First impressions of a first Kidscreen
Updated: Mar 29, 2019
As part of my jump to #freelance this year, I was determined to get out and about in the wider industry as a #Writer, #Showrunner and #Creator of shows. The writer's life can fast become a solitary one hitting deadlines at a desk, so wanted to balance that with a healthy dose of seeing other humans from time to time - and of course rolling the dice and #pitching my shows.
I was well aware of Kidscreen, but had never been before – and now was my chance.
Here’s what I knew; it’s one of THE key markets in global Children’s media for broadcasters, platforms, production companies and creators to network, share ideas, buy and sell shows and make deals. It’s the place to be - pitch your show! Dreams can be made! Free coffee! And breakfast! And lunch!
I’d also been told it’s a packed, loud, 4-day-blur of conversations, hustle bustle and amazing parties.
And here’s what I found at Kidscreen; all of the above is true (breakfast highlight: the scrambled egg muffins). But where that all might sound pretty daunting (I did wonder if I’d feel like a tea-boy roller-skating backwards onto the Stock Exchange trading floor), the reality is a huge crowd of delegates and companies with a real buzz of positive energy and hive-mind wish to collaborate – whoop!
Here are the main things I learnt this year…
Arrive a day early.
I flew in Saturday night, so dealt with my jetlag through Sunday, enjoyed exploring Miami and then attended the Kidscreen conference tour in the afternoon to familiarise myself with meeting places and rooms.
Then I was fresh, confident and in the right time zone for a Monday morning start.
Pitch, but also listen.
A great piece of advice I was given from a seasoned buyer, is that if you only have 10 minutes with someone – and then pitch for the entire 10 minutes - it can all become white noise to the listener. Especially if you are pitch no. 323 of their day.
Pitch for 5 minutes, then listen and have a conversation for 5 more.
Say hello – everywhere!
A quick chat you have at the coffee machine with a swap of business cards could lead to an opportunity just as easily as a scheduled 1-to-1 in someone’s diary.
My main memory from the whole event was how nice and receptive everyone was – whether a high-ranking exec listening to my pitch at the end of a tiring day, or a fellow freelancer trying to get their show made – everyone I met was open and willing to chat.
If you endlessly pitch on an endless supply of coffee then go and party every night until 3am, you’ll end up a gibbering mess and risk burnout.
Take it steady so you're calm, confident and collected when you pitch – and in between pitching, go to one of the great seminars or talks to just sit back, recharge and listen to industry experts.
If possible, have 2 projects to pitch.
I found it easier to keep my pitching energetic and punchy by having 2 different shows to talk about, alternating them in the diary to keep my meeting conversations fresh.
Ask about the parties – and try and get an invite.
The Kidscreen parties thrown by key companies and broadcasters are a great place to network over a beer or cocktail in the evenings. I went to 3 parties back to back on the Monday night – and as many new contacts have come from those as from formal meetings in the day.
But also, see Pace Yourself :)
Top tip: try not to ask the CEO of a huge company who he works for – at the party that’s organised by his huge company…
So thank you Kidscreen 2019, you 4 day dizzy dance of people, energy and ideas.
Free breakfast? TICK!
I can’t wait till next year.