By Wednesday May 24th we were almost totally done with work – although work wasn’t 100% done with us yet, so we did our very best to make every meeting as fun and relaxing as possible.
First up, while baby took an epic nap I met on the now-dead-quiet lawn of the Grand with a filmmaker I hit it off with at one of the genre-film mixers at the Plage des Palmes. She had a cool project idea and we talked about whether I might be able to help (and we talked about The Neverending Story for a while, always a good sign). One of those “who knows if anything will come of it but I might really enjoy working with this person” type meetings. We’re going to stay in touch and we’ll see what happens.
From there, I raced back home to bundle the babe into his stroller so that we could hit the beach. One of the people we met with earlier in the week (one of our best meetings, in fact) offered to take us out on a beach day, and we jumped at the chance to relax in style.
Cannes is a coastal town, so it’s all beaches and marinas. Some of the beaches are public, but the ones immediately to the east of the “international pavilions” and Palais zone are private. Some are restaurants, some are run by nearby hotels for their guests, and some are just private beaches that you can pay to access – a recliner in the sand and a big umbrella might set you back €20-30 (probably more during peak summer season) and you can order drinks and snacks right to your lounge chair. Our new friend and potential future colleague sprang for a couple of chairs and kept ordering wine for the duration of our stay on the lovely private beach where she was camped out for the day.
Tip #1: when you’re in the south of France, take a moment to appreciate that.
It’s easy to get caught up in a cycle of work and work-related-socializing when you’re at a market. But you’re also on the French riviera, so take a half-day and dip a toe into the sea! I’m always astonished by the number of people I meet who have been coming to Cannes for years and have never even waded into the water.
Little bean-o dipped his toes in the water and crawled around in the sand for his very first time. He made little sand-mounds with dad and even tried to put a fistful into his mouth (as one does). He ate french fries and had the best day. And we drank cold, refreshing white wine (sometimes even I need a break from rosé), ate shrimp and avocado salads and went for a swim. All in all, a perfect afternoon that we only cut short because Bobo was way overdue for his second nap.
Tip #2: you think you can make a baby conform to your schedule because you’re a cool, bohemian world traveller, but you are wrong.
Give up and give in to the rigid nap schedule. It’s the only way to survive. We strolled past the Grand to a little Italian wine bar tucked into a corner behind the hotel where Colin met with a good friend and fellow programmer / producer / bon vivant, while I went back home to put buddy down to sleep. Colin got some great life and career advice as well as a dizzying breakdown of ‘passive income streams’ – a phrase I’d never once thought about before that day.
Our evening schedule was packed with at-home activities. First, a great meeting over rosé (duh) with a friend who has also recently made a big move in his career – leaving a big job as a major distributor and settling into a great development gig at a different company.
Tip #3: kick your impostor syndrome to the curb.
We talked about the trepidation we all feel jumping into a new career path full of work that we’ve “never done before”. When you’re new to something, it’s natural to feel a bit shy and modest about calling yourself a pro before you’ve really mastered it. But that’s the thing: people in the film business are not shy or modest, as a rule. People who have never produced a thing call themselves producers all the time, and everyone just believes them. Years of experience count for a lot, even if you’re technically doing a different piece of the work than you used to.
Earlier in the week, I hesitated to call myself a writer (even though I’ve contributed writing to several books, journals, online publications, and websites for years) – but the 20-something actress I was talking to had absolutely no trouble describing herself as one, because she’s “working on two scripts”. I’m working on two scripts too, but they’re not done and I haven’t had one produced so I didn’t want to overstate my experience. Turns out, I don’t need more experience, just the confidence to state my goals out loud.
The pal who came over for drinks + deep talks is also a new dad, so he had some garden play time with S to give him a bit of a baby fix. We encouraged him to bring his family next year. It’s so worth it.
The day ended with some takeout pizzas from Papa Ninos and chats with good friends: Peter K, Colin’s successor on the Midnight Madness throne; Chad E, U8P’s acquisitions and project tracking whiz; the world’s best nanny, Tim; Graham Skipper (two-time Midnight Madness alum as an actor in The Mind’s Eye and Almost Human, and recent first-time director) and Paul from FrightFest. A perfect bunch to share drinks and pizza and our final ‘big night’ in Cannes with.
We still had one more day, but we spent it packing, strolling, beach-ing and buying little gifts to take home to our families. We topped it off with one of the best pasta dinners I’ve had in years at a place we always look at and say “bet they have really great pasta”. Turns out, they do.
Cannes 2017 was a huge success, professionally and personally. It provided a much-needed mental break from our workaday world in Toronto, it was massively productive and it was fun as hell. Watching Sweetpea take his first dip in the Mediterranean and eat his first taste of Papa Nino’s melted my heart a dozen times over.
The MVP award of the fest surely goes to Tim, who was the best helper we could have hoped for and remains truly one of our favourite humans. Next up, we’re going to have to figure out how to get baby to Atlanta to visit him!