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Pat Kingsley is a fable in the apple of claimed publicity, but to Jennifer Allen and Melissa Kates, their PMK bang-up was a mentor, trusted acquaintance and, as she charcoal to this day, a friend. So, in December 2009 aback Kingsley larboard as PMK/HBH alloyed with battling BNC, Allen and Kates did article that was years abroad from acceptable trendy: They addled out on their own, larboard PMK and launched their own aptitude PR firm. Allen, again a partner, had been with PMK for 20 years to Kates’ 13, so abrogation was not accessible nor obvious.
Over Chinese aliment from a now-closed L.A. restaurant served on Allen’s dining allowance table with their corresponding husbands aptitude in, the duo fabricated a account of affidavit to break adverse a account of why to leave. The closing prevailed so, afterwards cogent friends, ancestors or alike such audience as Jodie Foster, Molly Shannon or Matt Damon (at first), they opened shop, eventually bringing abutting to 35 audience apiece to the new firm.
During the accomplished decade, the aggregation they alleged Viewpoint (“We accompany a point of appearance to every distinct affair that we do with our clients,” says Allen) has broadcast with offices in L.A. and New York and the duo currently apply 22 staffers including chief and inferior publicists forth with abutment staff, best of them female. While battling firms like Rogers & Cowan, Slate PR and 42West alloyed with beyond companies or adapted into accumulated clients, the duo accept remained focused on talent, charging about $6,000 a month, according to industry sources, for about 275 clients.
It’s never not active for the two who administer the absolute business but in contempo weeks, appointment has been insane. Allen helped beacon the barrage of Ford v Ferrari starring two longtime audience Matt Damon and Christian Bale (which aloof anesthetized $200 amateur worldwide) while Kates connected to adviser longtime applicant Shia LaBeouf to austere awards adversary as biographer and brilliant of his claimed “Honey Boy.” Kates’ applicant Dwayne Johnson — a account basic at the top of THR’s Amusing Climbers blueprint for his ascendant amusing media attendance — starred in the latest Jumanji chapter that aloof beyond $600 amateur worldwide. And they aloof active newly-minted allocution appearance superstar and assorted Grammy champ Kelly Clarkson.
To mark Viewpoint’s 10-year anniversary, Allen and Kates arrive THR to a Beverly Hills appointment allowance overlooking Wilshire Boulevard to altercate acquaint abstruse from Kingsley, how they accord with adverse applicant deaths and their goals for the abutting decade.
Jennifer, your aboriginal applicant was Matt Damon. How did you assurance him?
JENNIFER ALLEN I appointment with Tommy Lee Jones who directed a TV cine for TNT alleged The Good Old Boys and Matt played Tommy’s nephew. Tommy alien me to him at a screening at the Directors Guild. Matt and I aloof had a nice, abrupt conversation, and I thought, able-bodied this is, you know, a young, absorbing actor. He had done School Ties and [Geronimo: An American Legend] at that point. I became affable with [Matt’s longtime agent] Patrick Whitesell and afterwards two years of asking, ‘When is the appropriate time, aback is the appropriate time?’ Matt got casting in the Francis Ford Coppola cine based on the John Grisham novel, The Rainmaker, so I flew to San Francisco to accommodated Matt on the set. That was 1996. My son was three months old and I was still on maternology leave.
Melissa, who was your aboriginal client?
MELISSA KATES My dad, a longtime agent, was affable with a administrator called Ray Rio who alien me to Molly Shannon’s then-agent who is now her manager, Steven Levy. She was on SNL and aloof array of advancing up and they said, “If you fly to New York, she’ll accommodated with you.” So, I flew myself to New York, paid my own way, and I was so afraid because I had never taken a affair by myself. I’m the apotheosis of a California girl; I didn’t apperceive New York at all and was afraid to barrage a cab by myself. I met her at a esplanade and we sat there for three hours and that was it. I still represent her today.
What’s the best admired affair you abstruse about publicity from Kingsley?
ALLEN Quality over quantity. Consistently do it with a smile and with grace. Be honest. Loyal.
KATES Everything. Publicity can’t necessarily be authentic because I anticipate that for every being it looks abnormally but Pat absolutely embodied what it meant to be a publicist. For anybody advancing up, she set the accent and accepted for how to be — both alone and professionally. She’s a common adult and to this day, I attending up to her for that. She took Jennifer and I beneath her addition and accurate us as we congenital our own book of business. She gave us astonishing opportunities and because of those opportunities, we met bodies in the business and congenital reputations. It’s an absurd allowance we were accustomed and we still allocution to her regularly.
What sorts of opportunities?
ALLEN Aback I got promoted, Tom Cruise became a applicant so I was on his aggregation with [Pat]. I was in every marketing, administration and announcement affair alongside her, demography it all in. Listening to conversations about posters, like what are we aggravating to acquaint in a one-sheet? How abounding bodies are we aggravating to reach? Who’s this cine for? Those are opportunities that don’t appear forth for addition at that point, so aboriginal in our careers.
KATES By the way, they still don’t unless you represent a assertive ability of client.
Publicity has afflicted in the age of amusing media and the acceleration of bloggers and TMZ. Kingsley already said publicity was all about control. What is it about today, and what is your better challenge?
ALLEN The better claiming for me accustomed the advanced ambit of media — acceptable and nontraditional — is advancement a austere focus. Advancing up with the appropriate aggregate in a adamant way becomes acute in active the attack to the client’s satisfaction.
KATES We accept that PR is an art anatomy and that it cannot be calmly authentic or duplicated. It doesn’t fit into one adamant design. We accurately clothier and adapt our access to anniversary applicant and attack based on the needs of the alone assignment. We accept represented abounding of our audience for the majority of our careers which bureau that we accept absolutely developed up calm in this business. Loyalty is to be becoming over time and it is at the centermost of our Viewpoint ability — and that applies to who we represent, who we apply and how we conduct ourselves.
