The Junket Interview Learning Curve and why I want to talk to Jamie Foxx Again

I had the oddest of experiences this week – for the first time ever, I walked into a room for an interview at a movie junket and didn’t introduce myself as being from HitFix. Instead, I was from IGN (as a freelancer).

It got me thinking about how I got to this point. I can’t say that it was ever my goal to sit down with filmmakers and actors about their projects – it all came about as a natural growth of the job I was already doing and I was insanely scared when it all began. I did my last junket interview for HitFix almost exactly two years after I did my first, and over the course of the 24 months the experience changed completely.

I don’t mean to say that I don’t still get butterflies. In fact, before I attend any junket I think of Willie Beamen, Jamie Foxx’s character from “Any Given Sunday.” Beamen, as you may recall had a little, uncontrollable, ritual – in a terrible case of nerves he vomited before his games. I am not that bad, but I have a definite lack of ease before I go into any room.

The important thing, as I see it, is to still go. I don’t believe that fear is the mind-killer, except in excess. As I tell my daughter, being afraid is okay, it’s normal to be afraid, what you can’t let fear do is stop you from pressing forward when you should keep moving. That is why, as a bundle of nerves, I stepped into the room for that first interview.

What was the worst case scenario there? I didn’t know any of the people at these junkets, they didn’t know me, and if I did a horrible job and my footage was unusable I simply wouldn’t do anymore.

The results were by no means brilliant, but they were good enough to get me to the next junket. The result there was good enough to get me to the next and the next and the next.

In the end, two years saw me do 130 interviews for HitFix. Some were better and some were worse, but there isn’t a single one that I haven’t looked back on and seen some way I could improve, some way that I could have done it better, followed up differently, or phrased something in just a slightly different fashion so as to elicit something more from whomever was in the chair opposite me.

I can’t imagine a time when I’ll ever walk into a room and not be afraid. I told that to someone recently, and they said that was good, that if I ever stopped being scared I should find something else to do. I certainly don’t want to find something else to do, I love this.

Actually, truth be told, I have a list. I have a list of interviews that I want back, ones that didn’t go as well as I wanted. I want to sit down with each and every one of those people again, not to rehash the old movie or interview (nothing ever went badly enough that they would be remembered by anyone but me), but just because I want another shot at them.

I have another list as well, one of people I’d like to get five minutes (or more) with. I imagine that anyone who does these interviews has just such a list – there are people I see on screen (big or small) who just mesmerize me and I’d like the opportunity to talk with them to try to figure out about that special something.

Twice in those 130 interviews for HitFix, I sat down with Jamie Foxx, but never in a one-on-one. Both times, there were other people on Foxx’s side whom I was interviewing as well. Because of that I didn’t feel right telling him about my Willie Beamen moments. Eventually though, there will come another movie and another junket and maybe I’ll get the chance.

photo credit: Sony Pictures

Categories: Random Thoughts


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