Str8 from the Source
words by: sasha stoltz | introduction by: james johnson
What does it really take to be a good publicist in today's entertainment climate? You see so many people nowadays claiming to be publicists, and they want you to believe they know the ins and outs of the industry. Even so, you see so many cases where things are going by the wayside with many artists because they're depending on their so-called publicists to handle everything for them. We begin to see that many of them ultimately don't know what they're doing at all, and it poses the question: What does it take to be a good publicist out here in these streets? So came the idea of this article, Str8 from the Source. We'll examine many different career choices from the eyes of those doing it, but as you've likely guessed it, this month we're looking at the qualities of a good publicist.
We were blessed with the opportunity to connect with one of the industry's hardest-working publicists, Sasha Stoltz. As the owner of Sasha Stoltz Publicity, I've personally seen the work she has done with so many artists, and its nothing short of amazing when you look at how successful all of her clients have been because of her work. Sasha gives us a clear rundown on what it takes to be a publicist out here today. We're giving it to you, Str8 from the Source!
1) A publicist should research and make sure they know their client, of course as best as you can on the information that is out there. Be prepared. No one client is alike and what works for some may not work for others. Pay attention, to little things. After working together, though, you will know what works and what doesn't. There's a rhythm that happens when you work closely with people on a project /vision they have. The basics stay the same, stay focused, respectful and be prepared to work long hours. There is a difference when you have a corporate client than when you are working with an artist / celebrity. A publicist has to be able to change lanes quickly and with ease. You are taking on everyones personalities and agendas, and making them work. Every client wants to feel like you've got them. You understand what they want and can make that happen. Always remember, they hired you and look to you for guidance. Never be intimidated. No one wants to see fear or confusion in someone they have hired to get them results.
2) Being able to hit the ground running and stay calm while you do it. One of the things that I am known for, is being able to steady the waters without drawing attention. It's important not to burden a client with every little thing that comes up. It's your job to handle it without upsetting your client. We all know it's not possible to do everything in life, but a client doesn't t want to hear, "it can't be done" and if it comes to that, a very good reason why should be given. I prefer to say, " I've got this." Most things in our line of work can happen, days may change, re-schedule times, but it's a publicists job to make everyone happy at the end of the day.
3) If you have been hired as a publicist by an artist, feature film, or a corporation, they have put their trust in you to handle what comes your way with respect, and on your own. Making small "glitches" go away. If these people need a publicist they are accomplished and usually very focused, powerful and certain of what direction they want to take with their project. It's up to you to make that happen. With that you will gain their trust and your ideas on proceeding can become a support to them. A publicist can become a trusted confidant in many ways more so with artists or actors. They often confide in you and expect that you will be loyal and keep their confidence.
4) A publicist has to be able to adjust to every personality whether you agree with them or not. Days can be long and you are the one that makes all the little wants and needs work. An artist can be hard to keep on track. You have to be able to guide them to interviews or set days on time. Not always possible you have to be in control enough to gently push while making those on the waiting side be OK . It isn't easy setting up magazine interviews, TV appearances, hyping concerts, or products for your clients and it can be a fine line when they don't show or show up late. The publicist has to make it all work. It's your job to make sure the world sees your clients in the best possible light.
5) A publicist has to remain on call . I am on call at all times. Unless it becomes ridiculous, and it can, you have to be there for your client. It's the business. Timing isn't always perfect. You also have to have the relationship with your clients that you stand your ground, respectfully if something has gone to far. I believe in going the extra mile for my clients and this has served me well. My phone is always on and sits on my night stand. Sasha Stoltz Publicity has grown over the years by word of mouth. I have earned the trust of my clients through a "seeing it through" mentality and loyalty. Yes, there have been days without sleep, temper tantrums ( not mine) constant last minute and unnecessary re-scheduling, and maybe even a few tears ( that no one saw).
But, it's important to remember, this ..... there should never be a client or circumstance that takes you out of your personal comfort zone into a place that who you are, is lost.