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HRTS Member Profile: Elizabeth Much

Elizabeth Much

Elizabeth Much

Elizabeth Much is a partner at Much and House Public Relations. I recently had a chance to sit down with her to discuss reality television, social media and the death of print.

Q: Can you tell us about your background and what made you want to work in entertainment? How did you get involved with the HRTS?
-when I was in high school my cousin spoke at my high school. Her name is Margie Korshak, she has a PR firm in Chicago and I had this epiphany that this is what I needed to do. She represented all of the actors that went through Chicago and I thought that she had such a fun life, it combined all the things that I like to do – I like writing, planning events, traveling, etc. I was just very lucky that this light went off when I was sixteen years old.

I came out here to UCLA, transferred as a junior, and started working PR internships, which were really valuable. I interned at Rogers & Cowan and I interned at Lorimar and I learned a lot, I enjoyed it and I knew that I made the right choice.

As for HRTS, I heard about it over the years, heard that they have great luncheons and great speakers. I like networking and meeting other professionals in the industry. I just thought it was a great organization and to not just be with PR professionals, to expand my networking to other areas as well.

Q: How are publicity and PR different today than in the past?
-they’re so different, the Internet’s changed everything. It’s both a blessing and a curse. I love how quickly we can communicate with each other, in the old days you’d have to mail out headshots and bios and pitch letters, today we can get things done much faster but it’s much more difficult to monitor. The negative comments that go online, the crazy paparazzi photos, the outlets like TMZ, it’s just the Wild West now in PR, it’s very challenging to manage.

The playing field has become much more competitive for my clients because of Reality TV. Perhaps because people live vicariously through reality TV stars the media has become hell-bent on featuring them. It’s shocking that we are seeing respectable outlets like Ellen having Snooki as a guest! This has made it much tougher to get actors exposure.

Q: How will publicity and PR continue to change as a result of the emerging New Media landscape?
-in the next 10 years it’s going to be all-digital, and I say this with great sadness because I love to read magazines but I think we’re going to see the death of most print publications. We’re seeing social media becoming more and more important for our clients. We’re launching a new comedy group here this April and when we were doing our strategy it’s all about how we engage in social media – they have to be on Twitter, they have to be on Facebook. The world’s going digital and so our PR campaigns must include strategic planning in that arena.

Q: What is your decision-making process when considering a potential client?
-the process is based upon whether I think I can really help him/her. It really depends upon what they have going on and I analyze it – how big is the role, is the project viable? I try to be very conservative and realistic with my clients. For example, if they are the fifth lead on a comedy series I will suggest that they see how the show performs before they engage a publicist. If they’re in a movie I need to find out if it’s a big enough part, who is distributing the movie and are they going to screen it in advance. I take all of that into consideration. I’ve been doing this for a long time so I usually have a good sense if someone is ripe for PR. I’m always straightforward with people.

Q: What advice would you give to someone that wants to be a publicist?
-my advice would be to really do your research and know what a publicist does and the best way to do that is to intern. A lot of the interns that come through this company wind up staying here – our Vice President started here as an intern. It’s a mutual getting-to-know each other, you figure out if you’re right for company, if it’s the job you want and then it’s great for your resume if you have office experience since it’s not the same as college courses in PR. Also, when I’m looking at resumes I like people that are well-rounded and do other things, they’re more interesting and they bring more to the table when they do PR.

Q: Anything you would like to add?
-I think it’s very important for all of us to support each other in business. I was very lucky growing up with a sister (and a brother too) and going to an all-girls overnight camp and really owning and nurturing and appreciating your friendships and your business relationships with women. I think that that’s so key, women are not your competitors, they’re your friends, they’re your sisters and if you can really embrace that ideology I think you’ll go far. Embrace your fellow woman, nurture and support them. There is a piece of the pie for success with everyone.

My other advice is that I find that a lot of people in the entertainment business are really obsessed with business and although it’s important to work hard it’s also important to be well-rounded person and make sure that you have other activities and friendships outside of the business, you’ll be a much more interesting, happy person if you have other things going on in your life.

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7 Responses »

  1. Wonderful article, inspiring for women of all ages!

  2. Liz...kudos to truly deserve to be acknowledged in "the industry"
    So proud of your accomplishments
    Love Aunt Judy & Uncle Jerry

  3. Liz...kudos to you and your accomplishments..With love. Aunt Judy & Uncle Jerry

  4. Excellent description of the PR climate, and what it truly takes to be successful: class and compassion. I will respectfully disagree with the prediction that print media is dying. I feel it's certain taken a hit but it will always be there in some fashion and and may even have a resurgence. We can only hope for the "good ol' days" and our beloved magazines, tabloids and newspapers!

  5. As always on top of your game. Good interview and more importantly great advice.

  6. I appreciate the emphasis on being well rounded in a business that can be single focused. Also, good point about how reality TV personalities have shifted the way talent is viewed and making it more difficult for 'performers' to get exposure.

  7. Fantastic! We are all so proud of you.

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