As publicists, we have to deal with so many different dynamics, not just within our own team, but with the press, the talent and their teams, too.
The group projects we undertook at Sheridan in their undergrad journalism courses really helped learn to handle and juggle all those personalities. In Sheridan's post-grad corporate communications department, I got a taste of corporate and government PR and a little sense of fundraising.
I'd always wanted to work in film, and figured out that publicity was the way to go. I worked at Maple Pictures (then Lionsgate) as an intern through the summer and was hired in August right before the 2006 Toronto Film Festival.
Working at TIFF is an experience like no other. I tell every intern: "Stay for TIFF, because you will never get on-the-job experience like that." Maple Pictures had five films at every festival, and then I worked with Alliance this past Festival, where we screened 21 films. It sounds clichéd, but during TIFF you prepare for the absolute worst. You have a plan A to a plan Z.
If a film you poured your heart and soul into doesn't make it at the box office, it's pretty crushing. You can't help but blame yourself. Films become like your babies.
But good public relations people know how to keep their cool. I tell myself every day that we have to keep things in perspective. We're not saving lives. Whether you're standing on a red carpet or handling a press day or doing a screening and you have to turn away 100 people, you have to remain professional. If you can't, you're in the wrong business.