A note from Bud Parr at Chekhov’s Mistress as well Booksquare’s sound advice lead me to consider further preparations for the upcoming conference. Booksquare notes certain blunders to avoid. While it’s too late for me to avoid many of them, they are worth repeating.
Speaking of Chekhov, never compare your work to his. With film people, this will lead to a pointless discussion of all the Star Trek characters. This is a three minute sidetrack and you only have seven minutes left.
If it’s a three day conference, use Day One to create a mental grid map of the facilities. The people you want to speak to will eventually need food and drink; hire lookouts and a team of runners.
Oh My GOD Jillian Manus knows my name! This is a more of Day Two peril; she knows your name because she can read. It’s easy to forget that you’re wearing a name tag.
Your pitch is interrupted to search for sliced mangos; this is a high risk scenario with FILM PEOPLE. Mangos aren’t native to the Pacific Northwest; the busboy will probably leave the building rather than disappoint the man in sunglasses. A volunteer may bring canned peaches; don’t be distracted.
Let the work speak for you. Hand over a one page synopsis; answer questions as best you can. If it’s a BOOK PERSON, you won’t have to shout. Sometimes a low-key approach can result in a reverse pitch wherein they describe your work to you and you nod.
My people will talk to your people. Don’t be alarmed if you don’t have any ‘people.’ Don’t try to memorize references to ‘Matt’ or ‘Trish.’ Obtain a business card; if the person says that the address on the card is ‘old’, tear the card up.
Try not to frighten random hotel guests; they don’t understand what’s happening in the lobby. They’re on vacation.
Avoid that fortieth cup of coffee. Have a mango instead.