Production Company Party Time. Besides Cannes, it's the best time to be in this business. If you play it just right, you don't have to pay for a drink from now until February.* But how to take advantage of every party out there? Some hosts just let everyone in. Others are very friendly (like Post Factory) and have many parties. But what about the strict lists? The ones with doormen? The ones with hall-monitorish harpies out front? Can you get in? Is your last name Hegarty? Probably not.** If not, here are a few tips on how to get into as many of these things as possible.
Get An Invite
Sounds simple enough. But what if you haven't actually sold a spot in two years, nobody knows you and you're not on any lists. You must get invited.
THE FAKE RSVP Don't know anyone at Smuggler? RSVP to their party anyway and say you can't make it. Then call back and say actually you can make it, and you'll be there, thanks. Give your name and hang up quickly. Whoever handles the RSVPs will be so swamped, he/she will put you on the list just to feel that they've gotten something done.
THE ACCENT You've never worked with Blue Rock? Call up, put on a Brit accent and say you're in town from your agency's London office and you'd like to "pop 'round." Ad people can't resist British accents.***
THE DECOY Far more effective, but riskier, is to send over the best scripts you've ever written and never sold for that company to bid on. You'll get an invite for sure. Then, the day after the party, just say the job was cancelled.****
THE BORING CO-WORKER Even if you haven't produced any work, others have, and they're the ones with invites just begging to be used. You'll find that many of your colleagues have relationships, are married, have children, or have non-job related social lives (freaks) and already have plans. Grab their invites.
WING IT Or just go. The brave choice. You risk rejection, but fear not, as we move on to...
Get In The Door
So you're invite-less, but you've arrived anyway. Good for you. Get ready for the large man who won't let you pass, the mean-spirited girl with a clipboard and pen light, or worst of all, the Cheerleader Tryout Committee of three girls at a table, all furiously checking lists and looking frightfully important.***** Steel yourself, and try the following:
THE WALK IN Simplest solution to the brief. Works in a lot of places. Head down, move fast and with purpose. They're lucky to have you. Works at Blue Rock.
THE IDIGNANT GUY Use your name and act outraged when it's not on the list. A risky ploy at best. Cause a stink, they may fold (although a lot of BBDO people tried this at ChicKonkey and got dusted).
THE FAKE NAME Bogusky. B-o-g-u-s-k-y. First name Alex.******
THE CAMERA CREW Collect a few other people, grab your agency's camera and say you're with CNBC and you're following Donnie Deutsch. You're in. Ad people love to pretend they have any connection with Hollywood. Bonus: you get to film you and your buddies while you're drunk.
THE LEECH Wait for someone you know and who was invited. Immediately engage that person in an intense conversation. Then, don't even look at the doorman.
THE STEALTHY LEECH The same, but with people you don't know. Just say "I love the work your company does." This guarantees a minute's conversation with anyone in the industry. Forget them once inside.
THE LATERAL Get creative. One guy got into every Oscar party by bringing a pig on a leash and telling everyone it was Babe. Try the same thing with a red desk lamp.
BEG Last resort. Might be time to go home. Or call around to find another party.
Congratulations! So now you're in. Or not. Whatever. Next month I'll cover what to do in a holiday party, such as How To Look Everywhere Except At The Person You Are Talking To and How To Brag About The Screenplay You Haven't Written Yet.
* Forgive how New York-centric this is. I'm sure whatever city you live in is great. Really.
** Actually, it might be. If it is, I promise you I don't let my drinking interfere with my job performance. And I never drink at work. Well, only on Fridays. At around 4. We have a lot of booze clients.
*** Many planners have made a career out of this alone.
**** If you have to resort to this just to go to an ad party, Jesus Christ, you need serious help.
***** i. e. Radical's anniversary party.
****** If this fails, you're a tool. If this works, you're a tool for trying it. But hey, free shrimp!
Ted Royer is a global creatve at Publicis.