Reel Opportunities

Publicist

Also known as: Press Representative, Public Relations Officer, Publicity Coordinator, Publicity Consultant, Unit Publicist

What does a Publicist do?

Publicists create the ‘buzz’ that surrounds the release of a film. They get the critics talking.

They are responsible for getting media coverage of the film through having good relationships with journalists and critics. They create press packs, which usually include the film’s synopsis, production notes, cast and crew credits, and biographies, stills that create the electronic press kit (EPK). Film Publicists also schedule press screenings for bigger-budget movies. Publicists invite journalists to the set during the shooting.

They handle all major aspects of press relations and keep the Distributor and Producer informed of PR developments. They look over all publicity materials with consideration of any legal, ethical, and cultural issues. If there’s any controversy at any stage, it’s the Publicist who deals with damage control – and they need to be available at any time of the day and night to do so.

What's a Publicist good at?
  • Understanding the media

    Have good contacts in the film and media industries, know the needs of journalists in print, TV, radio and online

  • Writing

    Write the promotional story of the film, create press packs, devise release plans

  • Knowledge of the film market

    Identify the core audience for a film, know how to reach them and excite them, be aware of box office figures, viewing figures, and the film trends

  • Flexibility

    Thrive in changing situations, enjoy spontaneity

  • Persuasion

    Network with the influencers in the film industry, such as the press, critics, and programmers, and pitch and convince them of the strength of the film

Who does a Publicist work with?

Publicists work with theatres, studio executives, members of the film’s cast and crew, film critics, film press and film festival representatives, and other people promoting the film, such as the Marketing Manager.

How do I become a Publicist?

Publicists will have worked in the film or TV industry for many years before they get to this position. There’s no set career path, but common routes to this role include public relations, journalism, marketing, and film production. A good way to start would be as an assistant in the marketing department of a distribution, production, or film sales company or TV channel. See the job profile Marketing Assistant for details of how to do this.

Here are some tips:

Start your own channel: Set up a review blogging site or content channel. This is the marketing version of having a portfolio. You can send a link with your resume to show your writing and online skills, and, equally importantly, your interest in film and TV drama.

Look outside the industry: Consider any PR roles in any industry as this experience will be helpful in getting into the film industry later. Also, consider roles in marketing. Marketing agencies may have more roles available than TV channels or production companies. You will develop technical expertise that you can transfer to film or TV drama.

More tips

For more tips on finding job opportunities, lists of training programmes, and other great resources, check out our Career Resources page.

Professional Organizations Associated With This Role

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This position is represented by the following unions/guilds in your selected region.

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Job Profile Design by Dave Gray. Based on an original concept by Ian Murphy/Allan Burrell.