Sisi is an experienced PR and marketing professional to the film industry, she runs her own PR firm Sicily Publicity.
My company Sicily Publicity offers Publicity, PR and Marketing services for films at all stages of production and distribution, festivals and events. We also team up with fellow industry professionals to offer full bespoke distribution services to independent filmmakers.
My first ‘break’ was when I got to lead creative publicity campaigns for both theatrical and home entertainment film releases at Revolver Entertainment, which at the time was the UK’s leading independent film distributor. I got to work on many fascinating films, and with some incredible filmmakers and actors. I started there as an intern, but once I had earned myself a permanent position my roles and responsibilities multiplied daily, which was exciting. From there I was able to develop my career and start leading campaigns. When Revolver closed its doors in 2011 I briefly moved to Berlin where I began my freelance career by working directly on new distribution labels and independent releases.
In terms of traditional theatrical or home entertainment film releases, our job is to make as much noise about them as possible. When we are brought onto a project the first thing we do is decide who our many target audiences are, and how we are going to market the film to them best. This includes things like developing the trailer and artwork, writing the synopsis, partnering with brands for promotional campaigns, organising press screenings, getting early feedback from film critics for poster quotes, setting up interviews with the cast and crew, organising premieres and other events, and – and this one gets more important every day – communicating directly with our audiences on social media. We also need to be careful to choose the right materials to promote the film, such as choosing the film stills that send the message we want to convey, cutting strong film clips, and shaping and sharing social media content to represent the film.
We are often brought on before a film goes into production to ensure the marketing strategy is in place from the beginning. We ensure the materials that will be needed to promote the film are made to the highest possible standards, as well as produce an EPK and organise press set visits. At this stage, we also build social media platforms from their roots, put in place an ‘impact strategy’, and partner with brands and organisations that are appropriate to the film. This role is sometimes referred to as Director of Marketing and Distribution (DMP) or Social Impact Producer.
In general, we are required to have an extensive knowledge of the media. As you will see when coming across media coverage connected to the release of a new film (the coverage is almost always organised in advance by someone like me), in addition to reviews in film mags and newspapers, and interviews with the actors, there will often be creative features and stories in all kinds of media outlets depending on the style and subject of the film or documentary, where it was filmed, and who is in them. We also need to have a good knowledge of showbiz press and photographers for the premieres and VIP events we manage, listings and diary press for public events and film festivals, and more. As time goes by, when you’ve worked on films and documentaries about a wide range of subjects, your knowledge of the media becomes exceptionally broad. In my case, working on North American as well as international releases, the media database collection needs to be enormous, and always updated.
The industry has changed enormously since I first entered it, particularly in the last 3 years. Many of the changes reflect on the new ways that people consume media, in every sense. Because there are so many areas of the industry adjusting and expanding in different ways and at different paces, it can be challenging. I wouldn’t say this has been surprising in itself, but the fact that many areas of my job have changed a great deal in such a short space of time is quite surprising when I reflect back on it.
There is no one event that I can say is the most memorable part – I have been so lucky to have had many memorable moments with fantastic people that I’ve worked with, amazing projects, and wonderfully bizarre situations.
The first thing I would say is be certain about the area of film you want to get into, learn about all of the jobs available in the industry and asking yourself what your strengths are and what you enjoy the most. I would say that my job requires you to be quite creative, with an instinctive, intuitive understanding for marketing and what makes a good story; a good knowledge of the media (or enthusiasm to learn it), advanced writing and communication skills, and ability to work well under a lot of pressure. If you think that it is right for you to find an internship with an Entertainment PR Agency or distribution company, contribute to whatever you are involved with to the best of your ability. If you are contributing more than what is expected of you, this will get noticed.
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