Entertainment PR– Lessons from Hollywood

By: Alyssa Schaefer

I know a lot of young professionals attempting to break into public relations are eager to get their foot into the entertainment industry door.

Who can blame them? We live in a modern society that is fiercely driven by pop culture. The entertainment industry seems to possess a mysterious power to become disturbingly addicting. Consumers can’t get enough, and producers seem to be finding endless dynamics to formulate the next break-out sensation.

However, it is important not to be fooled by the shimmering streets of Hollywood. Behind this industry is a whole army of people working against impossible standards in order to ensure the success of their childhood dreams.

You may find it helpful to get some background knowledge of the industry, and what sort of world you would be dealing with if you choose to pursue a career in entertainment PR, or just the field of entertainment in general.

This article is based on knowledge I’ve gained from my internship this summer at a talent agency – and also knowledge that I’ve picked up through the clients at the agency (since we all know that listening to the customer is the #1 rule these days).

  • It is important to have a good background or understanding of the talent you choose to represent. This could be closely identified with “product knowledge.” Knowledge of the product you’re selling is vital in any business scenario; the same is true in the entertainment industry. One should be able to recognize “good” talent when he or she sees it. The clients you represent want to know that you know what you’re talking about. Experience is key; build trust with your client by showing consideration for the product you both will be selling.
  • A talent agent will spend a good amount of time networking with directors, photographers, choreographers, and other clients. It is absolutely essential that a talent agent possess great communication skills. Both the client and the talent agent will benefit from being extremely organized. The entertainment industry waits for no one. At times, auditions come up with little to no prior indication. It is of utmost importance that the talent agent stays on top of his or her “game” 100 percent of the time.
  • Branding. Classifying one’s projected market is of course imperative in the success of the agency, and therefore the client. “How does this particular client want to be branded in the market he or she is aiming for?” Breakdowns – a list of requirements that casting is looking for – usually specify characteristics they desire in a talent. Knowing which characteristics are associated with each client allows you to pull the most equipped clientele for each specific audition. Every single client is unique, we must remember that we are dealing with the “public”; no one client will ever be the same. By branding your clientele, it not only shows great transparency and personal attention, it ensures a clear and projective path to success.

There are obviously many more qualities vital to success in the industry. These are simply the core values and ideas that I’ve taken away from my summer in the land of the rich and famous. I personally enjoy this fast-paced, “what-you-see-is-what-you-get” environment. However, those who are looking for a nurturing, routine-based work life should perhaps be advised to explore some different options!

Selling Summer Movies

By Sarah Larson
Sarah-a-larson@uiowa.edu

Superheroes and irreverent comedies seem to be dominating the multiplex this summer. Every weekend a major film is released with hopes of box office success. As a cinema major interested in public relations, I wondered what these films do to stand out against the competition. Here is what I found…

Films are marketed by what are known as distribution companies. These companies distribute the film to theaters and also dispense marketing materials to advertise the film.

A big part of a firm’s marketing occurs when the company identifies the genre. This genre will determine how the film is packaged when appealing to various audiences. You wouldn’t want to go see The Expendables 2 expecting a romantic comedy and likewise this would not be a profitable tool for the company. This is not to say that some films don’t play on this notion of genre for comedic gains. The restricted trailer for Ted, an upcoming comedy about a foul-mouthed teddy bear, began by making fun of romantic comedies.

In a season full of sequels and long running franchises, it can be hard to make a new film stand out. The Avengers owes a lot of its success to the origin story films of some of its main characters. Likewise The Dark Knight Rises is a highly anticipated film and the end to Christopher Nolan’s Batman trilogy. So how does a movie stand out against all these superhero juggernauts?

Great trailers. Trailers are the reasons people decide to go to a particular film over another. The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo had an amazing trailer that Hollywood buzzed about and likewise grossed close to $233 million worldwide according to boxofficemojo.com.

Here are two films I’m looking forward to seeing this summer because of stand out trailers. Note the different devices companies use to differentiate between genres. For example, the science fiction film Prometheus uses dramatic music and quick cuts of alien planets to draw viewers while the That’s My Boy comedy shows quick clips of partying and funny scenes.

As you can see, when trying to sell a product that costs millions to make, every detail of its marketing plan is going to be thought out. This is the case for films in an extremely high stakes industry.