Next Generation 2011: Publicity
PICTURED From left: Paramount Pictures' David Waldman, DDA Public Relations' Dana Archer and WME Entertainment's Christian Muirhead (Not pictured: Walt Disney Studios' Paul Roeder)
Dana Archer | 35
Executive VP, DDA Public Relations
Archer was one year into Southwestern Law School when the Los Angeles native decided against becoming the fifth lawyer in her family. Instead, she went into entertainment PR. After gigs with Warren Cowan, BWR and Weber Shadwick, she joined international PR firm DAA and rapidly rose through the ranks, being put in charge of the L.A. office and representing international film companies at a time when the foreign box office is the fastest-growing part of the business. Her client roster includes Alliance Films (The King's Speech), FilmNation and Crime Scene Pictures (Gambit), and she's a force at every important film market and festival. "There really aren't a lot of firms that do what we do," she explains. The single Archer spends about a quarter of the year out of the country (then bouncing from Laos to Tuscany for fun). She's now helping to craft the international campaign for Zhang Yimou's The Flowers of War, starring Christian Bale, and which FilmNation is repping. Archer is fascinated by cross-cultural marketing: "We're concerned with domestic, but also we have to make it work for the rest of the world."
Christian Muirhead | 33
Head of Corporate Communications, WME Entertainment
As the top publicity executive at one of the town's busiest talent agencies, Muirhead walks several tightropes: He manages how WME and its 275 agents are portrayed in the often-ruthless industry press (THR included) and is the strategic voice for larger-than-life WME boss Ari Emanuel, whose profile extends far beyond Hollywood. Muirhead and his staff of 13 also plan the agency's lavish Emmys bash and put out daily media fires for hundreds of clients in outlets as diverse as Financial Times and TMZ. The married, Brussels-born father of a young girl spent his childhood in London, Toronto, Buffalo and Baltimore, courtesy of his father's job as a management specialist. "It taught me how to deal with different kinds of people," says Muirhead. After graduating from Boston University, he took an assistant gig in Warner Bros.' international PR department before joining William Morris in 2004 and thriving after its 2009 merger with Endeavor. He heads the philanthropic efforts of the agency's clients, including Usher's New Look Foundation. The agency also is involved with Foster Elementary School in Compton, Calif. Says Muirhead, "In the two and a half years we've been working with them, their test scores have gone up."
Paul Roeder | 35
VP Global Communications, Walt Disney Studios
Growing up in a 600-person, no-stoplight town in northwest Iowa, the closest Roeder came to Hollywood was flipping through his monthly Us magazine. "It was the popcorn capital of the world," he says of Schaller, where his graduating class consisted of 23 people. After his time at DePauw University in Indiana, the pop-culture junkie headed to New York, where he landed a gig in the William Morris mailroom. By 2000, Roeder had picked up again, this time moving to Los Angeles and taking a job as assistant to Zenia Mucha, then heading communications at ABC and now an executive vp at Disney. "I interviewed with her [during] the day and started working for her that night at the ABC press tour," he says of the whirlwind hire. A decade or so later, Roeder has ascended to head of global publicity at sister company Disney Studios, where he manages media coverage of global blockbusters such as the Pirates of the Caribbean franchise and the upcoming Muppets reboot. Earning a reputation for responding to requests at all hours, Roeder handled the turmoil surrounding budget battles on The Lone Ranger and will work overtime promoting the $250 million spring 2012 action epic John Carter.
David Waldman | 33
Senior VP National Publicity, Paramount Pictures
"Whether a movie is great or terrible, there's always one idea that can make it pop," says Waldman, who has positioned films as diverse as Dreamgirls and Mission: Impossible 3. The youngest son of two New Jersey teachers grew up loving Broadway shows before graduating from James Madison University, moving to Hollywood and leveraging connected family friends into volunteer gigs at lower-profile events like the Hollywood Christmas Parade. His first paying job landed Waldman with PMK publicist Catherine Olim, whose clients included Arnold Schwarzenegger and Ed Harris. At Paramount for six years, the married father of a young boy (with another on the way) is leading the charge on creative campaigns for Like Crazy and The Adventures of Tintin. "There's no job description for publicity," he says. "I've done everything and anything from buying someone shoes to launching a giant premiere in Russia for Transformers."