Two weeks after Kidscreen and my head is still spinning. I’ve been to industry festivals and markets before, but none like Kidscreen. There’s really something to it that can set an entire industry on fire (and I mean it in the best possible way). I think the main difference comes from the summit’s size (not too big to get lost, not too small to be talking to the same people on the 4th day.), it’s scope (you can find newbie producers and big network executives, although those will be harder to meet with), and the fact that it’s all going on inside one big bubble that is the InterContinental Hotel. No need to leave for the entire day.
So here are a few tips for a newcomer to Kidscreen. Think of this as a quick guide to succeeding at Kidscreen.
1- Schedule your meetings in advance
Kidscreen newbies might not be aware of this, but most executives have their schedules full 2 months in advance. Kidscreen was in February and I was advised to start contacting delegates for meeting requests before Christmas! So dig into that Kidscreen database and start requesting meetings as soon as you can.
2- Leave room for other interesting activities
Before scheduling your meetings, you can take a look at Kidscreen’s agenda, and then plan your 1 on 1’s around the activities that interest you the most. When you schedule a 1 on 1 meeting you usually get availability options from your counterpart, and most often than not, you will be able to find the time that works for both.
But what happens at the other activities? More networking in different formats. The “30 minutes with…” Sessions help you get an insight of the inner workings of the networks and distributors (and also the speaker’s card if you wait until the end). The cocktails mainly bring people interested in a specific company together… The parties will have a broader mix and are much more relaxed (alcohol helps you grow your network. It’s science).
3- no need for “bells and whistles”
One thing that surprised me is that people you meet is really open to getting to know you, your company, and the stage you’re at. Whether you only have a pitch bible or this is your 16th production in a row. If there’s a match, people will want to work with you.
4- Smile and say “Hi”
I can say that roughly 50-60% of the new contacts I made at Kidscreen I met randomly at the parties and the cocktails. So it’s really important to be able to break the ice. Just by saying “hi” you can open a lot of conversations. People came to Kidscreen to make new contacts so they will be as eager to meet you as you are to meet them.
5- Go to all the parties you can, network, then rest.
This is mostly an extension of point 4. If you get so many contacts from casually bumping into people, you can see the importance of attending these parties. If you’re serious about expanding your network and your business, you will leave going to the Beach after the summit is over. But please do schedule some vacation time after Kidscreen. The entire industry will be resting for the next week or two.
ADDITIONALLY: “Follow Up” is the name of the game
You met a bunch of people, you mingled, you partied and you got back home… This when the new business really happens. Since everybody’s so busy with 30 minute back-to-back meetings during the event, the real closing of the business comes after Kidscreen. So hang on to those newly acquired business cards and follow up your conversations when you’re back home.
So those are my 2 cents.
What would your Kidscreen tips be? Leave those in the comments!
About the writer
Joe Alanis created Gasolina Studios. A development and production studio based in Mexico City. Currently working on animated series such as “Wings Across the World” (Australia-Mexico) and “The Adventures of Bim and Ama” (USA-Mexico). “Secret Society of Veggies” and “My Brother the Monster” are in-house productions. Now amounting for over 11 years of experience in the animation field, previous working experience includes being program director for the Animation Bachelor of Arts at Monterrey Tech (ITESM). Founder and Chief Designer at Alebrije Estudios, where he developed video games for different platforms.
Take a look at Gasolina Studios original developments.