While it wasn’t a typical Hollywood Blvd red carpet opening this summer I worked a special movie premiere. My first outdoor drive-in theater experience during the pandemic was also my only Los Angeles movie premiere this summer. For anyone just finding my blog, my name is William and I’m an entertainment publicist working in Los Angeles, CA. I work at a boutique PR agency that represents film and TV for awards and film festivals. This post is inspired by my recent experience working a film that had its west coast premiere at an outdoor drive-in theater as part of the 2020 Outfest Film Festival.
Before the world shut down, film premieres were a staple in my work routine. It feels like a lifetime ago when I was darting and skidding on black ice in Park City, UT racing to reach a movie theater. My last traditional theater premieres were during my last work trip of 2020. Yes, I got to grace the crowds of the star-studded Sundance Film Festival. I share this to let you know that I’ve experienced theaters and movie openings of all shapes and sizes.
Attending and working this outdoor drive-in movie stands out in my moviegoing experience. A sobering reminder of drive-in movie reality was when I wanted to sh my friend, but I remembered that her voice only reached the walls inside my SUV. (I’ll talk more about this later but trust me big cars for the drive-in movie win.) For all the comforts that came with sitting in your own car, there are elements that were clearly missed from an in-theater movie premiere experience.
How a Drive-In Movie Premiere Compares to a Traditional Theater
Where going to a theater for a movie made the space work to immerse you, drive-in movies put this task on the individual. This drive-in movie premiere was hosted at the Calamigos Ranch in Malibu, CA. I'd never been to this Malibu scenery and wow was it a glorious scene. The space reserved for the cars was an open dusty lot giving each car ample room. I had no issues parking my SUV, big cars for the win. No cars had any issues in the drive-in theater when it came to finding room to leave and ensure that others could see too. While seeing the screen wasn’t an issue, it was up to me to suspend my disbelief as a viewer. Instead of relying on surround system a pitch-black room I had to shut out outside factors to focus on the film.
Attending a drive-in movie does offer some unique benefits in making it a comfortable viewing experience. When I arrived at this drive-in movie I was dressed up in a suit and tie. My typical uniform when working a movie premiere as part of the publicity team. Thanks to the luxury of sitting in my car I got to change into something comfortable after I did my publicist duties. I brought a friend with me to the event and we both go to enjoy the snacks and sandwiches we packed. Another win-win, saving money from movie theater snacks and seeing a movie in sweats. Unlike a traditional theater, within my car I had full control of my AC. When it got too cold in this outdoor Malibu theater, I had the power to make my own toasty screening room.
Drive-in movie premieres offer a unique viewing experience that echoes traditional theater traditions while inventing new ones. Audience engagement is what energizes movie premieres and it was hard to recreate that magic sitting in our cars. During key moments in the film cars honked piercing the empty night sky – a drive-in movie exclusive version of cheers and woos. Moviegoers at this outdoor drive-in premiere were limited to relishing their thoughts with their passengers. Focusing on the film playing did come a bit harder. Being in my car meant I could check my phone readily, which because I was working that night I did have to do often. I also noticed that if I poked my head in different directions, I could also see other films playing.
A small issue, that I knew I couldn’t be only person enduring. During drive-in movies the audio is provided by tuning your car radio to a set signal. In case you’ve never been to a drive-in movie, know that you do not want to make the mistake of leaving your car completely on during the run time. I speak from experience of being twenty minutes into the movie and realizing that my engine was still running… During the film I sporadically turned on and off my car’s lights and radio because the inactivity shut it down. A minor hiccup, but a drive-in movie issue I thought worth noting.
During a typical premiere the publicity team would be wrangling our talent and prepping them for a carpet and photo. Part of my responsibilities included scheduling these pictures, and beforehand ensuring our team was tested and had negative results for COVID-19. The 2020 Outfest Film Festival team did its best to maintain a socially distant press line by having our filmmakers take photos in groups of no-more than 6. I could tell the filmmakers enjoyed their premiere experience and seeing the cars packed to see their film. However, I could tell that there was an emptiness in not being able to connect for an in-person reception or for a talk back to introduce the documentary’s subjects.
