Jan Caston and I attended MipJunior this year. MipJunior is the children's TV market section of Mipcom (although children's TV can rub shoulders in Mipcom too). Jan and I went along to wag our tails about Dog Years, our new super-cute and funny live-action TV show. I had been to MipJunior a couple of years ago, just to see how everything worked, and that trip proved to be a useful recce as me and Jan went headfirst into a weekend of meetings and pitching. Here's how it all breaks down:
- Most of MipJunior's activities take place in the Marriott Hotel. The spacious hotel lobby becomes host to a non-stop gaggle of meetings and networking opportunities. You literally grab any space available so you can have your pre-arranged meeting or strike up a spontaneous chat. Luckily there's free tea, coffee and soft drinks, with the occasional cake or treat thrown in for good measure. On the first floor, there's some rooms for official talks or presentations. On the lower ground floor, there's a private meeting area as well as the Grand Theatre which is a big auditorium for screenings, special talks and the official pitching session of the market.
- MipJunior only lasts for two days, on the Saturday and Sunday before Mipcom begins on the Monday. It's much less busy than Mipcom. There's about 1500 attendees for MipJunior, as opposed to about 10,000 attendees for Mipcom. So, MipJunior is a lot more quiet and accessible than its main market counterpart. But on the Sunday, MipJunior does get busier as some of the Mipcom attendees begin to rock into town, and they start to fill up the bars, restaurants and some of the MipJunior meetings.
- MipJunior is a bit pricey to attend, about €1000 or so, but flight, accommodation and food isn't too bad, if you're savvy enough. For example, the Ibis Budget hotel is particularly good, and it's essentially in the centre of town; get a bus from the airport instead of a taxi; there's great/affordable cafes and restaurants a short walk away from the beachside Croisette. Most importantly, there are grants and discounts that you can get for your main ticket - best to keep an eye out via Pact or Children's Media Conference throughout the year for that.
- Is MipJunior worth attending? Yes, especially if you have a show you want to pitch/develop, or sell if you've already finished production. MipJunior focuses on the business market side of things but it's still a terrific stomping ground for writers to network with producers and production companies from all around the world.
Jan and I returned to the UK with a suitcase full of business cards and new contacts, so the exciting follow-up emails and Skype calls can now commence, and hopefully we can push Dog Years even further into production. Bring it on!