Test Drive My Job::Santa Monica-Based Literary Publicist Grant Turck
Santa Monica, CA
Literary Publicist, Manager and Producer
Velocity Management, 5 years
On the Web: grantturck.com
Mopwater: Describe your path to PR. How did you wind up in this field? GT: It was during a successful campaign to start a GSA at my public high school in Cincinnati, OH that I first taught myself how to write and format a press release. I was drawn to the power of the press and its ability, when properly managed, to effect positive change. In short, I was intrigued. After graduating, I moved to Malibu, CA and attended Pepperdine University where I majored in public relations. Although still a student, I began to utilize the PR skills taught to me in the classroom by leading a campaign to form an official student organization on campus called Students Against Homophobia, which garnered coverage in The Los Angeles Times, LA Weekly and Cincinnati Magazine. It was also in college that I started a public relations consultancy called Rath Relations (clients included Johnny Rockets and Actor Jeremy Slate), interned for BNC PR and GolinHarris and became a founding partner of Velocity Management where I continue to focus a majority of my time as a literary manager and producer. My business card may say literary manager and producer, but I’m a publicist at heart trying to advance clients’ careers and the projects I am working on.
Mopwater: Describe a typical workday including your work hours. What do you do all day? GT: On average I work 12-hour days and typically begin around 10:00 AM. Daily tasks can vary greatly, depending on whom I am working with and what I am working on, but have been known to include: reading scripts and books, giving notes, writing press releases, meeting with clients, pitching stories to reporters, tweeting for clients, rolling calls and drafting deal memos.
Mopwater: Describe your office setting and workplace. GT: I have a home office and my iPhone permits me to get a lot done while on the move around the city.
Mopwater: What are your favorite and least favorite PR tasks and why? Do you love to pitch? Dread writing releases? Adore blogging for your brands? GT: I love everything about media relations from writing press releases and developing media lists to pitching the story to reporters, because it all requires a lot of creativity! I also really enjoy micro-blogging, but I have not gotten into long-form blogging as of yet.
Mopwater: Who are some of your clients, and what kind of projects do you take on for these clients? GT: As a literary manager I work primarily with writers such as Science Fiction Author Ben Bova and as a producer I have been developing film and television projects that include the feature adaptation of John Grisham’s bestseller The Partner and the miniseries adaptation of Gary Jennings’ bestseller Aztec with Mexican-born director Alfonso Arau. On the literary management side for Ben, I established and maintain his online presence through Facebook and on the producing side I pitch and secure media coverage in various trade publications and online sites for individual projects when appropriate.
Mopwater: Describe a recent project where you produced results of which you’re really proud. GT: In August 2009, I drafted a press release and pitched an exclusive story to The Hollywood Reporter about Aztec and secured my first front-page placement!
Mopwater: Do you think you’ll be in this position in 5 years? GT: I don’t have a crystal ball, but I can say that in 5 years I will be in a position that allows me to be a risk-taker, creative and rewarded for my accomplishments.
Mopwater: What aspect of the industry are you most excited about? GT: Social media, because it has greatly reduced the gatekeepers’ power over what news and information gets distributed to the masses.
Mopwater: If you could work on any dream project of your choosing, what would it be? GT: As a producer I would love to produce a feature adaptation of Andrew Lloyd Weber’s musical Sunset Boulevard. As a publicist I would love to work with The Walt Disney Company someday.
Mopwater: What if anything would you have done differently in your career up to this point and what advice would you give someone who is trying to break into your field? GT: The biggest piece of advice I would give to anyone trying to break into entertainment would be to take risks and to never give up.