Creating Timeless Women: Promoting Women (orginal post 1/24/06)
This panel discussion I attended last night was particularly of interest to me because I work in public relations, and there were two publicists on the panel that offered some very good insights.
If you attended this or any of the panel discussions mentioned in my blog, please leave any of your own notes that I may have missed in the comments section. If you didnt attend, and are not sure how to comment, please feel free to leave any constructive feedback for me, so I can try to make improvements.
The Film Panel Notetakers Notes From
Creating Timeless Women: Promoting Women
January 23, 2006
About the Panel
New York Women in Film & Television (NYWIFT) presented the last of its three-part series on women critics, stars and marketers in all media at Marymount Manhattan College. This particular panel included publicists and agents.
Johnnie Planco [JP]
- Agent, Parseghian Planco
Margaret Emory [ME]
- Talent Agent, Dulcina Eisen Associates
Joe Trentacosta [JT]
- Theatrical Division Head, Springer Associates PR
Amy Brownstein [AB]
- President, Brownstein & Associates
Maggie Bruen [Moderator]
- Adjunct Professor of Cinema Studies at Marymount Manhattan and Ramapo Colleges.
- Author of several award-winning screenplays
- Produced and directed feature-length documentary The Fourth Green Field
- Her short documentary, The History of the Fraunces Tavern, is on permanent view at the Fraunces Tavern in lower Manhattan
Questions from the Moderator
[JP]= Johnnie Planco; [ME]= Margaret Emory; [JT]= Joe Trentacosta; [AB]= Amy Brownstein
1. How did you choose your profession, and whats the most important part of your work process?
[AB]Chose by accident. Was an actress in Upstate New York. Parents didnt want her to do that. Studied communications at Syracuse University. Got a well-rounded view of the media. Interned at Orion Pictures. Moved to LA.
Most important part of her work process is knowing her clients well, or she cant do her job. Knowing what theyre capable of, and thats what will get them press.
[JT]Went to Marymount as an actor. Enjoyed promoting events. Took a job at Springer & Associates.
Most important part of his work is knowing what hes selling (who your clients are and what theyre good at).
[ME]Started as an actress. Created an acting company. Her friend suggested she become an agent. Began working as an agents assistant.
Most important part of her work is she likes discovering new talent, getting them work, building and maintaining their careers.
[JP]Went to Fordham University at Lincoln Center. Interned his senior year at IFA (now part of ICM). Went over to William Morris Agency to work in mailroom for a long time.
2. What criteria do you have for selecting women clients?
[JP]Doesnt see much of a difference in gender selection. Doesnt matter if its a man or a woman.
[ME]- Sees it as an equal playing field. It depends on the breakdowns (whats being cast). Shell submit women to roles that are predominantly for men such as judges on Law & Order.
[JT]With PR, there are things you have to do with every actor that advantageous for their career, male or female.
[AB]Agrees with JT. She represents women of varying age groups. A lot of her clients want to get into Vogue, and she has to create an opportunity for them to be in Vogue. Monthly magazines are more niche-oriented, so harder to get women on cover of magazines such as GQ, and vice-versa. TV and newspapers are easier.
3. How do you find talent?
[AB]Good relationships with agents and managers. Go to theater and movies all the time. Was Terrence Howards and Lucy Lius first publicist.
[JT]Working on theater or film productions like Brooklyn The Musical. Work with talents personal publicists. Work with someone early in their career.
[ME]Only works with people shes seen, has knowledge of their work, and knows how to build their careers.
[JP]Interact with press agents and lawyers, get together socially with them. Go to every play and movie, watch TV.
4. What type of client is difficult to deal with?
[ME]Ones that are unrealistic, demanding, foolish, and dont listen. Agent and actor should both be in agreement on the actors plans.
[JT]People with unrealistic expectations. Makes it difficult for the publicist to succeed.
[AB]Dealing with female actors is difficult when they dont know their own personal style. Its not Amys fault, but she gets blamed sometimes anyway. Her job is to get her clients press. She can introduce them to stylists, but cant dress them herself.
5. Are projects for and about women easy or difficult to publicize?
[JP]Depends on the project. If its good and speaks something to women who want to see it, theres not much of a difference.
[ME]Always look for a hook. Look for your target audience. Try to be economical.
[JT]You can tell off the bat if a show is good for a man or a woman.
6. Which women deserve more success then they currently enjoy? Which would you want as a client?
[AB]Always had a love affair with Diane Keaton. Always liked her style, career, and ability to keep her life private.
[ME]Shes so involved with who she already has as a client. When she meets someone she admires, and gets the opportunity, she may sign them.
[JP]Trickier question than it sounds. If someone asked him if he wants to rep Meryl Streep, his answer would be, Of course!
7. How do you devise strategies?
[JP]There is a skill in representation. It comes from experience, watching, and listening to others. Take instinct and capitalize on that. Brainstorm.
8. What are some valuable skills for beginning agents and publicists?
[ME]Develop taste. Go watch a lot of films and theater, so you know good talent. Find out what turns you on. Experience and exposure to the industry. Be passionate.
[JT]- Be a multi-tasker, organized, and confident on the phone. Dont expect a lot of words to begin with, but understand the basic tenants. Teach interns and assistants starting out how the media works.
[AB]Amy disagrees with JT 100The hardest thing is when people walk in with a sense of entitlement. They should work for it. They must be cultural and sharp. Know the media. You can teach them how to talk to the press, but they must know the media first, and have passion. They have to sell their pitch to the press in the first 30 seconds. Get to know their bylines. Know their style. Get to them in a way no one else can. Pay attention to the credits at the end of a film. Amy just let go of an intern who just wanted the college credit. They really need to want to be there, and believe in the work.
Questions from the Audience
1. Name some actresses today who might become timeless later in their career.
[JP]Meryl Streep, Susan Sarandon, Sigourney Weaver
[AB]Kate Winslet, Cate Blanchett
2. How do you promote minority women?
[ME]Submits her talent according to the breakdowns. When there is a role for any woman, shell try to open the envelope for minority women.
3. Any advice for people who dont have agents or publicists?
[AB]The Hollywood Reporter and Variety are friendly to everyone. Dont get a publicist until you can afford one. If youre a filmmaker with well-known talent attached to your film, you can go to the talents publicists for help.
[JP]Filmmakers should join IFP. They help filmmakers promote their films.