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Publicists, SAG-AFTRA to Meet As Midsize PR Firms Crushed by Strike – The Hollywood Reporter

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“For the first two years, Harry [Clein] and I worked from the basement of his house, and we had one assistant and basically no overhead — and we made the same money in those early years as we did when we had 20 employees and two offices 10 years later,” says Bruce Feldman, a veteran movie publicist who, along with his late companion Harry Clein, ran one of many prime Hollywood PR companies of the eighties, Clein + Feldman. “What I concluded then, and still believe to be true, is that there are two ways to succeed in the movie PR business: One is to stay extremely small and fly under the radar, and the other is to get very big and become part of a larger organization. It’s the people who are in that middle area who are fucked when times are tough.”

That, certainly, appears to be the case amid the primary simultaneous strike of writers and actors in additional than 60 years. With actors forbidden from doing interviews, attending festivals or actually the rest to advertise new tasks, many have opted to go on “hiatus” from their publicists (who they pay a month-to-month retainer that may vary from $4000 to $20,000, quite than a proportion of their earnings, like brokers, managers and attorneys earn). In consequence, midsize PR businesses are feeling significantly squeezed, in accordance with the house owners of a number of that spoke to The Hollywood Reporter. One reported that income at their agency is already down a devastating 80 p.c from what it was earlier than the strikes, and a number of other say they’re dreading the top of the month, when purchasers should notify them if they’re going “off” for the subsequent month.

The consensus amongst proprietors of midsize companies appears to be that they’ll solely survive with out shedding staff till September or October. Says one boutique agency proprietor, “I am just barely covering my overhead, and that’s while not paying myself, because I do not want to lay off one person. In the meantime, we are desperately trying to sign new sorts of clients to bring in some business: music, books, even a coffin company.”

Publicists know the right way to courtroom media consideration higher than anybody, however many are personally press-averse. That made it all of the extra noteworthy when Jordyn Palos, founder/CEO of Persona PR — who represents the likes of Quinta Brunson and Justin Hartley, and whose firm has 12 full-time workers between workplaces on each coasts — weighed in concerning the collateral harm of the strike on her public Instagram. “Not many publicists will talk about this yet, especially not publicly,” she wrote. “We survived the Covid shutdown… kept my doors open, kept people employed in LA and NYC, paid the health insurance bills and made those 401k contributions. I paid them before I paid myself, I worked 15+ hour days every day, night and weekends, to survive and keep this train moving. Now we are being told we essentially cannot do our jobs. I am all for the strikes, I support the WGA and SAG, I LOVE my clients, and I want them to be fairly paid… However, please don’t forget the slew of people outside of SAG that will not be able to work in full force until these strikes are over… maybe if enough people make noise here, we can limit the damage of these shutdowns and come to agreements sooner rather than later.”

In keeping with one supply at a bigger agency, it’s not simply the small and mid-range companies which can be in danger. “Even the big guys are feeling it,” says a publicist for one of many bigger companies. “This is COVID again. It’s super-triggering.”

THR has realized that Hollywood’s PR companies have been invited to a Zoom assembly on Tuesday morning with Pamela Greenwalt, SAG-AFTRA’s chief communications/advertising and marketing, for a briefing and Q&A relating to the strike. Given the direness of the predicament that includes the PR neighborhood, maybe some type of lodging will come out of it.



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