The weird world of Hollywood junkets

A book is out that takes a behind the scenes look at Hollywood publicity and media junkets.
A book is out that takes a behind the scenes look at Hollywood publicity and media junkets.

What if I told you Margot Robbie is sitting in a suite at the Four Seasons Beverly Hills and wants to talk to you?

Sounds like a good day, right?

It gets better.

After you chat to the Australian double Oscar nominee you need to head to Rodeo Drive and the Beverly-Wilshire Hotel because Brad Pitt and Jennifer Lawrence are ready to chat.

That's not all.

Get a good night sleep because tomorrow you're flying to New York, you're booked in for two nights at the Ritz-Carlton and your suite has views over Central Park.

You'll get a sneak peek at Jennifer Lopez's new movie and then you'll interview J-Lo.

Oh yeah.

It won't cost you a cent.

A movie studio will pay for your flights, five-star hotel and give you $US125 per night to spend in the hotel.

A dream job, right?

Welcome to the Hollywood junket circuit.

I have been a junketeer since 2001 and have had the pleasure, and displeasure (sometimes), to interview most A-List, B-List and Z-list actors and directors.

It inspired me to write my first novel, Hollywood Junket: Misadventures of a Disinterested Celebrity Journalist.

A junket is a press event organised by Hollywood studio publicity departments to promote upcoming movies and TV series.

The celebrity interviews you read in your favourite glossy magazine and the TV interviews you watch on Aussie morning shows like Today and Sunrise largely come from junkets

Studios fly journalists from Australia and around the globe to LA, New York, Hawaii, The Bahamas or other destinations for interviews with the cast and filmmakers.

It's like celebrity speed dating.

A journalist could get a 30-minute one-on-one interview with a star, share a round table interview with seven other journos or may have to squeeze into a press conference with 100 reporters.

Some journalists make a decent living.

Many don't.

Most reporters are freelancers and with newspapers and magazines suffering shrinking budgets and websites notoriously stingy, some junketeers may only make $20 or $30 for an interview.

It makes for an interesting mix.

The world's biggest actors earning $10 million-plus a movie sitting in a $1,000 a night hotel suite with a struggling reporter who can't afford a latte at Starbucks.

That is what intrigued me about making the junket circuit the setting for a humour novel.

I was inspired by The Devil Wears Prada and TV series like Entourage and Silicon Valley that give the public insight into a world we think we might know, but don't.

It looks glamorous, but sometimes is not.

When people hear "junket" and ask what it is I point to the Julia Roberts movie Notting Hill where Hugh Grant sneaks into a junket posing as a reporter from Horse and Hound magazine.

Notting Hill came out way back in 1999.

Hollywood Junket: Misadventures of a Disinterested Celebrity Journalist is set in LA and New York and follows junket journalist Robert Patterson.

When Rob graduated from university with a journalism degree he hoped to score a job at the Washington Post or New York Times.

The only job he could get was as a junket journalist on an trashy LA tabloid run by a tyrannical English-born editor.

Hollywood Junket: Misadventures of a Disinterested Celebrity Journalist is available at the bookstore.

Australian Associated Press