(L-R) Janette Bax, Seth Burton, Flo Selfman and Howard Brodwin at EPPS workshop in Hollywood)
About 75 entertainment publicists huddled in Hollywood at the International Cinematographers Union Local 600 auditorium to learn about “word of mouth, social media, networking and how to use the web” with the traditional publicity tactics. The breakfast media workshop was sponsored by the Entertainment Publicists Professional Society (EPPS), LA Chapter. The Panelists
“When we had a mixer a year ago January in downtown LA, Jack O’Dwyer’s George (Mc Quade) was going around with his tape recorder asking everyone what they thought about blogs. My comment at that time was, ‘the jury is still out.’ Before the ink was dry on the magazine, blogs went from iffy, to something we can’t do without,” said PR Consultant Flo Selfman, proofreader/copyeditor, president, IWOSC iwosc.org.
One of the books Selfman is working on right now, “The Wicked Wit of The West” by the late Screenwriter Irving Brecher, who died at age 98 a few months ago continues to live Online thanks to the Internet. “It is so amazing. What happened is the gentleman died just before the book came out. So the younger co writer was doing all of the publicity, but Irving Brecher died in November, so he was in all of the year-end wrap-ups in the blogs. Some of them even mention the book before it came out and it was completely done on the Internet.
Policing the Internet is “Tough”
“We use our website primarily as our news source,” said EPPS Panelist Seth Burton, asst. director of Communications, Los Angeles Clippers. “There’s just not enough space in newspapers, if you follow the LA Times Sports section for example. It is more like a sports pamphlet than sports section of the paper these days. For some reason its all about the Lakers (victory) parade. So if anything happens we have to get it out there on our own. We post video on our website, audio interviews along with new media like Twitter.
Twitter, Facebook, MySpace – No space for control
“We have had a number of fake Twitter accounts and we are dealing with one right now about our coach. And recently there was a fake Twitter player’s account, where the activities were reported in the LA Times. A fake player had requested a trade on a Twitter account that was not true,” said Burton. “A lot of NBA players are on Twitter, twittering about everything. We also use FaceBook to drive traffic to our website. We offer a lot of tickets and programs through the new media platforms to give fans a sense of ownership that drives them there.”
Burton, who started working as a sports reporter for a couple of newspapers on the East Coast, moved into the media relations at the Washington Redskins. He also worked for the Galaxy soccer team before joining the Clippers.
“The Internet is one of the primary ways to get the word out,” said Janette Baxa, director of Publicity, Nederlandar Concerts. Baxa, who made the transition from a record label to music and concert publicity said, “We also employ the Facebooks, the Twitters and MySpaces of the world. For me it is very important for all the bloggers from Perez Hilton to LAist.com, LosAngeles.com, and who would of thought I would be email Perez Hilton. ========================================================
A lot of writes and editors have turned to the web as well, so I have establish more relationships with them Online in getting the word out on my shows. The great thing about pitching Online, they can turn it around right away and post it, obviously one of the great advantages. We still rely on advertising, but again it is selective. Where it used to be a full page, it is now a strip, she said.”
Hard to Keep Up with New Media
“We are doing it right by getting it out there on the websites, but it is hard sometimes to keep up with,” said Moderator, Madelyn Hammon, Madelyn Hammond & Associates, who said when she inquired about an event involving the cast and crew of Saving Grace(her favorite TV show) occurred when she called and asked ‘why it wasn’t posted somewhere?’, they said, ‘well, we posted it on our website.’”
“Everybody is writing a blog, it’s true. And there are some magnificent writers doing a blog. The blogs that I come in contact with has excellent research and writing. There is much dedication to their topics and a lot of write about Hollywood history, and where the author Rosenfeld finds them he’ll send a comment, I’ll send a comment and it just keeps going. They call it viral marketing, but it is still like the pebble in the stream. You start something, then someone else tells somebody else and the circles keep getting bigger and bigger. And what you hope is that it will inspire someone to actually go out and purchase the book or products,” Selfman.
Added Hammond, “Anyone can write a book, but Online it’s about selling books, about getting people to attend games or to buy concert tickets.”
“I think one of the greatest things about Internet is not having all the technology, but how it is used and how it works,” said Howard Brodwin, managing director, Team Marketing Systems. “It has really forced everybody from the biggest of companies all the way down to the most local of businesses to be as upfront and transparent as possible about who you are, and what you do, as possible. If you’re trying to get out into the publicity world, there has always been that question of spin. And these days if you are trying to spin something, whether something is going to happen at a concert or somebody is getting traded or not traded and something is going on with whatever you are promoting that information gets transmitted immediately and you can’t get it back. There is something new (technology) that is coming that will allow you to resend your emails that you have already sent out.”
“The good thing about what word of mouth provides now is you are forced to get it right when you’re getting your message out, because you know as soon as it gets out there it’s going to spread virally. The same goes for when you are uncomfortable with the situation like the Twitter incident, you have to get out in front of that message as fast as possible to notify people with the correct information. The good news is now we have all of those channels to get that information out there.”
Brodwin, when asked about which sites are best said, “Depending upon the target audience, but it is better to have five really good blog or websites to target than blasting 500.”
To contact the EPPS panelists or if you have a question they prefer you contact them via email:
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