We’ve all read the interviews with celebrities, and freelance writers may have gotten a little green with envy, especially upon discovering the interviewer doesn’t have a degree in journalism. Isn’t that required to interview actors and big-name stars? And if not, what do those writers have that other writers don’t?
You might be surprised to learn there isn’t a trick to nabbing a prime interview, or getting the opportunity to write about one of your favorite celebrities. Breaking into entertainment journalism requires preparation and research, along with a good deal of tenacity.
Following these few steps will help.
Starting small is necessary when trying to get your foot in the door of the entertainment industry. You’re not going to start with an interview with Tom Cruise for People Magazine, but you could get an interview with a local celebrity for your town’s newspaper. You can reach out to local authors, playwrights, and, when you see someone in your area posting on social media about a screenplay they’ve optioned, contact them to request an interview.
Follow lesser-known celebrities and behind-the-scenes people on Twitter. Everyone wants to chat with the Grammy and Emmy Award winners but there are a plethora of actors and artists who are just starting out that need the press. And, don’t just think about actors. Consider the crew like the location manager, graphic artist, set designer, or the cast production assistant. Ask them about their job, what it’s like working on certain sets, and working with the actors. They might not be able to tell you much about the actors but most will be happy to talk about their contribution to the film or television series.
Set up your brand. Start with your own blog before you begin pitching to magazines and entertainment sites. Since you’re already a writer, you have some experience behind your name, which is helpful when reaching out for interviews. You can write movie reviews, interview background actors in your area, and reach out to production assistants through Twitter as well.
Follow publicists on LinkedIn. You want to start communicating with publicity companies. They can be an inroad into celebrity interviews, as well as providing you with media releases that make for great articles that will draw attention to your blog. I have gotten most of my interviews through publicists so this is an important step.
Be willing to write about things that are dear to a celebrity’s heart, like a charity. Then, share your article on social media, and tag the celebrity. You don’t just want to be seen on social media; you want to make connections. You’re not going to be able to do that with celebrities that have millions of followers…at least not yet. But, you can get your foot in the door with stars that like to talk about their charities. Do your research, interview someone associated with the charity, and share why it’s important. But, make sure you’re genuine. If you don’t care about the charity, it will show in your writing.
Join IMDB Pro. This is where you’ll find all the contact information for practically every celebrity. Through here, you can find agents, publicists, lawyers, actors, and more. There is a fee – $19.99 per month if you pay monthly, and $12.50 per month if you pay annually. So, you may want to put this on the back burner until you have gained some traction with your blog or other sites.
Writing for and about entertainment is fun and can be lucrative. And, it can be done without a degree but you can’t rush the process. Taking things one step at a time, though, will open up a world of possibilities that could launch you into the career of your dreams.
Rachel Carrington is a full-time freelance writer and author who has written for Writers Weekly, the New York Times, Rooted in Rights, The Writer, and Startrek.com, to name a few. You can find her on the web at www.rachelcarrington.com.