Cannes is coming up. Alas, I won't be going this year. I made my Cannes debut two years ago. As a Cannes virgin, I was terrified but I was determined to make my time well spent. Luckily, I had the mighty Tim Clague and Suki Singh (Cannes veterans) to hold my hand, and they eased my tensions and provided excellent company (for that boys, I am eternally grateful). So, I'm no expert, but if you're going along to the Croisette for the very first time, here are some humble tips to keep in mind:-
1. Be Clear What You're Going For
Treat it completely like a work trip. Ask yourself why you want to be there and what you want to get out of the Festival, and then stick exclusively to that.
2. Cannes Database
Once you've figured out why you're going and what you want to achieve, then you target the movers and shakers that will help you realise your goals. Do this by trawling/searching through the handy Cannes database (which you can access when you register). Everybody's details are on there, so drop them an email and try to set up a meeting. I sent about 200 emails and got about 30 meetings in the end (and I got the gig on Sofia's Diary from a meeting at Cannes). Plus, you may set up meetings while you're there. But while meetings are fun and exciting, they can be pointless and frustrating too, so stick to rule number one to stay focused.
3. Cannes Marketplace
Go to see a few films that are selling at the market place. Most will probably be shite. Feel like a Cannes veteran and walk out after 10 mins, sighing and tutting as you go.
4. Cannes Premiere
Do the red carpet at the main cinema (great cinema). If not going to a premiere (where you'll have to wear black tie), then a day screener is just as fun and glamorous.
It's impossible not to drink too much but y'know, steady on, and all that.
Eating out isn't actually that bad (price wise) and often, there'll be canapes/deep fried tidbits to enjoy in early evening events or parties. And free booze. See no. 5.
Don't just network with the people you've arranged to meet. All you have to do is introduce yourself to someone sitting beside you, and lo, it's a fellow writer, or a producer, or director etc.
8. Have fun!
You're in the south of France for god's sake! Oh look, there's Harvey...
Speaking of Sofia's Diary (you've been watching haven't you? of course you have). I wrote next week's instalment (week 7 already!) so um, enjoy! Oh, and Far Away Scriptwriter has set up a neat little blog survey, so if you have 2 mins to spare, check it out.
** UPDATE ** Actually, I've just found out that Sofia's Diary starts on Fiver tomorrow, Saturday 26th April, 12.20pm (catch up omnibus thingy), and then weekdays at 4.55pm, so you can watch it on your tellybox as well as online at Bebo. D'groovy.
You can watch Fiver on Freeview: 36, Sky: 182, Fiver + 1 is on 183, Virgin Media: 186 and Tiscali TV: 31.