Warren Weeks, principal of Weeks Media, showed off his media relations prowess and movie knowledge in an impressive Twitter thread where he challenged users to name any film and he would share its media relations lesson.
The thread is still going, but here is just a slice of the advice Weeks was able to conjure from 15 movie suggestions:
The Godfather Part II
Fredo Corleone: Uno... por favor... How do you say "banana daiquiri"? Michael Corleone: "Banana daiquiri."
Lesson: Don't overcomplicate your media interview. Lose the jargon, acronyms and buzzwords. Figure out how you would tell your story to a 12-year-old or a grandparent.
Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind
Constantly talking isn't necessarily communicating.
The Princess Bride
Buttercup believes her companion is the evil pirate who killed her love, Westley. She pushes him over a cliff. Falling, he says, "As you wish," revealing himself to be Westley.
Lesson: Do a little research before you blow off an interview request. It might have a happy ending.
"Stop thinking about what I want, what he wants, what your parents want. What do you want?"
Lesson: Media interviews are not about making the reporter happy. Figure out your story. And figure out how to tell it.
You’ve Got Mail
When you’re a media spokesperson, never succumb to the temptation to post anything online anonymously. You never know how it could come back to impact your life or your company.
The Lord of the Rings
Gandalf: "The burned hand teaches best. After that, advice about fire goes to the heart."
Lesson: You will screw up an interview. No one is perfect. Don’t be afraid of making a mistake. But resolve to not make the same mistake twice.
After they have sex, Vivian thinks Edward is asleep and she admits she loves him. She then falls asleep, but he was really awake the whole time.
Lesson: The microphone is always on.
The Lion King
Scar, cornered by Simba, confesses the truth about his role in Mufasa's death. Scar begs for mercy. Simba spares his life. Then, Scar attacks his nephew and gets tossed off the cliff.
Lesson: People will accept your genuine apology. But if you try to deceive them, you're toast.
Sleepless in Seattle
Don't discuss your feelings on the radio (or in the newspaper or TV for that matter). If you're representing a company, it's not about how the subject affects you. Make it about your audience.
Great performances don't happen by accident. Practice, prep and never stop learning.
Good Will Hunting
You don't have to go to Harvard or MIT to do great media interviews. Anyone can get there with some focus, training and $1.50 in late fees at the public library. How do you like them apples?
An interview should never be like a box of chocolates. You should always know exactly what you're going to get (yourself into). Do your homework. And then run, Forrest, run through a practice interview.
Han Solo: "Great, kid! Don't get cocky!"
Lesson: Had a few great interviews in a row? Amazing! But don't become overconfident or complacent. Cockiness leads to a lack of prep. A lack of prep leads to sub-optimal media relations outcomes.
"The world has changed. None of us can go back. Sometimes the best we can do is start over."
Lesson: If you don't like the way your answer is sounding in a taped (not live) interview, you can ask the reporter to try it again and aim for a better quote.
Jareth: "You have 13 hours in which to solve the labyrinth, before your baby brother becomes one of us... forever."
Lesson: Reporters' deadlines are real. While you can often negotiate and wrangle some extra time, getting the quotes delivered on time is in everyone's interests.