Today is a day of weird sleeping (fell asleep last night at 2am, woke up at 8am, got a lot of work done, crashed at 1:30pm, slept until nearly 4pm) and schedule-making.

Here’s my method for creating a film market schedule. I’m sure everyone does theirs differently. I request meetings with the people I have to meet with and let those filter back to me. I go through the screening guide and whittle it down to the films I would like to see.

I put all the confirmed meetings into the schedule (highlighted in blue) and all the parties and social events (in pink). And then I list all of the films on my “to see” list on the schedule. All of them. Even if there are five in a single time slot. Like this (except the schedule actually extends from 9am to midnight):

screen cap

Also, I use the 24 clock. When your schedule stretches over a 15 hour period, there’s a lot less confusion in being able to say “see you at 21:00” than “see you at 9” because lord help you if you forget to put the AM or PM down and screw your whole day.

Obviously, I do this very differently from the way I approach a film festival schedule, where I actually select individual films that I’ll definitely see in a given slot.

Markets are different, and I’m watching these films for different reasons (festival programming, acquisitions consulting, mysterious producing reasons, etc). Sometimes, I don’t watch an entire film, so it’s handy to know what else is playing in the same slot that I can pop into. Other times, I won’t know what my priority is in a given slot until after I’ve consulted other industry pals who may have heard more buzz than I have. And sometimes meetings run long and it comes down to “which theatre can I walk to in 5 mins”. C’est la [market] vie.

Today, I’m really hitting my stride, confirming meetings left, right & centre, and kicking the schedule’s ass. Unfortunately, it’s nearly 5pm the day before the market begins, so, y’know, I could have gotten into the zone sliiiiightly earlier.

This is, however, where the “travel early” advice also comes in handy. Here I am, 24 hours before it begins, comfortably sipping coffee at a desk and responding to emails as soon as they come in. If I was at an airport right now or on a flight with no wifi for seven hours, I’d be a mess of anxiety.