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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 and the electronic press kit (EPK). Film publicists also schedule press screenings for bigger budget movies. Unit publicists invite journalists to the set during 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 press, critics and programmers, and pitch and convince them of the strength of the film

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