The Publicist:

Endless perks make a future in film publicity rather appetizing

Endless perks make a future in film publicity rather appetizing

I hate the caterers on the film I'm doing. Not because they're bad, but because they're ridiculously good. I've gained six pounds since shooting started - and we're only in week three. Catered meals are one of the amazing perks - and dangers - of working on a film set. It's a never-ending feast. And the constant availability of snacks - called "craft service" - only adds to the risk. That's one of the things I'm going to discuss with a classroom of New Orleans college students I'm addressing next week. In preparing my remarks, I like to include a comprehensive list of job perks because it's always a topic of great interest to undergrads. Sex seems to be the other. "What stars have hooked up on one of your films?" is a common query. Followed by, in private, "Does the unit publicist get in on the act?" Sorry, I tell them, but if that's what you're looking for you're better off becoming a producer or director. Hell, just be a rock star. (At which point the budding publicist usually proceeds directly to the bursar and changes majors.) Travel is another perk that fascinates. No desk job, that of unit publicist. Three months on location is the norm. "This work has taken me to Australia, throughout Europe and Canada, even the Philippines," I tell students, appealing to their inner globetrotter. Alas, enthusiasm dampens when I answer no to the inevitable, "Yeah, but have you ever worked in Vegas?" In a stroke of good timing, I've prepared a terrific Italian perk story, shared with me just last week by a publicist pal of mine who got to work the MTV Awards in Rome on behalf of Interscope Records and one of their hottest bands, The Hives (a Best Alternative band nominee.) The parties, my God, man, the parties! Rome and rock stars are a glam combo born to entice. "The MTV Artists dinner was held at the Vila Aurelia in the hills overlooking the entire city of Rome," she tells me. "Five waiters for each diner. The week was filled with insane parties and the likes of Nelly, Gwen Stefani, and Kid Rock. All on expense." How 'ya like them perks, kids? Still want to be a chemical engineer? Lest I paint too rosy a picture for highly impressionable young minds, I'll try to balance things by accentuating the catering-weight-gain risks with an even more horrifying possibility: someday they may have to work with a Baldwin. Lawrence Mitchell Garrison is an LA-based freelance publicist and writer

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