Behind the scenes of a red carpet

You see the glamorous red carpet on TV and everyone is all smiles. It goes off without a hitch. Of course that’s what they want you to believe – it’s Hollywood!

Having covered many of these events I’ve got the routine down. The first few appearances I was the rookie reporter anxiously eager to make a good impression. Now I’m a veteran, at least compared to some of the other media personalities.

Media check-in is usually over an hour before the event starts. If you are early enough you are corralled with your counterparts and stand and wait. Seeing as I am usually the only Canadian, I stick out like a sore thumb since I am not one of the “regulars” who is at every event. Now I tend to show up shortly before it all starts.

Once I find out how the red carpet is going to work I generally start at the end – since that’s where radio outlets are usually stuck – to find out if I am dead last, which was common when I first started out. TV outlets like the big entertainment shows and local stations get first dibs, print is next with radio and the web rounding out the carpet.

This positioning makes the hour-early arrival even more boring because when the red carpet event starts, the celebs will go one by one to all of the outlets, spending at least two minutes with each. If you are in a lineup of 30 media outlets, you have at least a one-hour wait though depending on the event you might have celeb handlers passing out tip sheets about stars so you know what to talk about when (if) you get them.

Some reporters don’t know when to shut up so the celeb might be exhausted or running so late that they skip the last bunch of reporters. (If you have ever checked out my event coverage at and wondered why there wasn’t a particular interview, that’s probably what happened.)

Next is the handshake or Hollywood air kisses, a quick intro and you’re off and running pretending like you care, and pretending like they care. You have the fake smile and nod as though you are intently listening while their handler stands behind them giving a wrap-up signal before you come up with a clever exit from the chat and they are off to the next person.

If you have heard Hollywood types are fake, it’s true and they are out in full force on a red carpet. But I must admit there is still something incredibly fun about it!

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