Obtaining a successful interview with celebrity on the red carpet can be a bit tricky, for both film and television. To nab an interview is the hard part, making it successful is even more so. Here are some of my tips from personal experience. While I don't work for a huge website/media conglomerate, the website I work for, aside from freelancing at Examiner, has really made some strides in being invited to attend many red carpet events for television shows like Sons of Anarchy, Sleepy Hollow, and Justified. So, here are some of my best tips for a successful red carpet event.
1. Prep your gear – cameras, tripods, cell phone chargers, camera chargers, voice recorders, extra SD memory cards for cameras/cell phones, extra batteries/battery packs, note pads, pen/pencils, all of these can come in handy when you are on the red carpet. Make sure you have your gear pre-prepped if possible – charge your stuff the night before; I suggest taking minimal amount of gear in a small bag. The red carpet area doesn’t give you any room to stash your gear. If it’s a popular TV series, there may be a lot of people on the red carpet, shoulder to shoulder, thus leaving you minimal elbow room to wiggle. A small back pack would be optimal. I learned the hard way!
2. Prep for the interviews – you think you know what you’re going to say to some of these actors on your favorite show, but occasionally, you will get ‘star struck’ and lose your thought process. I find it very helpful to have a list of questions ready just in case you go ‘deer in headlights’ and forget what red carpet you're covering. My rule: stay away from asking personal questions about the actors’ personal lives…I think it’s just bad form.
3. Arrive early. Nothing is worse than being late to the red carpet event for anything - film or television, especially when you live in Los Angeles. Be prepared and allow extra time for traffic. Arriving early ensures you won't be frazzled or have heart palpitations. It will also allow you to freshen up. Minty gum is a must - you don't want bad breath while interviewing. I only wish some actors/actresses would remember that.
4. Be aggressive and kind. Yes, sounds like an oxymoron but you can be both, trust me. When you're on the red carpet and you are shoulder to shoulder with some people, don't try to push anyone out. Instead, opt to turn sideways or, if you're bold like me, ask if the other people around you can scoot down or make room. Some press people can be vicious, ruthless even, but you shouldn't have to stoop to their level. I've noticed that many of the actors on the red carpet notice 'bad behavior' and tend not to go toward it. So, mind your P's & Q's.
5. Have fun. You are on the red carpet. Not everyone gets this opportunity, so relish it!
Remember, dress appropriately. I hope that's a given and not something you need to be told. You'll be standing around for at least 1-2 hours, so wear comfy shoes. While you may not get every celebrity on the roster, you should be able to get at least one or two notable names. Even if you get the guest star, ask questions anyways. Practice makes perfect, right?
If you have any questions, let me know. Happy to discuss my experiences to better help.