Tim Swanson

Tim Swanson is a Berkeley J-school graduate who is rising through the ranks of Hollywood journalism.

Tim Swanson is a Berkeley J-school graduate who is rising through the ranks of Hollywood journalism.

After a stint as a reporter at Variety, Swanson went to Premiere, where he was just named West Coast bureau chief. From his perch overlooking the film world, he expounded on Hollywood culture, celebrities, and publicists with PRWeek. PRWeek: How powerful is Hollywood in shaping global culture? Tim Swanson: Everyone loves Hollywood films. They're seen all over the world. In that sense, I guess they have an impact, though it's hard to look at it as influence - it's just entertainment. The goal for Hollywood is basically to entertain everybody, and that's why it's so popular. PRWeek: Premiere does a lot of celebrity features. What do you think average Joes get out of reading about the stars? Swanson: What makes Premiere different than other celebrity-driven titles is that it is a filmmaker magazine. It's for people who love film. It's only about film. There's no celebrity gossip. The information relates back to either the actor or the movie itself. We also profile a lot of directors and screenwriters. PRWeek: Product placement is becoming more prevalent in major films these days. Is that healthy or unhealthy? Swanson: As long as it doesn't impede the plot of the movie or the way that I enjoy the film, I could care less about product placement. It's just another way that the studios are looking to make money. They seem to make a lot of money anyway, but business is business. I hate commercials in movie theaters - I'll go ahead and say that. If I want to watch commercials, I'll watch TV. PRWeek: Does your magazine have to chase down people for articles, or do people pitch you in most cases? Swanson: It really depends on the level of the actor or the movie. We're in constant negotiations with publicists. But because Premiere is what it is, we get a lot of the people we're interested in profiling. PRWeek: What are some of the favorite pieces you've written? Swanson: I just did an Ocean's 12 story with Matt Damon, Brad Pitt, and George Clooney, and that was great because they're all top stars and they were really candid. Actors can be really honest and open with Premiere because they understand that we're there to talk about their movies and not about their personal lives so much. PRWeek: When you get pitched, what elements make it appealing to you? Swanson: If the clients are timely and if the project is good. A lot of times, publicists will pitch us their clients when they know the movie they're starring in is not that great. We want to profile great actors, but we want to profile them in great projects because we want our readers to trust our opinion. If we say something is good, we want them to believe us. We have that credibility with readers, so we're very picky when it comes to profiling people. PRWeek: Does anybody that you've dealt with stand out as a big jerk? Swanson: Oh man, I can't say that. I'm not going there. Name: Tim Swanson Publication: Premiere Title: West Coast bureau chief Preferred contact method: twanson@hfmus.com Website: www.premiere.com

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