The Feast of the Epiphany
April 16, 2007 1:51 AM
Cannes. Sunday. The day before the MIP marathon begins. Early arrivals like me get to enjoy the casual pleasures of Cannes in nearly perfect conditions – 70 degrees and a mix of sun and clouds.
This may be the best day of the week. There is the greeting of colleagues every several hundred feet along the Croisette – the Cannes equivalent of an American boardwalk. There is the tolling of the church bells anchored to their ancient wooden harnesses in the medieval clock tower overlooking the harbor. And there is the bustle of townspeople buying flowers and fresh produce at the farmer’s market in the old quarter.
For me it’s a day of meeting colleagues, reviewing schedules, and planning for the market that opens for business tomorrow.
Dinner is the highlight event as Voom HD Networks is entertaining a dozen trade journalists to an evening of relaxed conversation and fine French cuisine before the press of business makes all meetings end no more than 15 minutes after they begin.
I turned the tables on the reporters by announcing to all within earshot that I was blogging for TelevisionWeek and that their conversation was on the record unless otherwise requested. It’s only fair that the journalists should have to watch their words for a change. (Still, I’ve decided to keep my sources unidentified since the wine and champagne were doing most of the talking.)
The evening was full of pleasant banter and good cheer. Though, for me, the essence of the night came in a conversation with a new colleague who is attending her first MIP. She has only been in the television business for six months. At her table were journalists at the top of their game who write with authority about all the nuances of the media world.
At first, her conversation started with generalities. But after a while, she starting talking about the people she was meeting.
I volunteered that having joined the international television scene she’ll never want to leave the business. Why? Well, it’s not because she’ll be working for the same employer throughout her career. There is too much change for that. It’s because the people who belong to the tribe that descends on MIP, MIPCOM, and the myriad of other markets, are among the most alive and curious people their companies and countries have to offer. Who wouldn’t want to call people like these friends and acquaintances?
I don’t know if my bold endorsement of her recent career choice could be called an epiphany, though she did break into a knowing smile as I finished my mentoring. But as if to prove the point, our attention shifted across the table to a diner who has seen more MIP conferences than most of us combined.
He was in full-throated story mode regaling everyone by explaining that the use of dynamite sticks in the Road Runner cartoons of his youth created for him an “epiphanic” understanding of the history of the California Gold Rush. What? Did I miss something? Is “epiphanic” even a word? Well, trust me, he had the table rapt. And at that point, I, too, realized that it was this business that let’s me call people like him a friend and acquaintance.
Tomorrow: the warm and fuzzy feelings disappear as negotiations begin and the deals start popping.