With the Banff World Media Festival just days away, I thought I’d write a list of do’s and don’ts for those attending for the first or second time. I hope you find them helpful!
Don’t make my rookie mistake and pack for summer weather. The mountains are unpredictable and it can be seriously cold and rainy! Make sure you check the forecast before you go and pack accordingly otherwise you may be buying new clothes.
Do talk to someone who’s attended the festival before to get a sense of the dress code. Maybe it’s a girl thing but I hate being the only one who’s underdressed … or overdressed as the case may be.
Do attend the Rookies in the Rockies session on Sunday if this is your first time at the festival.
Do have at least one meeting in the Rundle Lounge and make sure you take the time to head out onto the terrace on the lower level. The view is stunning and definitely worth it.
Do attend the CBC opening reception and enjoy yourself but make sure you limit your alcoholic beverages. You don’t want to be hung over for your first full day of meetings!
Do network, network, network. The festival is the perfect place to meet broadcasters, distributors, producers and writers who all work (or want to work) in television. Don’t waste this golden opportunity.
Do prepare your materials and your pitch before you go. This is your chance to make a great impression. Don’t blow it by not having done your homework beforehand.
Do pace yourself. You don’t want to burn out. The festival might only be four days long but it’s jam-packed with events from dusk to dawn.
Do learn the etiquette of when and where to pitch. Don’t pitch someone at a party or reception. Chances are they will ask you what you are working on during the conversation – that’s your chance. Not before. If they don’t ask, get their business card and try to set up a meeting the next day.
Do your research and make sure you’re pitching the right show to the right broadcaster. It sounds simple but it’s the number one rookie mistake.
Do carry business cards with you – I tuck mine in my delegate badge. Don’t try to be artistic and only put your first name on the card. It’s not helpful when your dream broadcaster is trying to get in touch with you later on.
Don’t expect people to lug your script home in their suitcase. If the meeting went well, do follow-up and send your material afterwards. It’s an ideal opportunity to put yourself top of mind.
Do set goals for yourself each day. The festival can be overwhelming so try to keep it manageable by setting a daily goal. Maybe it’s to meet five new people that day or to nail your pitch in an important meeting.
Last but not least, do break in your new shoes before Banff and try to hit the spa in the Calgary airport for a foot massage. And maybe it’s a girl thing but a foot (hand/head) rub feels incredible after traipsing around the mountains in heels for 14 hours a day over four days.