How to create a perfect press release for your production
Creating an astonishing film, theatre, music or dance production should always be the primary goal of any creative trying to succeed in the entertainment industry. But putting on an excellent show is just half the battle. The other half is getting your production as much attention as possible – and to do so you'll want a proper press release in place.
Read on to find out how to make a perfect press kit for your show.
The first thing you need to do is to be mindful of press in the first place. All too often, creatives get their show together, book their venues or filming dates, and go ahead with their productions, leaving getting press as an afterthought. A press strategy should be in a producer's mindset from the start. Yes, there are stories of creatives who wing it a week before a show/release and succeed but there are thousands of others who do the same and fail miserably.
Do you really want to spend months and months, writing, rehearsing and organising a show and come out of it no better known?
Press attention should be in your mind as early as possible, before going into production, and part of your overall plan to put on – or shoot – your show. Don't leave it to chance!
2. Create and collect assets
Now that you're thinking about the media, you'll want to start amassing media!
Think about all the big movie, TV and theatre productions released each month and what you see online during the roll-out. There are posters, videos, photos, text and more.
Those are exactly the assets you'll need to create an attractive press pack. Start looking for photographers, videographers, designers and writers early on so that you can capture your production at various stages of development. You'll want one or two variations of a poster, some video content, a selection of photographs and some sizzling copy to tantalise and excite journalists.
Video can be split into several key formats; rehearsals, behind-the-scenes and interviews. Depending on the size and importance of your production – and what you want from it – you might be fine with just one of these. Scale the volume of video content to match the size and importance of your production. Whatever you do, get a professional – or aspiring – videographer to do this for you. The last thing you need is to split your focus between making a great show and capturing promotional video.
Photos can be divided too, into publicity stills, rehearsal snaps, behind-the-scenes and production stills. A publicity still is generally a more posed-for shot of the key players, in character, and captures the lifeblood of your show and is more often than not used for posters and other promotional material. A rehearsal or behind-the-scenes photograph will capture the cast/band/heads of department at work as they prepare for the show and – hopefully – enjoy themselves doing it. A production still should ideally encompass the show as the audience will see it. If it's a colourful, all-singing, all-dancing, bombastic musical then capture that in a glorious show-all wide shot! If it's an intimate, emotional show, then the production should reflect that with an engaging close up. In short, show a sneak peek of key drama or excitement from the production. Get a range and choose the best!
The copy for your press pack should be full to the brim of essential information (running time, characters, storyline, cast and crew bios, website links and details about the production company). And it should be sizzling and salesy in its description. This is your chance to really excite your reader. Don't waste it! If you're lucky enough to have received positive feedback about the production from a publication or notable person already, then use it!
3. Make it impressive
Remember, the purpose of your press pack is to impress the press! If you have a brilliant, high-end production that you know will go down a storm then there's no point in slapping together a shoddily designed poster or sending out low resolution, blurry production stills and badly-worded copy. It won't do your production justice and will only lower people's expectations and perceptions of your project. Make it shiny and slick!
Also, ensure that the most exciting pictures, quotes and any eye-catching information are near the top. Don't bury them near the bottom, where a busy journalist may not be able to find them.
As we said above, if you or your team don't have the copywriting, design or video filming and editing skills – or, importantly, time – to make something excellent then find or hire someone who does. Yes, it may cost you some money or take some time to find a friend of a friend to work on it for you, but that's part of the process!
In short, do not slack off in the quality department – make it sing!
4. Make it easy, keep it short.
Don't send journalists links to different sites to download your press assets. This just complicates their job which is often very busy, involves a lot of pressure and little time for such things. Place all of your press assets on an easy-to-navigate page on your website, in a Dropbox folder or a WeTransfer link. This means that the recipient is just two simple clicks away from downloading everything they need to write their story.
Limit your videos to a maximum of three and your photographs to no more than 10. This gives your recipient options without having to dive into an endless array of show assets. Keep the copy sparse, exciting and informative, too. They're writing an article, not a two-hour powerpoint presentation!
5. Hire a publicist
Now that you've got your wonderful photos, slick posters, vibrant video and magnificent copy – and if you've got, or can raise, the budget for it – you'll want to hand over the publicity campaign to a professional publicist.
Publicists will have connections and experience that you simply don't and will be likely able to place your production in the right publications. They'll also have time dedicated to it, because they're not putting on the show! However, do scope the costs out before you start the production so that you've budgeted for one or at least have time set aside to contact publicists – it's no small job!
If you're doing it yourself, read our essential guide on how to get publicity for your show.
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