Publicity with Kristina Hard
Little Miss Publicist, Kristina Hard, tells us more about herself and what a publicist does as part of the latest Generator on Money's tight and I'm sure I can do some of this myself. How do I be my own publicist?
What does a publicist do?
A publicist tells stories to the media and the public about who you are, why you’re unique and what your project is. A publicist creates hype, connects people and strategically persuades journalists to pick up your project for print and online publications, TV programmes, radio stations, websites and more.
Tell us a bit about your professional background
I have a Bachelor of Arts in English and Theatre Studies from The University of Auckland and I’m a current undergraduate of The Arts Regional Trust Art Venture Creative Entrepreneurship programme.
I’m lucky to say I have had a diverse career in arts publicity. I have had the pleasure of collaborating with numerous creative people, ensembles and companies on various projects-Auckland Festival 09, Auckland Theatre Company’s Young and Hungry Festival of New Theatre 2010, Melbourne Fringe Festival 2011, Auckland Fringe Festival 2011, Wellington Fringe Festival 2011, Art In The Dark Festival 2012, Indian Ink Theatre Company, Q Theatre and more. I have a special place in my heart for publicising professional and community events at TAPAC Performing Arts Centre too.
How, when and why did you get into publicity? What keeps you involved?
It was 2008, I was 18 years old and in my second year at The University of Auckland planning to be a journalist. I did a course at The Edge Performing Arts Centre and I found out what a publicist was. It was all the bits I liked about being a journalist without the repetitive nature of journalism. To me publicity had more versatility, more diversity and it was catnip to my independent spirit. I set out immediately to find a way into the industry and Auckland Festival 09 picked me up. I did a publicity internship under Festival Publicist Rachel Lorimer and Assistant Publicist Alex Ellis. I keep involved because I love to see creative people create.
What areas do you specialise in?
I specialise in performing arts and visual arts publicity.
How can clients help themselves help you?
Be prepared. It’s so important to know - What is your project? - Why are you involved? - What is your role? - What results do you want to achieve? Prepare photos, up to five different shots to use online and in print, prepare a detailed contact spreadsheet with all people’s mobiles, email addresses, geographic areas and availability for publicity time, decide a deadline at which point you must have all people’s bios (paragraphs not CVs) and headshots, pass these on to your publicist in the easiest way possible, Dropbox is a good project tool to use. Prepare a basic paragraph about the project include review quotes and any information that you believe is relevant or should be highlighted. Make sure you can express your concept to your publicist in a concise way. Here is an article of how to get the most out of your publicist.
What interests/excites you about the creative sector?
People and this innate desire they have to create art or performances or new concepts….It completely fascinates me. To grow up as a creative kid and not be understood by people for a long time is hard to accept but to find a whole world of people who have the same perspectives as you is just incredible to me.
What are your creative interests?
I love to write, poetry is my genre of choice.
French movies are my favourite, they have this whole perspective of the world that is just slightly off and I love it. Literature is an escape for me. Long live books in hardcopy.
Who are some of your mentors?
My mentors from The Arts Regional Trust Art Venture Creative Enterpreunership Programme are unbelievable people who I endlessly admire and appreciate Elisabeth Vaneveld, Lorraine Blackley, and Hinu te Hau. I believe it is so important to have peers who you can look up to so Sarah Graham - Outfit Theatre Company, Sally Greer - Beatnik Publishing, Ella Mizrahi & Celia Harrison - Celery Productions and Margaret-Mary Hollins - TAPAC Performing Arts Centre you inspire me. Louise Gallager at Indian Ink Theatre Company and James Wilson at Q Theatre are incredible people who have supported me and Jennifer Ward-Lealand always has a helping hand and a supportive smile.
What’s the best piece of advice you’ve been given?
As a kid I was always a perfectionist so my Mum said this to me “There will always be someone who is better than you and there will always be someone who is worse so be happy with your place in the world.” The other piece of advice I hold on to is from Lorraine Blackley she said “Know what you want but don’t get attached to how you want it to come to you because what you want might not always come to you the way you want it to”.
What’s your top tip for creatives doing DIY publicity?
Find the unique point in your project and pitch it to journalists. What is the one element that makes your project different from everyone else’s project? Could it be a particular person’s personal story? Could it be your inspirations behind the project? Is it a celebrity guest? Is it that you’re going to challenge people in way they have never experienced? It must be authentic, do not make it up.
What are some of the perks and the pitfalls of a career as a publicist?
Perks - you get invites to artsy events, you get to spend time with rad people and you’re never bored. Pitfalls - you don’t have set hours so while you’re doing projects sometimes you have to work outside Monday - Friday 9-5, you can get quite obsessed with your smartphone and it is a bit scary when you don’t what your next job is.
What are some of the future trends?
People don’t fundamentally change natures so I think stories about ourselves will always be relevant to us, it’s just the tools we use that we develop. For example ancient Egyptians were putting up pictures of themselves and cats onto walls, now we do too we just use virtual walls. I believe authenticity will become irresistible to us, tete a tete communication will increase in value and video will continue to become one of the principal ways we connect to the public.