Sean, let’s start with your story. We’d love to hear how you got started and how the journey has been so far.
I thought I wanted to be an actor when I was growing up, so I attended the famous — Sylvia Young Theater School in London, and did drama, dance, and singing classes. I loved it there and I still have lots of well-known showbiz friends as a result of being part of that showbiz stable. Sylvia Young definitely unearthed my passion to succeed in some area of entertainment. Looking back, it all makes sense now — I much preferred being behind the scenes (somewhat). I think that’s why I gravitated towards a career in news.
My first proper job in news was working as a researcher and assistant producer at Bob Geldof’s company, Planet 24 Productions. I worked on a show called “The Word”, for Channel 4, (UK). It was a massive hit on British television. My segment on the show was called “The Gossip”. I used to uncover embarrassing videos from famous people’s past. It was an extremely popular part of the series and a lot of fun… It didn’t damage any careers or anything, it was all very tongue-in-cheek. Most of the celebrities I featured wanted to be included in my segments.
Overall, has it been relatively smooth? If not, what were some of the struggles along the way?
Los Angeles can be a very tough place at times. I moved from the UK in 2005 and have been here ever since. Nothing was ever smooth. I’ve always had to chase people down to get noticed, and that’s OK. Nothing has ever fallen in my lap. I think that’s what makes one a survivor, not having it easy in this very tough industry. The entertainment world has changed so much since the ’90s. Honestly, I would not want to be a young person starting all over again. I think we had easy compared to the challenges young people face today.
Like what for instance?
Well, for one, we were paid a lot more, now you have to be a “preditor” — a (producer/editor), and a writer all rolled into one. Back then, you were paid to be an editor, or a writer or a producer. Now companies want you to do it all, but they don’t want to pay you more for doing all three jobs. Quite awful! But then, most companies don’t have the same kinds of budgets these days, so it’s a catch twenty-two!
Did you enjoy working with TMZ?
I did, I enjoyed working at TMZ.com. I was one of the original “TMZ on TV” cast. I remember my job interview with TMZ very well. I had to cut a package for Harvey Levin, showing off my storytelling skills. I put together an item on the singer Amy Winehouse, who was in the news a lot back then. And, apparently (this is true)while I was reviewing my contract, Harvey played my test story in a staff meeting and said: “This guy’s got it, this is spot on. This is the kind of look we want for the show.”He was talking about my story, my work and my edit for a show that was just an idea and not even on air yet. I was quite chuffed, to say the least when I heard that. I never let on to him that I knew he’d said it.
TMZ was a tough company to work for though, my time there was challenging and short-lived by all accounts, but, it was a brilliant place to work and a great experience. I get bored very quickly, I like things to change…to evolve. I haven’t watched the show for quite a few years now. I do like their other website, “Too Fab.”
After TMZ I had a short stint with the New York Post’s “Page SIX” column and was a regular face on TV Guide’s “Hollywood 411” with Chris Harrison (The Bachelor).
We’d love to hear more about your work and what you are currently focused on. What else should we know?
I specialize in several things. I am a journalist and creator of news, I’d say. I have hosted and promoted several well-known brands, like Trivago. Over the years, I have been a successful publicist and worked with fashion designers such as Nikki Lund and Julia Clancey. I brought “Style Fashion Week” from LA to the trendy city of Palm Springs. People hire me as a consultant, I come up with good ideas, I find interesting ways to make people or products newsworthy. I did that for singer and designer, Nikki Lund. I raised Nikki’s profile and helped her land covers of magazines and national press. Nikki is a very talented individual. She was an easy client to work with — a true professional, and my very good friend.
I think what sets me apart from others, is, I will take a few risks — I often say to myself, “Well if it all fails, then fuck it, start again!” (Laughs)I have so many areas of the entertainment industry under my belt — I mean, I have tried it all. I have produced TV shows, PR’d people to the front pages of newspapers and magazines worldwide, I have hosted on TV, been the face of brands myself, so with all that knowledge and understanding, I can use that to my advantage to help others.
It’s all about being a “creative”. It doesn’t just happen, it’s a process… I am not always easy to work with, because I think I know what’s best. But if a client comes up with a great idea, then I will be the first to agree with them. I love collaborative efforts too. However, if I get an idea in my head, I like to roll with it no matter what.
What is “success” or “successful” for you?
Success is making a good living while enjoying one’s work at the same time. There’s nothing better than being paid for what you love to do work-wise, and especially if you can do it with friends. I love being creative with my friends — coming up with new concepts and ways to grab attention. The big win is being able to make money from those ideas. That’s the best part!
Image Credit: Hector Fernando
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