My hands trembled over the keyboard when I started to write my first entertainment article. Despite my wealth of experience, I was nervous. Entertainment writing is a different animal, I thought. It wasn’t until I fully lost myself in the craft that I came to this comforting realization – writing is writing and good entertainment writing is still writing.
The entertainment industry is saturated with opportunity, but it can be difficult to jump through its revolving door. Whether you wish to interview celebrities or write reviews, here are four tips for becoming an entertainment writer.
1. THE INTERNSHIP
By far the best way to get your foot in the door is through an internship at a publication that publishes entertainment articles. Internships not only provide experience in the field, but allow you to make integral connections that, as a result, make you a more desirable writer. A wonderful place to find internships is entertainmentcareers.net .
The internship doesn’t necessarily have to be “editorial,” but simply something in the entertainment world. For instance, I was given writing opportunities as a production intern for NBC’s Access Hollywood.
If your internship work provides a different service, don’t be afraid to tell your boss that you want to write.
2. YOUR NEW FRIEND, THE PUBLICIST
If we’re sticking with the “get your foot in the door” metaphor, then publicists can be considered doormen. They are severely important, holding the keys to unlock entertainment giants.
Celebrity interviews deliver a great deal of credibility to your portfolio! Of course, we all don’t have Meryl Streep’s email address so her publicist is the next best thing. Look into major publicity firms, like PMK*BNC , and find the publicists you want to pitch to. Most contact information can be found through sly googling or IMDbPro (an optimal investment). Start small – don’t go after Meryl first. Ask the publicist if they have anyone who would like to be interviewed. Publicists are constantly seeking good exposure for their clients, and are happy to have opportunities fall into their laps.
These communications are great for spinning your own web of connections.
3. THE ART OF PITCHING
You will need a captivating pitch to contact a publicist or media outlet. Both of them will want to know what you plan on writing, with some media organizations desiring finely finished submissions. Amateur writing won’t cut it.
While developing, always focus on the reader. Make your article pitch relevant and enticing for them. Start off by saying who you are and what you are seeking. Then, tell them why you’re the expert, and can write this story better than anyone.
A pitch is essentially you asking for something, but you never want it to seem that way. Mask the solicitation so they’ll walk away feeling like they need you.
4. CREATE YOUR OWN ENTERTAINMENT BLOG!
Concentrate on a part of the entertainment industry that you’re most interested in and create a blog! You can build your portfolio and reader base by posting content weekly.
You’ll want to post frequently, and maintain a high quality of writing, so your readers will share them. Link your article to something popular so, even if your subject doesn’t have the most followers, at least the piece mentions something that does. I once interviewed an upcoming actor who had no following. I promoted a quote he said about working with a really famous actor and – BOOM – the article went (kind of) viral.
If you take these tips to heart, and stay in the game, you will be on the right path to becoming an entertainment writer. The only real requirement is that you have the persistent passion to drive you.
Robert Peterpaul is a Cum Laude graduate of Marist College. He has worked and written for NBC’s Access Hollywood, FOX’s TMZ, The Huffington Post, Backstage, BroadwayWorld.com, and was a Senior Editor of NYCastings.com. Over the years, Robert has been lucky enough to interview everyone from Florence + The Machine to Emmy winner Allison Janney. Currently, he runs his own production company (Robert Peterpaul Productions) and maintains its highly viewed blog, “Hone Your Craft,” where he interviews acclaimed talent. Robert also continues to work as an actor and a Social Media Coordinator for AOL BUILD and NBC’s America’s Got Talent. Check out http://www.robertpeterpaul.com.
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