7.19.2012

Psst! I'm Still Here, Kind Of

Hey there, party people.

I know. I've been gone for a long, long time--almost six weeks!--with only one measly book excerpt in the meantime. Truthfully, the only reason I'm even blogging right now is because I was scheduled to post a book review, but I got bumped and ... you know, I don't know what happened. I'm so tired.

Let me bullet-list it for you:

- We got caught up in those East Coast storms that knocked out power for over half a million people. We were part of that 800,000+ poor souls without power, and were for six days
- Oh, did I mention there was a heat wave at the same time? We had to move into a hotel because my two-year-old kept breaking out into a nasty, painful, disgusting heat rash
- As it turns out, the power company (*cough* liars *cough*) had no record of us being without power, despite the fact that we called them every day for a status update and to report our outage
- I currently hate our insurance company. Loyal member for over 20 years, and they blow me off. Gar
- The day the power came back on, we had four house guests for five days. Three of those traveled from Europe to see us
- Before our guests even left, my husband left for a week for work. This was also the week that I was already overbooked. On the upside, I now have babysitters!
- My husband's flight was delayed due to weather, which meant that I had to beg, plead, and pay my babysitter time and a half to get her to stay until he came home

Yeah, I've been busy. This summer has really been exhausting, overwhelming, and too damn busy. With any luck, things will calm down in a week or so. Until then, y'all enjoy yourselves and try not to get sunburned. Or pelted with hail. And keep your power.

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7.06.2012

All the Doors to Hollywood and How to Open Them


Hey there! After my extended absence, of course I'm going to come at you with an excerpt from the newly-released All the Doors to Hollywood and How to Open Them, by Anne M. Strick, as part of a Young Adult Novel Reader tour. Of course.

A former Congressional speech writer and journalist, Anne M. Strick has spent over 20 years in the movie industry and has worked with greats such as Jack Nicholson, Arnold Schwarzenegger, and James Earl Jones. Now, she shares the secrets of the many different career fields that make up the movie industry.

From All the Doors to Hollywood and How to Open Them:

What does a movie publicist do? 
“A lot of things”, says publicist LEONARD MORPURGO. “Basically, I blow the film’s horn. As a Unit Publicist, I bring television and print media to the set. I get photos of the movie’s stars in magazines and newspapers, get stories about them on television, blogs, Facebook, and Twitter. As the print world disappears, these outlets become increasingly important. I soothe nervous actors, calm bristly egos, buffer the often competing interests and suspicions of stars, directors, producers, and studios. And I write.” 
What do you write? 
“I do press releases, biographies of the stars, the director, the producer, for the press-kit - and a synopsis of the movie’s plot, all so that journalists and critics have a background for their articles. And I record for the ages those gossipy bits that everyone loves - those that are publishable!” The work is intense, exhausting, and very frequently a great deal of fun. “The publicist has a ringside seat at most of the aspects of movie-making and promoting, as well asn an upfront look at all the personalities and dramas involved.” Travel to far-off locations is often part of the job “and there, you really see the stars up close!” 
What qualifies the publicist? 
“A degree and/or experience in journalism, communications, or marketing helps. But the publicist may be simply a literate human being with imagination, drive, and a significant degree of organization and diplomatic skills.” The Studio Publicist, Morpurgo explains, “unlike the freelance Unit Publicist who works film to film, is a full-time studio employee.” Among other duties, the Studio Publicist sets up film-screenings for press and television reporters, creates web-sites for films, and corrals those all-important celebrities to appear at premieres. “Which of course further publicizes both the movie and the celebrity.” 
Who are some of these publicists, how did they start, and what stories do they tell? 
Leonard Morpurgo began his career as a journalist in England, and soon landed a job as a press release writer for a British film distribution company. “I was promoted to ‘press officer’ (publicity director) after my boss was found lying in a drunken stupor on his living room floor. Since then, I’ve had a close-up seat at all kinds of small dramas and comedies. Once I was working as a Unit Publicist on a movie starring Gene Hackman and another well-known actor - Target. The two stars didn’t get on too well. After four months shooting in Paris, Hamburg, and Corpus Christi, Texas, I’d still failed to get the two men grinning chummily together for the obligatory ‘best buddies’ photo. It was near wrap. I had only two days left. I was desperate. ‘How can I do it?’” Hackman demanded. “‘I don’t like him!’ ‘Gene, you’re an actor. A great actor. Act.’” They got the shot. Then there was the movie Leaving Las Vegas with Nicholas Cage. “Cage portrayed an alcoholic - he actually had a ‘drinking coach’ to teach him how! Nicholas was doing magnificently until, for a climactic scene, his coach insisted he hang one on for real. Cage agreed. From the moment he got out of bed the next morning until the start of shooting that afternoon, he drank. On the first scene, a dash through a Casino, he knocked over a waitress. He was supposed to do that. In the second scene, he knocked over a blackjack table, broke it, and cut his hand. He was not supposed to do that! But it hadn’t been a total loss. That was the movie he got an Oscar for!”
To snag a copy of All the Doors to Hollywood and How to Open Them, by Anne M. Strick, visit her website at www.alltheroadstohollywood.com or Amazon.com.

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