This weekend I attended the top secret press junket/press conference for the Star Wars: The Force Awakens movie that opens in theatres December 18th. It's no secret I'm a huge Star Wars fan. I boarded a plane on Saturday morning bound for Los Angeles to join a group of my fellow bloggers for an event of a lifetime. We knew we were attending the Star Wars Global Press Event (#StarWarsEvent), among other things on the trip, but even after receiving our itineraries less than 48 hours before boarding our planes, we had no idea where we were headed other than LA and to our hotel. The location of the event was undisclosed until right before we were headed over.
The morning of the event as we were headed out the door to the Star Wars press conference, we were told to turn off location services and no checking in as to not accidentally disclose the location of the event. I might has well have been in an episode of one of my favorite show Marvel Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. the information was on such lock down.
So what happens at a press junket for a film?
Well, certainly the press junket for Star Wars was a little different than some—and much larger—but they all run kind of similarly.
For our blogger group, we have private one-on-one interviews with the talent scheduled throughout the day. There's always the main press panel, too. And usually there are some stations like a photo opp with a green screen. Many of the bigger press junkets like this will have a consumer merchandising display to show you what's available. The Star Wars Global Press Event had photo opps with droids, costumes and props from the movie, a t-shirt silk-screening station, a demo from Disney Interactive, and more.
Our interviews with cast members included Harrison Ford (“Han Solo”), Oscar Isaac (“Poe Dameron”) & Lupita Nyong’o (“Maz Kanata”), John Boyega (“Finn”), and Daisy Ridley (“Rey”) as well as Producer & President of Lucasfilm Kathleen Kennedy and Director, Writer, Producer J.J. Abrams.
And after the “fun stuff,” we hit the panel in between our interviews:
Watch the whole Panel Interviews
How to Survive a Press Junket
Here are some tips to survive a press junket:
- Dress in layers. The temperature varies between conference rooms and the panel presentations and where the activities happen. You may find yourself needing to put your jacket on or off several times throughout the day.
- Wear comfortable shoes. You'll be standing or walking around a lot. Wear comfy shoes. Heels are not the shoes you want for walking around and or standing all day long.
- Bring a recording device. You'll want a recording device in addition to your phone or tablet, whatever you are taking notes with or live tweeting with so you have the content for listening to later. It is recorded but that way you have it when you want it and you aren't on the schedule of whoever recorded the panel. And not all events have someone who transcribes and send the content like the larger movie houses.
- Bring your camera. Usually photos are allowed and you'll want a good camera with a decent zoom lens.
- Bring water and a snack. The day is long and water and food may not be provided. You'll want to stay hydrated and if you're like me, you don't want to get hangry.
- Bring some business cards. You never know who you'll meet.
- Dress sharp. You don't have to wear a three-piece suit, but don't show up in your short shorts and flip flops, either. Business casual is a great standard for these events. Look professional.
STAR WARS: THE FORCE AWAKENS opens in theatres December 18th.
I’ve been invited to LA courtesy of Disney for a media event. All opinions are my own.