Are outdoor drive-in movies the future of film?
In our socially distant world virtual cinema and drive-in theaters are becoming vital in the business of film. Yet, as someone who works on film campaigns and works with press, I admit that I think drive-ins are still more of a novelty than a viable film distribution method. For those in organizations like the Film Academy aka the voters for the Oscars, drive-ins are not on their radar. For members of our press, drive-ins could be the substitute for premiere receptions, but again press screeners are often easier for them to access.
For the average moviegoer not in the entertainment industry, drive-in theaters are a quality distraction to socially distant routines. For professionals, it’s one of those extra things that could be fun, but by no means is a priority in shaping contenders or the race of chasing gold, an Oscar.
Have you been to a drive-in movie? What are your thoughts?
Thanks for reading these Words by Will! See you in the next post!
Over the last few years Hollywood has had a rude awakening to the cries of audiences, industry insiders, and creatives saying, “Representation matters!” I am Latino and I have a dilemma with both my passion and profession in the media industry. I love this year’s 2020 Emmy nominations, but I’m also disappointed to see that no Latinx series, talent, or stories were recognized by the TV Academy’s members. It’s very important I make this distinction because people don’t know who or how shows get nominated, and I’m here to tell you how exactly it goes down.
My opportunity to start working in the entertainment industry came after the watershed moment of #OscarsSoWhite back in 2017 when I became part of The Academy’s Academy Gold Internship Program. This was quite literally my golden ticket into being in the know within entertainment. From movements like #MeToo and Latino leaders called for a boycott of Paramount studios after seeing a lack of Latino representation in film, I heard it from within the industry first.
2020 Emmy Nominations: Latinx Shows and Acting Absent
As I advanced in my career, I had a front row seat to other landmark movements calling for representation. And as these moments unfold, they offered both hope and heartbreak to young people like me, BIPOC people, in the entertainment industry. Today another heartbreak moment came when no Latinx show or acting nominees were announced as part of the 2020 Emmy nominations. It saddened me because as a Latino, a storyteller, and a young person in this industry, it was another moment that affirmed that our voices are constantly muted.
Don’t get me wrong, I was proud to see that this year’s Emmys nominations showed progress in both its nominees and its announcement. The iconic Laverne Cox hosted the 72nd Emmy Awards Nominations Announcement that was live this morning Tuesday, July 28th at 8:30 AM PT. To see her reading these nominations, and then be nominated, was special. Then there was the recognition of BIPOC talent across leading actor and actress nominees as well. My heart has a special place for Zendaya and HBO’s Euphoria; Sandra Oh and Killing Eve; and Regina King and HBO’s Watchmen. Honestly, this is a strong class of contenders that speaks to the diversity of talent, stories, and voices housed on the silver screen.
But again, the vote was absent for Latino acting roles. It should be noted that Nadia Hallgreen, director of Becoming; Brian Lazarete and James Lee Hernandzes of McMillion$; and One Day At a Time in the category of Best Multi Cam Editing are part of the 2020 Emmy nominations. The pundits, including myself, felt Rita Moreno had a chance. Starz’s Vida had begun its final season, and most Emmy voters have love for a swan song of a season. This year’s nominees are a sobering reminder that voters, like those in the TV Academy, do not always vote solely based on press and rave reviews.
I know that politics that play a huge part in how voting works. There are explicit and implicit rules we follow in FYC campaigns, yet it comes down to who is in these groups with the power to vote. If this moment in time has taught me anything it’s that simply existing in the entertainment industry as a Latino may not be revolutionary enough. From seeing no acting nominees for Latinos, to having done research and learning of the dismal Oscars won by Latinx filmmakers, I know my work in this industry is just beginning.
