How to put the sparkle into showbiz reporting

It’s a busy time for a showbiz editor. For weeks I’d looked at my diary in disbelief having realised with horror that the biggest night in British music was swiftly followed by the biggest night in Hollywood.

Eight hours after the conclusion of last Wednesday’s Brits I found myself at Heathrow Airport preparing to board a flight to LA with less than four hours sleep under my belt… no pressure then. After all, this is showbiz and it’s all about the jet-setting lifestyle.

Having booked into my little hotel in Beverly Hills, my first ‘LA moment’occurred the next day when the editor of Variety magazine told me Madonna was planning a post-Oscars bash with good friend Demi Moore. No amount of subtle hints or indeed out-and-out begging managed to score me an invite to that party.

All too soon Oscar night was upon us and it was time to get glammed up for the glitziest ceremony in showbiz.

The area around the world famous Kodak Theater in Hollywood practically shuts down on Oscar night, leaving hundreds of journalists the unenviable task of walking the streets dressed up to the nines… formal dress is compulsory.

All was going well until, just 100m from salvation, the heavens opened up and I was caught in what can only be described as a sudden downpour. I was left a soggy, soaked-to-the-skin mess.

Top tip 1: Get to the press room earlier in the day and set up all your equipment. Then go home, glam-up and make your way to the Kodak without being bogged down by heavy bags – all you have to worry about is looking elegant along Hollywood Boulevard.

Top tip 2: When trying to book interviews, you’re often greeted with a cold shoulder as EVERYONE is busy in the lead up to Oscar night. To get round this is, accentuate your British accent (think Keira Knightley in Atonement), and apologise for such late notice, but explain that you only flew into LA the night before. English charm works wonders.

However, what proved an all-out success for British talent – with no American stars landing any of the major acting awards – left many in LA feeling well and truly snubbed. Suddenly my distinctive accent was no longer a quirky draw, and left me feeling highly conspicuous amid a sea of disappointed and resentful glares.

Top tip 3: Backstage on Oscar night is stuffed full of journalists trying get to the winners. To get noticed, get up on your chair and hold your number high, at the very least you’ll get the attention of the Oscar rep in charge of picking questions, and you’ll also get noticed by the star you’re trying to quiz… works every time, and allowed me to get a question to Tilda Swinton… this is no time to be self-conscious or clumsy.

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