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Scooting around the PR Wall

by Anthony Kaufman
October 11, 2005 8:48 AM
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I was recently working on an article for a major publication, and during the middle of my research, I was told that I wouldn't be getting any interviews with those involved with the film. Expecting my editor to trash the proposed story, I figured that my research was done for naught. But the editor got back to me, saying essentially, "Let's not let the studio dictate what we can and cannot do." It was a refreshing response, reminding me of what journalism is all about, and how often "entertainment journalism" falls woefully short.

Then I was faced with the daunting task of tracking down Hollywood insiders without the aid of handlers and reps to lead the way. Surprisingly, after some quick internet research, I got the phone number of a major director from the 1970s American New Wave (think "Bonnie & Clyde"). Thinking it was an office, I called, but got the living legend on the phone, who ended up talking with me candidly for about five minutes. I found the film's screenwriters the same way, emailed them, and was conducting an interview in a matter of hours.

I write this down here for two reasons: 1.) I think it's interesting how accessible some people in the industry can be and 2.) I'm teaching a course at New York University called "Film and Media Journalism." The class is under-enrolled at the moment, so if you're interested, please check it out to hear more stories from the front.

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