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What does an Entertainment Publicist do?

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  • Written By: Sheri Cyprus
  • Edited By: Heather Bailey
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  • Last Modified Date: 02 November 2016
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An entertainment publicist promotes projects and artists. He or she handles public relations duties as well as marketing strategies. Entertainment publicists communicate with reporters, journalists and other media to draw attention to creative projects that rely on readers, viewers or box office sales to be successful.

A theater publicist may also manage the productions. Monitoring ticket sales and promoting movies or plays by releasing video clips, or trailers, to the media is a main part of a theater publicist's job. Deciding how tickets are sold, such as their price point, as well as getting good publicity for the theater are other key responsibilities for an entertainment publicist who promotes plays or films.

Film studio or celebrity publicists often work with emerging actors; sometimes they may do promotional projects such as publicity campaigns with well-known movie stars. When representing an actor just beginning to be known in feature films, an entertainment publicist spends a large amount of time getting the artist's name out to the public, such as by preparing press releases. A press release is a news story that also promotes an event, person or business.

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A music publicist also sends out press releases as well as works on publicity campaigns. Publicity campaigns may involve record signings or charity concerts. Entertainment publicists of all types contact journalists and reporters with possible story ideas for magazines or newspapers. An entertainment publicist of any type may hold a public event that includes a contest to win free tickets to a performance.

Publicists may appear on a local radio or television station and offer free tickets to viewers. The host of the show will have a story by interviewing the entertainment publicist about the upcoming production and its star performers. The actors or musicians may appear on the programs rather than the publicists.

Planning and overseeing the completion of advertising projects is a task most publicists do. They may even be employed by an advertising or public relations agency with clients in the entertainment industry. Entertainment publicists may oversee projects to create posters, ads and sweepstakes to help attract public attention for a music, film, celebrity or publishing client.

A book publicist plans signing tours for authors. Literary publicists may also oversee a website building project so that the author they represent has a viewer-accessible place for finding information about the books and signing events. Celebrity publicists may also work on planning and updating a website for the music or film artists they represent.

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sherlock87
Post 7

@helene55- I think that you're sort of right, but the problem is that many aspiring actors do not have the time to do these things themselves. Agents are necessary, though publicists are perhaps not, but if you are constantly looking for work it might be hard to totally take control of your image.

At the same time, there are stars who never announce anything, and don't even use things like social media to cause drama or talk about the events in their lives, and these people usually seem to do well, so I don't really know the answer. I probably won't ever be at a place in my life where I need to think about a publicist, though, so I'm not too concerned.

helene55
Post 6

@Crispety- I agree. In both of your examples, trying to cover up the truth led to something worse down the line.

I honestly think that maybe it's better for celebrities who do not have extensive publicity teams. They have to work through public events themselves, and cannot hide between agents and publicists and, as the opposite might be sometimes, they can't be convinced to make awkward statements instead of just telling the truth or keeping silent.h

Crispety
Post 5

@Sunny27 - I think it depends on the situation. I agree that a statement is necessary, but at some point, the public may want an explanation. For example, when Tiger Woods was facing a lot of media scrutiny about his infidelities, I think that if he would have come out immediately and apologized to his wife and fans for his indiscretions the public would have been more forgiving and the story would have gone away.

I think that when you are not forthcoming is when people start to develop a negative opinion about the celebrity. This is what happened to Anthony Weiner, the congressman from New York that was forced to resign because of a scandal that involved him trying

to cover up a story of his flirting with other women.

I think that he was forced to resign because the media turned on him because he made up a story about his social media account being hacked. The media believed the story until they realized the inconsistencies.

I think that if you admit your mistakes most people will realize that you are human and move on, but if you try to hide something or worse lie about something in effort to outsmart the press the celebrity will always lose because the media creates the celebrity image and they can certainly destroy it just as easily.

Sunny27
Post 4

@Icecream17 - I agree and I think that sometimes when a celebrity is facing legal trouble it is best for the publicist to make a brief statement to the public and not comment any further on the issue. I think that when there is an image problem like this, less is more. It is much more effective to give a statement then to go on and on with a press conference about the problem.

A press conference can expose the celebrity even more and do a lot more damage. I think that there can also be too much publicity and celebrity agents understand this.

In the case of overexposure, the celebrity is everywhere and this usually cheapens the brand because people get sick of hearing about them, so there definitely has to be a delicate balance regarding publicity for the celebrity.

icecream17
Post 3

@BrickBack - I think that entertainment publicity can be a double edged sword because on the one hand if people are not talking about you then you are considered irrelevant, but if the talk is negative it could also damage and even destroy your career so you have to have the right balance in order to continue to grow your brand.

I also think that a literary publicist for example, has to have the right venues and locations for the author to promote their book because if not, not one will buy the book and a would be best seller goes unnoticed.

I imagine that the pinnacle of an author’s career is to be on the Oprah Winfrey Show

. If the book was not a bestseller before going on the show, it sure was afterwards. Oprah has a way of making everyday people household names because her opinion is so valued to the general public.

I think that book marketing should include television interviews so that more people will be exposed to the book and the Oprah Winfrey show is the cream of the crop.

BrickBack
Post 2

I think that publicist careers are really interesting and sort of challenging. If you hear negative entertainment news regarding a celebrity, the celebrity agent has to come up with a strategy to turn this around quickly for their client so that their brand does not get tarnished even further. A celebrity might make an outrageous statement that might offend the general public, or they can break the law somehow which also garners attention. I also think that the media hears a negative story about a celebrity and they know that their ratings will skyrocket so they exploit the store even more.

I think that these are real challenges in a publicist careers because often they are putting out fires all over the place in order to make their client look good.

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