Wednesday, 8 February 2012

Learn to work the red carpet

Sooner or later, if you achieve the least degree of success in the business, you will find yourself invited to a gala opening before which you will walk up the red carpet. This may happen even if the film is an insignificant short in which you have a minuscule part, so it's essential to learn the correct technique to employ in this situation.

You will have three sets of people to work with: photographers, fans and press. The photographers will probably be confined to a roped off area to one side and when you arrive at the red carpet they will start calling out your name to get you to look at them so that they get a good shot of you. This can be quite confusing but what you do is very simple. Starting at the near end of the line, you eyeball each lens in turn, giving it a friendly gaze for a few seconds. When you get to the end of the line be prepared to repeat the exercise if they're still calling your name out. Take your time, make sure they all get a good picture and be prepared for requests to pose with someone else, as well, someone you know or a complete stranger.

You then turn to the fans. They may be family and friends, or inquisitive people who happened to be passing by, but their presence, gathered together behind a rope, turns them into fans, while your presence in the lights and on the red carpet, turns you into a star. They will ask for your autograph and it's a good idea to have with you a brightly coloured marker pen, one that writes reliably, so that you can sign your name easily. Make your signature very large. But the important thing is to talk to them. Ask them what kind of films they like, whether they've come from far, thank them for coming. They will be thrilled.

Finally come the press interviews, some for print media and some for internet. Again it's your job to be as helpful as possible, even if it means giving the same answers over and over again. Have a few soundbites and anecdotes ready for use. Be patient and make sure they spell your name correctly. Remember who they are: you may meet them again, perhaps in a more important job than the one they have now. This is not a good time to remember things that went wrong or people you did not get on with, so be diplomatic and forgive and forget.

All this attention can be quite head turning, so it's important to keep your feet on the ground. In ancient Rome, when they held a triumph for a returning general, amid all he adulation a little man would be employed to whisper in the general's ear and remind him the he was mortal. In the same way always remember that you will walk down the street the next morning and no-one will know who you are. (If you're lucky.)