When Hollywood wants to get the word out about a new film, the studio invites journalists on an all-expense paid trip to Los Angeles to see the premiere! In the case of “Moms’ Night Out,” a Valentine to Moms everywhere, EWTN sent me, their Director of Communications.
I’ve been a journalist for 20 years, but this was my first time on the red carpet. What a fantastic experience! Here’s how it went. I was asked on Friday if I wanted to go to the premiere. I was told I would leave on Tuesday morning, go to the premiere, interview the stars on Wednesday morning, and come home Wednesday night! Whew!
That weekend, in between working on an intense social media campaign for the canonization of two Popes, I printed out tons of biographical information on the stars to read on the plane ride from Birmingham to Dallas to Los Angeles. When I got to Dallas, I discovered that I would be interviewing the stars on the red carpet as well as the next day at the hotel. Now, it was REALLY getting interesting!
After a very hot 45-minute taxi ride to the Hotel Roosevelt, which is situated across from the TCL Chinese Theater (formerly Grauman’s Chinese Theater) and the Hollywood Walk of Fame, I quickly changed into my premiere dress and ran across the street to the theater. There were gates set up around the perimeter of the theater to keep people out, but fortunately the security guards believed me when I said I was with the press. Once inside the gates, I walked over to a line of tables situated on the far side of the entrance. There, I was given my credentials for the event.
After that, I walked across the red carpet (which really is a red carpet affixed firmly to the ground), to the other side of the entrance to the theater. The press was stationed behind a line of gates that are about waist high. In front of the gates, on the ground, is the name of each outlet; in my case, EWTN. I introduced myself to a young man with a big camera, and another man with a microphone, who turned out to be “my” professional cameraman and “my” sound person. Each outlet got their own technical people or shared them with another outlet. During the event, my cameraman stood on a chair behind me and filmed all my interviews. Not every cameraman did this so I felt truly blessed!
When the stars started arriving, their “handlers” strolled down the red carpet ahead of them holding up pieces of cardboard with the star’s name, role, or function. For example, I got to interview the composers who scored the film. If an outlet was interested in interviewing the person, they indicated that to the handler. As the stars walked down the carpet, they stopped and interviewed with interested outlets.
Of course, the biggest stars came last – and at the last minute – so they stopped only a few times or, in some cases, not at all! But no one was worried. We knew we’d have a chance to interview the bigger stars the next day at the hotel!
During the actual premiere of the movie, lots of the actors’ friends and family are in attendance – and some of these friends are pretty big stars in their own right. These people cheer when the movie begins and when “their” star makes their first appearance in the film. They also clap and cheer when the movie ends! The atmosphere is very upbeat and joyous – at least it was at this film!
The day after the premiere, I dressed early and took the hotel elevator downstairs where I joined the other journalists at a big buffet breakfast and what is known as a press junket. Before I started my interviews, I spoke to a number of people from Carmel Communications in Atlanta, which was one of the two firms doing publicity for this movie. Especially helpful to me was Vice President Lisa Wheeler. She gave me some great background information on the film and its stars and made sure I got all my interviews in before I had to leave for the airport early that afternoon.
During a press junket, the stars are seated in rooms that are next door to each other. There are usually two or three stars in each room. Several journalists at a time wait just outside the room to do their interviews. My first interviews were with Sarah Drew and Sean Austin. Waiting in front of me was a reporter from a movie magazine. Behind me was a journalist from CNN.
When I entered the room, I found the two stars seated on director’s chairs with lots of lights and cameras surrounding them. I shook their hands and introduced myself. I was seated in a director’s chair across from them. I was told beforehand that I would have four minutes total to do my interview(s). I stated my name and outlet for the cameras and I was on! There was no time to warm anyone up. I had to ask my best questions first – and I had to make them count because you can only ask one or two questions per person in that time frame.
As the interview progressed, a producer in each room let me know how many minutes I had left. Fortunately, producers don’t interrupt the stars when they are talking — so I always got a complete answer even when my time was up!
The stars always smile; they always act friendly; they are all prepared. During the premiere, my cameraman told me how boring it is to film a press junket because so many journalists ask the same questions. (The stars, however, answer each question as if it were the first time they heard it.) I’ve always hated group journalism, which is why I studied the background of the stars before meeting with them. I was determined to ask good questions.
Did I succeed? Judge for yourself. A portion of the interview with Sean Astin and Sarah Drew is scheduled to air 8 p.m. ET, Thursday, May 8 on “The World Over Live” with Raymond Arroyo. Other segments are now appearing – and will continue to be posted over the next few days – on EWTN’s Facebook page, www.facebook.com/ewtnonline, Twitter page, www.twitter.com/ewtn, and YouTube channel, www.youtube.com/ewtn. We hope you enjoy both the red carpet interviews as well as the sit-down interviews with this wonderful cast as well as the directors and the producer!
God bless Family!