In order to get nominated for an Emmy, you must be voted on by your peer group in the TV Academy. That means that behind-the-scenes either not enough Latinx people are in these groups or their stories are being seen as, "too ethnic." I know this because when I worked on my first Latinx directed, produced, and story, the studio tried to pigeonhole it to the U.S. Hispanic audience. I hate to say it but as an insider I know that Latinx stories are seen as different. This country's rhetoric has made it clear how it feels about BIPOC people; we are not welcome.
Seeing and hearing how voters address, or do not address, Latinx films and shows can be disheartening. But it's a reminder that I as a Latino creative, and part of the Latinx audience, must speak up but also show out. We need to tune in to Latinx and Hispanic shows. We need to support Latinx stories and talent by buying tickets and growing their influence. If we want the industry to change and things like the Emmy nominations to reflect America we must be inspired and empowered to be that change. These are my behind the scenes thoughts.
Let me know, who are your thoughts on the 2020 Emmy nominations? Comment down below or let me know by answering on socials and tagging me @Willsshowem
Thank you for reading these Words by Will! I'll see you in the next post.
5 Time Management Tips for Staying Productive and Working From Home Tools – Advice From Someone Working in Public Relations
I work in public relations and that means that my job is the pinnacle of not being a 9-to-5. Long before working from home became a normal, my agency had let us opt-into working remotely full-time. The reasoning for trading in a traditional office for remote work made sense actually. As an entertainment PR firm with a specialty in award campaigns and film festivals, our team was always traveling. (Ugh, do you remember the pleasure and pain of work trips?) With a model of working from home a lot of the time I had to learn how to develop a robust time management system.
Between living on the west coast and trying to wake up to catch up with my ET associates, to long days of meetings and even longer press days, I will never not say that time management is a real skill. I’m sure it’s true with most jobs, but PR is not like most jobs. When you work in public relations or any field of communications and marketing you need to have almost every minute planned out. As you may know, there’s hundreds upon hundreds of aesthetically pleasing videos on how to plan your day and all of that. Well if you’re like me, then you don’t have the time or patience to sit down for several hours hand drawing a bullet journal.
Sorry, but I’m trying to save time not spend more of it trying to master my cursive, or as my friends used to call it my, “wizard writing”. That being said, you know I’m getting old because I got excited on a recent trip to the mall because I found great home office supplies! Like I actually skipped a normal stroll in my favorite luxury boutiques for stationary.
The time management tools I picked up were all from Anthropologie. In case you haven’t heard of it, Anthropologie is primarily a retail clothing company, but they’re also known for their amazing scents and oh-so aesthetic gifts in different lifestyle categories. In both an effort to share some time management tips I also want to offer some real-life products and examples of how to use them to effectively manage your time.
1. Find a scent for your work from home space
1.Have you ever walked into a store or office and just whiffed a scent that makes you feel calm or happy? Well, after working from home for almost a year now I realized that along with having a good desk and chair, having a good scent is a productivity essential. A key to being great at time management is being able to create a space that invites productivity.
If you’re uncomfortable in any way, even by the smells around you, then you mind cannot focus on the tasks at hand. My current favorite is the Capri Blue Volcano Room Spray – a great citrus and tropical inspired scent. Maybe you’re more into vanilla or you’re a lavender type of person, whatever your scent is find it and spritz a bit before you get to work.
2. always have open notes and a pen at hand to stay productive
1.I mentioned this in another blog, but always always always have a notebook or pad nearby. Whether you hear something in a meeting, or an urgent task comes in, you want a way of recording important information. Being able to hand write notes makes you feel like you’re more productive. And once you think you’re working hard you’ll really start working! In my job, I always write out speaking points before meetings with clients. I have to be ready to answer any question that comes my way on current brand partnerships, marketing campaign updates, and of course, things coming up in awards season.
Again, don't stick to sticky notes. Have a real notebook or notepad nearby and you'll see that your work from home setup will feel more legit!