You alone rep talent. Did you accede accretion to brands?
ALLEN We accept fabricated a concerted accomplishment to abide focused on what we do best. Should the appropriate befalling present itself, we would accede growth.
How did you adjudge on Viewpoint as the name?
ALLEN It’s the chat that fabricated the best faculty because we accompany a point of appearance to every distinct affair that we do with our clients. Aggregate has a point of appearance or a perspective, a strategy, a acumen why or why not. It aloof seemed to be the chat that authentic who we are.
Can I ask you to call the other?
KATES Jen is aggregate that a accomplice should be: She is available, open, honest — sometimes too honest— adorning and supportive. Over the accomplished 25 years, we accept aggregate advice, maternology pants and abounding bottles of wine and there is cipher who I would rather be on this chance with.
ALLEN Melissa is the abundant accomplice and the absolute antithesis for me. She is kind, loyal, supportive, the best adviser and is somehow consistently able to clear my thoughts in the best way possible. She is my co-captain and consistently keeps us on course.
What’s been the toughest affair you’ve had to accord with?
ALLEN The deaths of clients. We’ve had a scattering of them. I represented Anton Yelchin and Andy Whitfield, the Spartacus amateur who had blight actual young. He was in absolution and absolutely apple-pie but again died actual bound thereafter. I additionally represented James Garner from the day I started at PMK, alive on his team. It’s affecting beneath any affairs aback you lose addition you’re that abutting with.
KATES I was apery Aaliyah aback she [died in 2001] in a even blast and Cory Monteith. [The Glee brilliant died of a biologic antithesis July 13, 2013.]
In that moment, you’re afflicted the accident of a acquaintance while managing a able obligation and ambidextrous with family. How adamantine is that?
KATES With Cory specifically, it was devastating. You action the accident and accord yourself the moment you charge to aggregate yourself, and again you apprehend that you do charge to assure the bequest they leave abaft in some accommodation for their ancestors and admired ones. You accumulate yourself and you do it.
What about a accident on the added end of the spectrum? How abounding audience accept you had to blaze in your career?
KATES I advancing this question. I accursed four.
KATES You get to a point area you apprehend that if you’re not giving your applicant the account they’re advantageous you for — acceptation they’re not audition assertive things you’re suggesting or you don’t accept the breadth to accurate yourself the appropriate way — it’s time. It can be adamantine to say goodbye and can be actual emotional. You’re additionally active a business so you charge ask yourself if it’s a business accommodation or an affecting decision? If you get to the abode area you feel that you’re no best able of accomplishing the account the appropriate way, … you accept a albatross to booty yourself out of the equation.
You both accept guided audience aback from aspersion and/or accessible relations disasters. What are best practices in agreement of allowance addition antithesis from a abhorrent situation?
ALLEN Honesty and a quick appraisal are the two best important factors. The key accommodation is in timing. Is the crisis credible, will it accept abiding implications, and what is the best way to adverse its allegations? Anniversary bearings dictates its own response.
When it comes to abrogating stories, is there a specific applicant affair that is the hardest to accord with?
KATES I anticipate that if somebody abroad alfresco of that being gets hurt, that presents altered challenges for me. I am actual able and adequate ambidextrous with a bearings area a applicant is potentially in agitation if it alone affects them. It’s [difficult] aback added bodies are involved.
What are you best appreciative of?
KATES We are best appreciative of the actuality that we accept congenital this aggregation calm while accompanying adopting our families. We appetite Viewpoint to be that abode for anybody that works with us. It’s a aberration to accomplish antithesis in this business and that is article that we both prioritized from a actual adolescent age and apparently what drew us calm in the aboriginal abode as partners. And we appetite that for our absolute Viewpoint group.
ALLEN We booty abundant pride in the aggregation that we accept congenital and the aptitude that we represent. As Viewpoint approaches its additional decade, we will strive not alone to bottle our position in the PR mural and to abide to be admired as leaders and colleagues in this bound evolving industry. We were advantageous to appointment for some abundantly able changeable advisers throughout our career. We both formed for Nanci Ryder and Pat Kingsley to name two — both of whom led with address and accomplished a abundant accord of success. We achievement to represent that aforementioned akin of candor for those about us.
Where do you see Viewpoint over the abutting 10 years?
KATES We appetite to bottle our abode in this evolving industry. We acknowledge all the competition, but Viewpoint occupies its own appropriate abode as the articulation amid the archetypal PR companies of the accomplished and the new bearing aloft on an evolving image-making culture. At Viewpoint, added than any added agency, you get the best of the archetypal PR anatomy as able-bodied as the best abreast angel acceptable strategy.
Between clients, agents and added reps, in the hour we’ve been sitting here, how abounding emails accept you missed?
KATES Two hundred, I’m guessing.
Is there a almanac for the cardinal of emails in a day?
KATES It could be horrendous.
ALLEN I was out of the appointment two canicule this anniversary and aback I sat bottomward at my board [this week], I said to Sean, my assistant, “Oh look, 600 added back yesterday.”
KATES On a crazy day, you are breaking a thousand.
How do you get through it?
KATES I accept no idea. I swear, I don’t know. I sometimes lay in bed not sleeping, apprehensive what I’m missing on my buzz in that actual second.
ALLEN You accept to accomplish accord with it.
Interview edited for breadth and clarity.
A version of this adventure aboriginal appeared in the Jan. 8 affair of The Hollywood Reporter magazine. To accept the magazine, bang actuality to subscribe.
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