Monday, Day 1 of market. Well, technically we started on Saturday, with MIPCOM Jr.
First, breakfast. For cash-strapped production companies at MIP (yes, we qualify), this usually consists of milk, cereal, bread and other readily available flour-based food products. But I must say I quite enjoy the cereal here. It’s light, balanced and not as sweet and heavy as the type we get in Singapore. Considering it’s like €6 for a toast and coffee at a cafe by the sidewalk, it’s a no-brainer to eat in in the morning.
On to the Palais, home base for the next 4 days. The Singapore Pavilion is at the basement, also known as the ‘bunker’. It’s basically the equivalent of economy class on an air-plane. Here, booths are fairly basic, nothing too fancy, and most of the market’s traffic flow through this network of shopfronts selling anything from pre-school cartoons to B-movies to cook shows to porn. Yes, the kind with skin.
The Singapore Pavilion. Malaysia’s Pavilion is right across (in the background) – these booth layouts are even geographically accurate!
Moving up, bigger and more decked out halls like the Riviera, the Riviera Seaview and Lérins, along with other VIP areas and dedicated stands make up the rest of the Palais.
But it’s fair to say most trade gets done down at the bunker, if only because it’s the biggest and most varied group of sellers at the market. In the early years I always made it a point to walk the whole Palais. These days however it’s often sufficient to just cover the basement to check out what’s out there. But for any first-time attendee, it’s well worth a couple of hours to walk all the floors and soak it all in.
The first day flew by with some good meetings. It’s always interesting and a little nerve-wrecking pitching shows on the first day. You look out for what work, what don’t, and usually improvise here and there while keeping to a basic routine from pitch to pitch. This time round I’ve got a show I know really well and eager to pitch, while there’s another one that’s still not quite solid enough, so it was about managing the time I had and getting a feel for how much the buyer needs to see at each meeting. Naturally, some pitches went great. Others fell flat. All part of the process. Thankfully my skin’s grown thick enough for the drill.
A well-known comic writer once said he doesn’t and will never pitch as he finds it demeaning. Well, lucky him. I think it depends on who you’re pitching to. I’ve never left a pitch meeting feeling nothing’s gained, even if the buyer’s not interested. Truth is, most of these buyers need to find that next great idea, so it’s not solely a one-way affair.
Inside the Majestic, getting prepped for the opening party
First day at MIPCOM also means the Opening Party, at the Majestic Hotel again this year. There was a time when these parties lasted till much later, but these days it’s strictly a 2-hour affair of champagne, wine, exotic performances (this year it’s Japanese girl group AKB48) and ridiculously long food queues. Frankly, it’s not that great and you’re better off getting an early rest for the next day.
That said, AKB48 was infectiously fun. I almost danced.