Chronicles 20 - Cannes 2006 - Showtime!
So, guess what? He passed. Who passed? The A list mega comedy star who was reading my script. That's who. The one that would have greenlit the finance and got me studio distribution. That one. I wish him the worst with his future projects ;-) Only (half) joking. Who knows if he really read the script. You never know.
I picked up my mobile phone and got a message from the agent's assistant. There is a certain tone and dip in the vocal intonation of a pass message. I could tell from the preamble that it was a pass. Then comes the word, the death-knell, the final nail in the coffin sealing my fate - "unfortunately" - Next! Next! Next! At this point you may as well hit the delete message button because anything beyond this point is platitude city.
Standard response from agents - "It's not (really) what he/she wants to do right now". Okay, I can handle that. "Right now" meaning he could, he could be interested, say, next week? That's not "right now", right?
Anyway. I immediately sent an offer to another star repped by the same agent. She said that he wasn't available. Well actually, she didn't even finish the sentence. The email, probably sent from her Blackberry read, "He's not avail". Obviously my offer hadn't even merited a full "available" but an "avail". I'm in the partial wording category, I'm in the, "he's not worth the extra kilo joules of energy that the letters 'able' would require" category.
So, I move on. Send an offer out to an A list star at a UK agency. Word out on the street is that he's looking for something "dark and edgy". Still, I try anyway. Call the agent's office the next day and it seems the offer is being taken seriously and they are considering the project. Let us see-eth.
In the meantime I've started my Cannes campaign. I try to start early. 4 weeks before. I start with an email campaign then, for those who don't reply, I chase on the phone. I like to have a full diary. I'm not really into 'hangin' out' in Cannes. I go there for meetings. If I get in at the odd party all well and good but no Cannes party has ever yielded a productive contact for me, as yet. I go there for the meetings.
What I'm seeing in my initial email campaign is that as the layers are bulding on my project i.e. director, finance, credible casting director that I'm getting responses and meeting offers from people who either ignored me or wouldn't meet with me last year. It's a war of attrition. You have to grind these people down, in a nice way of course, but, there has to be progress on the project. There has to be a feeling that they might miss out on something big if they don't meet with me. I got an email response from a Studio indie-arm. She wanted to take a look at the script and wanted me to send her a logline so I did. She didn't even respond last year, so that feels like progress.
My main aim is to meet with sales agents, distributors and other producers - people I can team up with, preferably people with kudos, credits and maybe access to finance. Also, it's all about builiding up a network for the long term. For the next project. You never know.
Okay, that's it for now. I have about 11 meetings so far and a whole load of offers of meetings, and I'll get on the phone on Monday and start chasing the people who didn't respond to the emails. I've used this strategy a lot and normally I end up with a pretty full diary. Let's see. I hope the weather's nice.
Oh. Insider Cannes tip. Wear comfortable shoes. In Cannes 2004 I wore brand new shoes. Bad idea. Most of Cannes involves walking up and down the Croisette. By the end of the festival my feet were blister city!
Onwards and upwards! Ciao :-) See Chronicles 19