Thank-you, thank-you, thank-you

by W. Andrew Powell
On the set of Killjoys

Happy National Publicist Day! October 30th is all about an unsung group of professionals that almost literally make what I do possible, and I can’t thank all of these wonderful people enough.

Every day, whatever I’m doing for The GATE, it almost always starts and ends with publicists.

If I need to book an interview, there’s a product I’m looking to review, someone’s invited me to an event, I’m invited to a hotel or media trip, or there’s an opportunity to go on set for a movie or TV series; in every case, I really wouldn’t be anywhere without the publicists working behind the scenes.

The first press release went out in 1906, and it was written by Ivy Lee, also known today as the “father of modern PR” (public relations, another term for what publicists do) for the Pennsylvania Railroad. The New York Times printed the press release verbatim, but today, the press release is just a small part of what publicists do.

During the Toronto International Film Festival, the journalists work long hours, but I would wager that most publicists work even longer hours, setting up junkets, red carpets, and interviews, getting film stars where they need to be, and generally being the go-between people that make everything happen. Because what’s a film festival without stars?

There are literally hundreds of publicists that I could thank today for helping me and The GATE become anything, and that starts with professionals like Debra Goldblatt-Sadowsk at rock-it, one of the first publicists I ever worked with; Andrea Grau and her amazing team at Touchwood; the incredible group at Taro PR; Walt Disney Studios, Eric Alper!, Bell Media, CBC, eOne, Corus, TIFF, VVS, PMK•BNC, Citizen Relations, North Strategic, National, Proof, Media Profile, High Road, not to mention dozens and dozens of independent and in-house PR I work with every week.

That’s not even doing my lists of friends and associates in the PR industry justice, but I have to say a very big thank-you to every publicist who has ever taken time to respond to one of my emails, or gave me an opportunity.

There’s also another group of publicists that I especially want to thank, and that’s people like Lisa Ghione, Cynthia Amsden, Katherine Holmes, Mario Tassone, and Sue Baldaro for all the opportunities over the years on film and television sets in Canada. Some of my favourite interviews came out of set visits, and it wouldn’t have happened without their long hours working with the productions, actors, producers, directors, and talented people on-set.

In a lot of cases, the unit publicist on a series or movie can help introduce media to story angles, they’ve worked with the cast and have relationships that can make a media set visit feel a lot more welcoming, and all of that goes a long way to getting better interviews. And that’s the tip of the PR iceberg for what publicists do on a set.

So a very big shout-out to all these stars, plus IATSE 667, IATSE 669, and IATSE Local 600 for their teams of dedicated, professional, and incredible people.

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