The Publicist:

To get the best jobs, freelance publicists cannot play around

To get the best jobs, freelance publicists cannot play around

Ah, home.

I had unpacked my suitcase, read through a pile of mail, and was surveying the number of items the house-sitter had broken when the phone rings. It was a producer I'd worked for. "Care to do a Brian De Palma movie starring Oscar champ Hilary Swank and the lovely Scarlett Johansson? Shoots 10 weeks in Bulgaria and a few more here in LA."

Bulgaria? Don't think so, pal. Just got back from Europe. I'm looking forward to playing some volleyball, lounging on the beach, and watching all The West Wing episodes I missed. Life's too short. Gotta find balance. Plus, I hear packs of wild dogs roam the streets of Bulgaria.

A few days later I began having second thoughts.

Uh, oh. What if I don't get contacted again the rest of the year? It'll only take a few days to watch all the West Wings. Then what? Had I made a mistake? I decided to call a buddy for advice.

"You're nuts," he screamed. "De Palma? He's a legend. We're talking Scarface, man. You messed up."

Oops. I had broken the first law of freelancers, which is never turn down a gig. You never know when the next one will come around. If it ever does.

I called the producer back, but they had already hired someone else. Wasn't too hard to find a publicist interested in working with a pedigreed crew like that, even with the wild dogs.

Fine. Needed to do some reading and catch up with friends anyway. But the friends all seem to have real jobs to attend to, and it's hard to read when the weather is nice. Saw Hilary on TV and started kicking myself again. Maybe I'll take up gardening. Hmmm... what grows in sand?

The phone rings again. Seems there's a movie being made about one of the looming cultural figures in history. It stars one of my favorite actors and possibly the most gorgeous actress on the planet.

"Do you think you might be avail..." "Yes!" "Can you be here in a week? "I'll be there tomorrow."

But as my fellow PR freelancers and new business "closers" know well, soon after the high of landing a new account wears off, a slow sense of dread seeps in. Now there's actual work to be done. Can't stay up until 2am watching classic movies. No impulsive trips to Vegas. Forget about afternoon bike rides to Malibu.

Darn. I sure had been looking forward to lounging on the beach all summer...

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

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