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Mario Bautista, has been with the entertainment industry for more than 4 decades. He writes regular columns for People's Journal and Malaya.

Jul 17, 2018

How Press Conferences For New Movies Are Conducted... Then And Now

PRESS CONFERENCES during the heydays of local films in the 80s and 90s were light and happy affairs. At Regal then, the late Joey Gosiengfiao used to handle the promo of their movies. We, the invited writers, usually come on the appointed time, then the stars would come in and they quickly join us in our tables so we are able to interview them right away, even before they’re all later assembled at the presidential table for the usual Q&A. It was very convenient and productive. But everything has changed now. Not only has theatre attendance truly gone down as people no longer view the movies as the cheapest form of entertainment like they used to do (it’s now their cellphones where they can readily access social media), but because movie companies have employed events organizers.

Of course, it’s to be expected that these people would make their own “pakulo” for them to earn what the companies are paying them. But honestly, they often only get in the way of the press people who just want to interview the stars of a new movie or show.

What they do now is to collect all the stars first in one holding area while the writers who come to the presscon are waiting aimlessly for the presscon to start, wasting a lot of precious time in the process. The waiting usually takes anywhere from one to two hours, depending on how late some of the stars arrive at the venue. That’s why some writers deliberately come late because they know they’ll just be made to wait anyway.

In a recent presscon, they hired a big military truck and all the stars, including the director, were made to ride on it then it was made to enter the presscon venue. But they didn’t have a proper ladder where the starts can climb down so, for a while, we got worried some of the stars might trip and fall down as they get off the truck. And imagine how much they spent in hiring that truck which didn’t serve any good purpose anyway.

Right after the usual Q&A, most writers now just go home right away and no longer hold individual interviews with the stars like before. Some handlers also guard their stars, acting like writers would bring them home, and some even have the temerity to answer questions directed to their assigned wards. Right after the Q&A, they whisk the stars right away and prevent the press from further interviewing them.

In one presscon, one writer was requesting for individual interviews of the four lead stars in a recent youth movie released by a top company, but the one in charge said they can only be interviewed as a group. So what happened? The movie was a big big flop and the writer had the last laugh. “Hindi ko talaga maintindihan kung bakit ipinagkakait nila yung mga artista nila sa mga makakatulong sa promo nila at publicity,” she said.