Red Carpet Etiquette for Newbies

Red Carpet How-To Template

From celebrity sightings to best and worst dressed, the 2015 award season has been an exciting one thus far. But it’s not over. There are more red carpet opportunities to come in the months ahead, including the BET Awards on June 28.

Covering a red carpet event can be an exhilarating and exhausting endeavor all wrapped in to one. And today, it’s common to see bloggers and social media personalities covering these events alongside traditional, more experienced reporters. But for those who’ve never worked at established media companies, these top-notch events can quickly turn in to a stress-ridden occasion.

Recently, PRSA Miami held a panel discussion with industry experts to address the do’s and don’ts of red carpet coverage titled,  “Best Practices in Organizing Celebrity Red Carpet Events and Top Advice for Publicists Working the Red Carpet.”

The panel included:

  • Claudia Santa Cruz and Paola Marin, both from Santa Cruz Communications
  • Carole Moore, Getty Images
  • Antoni Belchi, EFE News Agency

There is a lot of planning that goes into organizing and attending a red carpet event, say the panelists.  Organizers use math equations to determine the total media capacity a red carpet can accommodate. They must also scout out the area and determine the best location for television media, security personnel, and provide journalists with easy access to refreshments and portable restrooms.

Then, there are the unwritten red carpet rules of etiquette according to the panelists:

  • Get there early.  Arrive at the event with enough time to allow for traffic, parking and credential verification.  If you arrive late, it’s likely that most of the good spots will already be taken and squeezing yourself in between veteran reporters is disruptive.
  • No Selfies.  Taking a selfie either with a celebrity or at the red carpet should be avoided at all costs.  This was a top pet peeve of all three panelists.
  • Avoid taking photos with your cell phone.  Moore stressed that their photographers have thousands of dollars’ worth of equipment and it was frustrating each time someone stuck their arm out to take a cell phone photo and got in the way of an important shot.
  • Respect everyone’s personal space.  Belchi mentioned that it’s important to have a good environment and enough space to work in. So, be aware of your surroundings and mindful in particular of TV reporters who may be filming. Wait your turn patiently. Avoid interrupting with your questions until you are positive that that interview is over.
  • Limit loud conversations.  Although red carpets are noisy in general, avoid talking when other reporters are conducting interviews.  Print journalists use recording devices that can pick up a lot of background noise. The last thing they need is to have to filter out your conversation when transcribing their interview.
  • Choose your questions wisely.  Santa Cruz, who organizes the Billboard Latino awards, among other red carpet events, mentioned that when celebrities walk the red carpet, publicists usually allow a three-question maximum for each reporter.  It’s important to keep that limit in mind and choose which questions you need answered to prevent taking up more time than allowed.

Following the above rules can make all the difference when it comes to securing a press pass for future red carpet events.  Not adhering to red carpet protocol could anger more experienced reporters and cause the publicists to deny future access.

Did you know that you can create a customized PR Newswire newsfeed of entertainment news?  It’s easy. Sign up for PRNJ today and don’t miss out on that next celebrity red carpet.

Jessica Alas is Multicultural Audience Director at PR Newswire. Follow her at @alasjessica.