HERE IN HOLLYWOOD: Junket Do's and Dont's

...by Blake Snyder
BY |
HERE IN HOLLYWOOD: Junket Do's and Dont's

In the old days, before movies were packaged like hamburgers, the phrase "to junket" or "I'm going on a junket" meant that movie stars would actually venture out onto the road to promote their films, going so far as to appear at small town theaters and meeting... you know... "them." But these days, what with one's busy re-hab schedule and the need to be seen along the Prada runway, today's film folk just don't have the Swatch, baby. Sorry!

To combat the ever-shrinking attention spans of these lovely and talented thoroughbreds, the PR flaks have come up with a new type of junket, one which I'm sure you've seen many times on your television receivers. The new press junket involves planting said movie star in a dark room with a movie poster of the hamburger in question directly behind them and trooping the press through one at a time! Usually what one sees is a little sound bite of Pierce Brosnan or Julia Roberts sitting there, smiling, thinking about their next mood swing and answering questions like an automaton. Sometimes, if the interviewer was also treated miserably in high school, one will see cutaways of them, too, laughing along with the celebrity, all chummy, like they do this every day. Well, they don't!

To save everyone time, and to help all those up-and-coming teen stars I keep hearing about who've been lumped together into one big Brittany-Amber-Thieson-Diaz-Plaja! here are suggestions to guide you in all manner of Junk-etiquette:

YOUR CHARACTER

To help those in the audience who don't realize that your performance in the movie in question is just "play-acting" it is common for the junket interviewee to refer to said part as "my character" or "the character I play in this movie." In describing said character, the interviewee must always refer to the difficulties involved in "getting into character" in order to trick potential movie goers into thinking it was some kind of chore when, in fact, preparation for the part mostly involved "rolling out of bed." This is a particularly important distinction to make if you are of the model persuasion, and your use in the film in question is so based on the cosmetic, that both you and "your character" are best described as "the blonde with the fake breasts."

YOUR CO-STARS

Though interviewed individually, the cast members of a film are often called upon to refer to their fellow co-stars, at which point the interviewee will most often toss his or her head back, laugh conspiratorially and relate a behind-the-scenes frolic, usually involving the location where the film was shot and the mukluks who reside there. When referring to co-stars, the key tone to set is one of "I know them and you don't." This is especially opportune if the co-star has been knighted, offering you the chance to refer to him as "Tony."

THE MOOD OF THE SET

No matter if you loathed everyone involved, this is a junket, with millions of dollars and your reputation as a "good promoter" on the line, in short, a time to put all those unhappy memories behind you and shill like a carnie at a geek show. If the mood on the set was forgettable, the best way to get around questions about this is to describe the way you feel about the cast and crew as being "like family." This is good for two reasons; if the movie is a hit, you may well have to have a reunion. If it is not, then you will treat them "like family" and never see them again.

LOOKING SMARTER THAN YOU ARE

One of the perils of movie stardom is the lack of actual "book-learnin'" involved. Many of today's biggest stars started young, shunning traditional college educations in favor of years in the school of hard knocks and getting "coked up" in the homes of top producers. Sensitive to this, the junket interviewee will often use the format to quote from a book he or she is reading or to offer a political opinion or to wear a T-shirt featuring a photo of Che Guevara (which assumes both without having to answer particulars.) Warning: Be sure you know whose picture it is you are wearing as journalists tend to recognize politically incorrect dictators and leaders of mindless cults i.e. Jack Valenti.

YOUR DIRECTOR

Because the junket interviewee has often not seen the final cut of the movie, it is best to speak in glowing terms about the person who still has the power to stick in a scene of you picking your nose. Thus, directors are often described as "geniuses" or someone who "really knows how to work with actors" a kind phrase which in reality means "he has no idea of how to work with actors." If this is the director's first effort behind the lens, these accolades are particularly important because if he is not the genius you hoped for, a scene of you picking your nose might be the best thing in it.

THE SCRIPT

The what?

REGARDING YOUR OSCAR

If your film is released in the months leading up to New Year's and involves a story about someone with a disease, emotional scarring or a real person who has recently died, then you will be faced with questions about "Oscar Buzz." Now even though producers have designed it to be this way, the key reaction of the interviewee must be one of surprise mixed with embarrassment that all this fuss is being made. Note: If no one asks about "Oscar Buzz" report it immediately to your PR person who will make sure they ask you next time.

SAYING GOODBYE

With the interview over and the next reporter on the way in to meet with you, it is best to say goodbye warmly to the "journalist." Try to avoid any waning of formality however with goofy waves or handshakes, you are, after all, still on camera. Also, don't give away the Twelve Step Program or re-hab center where you've really been in the last few months by ending with "Keep coming back, it works if you work it!"

FINAL THOUGHTS

Okay, Junketeers! That's it from here. Now go out there and sell, sell, sell! And please remember, there are no small parts, only parts that were not properly exploited. Bye-bye!

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