How Do You Bounce Back From Bad Press? Follow This Publicist’s Advice

Article Image
Photo Source: Universal Pictures

You are probably familiar with the seemingly constant negativity that comes with a job in entertainment. Whether it’s from a botched audition or being a little short with next month’s rent, the daily negativity can be draining, and any bad press can feel like a career-ender. What if your project gets hit with a negative review—whether it’s an article, blog, vlog, Tumblr post, tweet, or other endless way you’ve put yourself out there? It can be particularly devastating to a newbie, especially since each project is being added to your demo reel or IMDb page for a future casting director to see. You’ve worked too hard to let bad press affect your career in any major way, and in the eyes of a publicist, there’s always a way to recover from any negative review.

When and why you should hire a publicist.

1. Spin It. Depending on the media platform, there’s always a way to make any publicity, even bad press, lean in your favor. Is there a negative review about an independent slasher flick you starred in? Entice your audience by asking them about their thoughts, link the article, and get a discussion going. You can also express how much fun you had on the project. Did you love the script? Was working with the cast amazing? This allows you to tweak the message once you’ve received a consensus on your audience.

2. Embrace it. If the movie was meant to be dramatic but fell a little flat and ended up being comedic, sometimes you have to accept it. (However, you only have to accept it if you want to. If you believe a love story between a human being and a mutant tomato is romantic, then you fight for their love until the very end.) From a publicity standpoint, you should be willing to view your project from all perspectives to gain true insight on why it didn’t resonate as strongly as you had hoped. Bad press does not equal facts, be prepared to mentally handle the range of what people might have to say about your work or project.

3. Contact. I’ve seen actors who’ve received negative criticism on their performance have those comments edited after reaching out to the reviewer. It can’t hurt to contact the author of the review and ask them why they were dissatisfied. Read their review and address certain critiques. Remember, just because someone says your project isn’t good doesn’t mean they’re right; it’s important to keep in mind that reviews are the opinion of the reviewer. That reviewer will probably be surprised to communicate with an actor they wrote about. Communication makes you tangible and real, not just a name or character they saw on television or in a play. They might not change it, but it is also a chance to turn bad press into something different (and potentially network in the process).

10 publicity terms actors need to learn.

4. Move on. If the negative reviews grow so much that it’s easier to cut the cord than stand up for your project, it may be time to move on. So you were in a blockbuster dud, there’ll be plenty of other roles for you in the future. Jennifer Aniston was in “Leprechaun” before becoming a household name, if she can recover from that movie, you can recover from anything!

Garrett O. Thomas has been working in public relations for several years. He lived in Tucson, Arizona where he focused on restaurant publicity, combating restaurant foreclosures during the economic recession in 2008.

Eventually, he moved to Houston where he began working in technology publicity. Promoting software and online publicity integration for Fortune 500 companies. After handling more than 12 contracts and overseeing hundreds of thousands in contractual agreements, he decided that he wanted to progress his career into the entertainment industry.

He got a job as a celebrity publicist for Def Jam artist, Jeremih in New York. While Garrett collaborated with Def Jam and CAA, Jeremih received a Billboard Awards 2012 nomination for Top R&B song. From that point on, Garrett has worked with musicians, actors, and producers, promoting brands and educating them on his publicity knowledge and increasing his reach into a variety of areas in the entertainment industry.

You can follow Garrett on Twitter and friend him on Facebook!

Looking for a new manager? Browse Backstage’s Call Sheet manager listings!

The views expressed in this article are solely that of the individual(s) providing them,
and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of Backstage or its staff.

Author Headshot
Garrett O. Thomas
Garrett O. Thomas is a publicist and Backstage Expert.
See full bio and articles here!