TBI Weekly: How to do MIPCOM 2023 right


TBI columnist & MIPCOM veteran Siobhan Crawford suggests some common etiquette as the industry descends on Cannes.

The last time we ‘spoke’ it seems like the message resonated.

I heard ‘shiiit’ echoed on all corners of the market and we will certainly be going back to the points raised in that column, because the perspectives of so many people in response have been fascinating and so worthy of sharing.

But for now, MIPCOM is upon us. Some of us feel it more than others, or our energy levels do at least.


I thought about our now traditional ‘hot list’ – presenting an industry of independent distributors who work like mules pre-market to have something to show and forecast against for the next few quarters – but I decided to let you do your own work this time.

Instead, Cannes: what advice should we live by? I have asked some of my favourite people what they advise as essential etiquette and expectations everyone should know in Formatland and boy do we love the answers.

For the newbies and the old-timers, this is Cannes Etiquette – lesson 1: Don’t be a dick.

Livin’ la vida loca

Some of this requires no explanation, but we all get stung somewhere:

  • Set your invites to the right time zone
  • Remember press releases pre-MIP are noise, not substance
  • Bring earphones to listen to promos
  • If you are the most senior, pay for the juniors (and/or freelancers) – we all spend a lot at the bar, let’s pay it forward!
  • Be kind to distributors who have likely pitched the same show 40 times (must be a person with a light schedule)
  • Make reservations or forget the delights of De Laura and expect grumpy French at Goelands
  • Sunblock is no joke
  • Don’t tell people they look tired, it is already known
  • If you don’t leave after 25 minutes, you will still be late – you can wear running shoes all you like
  • Paper business cards – QR codes – what world are you living in? paper please.

The art of a quick ‘no’
When in Cannes, as in life (as a distributor and producer) we get rejected… a lot. So when you can, be cruel to be kind and rip off that band-aid:

  • The art of a quick ‘no’ will save us all on our follow up reports
  • Shout ‘conflict’ early when watching trailers – IP theft is rife and trust, once broken, is hard to repair
  • Don’t claim to have something in internal development in every genre – I get it, catalogues are large. The current climate is for collaboration and a percent of something is better than 100% of nothing
  • Buy, don’t borrow – I will be saying this my whole life. You want to keep your independent distributors and producers or do you want to end up with groups only?
  • Don’t get too excited, you won’t sell everything – ‘S’ made me laugh when he said this, the market gives false hope. True ‘dat

Me, Myself & everyone else
It is a relationship industry. I say this on repeat. This may seem basic but it seems to slip by a few people.

So here are four key rules:

1. Don’t be a dick – blanket rule. And the dicks know they are one, but they say they are ‘confident’. “Same same but different” is the phrase that comes to mind
2. If you move my meeting, I know my priority level – and we all have long memories. So Rule 4 applies
3. Don’t be a no show – it is the height of “arrogance”. You will be called a ‘Rule 1’ here if you do this
4. Be real – we’re talking Dutch direct, Nordic honesty. I hear it all over, the genuine you is the one we want. Forget your company hat and your sales spiel and talk to us!

So this is the wisdom from me and the gang, hard and fast rules to work by with just ONE main rule. At a time when the industry is hurting – be the Jimmy (or insert name of best person you know here and emulate them).

Tags: MIPCOM 2023

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