Media, Darling: Chris Perez

Chris Perez has been working in television for over a decade – and for the last five years as a producer for CTV and Canada’s top rated entertainment magazine show, etalk. Chris is usually found immersed in hours of tape, interviewing famous types or on the phone pushing publicists for “exclusive access.” He covers a wide range of beats, but his current focus is on special projects, the most recent being a backstage prime time special featuring Lady Gaga. 



Twitter: @lespanman , @eTalkCTV


What was your favourite class in high school? Why?
Grade 12 English. This is probably thanks to a certain Dead Poets Society/“Professor Keating” type named Mr. Geddes who gave me my first flash of passion for the arts and social science. From there on life outside a lab didn’t sound so bad.


How did you get your start as a producer?
I began my career as a hobby. An occasional co-op placement at a local community television station turned into a part-time volunteer ‘gig’, which evolved into actual paid work, which grew into an unexpected full-time job. I know people say it’s good to have a separate job and hobby. I say life is pretty awesome when you’d do your job for free! Just don’t tell my boss that.


If you weren’t a Media, Darling, what would you be doing right now?
Probably pursuing my side interest in Human-Computer Interaction and Sociology.


Pitching or follow up: Phone or email?
Emails give me time to think of ideas and speak to the ‘right people’ about making a story happen, so I prefer them for the initial pitch. Follow-up emails are good too, but once in a while it’s nice to put a voice to a name.


We know irrelevant pitches, calling you the wrong name and eight follow-ups are no-no’s; what else should publicists avoid doing?
It’s easy to dismiss a pitch because it’s too dense, doesn’t get to the point quickly or is too broad and doesn’t target me.  

An ideal publicist is direct, considers my audience and respects my objectives. Also, publicists who act as ‘middle-men’ and aren’t empowered on behalf of their clients are hard to work with. I prefer to deal with publicists who are organized, effective and are tightly connected with their clients so they can speak on their behalf.


Sunrise or sunset?
Mid day. 🙂


Scent?
Coconut.


Cookie?
Yes, please.


Flower?
Leaf? Mint. It’s gum, it’s tea, it’s anything you want it to be.

Ticklish?
Very.


Shower or bath?
Shower.


Film?
Lost In Translation.


Crush?
My fiancée, followed by Alicia Keys.


First job?
A half day of telemarketing when I was 16. The room was smoky and filled with cranky 40-year old men. I took an executive lunch and didn’t go back.


Inspiration?
The idea of learning something new and experiencing something new as often as possible.

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Rave: Hope Rising! Benefit Concert

The evening might have started off with a bit of rain, but the Sony Centre boasted a cheerful full house for the Hope Rising! concert, in support of our amazing client, the Stephen Lewis Foundation, this past Tuesday.

The Stephen Lewis Foundation brought together a sparkling line up of A-list performers, including Alicia Keys, K’naan, Rufus Wainwright, Angélique Kidjo, Jully Black, Holly Cole and Gloria Reuben. Harry Belafonte co-hosted a VIP roundtable dinner and discussion earlier in the evening, along with Stephen Lewis.

One of our fave moments came earlier in the day, while we were waiting for a few people to arrive at a hotel to participate in a few interviews. Angélique Kidjo walked into the lobby, bursting with personality and energy. The African grandmothers arrived soon after, and upon seeing Angélique, hugs, excited greetings and an impromptu dance-off started. It was loud, warm and genuine, and was a glimpse into what was to come later that night.  

Angélique Kidjo. Credit: Alexi Hay

Some of the best performances of the night came from the same African grandmothers who flew in especially for the event, and d’bi Young and Ngozi Paul. They helped bring some of the true flavours of Africa to the event.

Emcees Gloria Reuben, Marci Ien and Jian Ghomeshi did a fabulous job at keeping all 3,200 people at the Sony Centre entertained between performances.

One of the most rousing and touching speeches of the evening came from Stephen Lewis himself. His legendary eloquence and fine balance of humour and seriousness was perfect to introduce Alicia Keys, and remind everyone why they were there and how we can all help make a difference.

 Legendary singer, actor and activist Harry Belafonte at Hope Rising!.

Alicia Keys, K’naan, Angélique Kidjo, Rufus Wainwright, Gloria Reuben, Jully Black and Holly Cole all acknowledged, in their own way, the tragedy that the HIV/AIDS pandemic has brought to the people in Africa and how charities like the Stephen Lewis Foundation are helping improve the lives of thousands of people. 

Alicia Keys belts out a hit at the piano during Hope Rising!.  
We’re so happy to have been a part of this event. We love that we got to share in a thrilling evening of raising awareness for a meaningful cause like this. 

All photos courtesy of Cameron MacLennan, unless otherwise noted. 

Do Me A Solid: Stephen Lewis Foundation

We’re thrilled to continue the Do Me A Solid series with The Stephen Lewis Foundation and their amazing upcoming event, Hope Rising!. 

On May 3, the first Hope Rising! annual benefit concert will be held at The Sony Center. Proceeds from the event benefit the Stephen Lewis Foundation, helping them support grassroots organizations at the frontlines of the AIDS pandemic in Africa.

 
Alicia Keys and K’naan.
This will definitely be one of the concerts of the year, with a stellar lineup of artists. Alicia Keys, K’naan, Rufus Wainwright and Grammy Award-winning Angélique Kidjo headline the event, each performing some of their best-loved songs. As if that weren’t enough, the evening will also feature performances by Canada’s reigning R&B queen Jully Black, jazz songstress Holly Cole, and Lorraine Segato. Hosts Jian Ghomeshi, Marci Ien, and Gloria Reuben will also participate, making this evening truly spectacular.

Rufus Wainwright and Angélique Kidjo.

But, it’s not just a concert. The legendary Harry Belafonte will co-host a roundtable dinner and discussion with Stephen Lewis, providing a unique opportunity for philanthropists to discuss the real affect they can have in Africa with their donations.

 
Harry Belafonte. 

The night will also feature unique video shot in Africa, stories from African grandmothers who live in the midst of the pandemic, and other one-of-a-kind experiences. Hope Rising! is meant to celebratory and fun, sharing the joys and successes of the grassroots organizations working to turn the tide of HIV/AIDS in Africa.

 Photo: Alexis MacDonald

These grassroots groups are lifelines for their communities: they provide care to women who are ill; assist orphans and other children affected by the AIDS pandemic; reach heroic grandmothers who care for their orphaned grandchildren; and support people living with HIV and AIDS.

Tickets are still available at Ticketmaster, or at 1-855-872-7659, and start at just $75. That is a serious bargain for this incredible cultural event that offers you a one-of-a-kind concert and the chance to help out people who truly need it across the globe.

See you there!