“For the primary two years, Harry [Clein] and I labored from the basement of his home, and we had one assistant and principally no overhead — and we made the identical cash in these early years as we did once we had 20 workers and two places of work 10 years later,” says Bruce Feldman, a veteran movie publicist who, along with his late companion Harry Clein, ran one of many high Hollywood PR companies of the eighties, Clein + Feldman. “What I concluded then, and nonetheless consider to be true, is that there are two methods to reach the film PR enterprise: One is to remain extraordinarily small and fly below the radar, and the opposite is to get very huge and turn into half of a bigger group. It’s the people who find themselves in that center space who’re fucked when instances are powerful.”
That, certainly, appears to be the case amid the primary simultaneous strike of writers and actors in additional than 60 years. With actors forbidden from doing interviews, attending festivals or actually anything to advertise new initiatives, many have opted to go on “hiatus” from their publicists (who they pay a month-to-month retainer that may vary from $4000 to $20,000, relatively than a share of their earnings, like brokers, managers and legal professionals earn). Because of this, midsize PR businesses are feeling notably squeezed, in line with the house owners of a number of that spoke to LeslyNewsMagazine. One reported that income at their agency is already down a devastating 80 p.c from what it was earlier than the strikes, and a number of other say they’re dreading the tip of the month, when shoppers should notify them if they’re going “off” for the subsequent month.
The consensus amongst proprietors of midsize companies appears to be that they’ll solely survive with out shedding workers till September or October. Says one boutique agency proprietor, “I’m simply barely protecting my overhead, and that’s whereas not paying myself, as a result of I don’t need to lay off one particular person. Within the meantime, we’re desperately attempting to signal new types of shoppers to herald some enterprise.”
Publicists know tips on how to courtroom media consideration higher than anybody, however many are personally press-averse. That made it all of the extra noteworthy when Jordyn Palos, founder/CEO of Persona PR — who represents the likes of Quinta Brunson and Justin Hartley, and whose firm has 12 full-time workers between places of work on each coasts — weighed in concerning the collateral harm of the strike on her public Instagram. “Not many publicists will speak about this but, particularly not publicly,” she wrote. “We survived the Covid shutdown… saved my doorways open, saved folks employed in LA and NYC, paid the medical insurance payments and made these 401k contributions. I paid them earlier than I paid myself, I labored 15+ hour days each day, night time and weekends, to outlive and hold this prepare transferring. Now we’re being informed we primarily can not do our jobs. I’m all for the strikes, I help the WGA and SAG, I LOVE my shoppers, and I need them to be pretty paid… Nonetheless, please don’t overlook the slew of individuals outdoors of SAG that will be unable to work in full drive till these strikes are over… perhaps if sufficient folks make noise right here, we will restrict the harm of those shutdowns and are available to agreements sooner relatively than later.”
In response to one supply at a bigger agency, it’s not simply the small and mid-range companies which can be in danger. “Even the large guys are feeling it,” says a publicist for one of many bigger companies. “That is COVID once more. It’s super-triggering.”
THR has discovered that Hollywood’s PR companies have been invited to a Zoom assembly on Tuesday morning with Pamela Greenwalt, SAG-AFTRA’s chief communications/advertising, for a briefing and Q&A relating to the strike. Given the direness of the predicament that includes the PR neighborhood, maybe some type of lodging will come out of it.