Keeping it Real

The time has come again for the fiscal knee in the groin that is MIP....
April 1, 2000

The time has come again for the fiscal knee in the groin that is MIP.

Just as there is before every trip to Cannes, there has been some talk that the days of the markets are numbered – that the Internet will make the whole process redundant.

As we examine in our convergence story (page 86), online services are lining up to take the place of so-called ‘real world’ events. For us$5,000, you can list 3,000 of your programs on the Reed Midem’s mipinteractive site. List with TvResource, and you can even put your scripts and promotional material online for your customers to download. Why leave your office? The Internet is taking over…

It won’t happen.

It’s not because we have some sort of genetic predisposition to paying $10 for a Coke, or because we have a thing for sitting in airports. It’s because markets and events like MIP are a rite of passage that separate the initiated from the uninitiated.

That’s not to suggest that you’re not a pro if you haven’t sweated it out at a big market – but the first event you attend is like an awakening. You discover that you’re part of a community, and that’s something you can see, but can’t feel, online. On the learning curve alone, your inaugural MIP is probably worth more than the first six months you spent in your office. What’s really too bad is that more doc-makers can’t afford the experience, because it’s certainly an education to see how deals really get done, and who’s doing them. The big markets let you see where you fit into the grand scheme of things.

Reed Midem and the other big organizers have nothing to worry about when it comes to the Internet. Where there might be a problem is with the smaller, niche markets. Will you be able to justify a week out of the office and an inflated expense account for the sake of an event that attracts 200 people, regardless of who they might be? That’s where the uncertainty lies.

The professional bond which ties us together is only created through the one-on-one experience. Once you’ve experienced the Palais on a Wednesday afternoon, you feel the same camaraderie the men in the trenches must have felt in WWI (well… minus the shooting. And the only thing that approaches that sort of moral carnage happens at La Chunga around four in the morning…) The need for that bond will only get stronger as technology makes this business more impersonal. Besides being creatures of habit, we’re also social creatures who want to be able to commiserate over our misery face-to-face.

‘I just hate when they want to have their meetings on the yacht.’

‘Ya, I know what you mean…’

About The Author
Andrew Tracy joined Realscreen as associate editor in 2021, following 17 years as managing editor of the award-winning international film magazine Cinema Scope. From 2010 to 2020 he also held the position of senior editor at the Toronto International Film Festival, where he oversaw the flagship publication for the organization’s year-round Cinematheque programming and edited its first original monograph in a decade, Steve Gravestock’s A History of Icelandic Film. He was a scriptwriter and consultant on the first season of the Vice TV series The Vice Guide to Film, and his writing and reporting have been featured in such outlets as Cinema Scope, Reverse Shot, Sight & Sound, Cineaste, Film Comment, MUBI Notebook, POV, and Montage.