, “I know there are people I need to talk to but I have no idea who they are”. Chella Quint fondly remembered Emma Cooper helping her through her imposter syndrome at her first CMC and has enjoyed facilitating the exchange of many business cards between experts and novices at this years conference.

Brolly Brollyman counselled that new attendees view the conference as an opportunity to plant seeds for the relationships they want to grow. It has been more satisfying for him to play the long game of nurturing relationships as opposed to walking away from one’s first conference with an offer letter in hand. Esther Kaufmann echoed Brolly’s advice, “the conference is not a one shot thing”. She makes a list of contacts to connect with and emails to meet up before the conference, even if they can’t connect at the conference they can schedule a Skype catch up around the conference so the connection is not missed.

Caterina de Mata shared some words of wisdom that the ‘meet the commissioner’ queue is quite long so be sure to turn up early.  Jonny Ford had found the ‘speed pitch’ to be most helpful for gauging the level of interest in a project. Brolly Brollyman advised that a pitch is about your work. It can be quite daunting to meet industry leaders, so go with your instincts – going in shy and quiet when you are shy and quiet is preferable to putting on an act. Nobody has time for an act.

To finish the conference with a bang Esther Kaufmann has benefitted from scheduling her stay an hour past the last session – that hour has been premium time to see people. She also meets her colleagues at the exhibition because the decibel level is more conducive to conversation than at the café.

Chella Quint encouraged new delegates to come and say hi to her. She’ll put the business cards she’s trading down and is happy to advise on the burrito in Sheffield.

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Cate Zerega

About the author

Cate Zerega

Freelance Production Coordinator

Cate has worked as a nanny, a talent agent, in casting & production. Cate’s resume means she no longer fears anything and has sunblock & headshots always about. She completed an MA in the screen industries in 2018 & works passionately to promoting female filmmakers. Read more