CES Tips by Pamela Kleibrink Thompson

CES Tips
by Pamela Kleibrink Thompson

It’s easy to feel overwhelmed at any of the many conferences, conventions and film festivals offered throughout the year. One of the first and biggest is the Consumer Electronics Show from January 6-9, 2015 in Las Vegas.

To avoid frustration and exhaustion, it’s important to prepare before you go. These tips are good for any festival, conference or convention you plan to attend in 2015.

1. Plan ahead. Know what you want from the conference. Is the purpose to learn a new technique? Find a tool to help you do your job better? Make connections? Meet someone from a particular company? Know why you are going and what your goal is for attending. Keep this goal in mind as you plan your visit.

2. Do a virtual visit. The most important first step you can take before you start hiking through the convention center is to visit the website Whether you’re interested in, new technology or meeting specific individuals, you’ll be much more successful if you know where to look. Visiting the website before you go will save you hours and miles.

3. Take a different path. Instead of crowding in to visit one of the most popular booths, use the same time that it might take to visit one to visit several less popular ones. You may end up discovering something new or making an important new connection.

4. Don’t wait until a conference to make connections. If you know who presenting at CES (check out the website), approach the presenters via their websites or Linkedin and start a conversation before the show. You’ll make more of an impression if you later meet the presenter at CES.

5. Keep appointments and be on time. Those slots are super valuable.

6. Talk to everyone. If you are flying to CES, other large conferences, conventions, or festivals, start at the airport. It is likely that there are others on your plane headed the same way. Once you land, talk to people on the shuttle from the airport, on the bus from the hotel to the convention center, or standing in line to get your badge. Talk to those sitting next to you before the presentation begins, waiting in line to get a snack, standing in line to for anything. You have something in common with everyone at a conference, convention, trade show or film festival.

Follow up after the conference and film festival with those you’ve met. My friend Christine Reynolds took our advice –“Never eat alone” — to heart when she went to Sundance years ago. As a volunteer, she was able to gain access to many of the events at the festival. She also had a parking pass which came in handy when she transported festival goers from one point to another. Some of her passengers were film producers, actors and other volunteers. She stayed in contact with those she gave a lift to, and they want to return the favor by giving her a lift in her career and new business.

6. Wear comfortable shoes. You’ll be doing a lot of walking at any conference, trade show or film festival. Be sure you are in top shape and be prepared to do a lot of walking. (See point 2)

7. Know your limits. Don’t party all night. Limit your alcohol consumption. Whenever you are at a trade show, conference or convention, you are surrounded by potential employers or colleagues. Don’t do anything you’ll regret later or that will impact your career in a negative way.

Keep your purpose in mind throughout the festival, conference, convention or trade show. Be open to other opportunities as well. Make connections with others who have similar interests to you. Have fun, use your time wisely, meet some new people and I’m sure you’ll benefit greatly from any event you attend.

Pamela Kleibrink Thompson is a recruiter, career coach, speaker and writer. She has a huge collection of business cards from various conferences and conventions. One of her goals is to get all the information entered in her computer so she can keep in contact with everyone. You can reach her for recruiting, speaking engagements, career coaching or resume revamps at Her Linkedin profile can be found at She is a presenter at conferences as well as at colleges and presented the commencement address at Art Institute of Tampa.

Pamela Kleibrink Thompson is an internationally-acclaimed recruiter, career coach and animation veteran (production manager on The Simpsons, ink and paint supervisor on Paramount's animated feature Bebe's Kids.) Pamela is a popular speaker at colleges, film festivals and entertainment industry conferences around the world.She has presented courses at SIGGRAPH in San Diego, Boston, and Los Angeles; was the commencement speaker at Art Institute of Tampa, and taught the Career Realities course at Gnomon School of Visual Effects.Pamela was named one of the Top Ten Recruiters by Animation Magazine and has worked with clients around the world such as Disney Feature Animation, Technicolor in Beijing, Framestore in London, and Lucas Animation in Singapore.She has written for over 80 publications including Computer Graphics, Animation Magazine, U.S. Art, Media History Digest, Apple Directions, Art Business News, Idaho Arts Quarterly, and Animation World Network.
Pamela Thompson
Broadcast Beat - Production Industry Resource