How to Break into Entertainment PR
By Linette Owens
When we think of public relations, we often picture the smartly tailored publicity agent, putting out fires and dealing with one of many celebrity meltdowns. Public relations can deal with many different industry sectors, the most popular, however, is entertainment PR. When surveyed, most people were interested in learning more about entertainment PR and how to get their foot in the door. There’s a connotation of glamour that follows the idea of being a publicist. However, entertainment PR deals in advocating for a client, behind the scenes branding, events, launches and scandals. A famous phrase in the industry is entertainment PR is 1% glamour and 99% hard work. It’s not a position for the faint of heart.
In this post, I will synthesize the steps you can use to break into the entertainment PR industry, based on what I’ve learned from Prof. Steve Rohr in JOUR 490: Entertainment Publicity.
Success in the public relations industry is half how hard you work, and half the people you know. Internships get your foot in the door. Not only do they give you the experience you need, but they also give you face time with people who could help you later on in your career. Finding the right internship can set you apart. Here are a few to get you started:
Sony Pictures https://www.sonypicturesjobs.com/internships
Paramount Pictures https://www.paramount.com/internships
NBC Universal https://www.nbcunicareers.com/internships
I don’t mean to repeat myself, but again who you know is just as important as your talent and work ethic. Networking is imperative to breaking into the entertainment business. Your contacts will help you find your clientele. LinkedIn is a great place to start. Make sure your page is up to par first. You never know who you might meet if you’re in the right place at the right time, or who’s search you might populate on.
3) Immerse yourself in the business
If you want to be able to control somebody’s image or brand, you have to know the industry inside and out. Entertainment PR is all about connections. So, to succeed, you have to know entertainment. Watch TV shows and movies - yes, you heard me right. Know your networks, major award shows, film festivals, movie studios and essential executives. This is key!
4) Be friendly, persistent and be willing to work hard!
Thousands of people flock to Los Angeles and New York City every year to get their big break in the entertainment business. You have to stick it out and show you can handle whatever is given to you. Be someone people want to work with. Entertainment PR is a tight-knit community. If you are hard to work with, everyone will know. The person you are working with right now could be your boss or the network's head in 5-10 years. Make sure you make a good impression and nurture your connections.
5) Never say No
Don’t reject any opportunities. Every opportunity provides insight and moves you forward in your career. You never know what a prospect could lead to, even if it’s not in the entertainment field. Passing something up because it “wasn’t for you” will result in you losing out on the experience and those precious connections I keep mentioning. It can also help you build on your skills and learn from others. You never know who you might meet and what you can learn from experience.
The entertainment industry is challenging to get into. And it is even more challenging to be the person behind the scenes managing a studio or celebrity’s reputation. The entertainment industry is full of secrets and scandals. A publicist has to be somebody trustworthy and a jack of all trades. Connections are of the utmost importance if you want to be successful in this industry. With hard work and marketing yourself correctly, you will have your foot in the door in no time.
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