A day in the life: Caragh Cook, Publicist
Caragh got her first break in the UK film industry when she worked for a film promoter in college handing out leaflets to claim free cinema tickets at Cardiff University. After graduation, she popped into the promotions company in Soho on her lunchbreak from interning at a production company, they pointed her in the direction of a film PR agency who were hiring and she’s been working in film publicity ever since.
Caragh is Head of UK Publicity for Organic Marketing.
5.00am I get up and out early and head to London Studios to meet Ray Winstone who is appearing on Daybreak. Aside from the horribly early start, I love taking guests to Daybreak as I have known Nick Rylance, the guest booker there for about 10 years and he is so great at understanding what film PRs need. Ray is there to promote Snow White and The Huntsman which we have been working on with Universal looking after the offline publicity (magazine, TV and newspapers). It has been a great campaign with supportive talent and a very big cast which really helps! Working with Ray is a pleasure. This is the fifth film I have done with him now so we get on rather well. He is so much fun: he’s down to earth and a real professional who totally understands that press and publicity is all part of the job He is always very generous with his time and is a great interview so the press never get bored of talking to him – he’s a PR’s dream!
8.30am I say goodbye to Ray – am sure it won’t be the last time I work with him but he’s now finished all his press commitments for this film.
9.00am I make the most of the sunshine and walk over the river and through Soho to Organic’s offices off Charlotte Street.
10.00am We have a press release going out this morning, announcing the full programme for the Edinburgh International Film Festival (20th June – 1st July) who have hired Organic to handle the PR for the Festival. It is a big year for Edinburgh this year, with a new marketing and management team and a new Artistic Director! All eyes are on Edinburgh to see what the programme is going to be like – It’s a very strong line up of films, with great opening and closing galas (Killer Joe and Brave). The fabulous PR team for Edinburgh is headed up by Emma McCorkell who handled the PR for the EIFF from 2006 -2010
10.30am Once the press release has gone out, the team and I scour the Internet, and especially Twitter, to start gauging the reaction to this year’s line-up. I go on to Organic’s Twitter account to retweet lots of lovely comments that press and industry folk have been making and start sending through reaction pieces that are running online, to Emma and her team up in Edinburgh.
11.30am Time to catch up with the team here. I chat to our Home Entertainment Account Manager Ryan, to see how things are going and talk about what developments we can make and look at possible new business leads. We are always looking at ways of growing and improving ourselves. It is important to be forward-thinking and constantly aware of our competitors and what is happening in the marketplace. I love the fact the team is constantly evolving – it makes Organic a very exciting place to work.
12.30pm. It’s lunchtime now and I pop out with a few of the girls to grab a jacket potato from our favourite local café Sakleys on Charlotte Street.
1.00pm Back to my desk as I send over a batch of Snow White and The Huntsman coverage from some of the weekly magazines that have just hit the shelves. It is very satisfying when you see a big cover feature you set up in print, as you know quite often it has taken a LOT of work to make it happen! We had a huge press junket with the cast last week and covered off some fantastic press including cover interviews in The Times and The Guardian, in-studio appearances on Daybreak, The Graham Norton Show, Alan Carr Chatty Man, The Capital Breakfast Show and Radio 1. I was the envy of a lot of ladies as I was looking after The Huntsman himself, Chris Hemsworth!
1.30pm I start work on the Snow White and the Huntsman coverage book. This is a presentation we send to our clients after every film has released so that that have a nicely presented book of all the key coverage we secured during the campaign. We have had so much coverage on the film – this one is going to be a beast! The World Premiere was in Leicester Square last week – one of the first events to be held since the Square re-openened. It was amazing! Universal recreated the enchanted forest and the carpet stretched around half of the square across two cinemas. It was a very long press line and there were quite a few publicists with very sore feet by the end of the night but it was worth it for all the fantastic coverage.
2.30pm I have a look at how the press schedules for The Five-Year Engagement are coming along, a rom com we’re working on for Universal. This time we are handling the entire campaign, online and offline. It’s great when both our online and offline teams get to work together on a project. I LOVED the film and literally laughed until I cried! We have a great schedule lined up for Emily Blunt and Jason Segel – including an appearance on The Graham Norton Show which will be great exposure for the film.
