THEATRICAL PRESS AGENT
Education And Training, Outlook, Tips For Writing A Press Release, For More Information, TheaterSalary
If you would love to be involved in theater but would rather leave the acting and producing to others, you might consider becoming a theatrical press agent. As good as a show may be on its own merits, it won't sell tickets unless the public knows it exists. That's where the press agent comes in. Theatrical press agents handle all of the publicity for a show, getting the word out to the public that a play or musical is opening on Broadway or will soon come to the community. Press agents are used in all sorts of shows, including Broadway, off-Broadway, regional, and local theaters.
Theatrical press agents create press kits, which are appealing packets of information about the show, and send them to local or national newspapers, magazines, TV stations, and radio stations. They prepare biographies of the show's stars, write press releases, arrange interviews, and deal with the media. Theatrical press agents do not operate on banker's hours. They must be available during business hours to schedule interviews and communicate with the media, but they must also be available to see shows and attend functions and events afterward, often on weekends.
Probably the most critical part of the job of a theatrical press agent is to have the right contacts in the media. If a press release written to announce the opening of the latest Broadway show ends up in a newspaper's sports department, chances are it will be thrown away. Theatrical press agents have to be familiar with all of the media outlets in town. That includes daily and weekly newspapers, magazines, and radio and TV stations. The press agent must find the person in charge of entertainment at each of these outlets. A press release that has a specific name attached to it is much more likely to be read than one addressed to “entertainment editor.” The agent must know the audiences for the various radio and TV stations. The way a production is advertised on a rock station may be very different from the way it is advertised on a classical music station.
Theatrical press agents plan events and press conferences before a show starts running in order to get reviewers excited about the show. Agents might arrange for one of the show's stars to be interviewed by the newspaper or to appear on talk shows. They could hold a preview of the show for the press. They might have a photo session in a unique local area. Agents can send out press releases that emphasize an unusual episode about the making of the show, or that describe a heartwarming story about a member of the cast. A press agent must have a lot of creativity to think of new ways to interest the media or to do something that has never been done before.
One of the biggest jobs of the theatrical press agent is planning the opening night gala. The agent makes sure that all reviewers and critics are present. A pre-opening reception gives the agent a chance to hand out press kits with photos and information about the show that will help the reviewers complete their articles. The agent is also available to answer questions, to thank the reviewers for coming, and to ensure that the reviewers get to their seats on time. Once the show starts, the agent leaves the reviewers alone.
Salaries for press agents vary by the size and kind of production, the location, and the agent's experience. Press agents working in New York make around $1,500 per week.
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