3. create a to-do list the night before, the morning of, and for the next day to manage time
1.When I first saw this gold mine in time management and productivity tools, I had to get not one, but two of these Ramona and Ruth Daily Overview Notepads! I think that to-do lists are one of the most talked about but underrated tools in talking about time management tips. Every Fortune 500 CEO makes them, Oprah swears by them, so why aren’t you making a to-do list?! Since my first PR internship, I saw that a good to-do list separates an okay associate from a great executive.
If you want to master time management, make a to-do list for the day. Make this list the night before, check it again the day-of, and if you don’t finish it bring it into the next day. Keeping track of your tasks instead of swearing you’ll remember them is a time management golden rule.
4. take breaks, not naps to stay productive working from home
In a world working from home, the comforts of home sometimes offer a great escape from work. I totally advocate for taking breaks. Because ultimately you are worth more than your work. However, you cannot slack especially if you want to build a career. Consider taking timed breaks throughout the day. Maybe at the top of every hour you give yourself a 10-minute break. But make sure to actually set a timer for yourself!
5. Don't be afraid to change up the scenery
When I started working from home I had a desk in my room, but eventually that became boring. I was feeling uninspired and mostly unproductive. It took physically moving around the space and myself to feel refreshed. Time management is about more than cranking out tasks like a machine. As people, we need breaks and we sometimes need to switch things up.
As I started getting up early I found myself working in the kitchen in the morning. As I made my morning coffee and caught up on emails I also made my to-do list. Other mornings, I'd work outside in my front yard. I grabbed my lap desk and sat in the grass before the sun beamed down giving me too many of those magical California rays. How ever you do it, try to sometimes mix up your home office space to keep up your time management routine.
Let me know, which of these tips was the most useful? Did any surprise you?
Make sure to tag me on Twitter or Instagram @Willsshowem
and show me what time management tips you practiced!
Also, check out my video below for Zoom meeting tips!
Thanks for reading these Words By Will! I'll see you in the next post
There is something weird and fulfilling about getting ready while having nowhere to go. I think that for many of us, getting ready, whether that means dressing outside of a groutfit or stepping up on the grooming and styling, is what helps us stay motivated when we spend all day on Zoom calls. For me, getting ready get into the right mindset to tackle a day of emails and video conference calls.
I’ll be first to admit that I get tired of back-to-back Zoom calls. Unlike the days of in-person meetings, I feel like I’m spending my life on Zoom. Like for some reason, bosses think that just because we’re all home they can keep us hostage online for hours. Whereas social distancing we could grab some conference room catering and coffee and bounce saying we had, “a previous commitment.”
Enough about me airing my grievances. Let’s talk about my 5 essentials that help me feel great and get through a full day on Zoom!
5 zoom meetings tips
1. Don’t ever be without pen and paper in zoom meetings
I am firm believer in the power of handwritten notes. While I do have email reminders and digital calendars, I must always have a notebook on hand. Whether I use this to take notes, write a to-do list, or just track my thoughts, having a notebook’s company during Zooms is essential.
Plus, you can have fun with your notebooks too! I love highlighting my pages, organizing them with little hand drawn details and things of that nature. I’m not saying you have to be that annoying person who spends hours designing bullet journals, #extra even for me, or buying a designer notebook. Like have you seen those LV notebooks!? That’s a flex alright.
Have fun with your notebooks and just always have on hand. Zoom meetings can be ramble sessions but sometimes you’ll hear nuggets of info you’ll want to remember.
2. Keep your lips hydrated for back-to-back zoom meetings
Have you ever noticed how many times you actually put on lip balm in a day? I know I didn’t think much of how much I reached for a chap stick until I actually saw myself doing it during Zoom meetings. Reapplying lip balm wasn’t distracting to anyone but me and I knew it. But again, I’m sitting in front of my laptop’s camera constantly and I want to feel comfortable doing that.