3.00pm We have a brainstorm about ideas for a PR plan we are putting together for a new film we are handling called Jackpot with Metrodome. It is based on a Jo Nesbo book – we love working on Scandinavian titles. We are big fans of all things Nordic. Last year I managed to convince the team to wear crazy knitted jumpers in the style of Sarah Lund (the lead character in The Killing) for a twitter campaign we started while we were working on The Killing and The Killing 2 DVD releases. For a while we had some really out-there jumpers in the office! I am a bit of a secret knitter in my spare time and I am working on my own Lund style jumper so perhaps it will be ready in time for the release of season 3 later this year!
4.00pm I have just had approval on a corporate release I wrote for one of Organic’s longest standing and loyal clients, Kaleidoscope who have just returned from making a slew of deals at the Cannes Film Market. We handle almost all of Kaleidoscope’s PR campaigns as well as all of their corporate PR. Kaleidoscope, like us are a rapidly growing company and have some very exciting times ahead. I am really pleased when the trade magazine Screen Daily posts a story from my release about Kaleidoscope’s successful Cannes and so are they.
4.30pm Today we have yet another birthday celebration - this is the third one this week! Today we decide to break with Birthday tradition and go for crisps and beer. There have been a lot of cakes consumed by the Organic team already this week – including a huge box of cupcakes that were delivered to us from a client as a thank you for all our work with them in Cannes at the Film Festival. We were there in force there this year and for the first time we set up our own office, which was very exciting.
5.00pm I get an email from Ria Ritchie, a fantastic new singer who is currently launching her music career. My colleague Jenny and I have been going to her live gigs since we worked with her brother, Reece Ritchie, the lead actor in the British comedy All In Good Time. Ria is playing at Ronnie Scotts in Soho so we are off to see her– she is definitely one to watch!
6.00pm We do a bit of prep to make sure everything is ready for the EIFF launch tomorrow. Bags have been stuffed and the guest list is in place so all looking good.
7.00pm Once everyone has finished their work for the day a group of us head to The Hope, our local pub to continue the celebrations. Several hours and glasses of wine later I go home to bed, exhausted after a very long day. When I do have time to myself I’m either planning my next holiday with my fiancé or watching Formula One racing.
5.00am I wake up bright and early. This morning is the London launch of the Edinburgh International Film Festival and I am heading off to the Hospital Club for the early morning event. No doubt another busy but exciting day lies ahead.
Want to work in Film PR? Caragh explains how to follow in her footsteps.
It’s not a 9-5 job. You’ve got to be prepared to be flexible and work long hours with late nights and really early starts. It certainly helps to be friendly and sociable. We’re talking to journalists all day long – so that’s really important. And you’ve got to like film, of course. We always say we recruit people we like. I got my break because I was willing to do whatever it took to get the job.
The job definitely has true moments of excitement if you’re thinking of a career in Publicity, in any entertainment market, remember its 90% hard graft sitting at your desk and 10% hard graft on a red carpet, or in a car at 5am taking someone to the studios, or meeting a plane at Heathrow. That said, it’s a fabulous job and you do get to work with talent, both directors and actors, and that is hugely exciting and rewarding. When I started, one of the first films I ever worked on was Lord of the Rings. I was standing on the red carpet in Leicester Square and one of my colleagues grabbed me and said, “I need you to go and greet Orlando Bloom as he gets out of his car.” It never becomes normal but you do get used to it and realise they’re just people – no different to us – except they fly around in private jets sometimes.
The reward for all that hard work is you get to do a job that you love. I love film, so being able to talk about films and and watch them every day for a living is great. And I’ve travelled to so many places I’d never have been if I didn’t do this job. I was in New Zealand for the final Lord of the Rings film which I ended up watching in Peter Jackson’s private screening room with him, Viggo Mortensen and all of the cast – that was a real ‘pinch yourself’ moment.