I have received such a strong response to several of my posts on media training, particularly Red Carpet Dos and Don'ts and Publicity and Web Series. To continue with the series, I am going to give you a few more insider tips on red carpet behavior. I have been hitting the premieres hard lately and there are a few behaviors that keep showing up over and over. Oddly enough, they are actually self-sabotaging habits in media. I don't know why anyone would want to self-sabotage on the red carpet, but it is more common than you think. Here are a few things to avoid:
1. Self Deprecating Behavior: Okay, here's a weird one, the act of self deprecation is the "belittling or undervaluing oneself", according to Dictionary.com I get that you may want to appear modest and not boastful of your accomplishments on the big screen, but when it gets to the point of saying "My acting sucks" into the microphone, I start to question why you are even an actor. Chances are, that clip will make it into the interview because it is so unusual to hear, but I doubt that is the press that you, your agent, or your publicist want for your career. Sure, be grateful for the art you were allowed to create, talk about challenges of shooting, but darn, don't tell people you weren't good in the role. They will start to believe it and you are here to build your career, not destroy it. There are very few people that can get away with self deprecating behavior. They are usually comedians like Gilbert Gottfried, but hey, that's his schtick, not his real self. See the difference? Now, go out there and be positive, you earned your moment in the spotlight!
2. Sounding. Like. A. Robot.: In my time on the red carpet, I find the Disney premieres the most challenging. Why? Because the Disney Channel kids have all been prepped with one cute sound bite that they repeat and over and over down the press line. They have been so coached, it comes across as robotic. After ET or E! has used that clip, it becomes less valuable to the smaller media outlets who may be trying to sell the footage to overseas clients. There is nothing new or fresh about that interview. So, if you have to go down the press line and talk to ten, fifteen or even twenty-five reporters, try as hard as you can to be slightly original. Yes, some things will be repeated, but the worst thing you can say to a reporter is, "I was just asked that before" or "I keep getting that question". It's hard to be the 25th reporter in line and often times the A-List stars won't stop for press after the Big Three (E!, ET, Access Hollywood). Just know that the reporters understand you are getting asked the same questions, they have to get certain things answered for their jobs, so pretend you are talking to Reporter #2. You will be loved forever for it. Love=favorable media coverage. It's a game, play it!
Here's a great example of a bad red carpet interview, courtesy of Mr. Billy Dee Williams. Yep, he behaved like this all the way down the press line:
3. Crossing In Front Of Camera: Okay, time to call out this behavior. Stop doing it. It happened at the Streamy Awards, it happened at The Resolve premiere, and it happened at the Egyptian Theatre's Summer Festival of Short Films. It's just rude. I don't know how else to say it. Can you imagine you are being interviewed live by a reporter and a fellow actor crosses in front of the camera blocking your shot? Yep, it's been happening a lot lately. Well, on a live broadcast like the Streamys, there is nothing you can do. With taped footage, we can at least cut it out in post. If you are on the red carpet, I completely understand that it is exciting and overwhelming. It is a busy place, but think of like you are crossing the street. Look both ways, see if someone is shooting. If they look like they are in the middle of an interview, walk quietly behind them. It's that simple. You don't want someone ruining your big interview, so extend that courtesy to your fellow artist. Publicists and reporters have long memories, trust me. You want to be that person that people love to cover, it will extend your career by miles even during the lulls. A little consideration on the red carpet goes a long way in my book.
And the worst kind of blocking on the red carpet? Spock Blocking! Watch the whole mess unfold....a big no-no. Here are a few more details on the event if you want the juicy scoop.
I hope some of these tips are helpful for you the next time you stroll down the press line on the red carpet. Let me know what other areas of media you would like me to cover here on Red Carpet Closet. I am going to leave you with one of my favorite recent interviews, Anna Torv of Fringe: gracious, lovely, and fun. Enjoy!