A recent discovery, and an everyday staple in my skincare routine is the Summer Friday’s Vanilla Lip Butter Balm. Let me tell you I. Am. Obsessed! Vanilla is hands down one of my favorite flavors, it’s up there with PSL (by the way, Summer Fridays also makes a pumpkin-scented face mask and I’m also obsessed). I love this stuff, and recommend it for Zoom meetings, because I’ll put it on, and several Zoom meetings later my lips are nowhere near feeling dry and uncomfortable!
Plus, the Summer Friday lip butter is a great all-around lip treatment. Whether you’re about to go outside, get a workout on, or you leave it on overnight, your lips will stay hydrated and free of ever feeling crusty.
3. Find a concealer that works for you and not against you
While you not be meeting people face-to-face the stress of zoom meetings and just this current moment can be brutal to your complexion. Before stay home orders, we at least had the drive home to escape and mentally get a break. But with most of us working at home our sanctuaries now double as stress incubators.
I’ve noticed that my skin has had some breakouts which surprised me. I was surprised to see some redness or acne flairs considering I wasn’t going out as much and being exposed to pollutants. But between wearing cotton face masks that could congest my skin or working out at home in cramped and hotter conditions than normal, my skin was stressing.
When I discovered the Sephora Collection Clear and Cover Acne Treatment, I felt I found gold. This baby not only covers up any acne, but it also doesn’t work against clearing your skin. It actually has some salicylic acid in its formula to work towards clearing your skin. Even though my laptop’s camera can capture the whole mug, for those days when I got a Rudolph moment going on, glowing and red, I got this baby to do the job.
4. Find a cc cream that helps you bounce from zoom meetings back to real life
For all the guys out there, or for those who you send this blog to, let me tell you that real men wear makeup! Listen, I am no MUA, but I do know a thing a or two about the benefits of makeup. I dabbled into the realm of cosmetics not too long ago and I actually got into it because of my work. In case you didn’t know, I work not only in theatrical publicity, but I also work on awards campaigns. During my favorite season of the year, again awards season, I was constantly jumping around between events and red carpets.
Because first impressions mean everything in this industry, I wanted to make sure I felt good. I felt the most confident when I knew my skin was matte and that my skin tone was even. Thus, by feeling good I would look better on camera and behind the scenes too. Despite live events being traded for Zoom meetings and Zoom webinars, I still love this IT Cosmetics CC cream because if I ever just want to take a break, I’m ready to grab my mask and go outside.
This cream both covers up imperfections and actually has SPF in its formula! You can go from a Zoom meeting to a Trader Joe’s run in no time!
5. Stay HYDRATEd during zoom meetings and THROUGHOUT the day
Listen you hear it all the time and I’m here to remind you, drink water! Don’t just drink your iced coffee, or your La Croix, or whatever other beverage you drink that’s not classic liquid ice. It is so important to drink water whether you’re in meetings or not.
Part of how I actually stay focused and productive is by staying hydrated. Your skin will glow and your body and mind will feel right. I swear Summer Fridays is not sponsoring this post, I just had to share an idea of how water bottles can be stylish and a trendy everyday accessory.
Yes, I do feel like I’m going to the bathroom all the time. However, that’s a small sacrifice for the benefits that drinking water provides. The next time you’re about to hop into a Zoom Meeting grab a glass of water and *insert TikTok voice* get into it!
As mentioned, this post is not sponsored by Summer Fridays and I am also currently not affiliated with them.
I just love their products and am part of the rewards program with some cool perks including the following: Click below or copy and paste the URL link below for a $5 coupon when purchasing from their website.
Copy & Paste link for $5 off coupon: http://i.refs.cc/ngnFIZVD?smile_ref=eyJzbWlsZV9zb3VyY2UiOiJzbWlsZV91aSIsInNtaWxlX21lZGl1bSI6IiIsInNtaWxlX2NhbXBhaWduIjoicmVmZXJyYWxfcHJvZ3JhbSIsInNtaWxlX2N1c3RvbWVyX2lkIjo0OTM0NDEzMzF9
Let me know which of these tips/products you'll be trying the next time you've got a day on Zoom! Was your favorite tip? What are some of your tips?
