Summer Press Tour -- July 27

The next phase of this publicity blitzkrieg is called the Summer Press Tour. All five of us were called in for this assignment, but for the entire morning we would each be off on our own fighting for truth and justice and Oh Grow Up. Waiting in ten hotel rooms at the Ritz Carlton in Pasadena were representatives from a variety of news and entertainment entities, both TV and radio. Our task was to spend up to 20 minutes in each room giving an interview about the show. Seven of the ten would be one-on-one and on camera, including Entertainment Tonight, CNN, and E! Television. The other three were dubbed 'Radio Roundtables,' and involved representatives from more than one radio network doing the interview, such as the Westwood One Radio Network.

Upon my arrival this morning, I tried to relax and convince myself it would all be OK. What should I say about the show? About the role? About the work? About the cast? What shouldn't I say? What would I end up saying that I would ultimately regret? Should I try to be funny? What if I'm not really funny but just look like I'm trying to be funny? Plus, what if a joke is misinterpreted or misrepresented in some way and I come off sounding like a jerk or an idiot? Needless to say, I had my issues.

By the end of the first interview, I felt pretty good. It wasn't that the interview went so well, but that it didn't go so badly. I answered the questions plainly, truthfully, simply. They were all questions I knew the answers to: Tell us about Ford. Tell us about pre-Med at Harvard. Tell us about the show. So even though I had feared these very questions, I discovered that I really had no trouble coming up with the answers. Of course I could talk about Ford and talk about the show. And maybe they weren't the wittiest or most interesting answers, but I spoke clearly and honestly.

Speaking with Entertainment Tonight

Things livened up more during the second one as I became looser and the interviewers lightened up a bit. It was a 'Radio Roundtable' with two guys taking turns asking questions. They were very personable and friendly and their questions generated more interesting answers. Throughout the day, in fact, that was the case, as I'm sure it will be for the rest of my career. Interesting interviewers get interesting interviews. When there was nothing to play off, I think my responses were flat. All in all, though, I would say I turned in 7 or 8 good interviews out of 10. Pretty successful for a first-timer. (Or just pretty optimistic.)

We had lunch and then took on the written word. This time, we would take them on together. Assembled in a large banquet room in the hotel were about 150 representatives from newspapers and magazines. They were treated to a 5-minute promo of the show (clips assembled from the pilot) and then the six of us, Alan Ball included, walked out on stage and sat in our six chairs, ducks in a row for the media firing squad.

Most of the questions went to Alan, including those regarding the genesis of the show, the arcs of the characters, the future story ideas, character relationships, even a couple about Beans (the dog). The rest of us answered only one or two questions tops, but there was often lively banter, with one of us chiming in with a joke or comment here and there. We seemed to get an increasingly warm response from the group as our session continued. After 35 glorious minutes, even Beans was brought on stage to bark at the reporters as the line, "Is there anyone here from Puppy Times?" appeared on the screen behind him. It was a fitting close to our light-hearted session.

As we made our way offstage, reporters picked us off individually for more follow-up questions. I was approached by 3 or 4 reporters and spoke mostly about playing a gay character for the next 10 minutes, including what I thought about possible boycotts of the show by certain religious groups. Again, I think I held my own admirably. I may eventually be shocked when I see how it all gets written up, but I'll have to learn from that if and when it happens. In fact, given the nature of the event, we are destined to learn from our mistakes only after making a full day's worth. Let's hope the lessons aren't too painful.

Publicity | Oh Grow Up