Mind Your Business: Business Around The World
The world is getting smaller every day -- and the industry is even smaller.
For those of you who don't read my blog, (and why don't you read my blog at www.Facebook.com/pitchtv?!) I just returned from a whirlwind business trip around the world. In October I was in France, Los Angeles (C'mon, California is like another country), China and Mexico.
Yes, my ass hurts from the horrible airline seats.
Plus, during October I also had discussions for deals in England, Canada, Ireland, Korea, India and Pakistan. AT&T and I have a love/hate relationship.
There are differences when working with people from different countries. I thought we could take a quick look at how to work in various countries.
MIPCOM, the huge TV buying and selling conference in Cannes, France, used to be really formal. Virtually every man was in a suit and every woman was in a dress or pantsuit.
Years ago, there were only two men on the conference floor not in suits, one guy with long silver hair in a pony tail and wearing a Hawaiian shirt (I forget his name) and me wearing my famed button-down superhero shirts.
Now the conference is very casual. Sure, many suits are still in suits, but you will see people in jeans, shorts, costumes and anything else while in meetings. Avoid meetings on the beach during the day though, because there are topless women on the beaches. Not that I have anything against that, nothing at all. But if you want me to pay attention to what you're saying, make sure there are no naked breasts behind you.
Meetings on the beach at night, however, are a whole different thing. On the opening night of MIPCOM we went to a bunch of parties, one of which was on the beach. We weren't all invited, so we had to sneak in. It was a party for European TV buyers. We all had to pretend to be from different parts of Europe and interested in buying programs to get in. Lucky me, I was the only one in our group who was interrogated, but I played my part well. Once we all got in, we corralled a bunch of chairs on the beach and the group started drinking…a lot. (except for Tahir and me)
The one issue for me in doing business is I don't drink. I don't have anything against drinking, I'm just a lightweight who doesn't like the taste and I don't enjoy puking into other people's shoes. (I'm pretty sure they don't like it either.)
If you are doing business at night in France, be prepared to drink.
I spent one evening with an Irish distributor in France at the Hotel Carlton, talking about production war-stories. That evening included a huge amount of alcohol, the slurring of words and people walking at a 20-degree slant. Being the only completely sober person at a huge event can be quite humorous.
On a side note, I find it interesting that I can have great business meetings and photos with executives who I personally admire, yet I get more reaction on my blog to a picture I took with Lisa Kudrow after her presentation at MIPCOM. I'm not doing any business with her, it's just a photo. (The great tip here is to take pointless photos with beautiful famous people, even if they don't know who you are.)
In Los Angeles almost anything goes. One thing is obvious: LA people pay the most attention to LA credits. It's a very ego-centric town. Try to get some LA credits.