Thanks for reading these Words by Will!
When it finally came time to upload my first ever YouTube video, I was scared of not knowing who or where in the world it would end up. My finger hovered over my mouse until it cramped up. There was no willpower in Will (aka me) to click and let the video go public. I never thought that I’d witness myself write these words…but hey, could you check out my YouTube channel?
The decision to pick up my phone and start recording was haphazard. The inspiration to start a YouTube channel felt rushed. The anxieties in my mind built an obstacle ahead of me that I didn’t overcome. Rather I bulldozed through all of my doubts. The anxiety I'm talking about came from the criticism, mediocrity, and embarrassment that didn't even exist yet. Maybe I was fueled by confidence, or nativity. It could have also been a cocktail of all of these emotions creating a volatile mix that just sparked my creativity. No matter the catalyst, I felt driven in crafting a video to put out into the world.
The video I crafted is titled, “HOW I WAS INVITED TO THE OSCARS TWICE - Answering Instagram Q&A About the Industry.” It’s a project that came into existence over several days. However, while the Instagram polls and writing took days, I only gave myself a weekend for the video. I gave myself only two days to shoot, edit, and upload. For those experienced in visual content creation, I’m sure they’d call me crazy for trying to do so much at once.
This same weekend, I was writing and rewriting my script. It was important that every time I did a new take my answers went deeper. And all this was not even taking into account the care it took in designing a banner or content writing. Why was I putting myself under all this pressure you might ask? Here’s my answer; I felt like if I didn’t start now, then I never would.
“Aren’t you 5 years too late?” “Who do you think you are? A wannabe influencer?” or “What do you know about making videos?” These are all the questions that crawled around my mind before I even hit the record. There’s a quote I live by, that my college mentor granted me, she said, “We are always in our process of becoming.” This quote was the remedy to the anxieties that started to cloud my mind.
This first video would not, and could not, dictate my skills or the opportunities ahead of me. I am at the foot of a new journey. Ahead of me is a chance to grow in my faculties as a storyteller. My passion in life is to understand and practice language and its impact on people. I’ve always loved visual mediums, that’s why I work in entertainment. Even though I think I’m late to the content creator party, who's to say I can’t throw myself one?
When those questions came up I knew how to answer them. “No I’m not too late, I’m finally ready.” Just like in my college days when it came time to rally, I could never show up for pre-party pictures until I felt ready. “I know who I am. I’m a storyteller. I’m a young professional. I’m a Latinx in Hollywood. And I’m an amateur fitness enthusiast.” Knowing oneself is knowing one’s brand. I’m glad that I studied the arts of rhetoric, media, and composition. Understanding my identity and being able to convey that with confidence is powerful.
My last answer to those anxieties is, “I don’t know much about making videos. But I know how to learn.” Because I wanted to make a video with purpose I made sure I researched the form first. I noted some of my favorite YouTubers and I studied their style, the visual grammar, and their delivery. I treated making a video with the same care and respect as when I write a pitch to a reporter. I have to feel confident in my own knowledge of the material to convince someone else of its merit. Through watching videos, and asking friends what topics I should speak on, I felt beyond proud when it came to finally click on, “Public.”
I wanted to write a blog that acted as my director’s statement. Sharing my concerns and the labour it took to make the final product is part of my process. In my life, I’ve been critiqued as someone who only shares my success. I take this comment and I have acknowledged it. Through writing this piece - and in making the content that I’ve recently made, I want to show people my depth. It’s true it’s easier to tell you about that time I waved hi to Meryl Streep, but that moment exists because of the endless hours it took me to research, network, and showcase my talents in the industry.
Whether you know me already or do not, I thank you so much for engaging with my work. As a writer, the greatest joy I get is when I know that someone was impacted by my words. All I can do is share my stories and hope that the impact of my words inspires someone to start their process of becoming…
Author William Samayoa
Marketer by profession and storyteller by passion. L.A. raised, proud Latino, and pop culture enthusiast.