Thursday, December 2, 2010

Mr. Carpet

Ms. Joy,

Last month, I got to attend a friend’s movie premiere in NY. I’m a working actor in the city and I mostly do character work. When my friend flew in for his premiere, he invited me to tag along. Truth be told, tagging along was all I planned to do. My boy had other plans and pulled me onto the red carpet. It was my first red carpet. I wasn’t prepared but I manned up and took my photos. That went really well.

The next part went really wrong. I’ve never done an interview and when I found myself in front of a camera crew, I froze. I stuttered. I sounded completely stupid. I stumbled over the name of my current show. I forgot to even mention the movie I just did opposite some big names.

I’m bruised but I’m not giving up. Now that I’ve done a red carpet, I want to do more. Do you have a quick tip on how I can be better prepared for the next one?

―Barely Carpet Burned in Brooklyn

Mr. Carpet,

I like your attitude! Shake it off! The great thing about the experience you just had is that you now know what to expect. It’s like riding a rollercoaster. You look at it with one impression. You feel really nervous the first time because you don’t know what’s coming. Once you get past the first ride, you can ride it again and feel less fear because you’ve gained familiarity. Use this to your advantage and learn your lines before you go on the carpet.

You don’t strike me as the type of guy who auditions without knowing the lines. Red carpets work the same way. Memorize your key points: the names of current work, the names of key colleagues you acted opposite of, what studios are involved (if any), where folks can see your work, and so on. Know these points well enough to be natural, conversational and personable while communicating them. Practice them in your mind and aloud.

Also take time to learn about the event you’re attending and have fun buzz phrases ready in relation to it. This may sound like a no-brainer, but I once saw someone attend a charity event and space about the name of the foundation or why they were there. That kind of thing can make you look dumb or like a publicity hound. Either case should be avoided.

Train yourself for this the way you train yourself for your craft and you should do just fine.

Keep rising!

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