STOP! Before you read this, you need to listen to the podcast with my publicist Mia! We did a bonus episode to answer all your direct questions for her, and this is my follow up to answer the questions you sent to me. So. Go listen to it!
Hi! Welcome back! I hope you liked the podcast! Isn’t Mia great? She is so straight forward. That is one of the many things I would highly suggest in a publicist. The last thing you need is your promo person to be unrealistic with you. Continuing this detailed honestly theme, I condensed your questions so let’s get to it…
Firstly, I never intended to hire a publicist. When I filmed Followed (in 2016) I knew it was a pretty great script and I had a blast doing it, but with all the comes with a movie getting made, then edited, then the film fest circuit, than maybe a premier and getting distribution, I learned a long time ago that a lot happens between my days on set and anyone getting to watch it on their flat screens. I say it all the time, but every time a movie gets made, it’s a small miracle.
Anyway, with COVID throwing in another wrench in the process, I assumed like many films I had done, this would softly release into the either and it would be some awesome footage and a good credit. However when we pivoted to drive-ins and then hit #1 at the box office, I though, huh…this feels important. So I texted some friends who I knew had worked with a publicist before. I wanted to specifically find someone who works well with up-and-coming actors since the up-hill battle that is “new talent” can be a tough sell if it’s not your speciality (something we talked a lot about on the podcast). Mia came highly recommended and my friends also sent her a note about me, I was told sometimes it helps to be recommended by a client. Her company also signs clients without multiple month minimums, meaning I could hire her (and her partner Ashton) for one month only, which we both agreed for our case was all we needed.
From there I reached out to Mia via email, we had a long follow up call where she broke down what she thought she could and couldn’t help with, what was possible during a pandemic, and her rate. I know, you’re all dying to know the cost, and you also know I am big on the hard details so yes I will tell you: I paid $2,500 for one month of official consistent work with Portrait PR. This was a discounted rate due to the nature of the pandemic. So yup. It was a lot of money. But I had been saving to pay for shooting and editing my new reel, so I made an executive decision. I knew I wasn’t going to be able to redo my reel for a while longer, and I had already paid all my credit cards down to zero (not going out or getting Ubers really saves, ya know?) so after thinking it over for a few days I dropped the cash.
The next steps went quick, I filled out a long questionnaire to give Mia a good deal of background on me and also complied any possible photos she could use into a Google Drive. Within in two days I had 2 podcasts and 3 interviews. Over the course of the next week she also facilitated a FaceTime photo shoot with Amanda Peixoto-Elkins which included several edited photos. I will add a few here for you to see, not bad for a “photographed on FT” shoot! Hot tip: she needed to use the back camera since it’s better and thank goodness my friend Julie has been in the quarantine-bubble and was at home with me, finding the angles on the camera without her would have been SO hard.
I did several digital magazine interviews (meaning they sent the questions via email and I emailed back answers), a handful of podcasts, two or three on-camera interviews (aka Zoom), and was also sent access to a Yoga app for free? I know, random. I got a lot of experience under my belt and learned a lot about getting interviewed, very different on the other side of the table!
Honestly, anything I do with my career is worth it because it becomes a learning experience for you and me both, so I consider it all a win. But yes, I do think it was worth it. Portrait’s policy of letting you do one month at a time instead of signing you to a three month minimum was a game changer. I also have a press kit of sorts (if you want to check it out) now, it’s a start but it’s nice to have. And I have a ton of media training which I think is invaluable. The next time I have a big win project come up, I have a go-to person who already knows me, can back me up with my kit, and can push for the next bigger thing. It feels like it’s an inevitable step in my career, so I am glad I already have a team prepped and trustworthy.
Well I wish I could have gotten dressed up for like one single event! Haha but who knows if the film would have been as propelled in a regular landscape. I wish I would have had more photo shoots to pull images from. As Mia said in the podcast, having photos ready to go it a BIG part of this process. For my next go-around I will have a few photo shoots leading up to the re-hiring of the PR team, so we don’t waste any time. I also wish I would have made a list of my goal interviews/features up front, but I wasn’t sure the reach of an indie film and what was kosher to ask for. I’d love to get really specific on my next project and really nail down my wants in terms of where I picture myself, then I can get strategic in the types of photos I get as well! Don’t worry, you know I will be sharing that one too 😉