The Publicist

Helpful stars enable publicist to put press kit in the 'Cannes'

Helpful stars enable publicist to put press kit in the 'Cannes'

Working on a movie that's in production during the Cannes Film Festival puts pressure on the unit publicist.

The production and/or sales company always wants to have promotional materials on hand to sell the film to potential buyers at the festival. It's up to the unit publicist to get them prepared. I had to do it last week, and, as usual, it was a scramble.

The brass wanted to prepare a slide show for Cannes, and we only had one approved photo. You can't exactly wow 'em with one image, so I was asked to accelerate the process to warp speed. "Get him to approve 20 photos today before wrap," the producer commanded me. Yikes. The actor in question prefers that his personal publicist do the photo kills, but there wasn't time to send the shots to New York, wait for a response (which can take weeks), and then have them printed.

I had to see the Wizard in person.

"Um, any chance you can approve some photos today? I mean, I know you prefer that your publ..."

"Sure," he said. "Get me a loop and I'll get started."

Wow. If it were always that easy. As promised, the man who is now my favorite actor on the planet quickly completed approvals on six weeks' worth of photography. We hired someone to compile them into a computerized display and got it to the festival in time to beat an impossible deadline.

No time to gloat. Next came the press release. We needed quotes from the director - always the most difficult person to pin down because he has, well, a day job. Managing to corner him at lunch, we had a quick chat, and I got the quotes. I wrote the release and revved up the approval process - which can also take weeks - with the notice, "Please approve or edit this release by today or this movie will have no promotional material at Cannes." It worked. Came back a day later, only minor changes from a writer/producer who can't resist editing. He even edits himself, changing wording back to the way he had said he hated the week before.

Final mission: Arrange a phone interview from the set with one of our stars with a major publication that was doing a Cannes preview issue. She wasn't crazy about the idea, but did it. Whew. The press kit was complete. Everything fell into place. Now I was free to get back to my normal day-to-day activities on set. Like lunch.

Lawrence Mitchell Garrison is an LA-based freelance publicist and writer

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