Being a publicist can be a thankless gig. You have to wrangle sometimes difficult talent and manage sometimes difficult members of the press (like your writer), you can easily get blamed if a movie doesn’t do well, but if it does succeed, chances are you’re not going to be one of the main people getting credit.
Reid Rosefelt, who’s worked as a publicist and unit publicist for three decades on films from “Desperately Seeking Susan” to “Mr. Death: The Rise and Fall of Fred A. Leuchter, Jr.” to “Precious,” offers some very entertaining insights into his profession at My Life As A Blog. On Sunday he posted an amazing anecdote about what it’s like working on a film that you and everyone involved knows is a stinker, based on a comedy he worked on early in his career. I can’t point you to it, though, because today he took it down. He writes:
This week I was a bit stressed out and I started thinking about the worst experience I ever had in the publicity business. I wrote about a certain film and I thought it was really funny. Lots of what I thought were amusing stories about depressed people doing absurd things they shouldn’t do. And me in the middle wallowing in all that delicious failure. I took all the names out so it wouldn’t be mean of course. The problem was I wrote it far too quickly and didn’t take the time to see how easy it would be for some film-savvy folks to identify the film. Of course, someone figured out the title of the movie right away.
All of a sudden I didn’t think my post was funny anymore. I felt like an asshole. So I took it down.
Also part of a film publicist? Knowing when something’s best kept off the record, alas. But while that post is gone, there are plenty of others on the site worth reading, include this one on musician/actor/”Fishing with John”er John Lurie and Tad Friend’s New Yorker article about he went into hiding two years ago.