Also picked up by PR Daily: http://prdaily.com/Main/Articles/10701.aspx
Jobs in the entertainment or fashion public relations are highly coveted. The allure of party planning, record launches, club openings, celebrity-filled events, fashion shows and film premieres is understandable. However, few young professionals understand the rigors or realities of the entertainment or fashion PR industries.
Popular reality television shows like MTV’s “The Hills,” show cast members, such as Heidi and Audrina (both “employed” in entertainment industry PR jobs), partying and drinking at clubs while rubbing shoulders with up-and-coming bands and entertainers. By encouraging this shallow and reckless image, these shows do a disservice to the dedicated and intelligent professionals working in this industry sector.
In the fashion / entertainment industry, there are high expectations for even the most junior staffers who must take initiative and flawlessly execute public relations tactics with minimal supervision. Here’s a reality check:
- Attention to detail is crucial. Spelling a designer’s name wrong in a press release is a definite no-no, especially when the New York Post covers the story and also spells the name wrong.
- You must take pride in your work. Scribbling editor names on gift bags with a Sharpie marker and tossing sample jeans in the bag…sloppy!
- Understand budget implications. Failing to get invitations out on time or printing the same editor name on multiple expensive customized envelopes costs money.
- You are never off duty or a guest at your events. Getting drunk at an event will get you fired.
- Rubbing shoulders with celebrities and industry types isn’t always fun. Demands of celebrity clients are often ridiculous. Being a clever and calm trouble-shooter is essential.
Aspiring professionals must understand that success in the entertainment and fashion industries require more than looking good and knowing how to party. In reality, there are long hours of tedious work before major events. An entry-level entertainment PR practitioner can expect to spend their time performing the following tasks:
- Long hours staring at computer screen monitoring news stories about their clients or cutting, pasting and photocopying clips
- Making hundreds of follow-up calls to event invitees or journalists
- Tracking down obscure vendors to fulfill seemingly impossible requests
- Booking and reconfirming car service and hotel reservations
- Conducting dozens of site inspections of venues to meet detailed event specifications
- Taking red-eye flights and heading directly to the office for work
- Standing in the rain, snow and cold to check in guests
- Stuffing hundreds (or thousands) of gift bags in a windowless closet
- Politely deflecting nasty come-ons from smarmy clients
- Earning a barely livable salary and being expected to work crazy hours, including weekends
While there certainly is a level of excitement and accomplishment when an entertainment-related initiative results in a huge media turnout, a meeting with a favorite celebrity or access to a trendy night club, the daily work requires patience, problem-solving skills, organization, stamina and an ability to attack seemingly mundane tasks with enthusiasm, initiative and poise. If you have a passion for the work, not just the glamour, this is the industry for you.