Top 7 Cannes Film Festival fails

Cannes Film Festival 2011

Cannes Festival Logo 2011

This year I headed over to the Cannes Film Festival to discover some larger than life personalities, hilarious moments and less than spectacular conversations.

From self-presentation to personal philosophy, everyone has an angle at the Cannes Film Festival. Well, over the years I have discovered many of the things you should and should not do.

I am going to reveal some of them to enlighten you here and I hope this will give you a good understanding of what doesn’t work.

The Top 7 fails

1. Business cards written with smudged ink on a shredded piece of paper

This just made me laugh really hard. I was ‘targeted’ by a filmmaker as I walked past the Short Film Corner who handed out his flyer for his movie. When I asked, do you have a contact I can give you feedback on, he took out a torn piece of paper, and wrote his details. Of course the ink smudged, and I couldn’t even read it after.

2. 100 Postcard flyers stacked on top of each other surrounded by posters and representatives of other movies.

Ok, so traditional print promotion still exists, but when you place your indie movie postcard in a pile amongst a sea of posters, flyers, business cards and such, the chances of buyers looking at it are so low you may as well use it for toilet paper.

Not only is your movie not going to get seen once, but people won’t go to pick up a postcard of a film they’ve never heard when there are billboards, posters and even representatives of movies walking around promoting them.

3. Dressing up in a tuxedo and standing outside the Palace waiting for a red carpet ticket from 9am

Yes, people do this. They dress up, and almost ‘beg’ accredited festival attendees for red carpet tickets they can’t even get. On top of this, the people coming out of the festival’s front doors are usually in a hurry to escape the gauntlet of people, not embrace them.

4. Paying for drinks when they are free

In the context of the festival, there are free drinks everywhere. So why would you go up to the news-stand one minute walk at 5pm when at the same time there is a happy hour with free beers, drinks and even food just next door? Maybe the 1 minute walk back to the palace is just too much, but why pay when it’s all free?

5. Telling your life story in a 25 minute monologue to people you don’t know

I was unfortunate enough to be sitting down with a good friend of mine when this filmmaker/ extraordinaire starts to make small talk. Sure, he knows my friend, but I don’t know this guy.

In fact, he decides to start telling me his life story. I haven’t even ordered my drink. Have we met?

6. Telling a producer you are an actor.

Sure, this is nice, you introduce yourself, give them some insight into what you’re doing, but that line “I’m an actor”, instantly rings alarm bells for any producer.

Does this mean he/she now has to take your demo reel, watch it, love it, give you feedback on it, put you in their next casting, and then invite you to all their screenings, events, and hold your hand as you become famous?

99% of movie producers at film festivals are not looking for actors. In fact, they are probably getting bombarded by CVs from actors just because they call themselves a producer. It just doesn’t work like that. You have to go to auditions like everyone else. There is a system in place (not that it works at all), so just keep the demo reel for now and present it to agents, talent scouts, and people who are generally looking for new faces.

7. Name-dropping celebrities and then giving them career advice

Imagine a guy who name-drops about every celebrity you can think of, and in that context, gives career advice on what they should do next. Then picture a crowd of excited moviegoers buying his fiction as he philosophises over what Tarantino should do next, and why Scarlett Johansson is not getting what she needs out of her career.

This is by far the most hilarious display of fail I have seen at Cannes. Do they need career advice from someone who hasn’t got one? Would they really listen to someone who is not even in the industry that knows exactly what they should do next?

Do you have some funny stories from the Cannes Film Festival?

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