Low-Down for Celebrities Who Want to Give a Good Impression at Interviews

Cape Times (South Africa), September 18, 2007 | Go to article overview

Low-Down for Celebrities Who Want to Give a Good Impression at Interviews


BYLINE: Joel Stein

Los Angeles: I have this idea for a hugely successful business, but apparently it will so completely de-stroy my credibility that my print journalism career would end. And I can't quit a growth field like this.

My plan was to start a consulting agency to train celebrities how to be interviewed.

I know media trainers already exist, but those people just tell you not to wear white on TV and to twist questions to make your own point.

Which is irrelevant in Hollywood because celebrities don't wear white and they don't have points.

I've been writing celebrity profiles for 12 years and after conferring with some fellow entertainment journalists, I think it's time to supply the enemy with our tricks.

Because I'm sick of actors getting angry with me for their own mistakes. I'm also sick of them getting angry at me for my mistakes, but I'm not sure how to fix that.

l Google me. My essential task is to determine whether you're a jerk. Feign interest in me and I'll think you aren't. Try the David Letterman trick: ask where I'm from and drop some fact about the area.

Easier yet, Google me and read something I wrote - which might have the added advantage of clueing you in to what you should and shouldn't say in front of me.

Tom Cruise is so good at this that, if you interview him a second time even years later, he'll ask about your two kids. How do you think his freakiness stayed hidden so long?

l Don't bring your publicist. Sure, she or he might prevent you from saying something stupid. But your publicist is more likely to interrupt you - which is a big flag that says: "He's saying something stupid! Use it in your first paragraph!"

Besides, having the publicist there makes you look weak. Instead, pretend to hate your publicist as much as I do.

l Bring a gift. (Call it a sample.) When I met director Spike Jonze for lunch, he handed me a bag with a bunch of super-cool clothes from his skater clothing line. After that, he could have told me about his Hitler memorabilia and I would have written: "Jonze has a keen interest in European history."

l Pay. I'm on an expense account from a giant multinational corporation; it's insane for me not to pick up the cheque at a restaurant. Only one person physically has prevented me: Jackass star Johnny Knoxville.

It made no difference to my bank account, but it did make me think he is the most thoughtful man in the world. …

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