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Navigating The CMC for the First Time

Joseph Channon, Programming Coordinator at Disney XD UK on Navigating The Children’s Media Conference for the First Time

Over the course of three days The Children’s Media Conference (CMC) will have a lot to offer you. There are seminars throughout each day, people to meet and even the opportunity to pitch your ideas to commissioners and buyers from across the Children’s landscape.

With so much going on the first question that you really need to ask yourself is: “What do I want from this event?” Luckily there are a lot of resources to help you out and the first and foremost of these will be handed to you when you arrive and sort out your registration. I’m speaking of course of the conference guide.

The conference guide is your friend and before anything else I’d recommend taking ten minutes or so to have a look through it to see what’s happening at this year’s conference. You’ll find a full list of seminars and events that will tell you everything that’s going on and exactly where you’ll need to be to enjoy it.

The sessions make up a huge part of what’s on offer at the CMC and I’d suggest that you attend as many as you can; even if they don’t seem immediately relevant to your day job you can learn a surprising amount about the landscape of kid’s media. Obviously you can’t attend everything, but you can plan yourself an interesting and fulfilling event. Personally I found it useful to work through the schedule of seminars by time slot and circled the seminar in each group that seemed most interesting to me. Fortunately the venues are all very close to each other and there will be a veritable legion of helpful volunteers to point you in the right direction if you need help finding your way.

There are two events that I would absolutely recommend for a newcomer to the CMC. Firstly the famous First Timers Reception is a great opportunity to meet others in your field and get to know both them and the event itself over complimentary refreshments. Whilst you’re there you’ll also get to hear a few stories from CMC alumni who can offer you their view on how to get the most out of the CMC as well as share their own experiences of it. I’d also recommend attending the Keynote speech to both get a sense of what the CMC is all about but also to enjoy the absolutely fascinating guest speakers that they make a habit of inviting each year.

The theme of this year’s CMC is “Open” and I think that as an attendee you’ll get the most out of this event if you embrace this theme.

Be open to learning new things about both the industry and the children who make up its audience. Last year I attended a session on the use of Minecraft as an educational tool. My current position is in Programming so there wasn’t an immediate connection to my job; however I walked away from that seminar with a wider appreciation of how schools are adapting to use new mediums for lessons and also learned a great deal about the YouTube Minecraft personalities that are a very important part of my audience’s lives. Stray outside your comfort zone and you’ll find the CMC a very rewarding event.

Be open in meeting new people. There will be plenty of time when you’re waiting for an event to begin and there will be others waiting for it too, so go and say hello, do a bit of networking or even just find someone there to dissect the seminars that you’ve attended with. Be open to the fact that others will be doing the same thing and may approach you too.

And finally be open to having a great experience. If you get a lot out of the CMC then almost certainly when you get back home there will be people wanting to know all about it. So tell them what you’ve learned and tell them who you’ve met. Don’t leave the CMC in Sheffield when you’re done, bring it home with you!

Jo

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