The Recovering Junketeer

When I worked at TechTV and G4, I did a lot of press junkets... meaning, I got to attend screenings of movies before they premiered, and then interview the main actors/directors/producers/costume designers/guy who wore the weird suit/guy who wrote the book that inspired the movie/Jack Russell stunt double/etc about their experiences making these movies. I'd then take all the footage from my interviews and from the EPK (Electronic Press Kit of film clips and behind-the-scenes footage that the studio provides journalists), write some snappy copy for myself, and put a piece together. Here's an example of a finished product from one of the better films I covered, "V for Vendetta":

Now, I know many of you will think this sounds like quite a dream job indeed. But junkets are weird. What the studio will do is buy out a bunch of rooms in a nice hotel like the Four Seasons, have check-in/catering in a suite, and set up the interview areas in individual rooms down the hall. Harrison Ford in 702, Keanu Reeves in 706, and so on. You'll be given a time slot - anything before lunch is good, after lunch starts to get iffy because the actors have been answering the same questions about their performance/weight gain/weight loss/shaved head/inspirations since 10 am, and the kiss of death is anything around the 4 pm slot, which I assume happens to smaller outlets that no one cares about or to somebody who booked late and/or pissed someone at the studio off.

The actors don't want to sit in a dark hotel room with hot lights and makeup artists and cameras and journalists shuffling in and out all day, but they're required to participate as promotion for the movie. I interviewed so many big stars (some multiple times for different movies) that were either tired or rude or some combination of both that the kind, polite people really stood out. Johnny Depp was one, which was a huge relief to me because he's my favorite person currently walking the earth. John Cusack was another, which I like to attribute a teeny tiny bit to my own warm, easy-going manner since he's got a reputation as a bad interview. I'd tell you who the bitches were, but alas, you never know who's reading this blog! Let's just say the bitches were plentiful. But also really pretty. Sigh.

The other journalists (I've heard some refer to themselves as "junketeers") are from all over the country, but you start to see the same people week after week. So-and-so from Entertainment Tonight. That nice lady with the big hair from the Miami station. The girl from TV Guide who's always overdressed. The old guy. There's cattiness and pecking orders and the most celebrity gossip you've ever heard from a bunch of adults. It's so weird.

The catering is always good. I stuffed a brownie or two into my purse back in the day.

I sometimes miss this part of my old jobs, although at the time I stewed about never being able to get away for the weekend (junkets are almost always held on Sundays, and usually the screening is the previous evening). If I never do another one, I can at least proudly say I've interviewed most of Hollywood without getting slapped or yelled at. With the exception of Brad Pitt.. who never slapped or yelled at me, I just never covered one of his movies. Why, Brad. WHY?!

Oh, and you can totally tell that I did my own hair/makeup/wardrobe at these junkets. On my show I had people to do that for me (see the curls in the above clip? I can't do those curls myself), but I always looked like shit on Sundays next to those pretty, bitchy actresses. BITCHES!

PS- Lest you think I was hinting at something in this post, no, Natalie Portman was not a bitch. Intimidatingly smart and pretty and well-spoken, yes. Bitch, no. It was infuriating.