When I was growing up, Dave Nichol, the President of Loblaws, a big supermarket chain in Canada, used to travel around the world and come back with interesting ingredients and exotic spices that he’d proudly introduce to Canadians on television. This was before the internet and cheap travel, so the world was a much bigger place and as such, the whole country lived vicariously through this globe-trotting foodie executive. My personal favourite was “Memories of Szechwan” peanut sauce. I can still taste it. Mmmmmm.
This week, the entire TV world would ordinarily be descending on Cannes, France for the annual mipcom market.
For the uninitiated, mipcom is like a giant bazaar, where the rights to television shows are bought and sold. Traditionally, it was a souk for finished tape, where sellers brought their shows to flog to buyers from all over the world. Over time, it’s grown to be the epicenter for the international television market where ideas are pitched and co-productions are forged. Obviously, amid a global pandemic, bringing thousands of people together from around the world isn’t going to happen, so the “market” experience, like so many other aspects of our life, has moved online.
This would have been my fifth trip to Cannes for mipcom. I first went in 2015, knowing a grand total of pretty much nobody. I vividly recall eating alone, behind a table of two industry titans plotting their next chess moves. But over time, I met more and more people and by this time last year had a full dance card and a brand-new show to bring to market.
There’s a lot to like about Reed Midem’s online offering, but there’s also a lot to miss. Channeling my inner Dave Nichol (who sadly passed away in 2013), my “Memoires of Mipcom” offering would include chilled rose, over-priced hamburgers on the seaside, and extremely salty nuts from The Grand. But what I really miss are the people.
The international TV world has some of the brightest and most fun people I’ve ever had a chance to collaborate with. Sure, there’s probably a higher quotient of jerks than other industries, but mostly the good folks stick together and good things come from that.
To everyone sitting behind their screens this week, I’ll raise a glass of chilled rose and hope to see you again along the Croisette.