10 TIPS FOR ATTENDING CONFERENCES
Repost from 10/22/2005
- Double check when travelling, don't assume it's been taken care of. Analyze everything you need to get to point B from point A and then return. Do you have your ticket? How are you getting to the airport, how are you getting to the hotel? Is it confirmed? Is it close the festival? - Cab bills can add up. If you're walking be sure you have comfortable shoes, you'll be on your feet all day. Be sure you plan out and double check all your transportation and accomodations.
- There are reasons you should plan to show up to the airport 2 hours before your flight leaves. It's not as easy as just checking in and going through security or customs. Most of these reasons were totally unexpected as I experienced first hand recently. Flat tires, traffic jams, massive line ups, missing tickets, mistakes in booking and god knows what else could happen. Keep in mind that some airlines close the check in counter for some flights up to 45 minutes before boarding. If you're flying internationally it's even more important, because in my case recently I had to take 3 seperate flights to get to my destination, if you miss the first flight, you miss all the flights, and airlines such as Air Canada aren't forgiving or very helpful. You'll have to pay for new tickets and at full price on short notice. This could risk your entire investment into this trip. Thousands and thousands of dollars. Hell if your business is small enough, it could collapse your company if you don't have a back up plan that works. All because you didn't leave early enough. DO NOT LIVE BY THE SEAT OF YOUR PANTS!
- If you're bringing your laptop and you're in another country, be sure to have an international power adapter.
- If you don't have a cell phone, get one; you need it, trust me. Register your number in the festival guide. It's so important for schedule conflicts and new appointments as well keeping in touch with your folks back at home. If you're in another country, get a calling card that you can program your phone with.
- If you're not making your appointments with new companies, be sure you screen all the selections your assistants are making. The last thing you want is a day full of appointments with studios that are competing with you for service work. It's rarely, that you'll have anything to talk about.
- Don't mix vacation with business. It's like oil and water, you need to concentrate on one or the other. During business trips you'll need the time between meetings and at night to prepare for the next day. Also, you'll be missing the cocktail parties; now if you drink, it's not important if you drink or not. But it's a great way to meet people, and this is what markets are all about. Keep business and pleasure seperate, plan to bring loved ones after or before the conferences or festivals. It'll be the same and you'll be refreshed and relaxed.
- Be prepared to talk about your projects and your studios capabilities. Your proprietary projects if you're pitching them, should be professionally prepared and complete in the pitch. You'll need lots of artwork and if possible, an animated clip. Nothing sells a show like having an animated clip. Nothing.
- When Scheduling meetings, double check the time and the exact location of the meeting. Even to the point of the physical description of the person you're meeting. Double check by sending an email but use that damn mobile phone or drop by their booth. Get in touch. Be sure. It is so embarrassing when you miss a meeting and it does nothing for your first impression. Do you think they'll want to do business with anyone who isn't punctual or has no concept of time? Forget about excuses. Be there, and double check. They'll be impressed if you do.
- If you're looking for co-production partners or alliances treat your projects together seriously even if they're just initial talks and or spec' work gigs. If you accept a project, you accept everything to do with that project - no matter if it pays or not. You accept it like it was a paying gig. Do not miss deadlines, do not procrastinate. Get it done and do it with pride like it was any other production. I've made this mistake and will not again.
- Be careful of your image at festivals. If you act like an idiot, getting obnoxiously drunk, yelling and generally fucking about at parties do you really think that your pre-school show that you're pitching the next day is going to be well received by a buyer that perhaps witnessed your spectacle the night before? Let's face it, Fatkats have alot of fun and pride themselves at being individuals to say the least. We drink, we tell jokes and pull pranks on people, hell we even gave out Fatkat condoms at this year's Mipcom! But we are selective of our targets at all times. We are respectful of our all our clients and alliances and you should as well. We wear Kustom Fatkat Hockey Jerseys at every event and conference. This isn't offensive it's smart, a great marketing tool that get us press and recognition. Taking your shirts off or getting shitfaced and dancing at tables get you the same, but it creates in my mind a negative impression or at the very least a limiting one. Be selective of whom you reveal yourself to. Be silly but not too silly, be serious but not too serious, but always be fun and show that you'd be professional and a blast to work with.