Harry was in talks with Goldman Sachs to bolster one of his charities, not Sussex Royal Brand: Royal insider
Even before Megxit happened, Harry reportedly wasted no time in striking lucrative deals with an investment bank that would pave the way to riches for him and Meghan Markle in the future when they were no longer a part of the British monarchy.
In order to do that, Harry reportedly entered into talks with American global banking giant Goldman Sachs, who experts believe can get the value of their brand, Sussex Royal, skyrocketing in just a few years. “They’re going to earn fortunes, whether through speeches or ambassador work – these are £1billion handshakes,” Renowned PR agent Mark Borkowski told Daily Mail.
Although Kensington Palace declined to comment, a royal insider called the assumption about bolstering their brand “categorically untrue”, adding, “It was one of The Duke’s charitable patronages that was in discussion with Goldman Sachs.
Talks with the investment banking company reportedly started November last year when Harry and Meghan were supposedly spending their winter holidays in Canada along with their son Archie. While on one hand, they finalized the details of their plan to step down as senior members of the royal family, on the other hand, Harry’s team reached out to Goldman Sachs to strike a deal.
Celebrities like David Beckham and Gwyneth Paltrow have famously aligned their brands with the investment bank, attending multiple events organized by the company to give speeches. Harry, too, privately delivered such a speech at one of their events. While the stars do not get paid for the said speeches, sources said that appearances like that “pave the way for the Sussexes to forge a lucrative future relationship” with the bank. The firm was accused of playing a role in the 2008 financial crisis.
According to the report in the Daily Mail, Goldman Sachs declined to comment.
The report comes just days after Harry and Meghan were slammed by critics for choosing to speak at JP Morgan’s Alternative Investment Summit in Miami as their first public engagement post-Megxit.
The couple, who have rallied against “fossil fuel emissions. jeopardizing” the Earth and spoken of a “ticking clock” to save the planet, making a speech at the event — funded by JP Morgan, which has allegedly pumped over $78 billion into companies behind fracking and Arctic oil and gas exploration — for which they reportedly received more than half a million dollars was a “tacky” choice, according to experts.
“This shows how difficult it is going to be. They’ve got to make a lot of money and they are going to slip up on the way,” Borkowski told Daily Mail. “The worry is how many of these types of gigs are there going to be? For JP Morgan, it’s an extraordinary ‘get’. They clearly have the money to afford them, but Harry and Meghan need to avoid being perceived as tacky.
Meghan Markle and Prince Harry ‘have agreed to star in fly-on-the-wall Netflix reality series with cameras following them for three months’ as part of $150m deal
The Duke and Duchess of Sussex are said to have agreed to star in a fly-on-the-wall Netflix reality series with cameras following them for three months.
Prince Harry and Meghan Markle are hoping to ‘give people a glimpse into their lives and see all the charity work they do’, according to a source.
It comes after the royal couple signed a £112million Netflix deal to make TV series, films and children’s shows for the streaming service.
Harry and Meghan will be followed for three months but it is not clear whether cameras will be allowed into their home in Montecito, California.
A source told The Sun: ‘They may have had all these lofty ideas about producing epics highlighting environmental causes and the poverty gap, but Netflix obviously want their pound of flesh.
‘It will all be very tasteful, and not Katie Price and Peter Andre-style reality TV, but they want to give people a glimpse into their lives and see all the charity work they do.’
According to the source, much of the series will be about their philanthropic work rather than what they get up to behind closed doors.
But they added: ‘It will still be a fascinating insight and Meghan hopes viewers will get to see the real her.’
Ingrid Seward, Editor of Majesty magazine, said the couple were ‘hypocritical’ for agreeing to the reality series after they left the UK for the US for greater privacy. It is extraordinary. This is exactly what they said they wouldn’t do,’ she said.
And PR executive Mark Borkowski told The Sun: ‘Viewers will be interested to see what they are up to but there needs to be authenticity. They have laid out a grand plan and are fulfilling it. They are doing this all on their own terms.’
etflix has said it already has several projects in development but declined to offer more information on the new series.
A Netflix spokesman said: ‘The couple already has several projects in development, including an innovative nature docu-series and an animated series that celebrates inspiring women but we are not disclosing any of the programming slate at this time.’
Harry and Meghan stepped down as working royals at the end of March for personal and financial freedom.
The couple have set up a production firm to create their films and documentaries and are committed to diverse hiring practices for its key roles, Netflix has indicated.
The duchess has already started her life in the commercial world, narrating a Disney film about a family of elephants and their journey across Africa that was available to stream in April.
The co-founder of Netflix promised earlier this month that the films and TV shows produced as part of the couple’s deal would be Netflix’s ‘most viewed’ content next year.
Reed Hastings said the couple had been ‘smart’ in ‘shopping’ their programme-making talents around ‘all the major companies’ before signing with Netflix.
Mr Hastings dismissed critics who questioned whether the former royals’ desire to create ‘impactful content that unlocks action’ would be good entertainment.
He told American news channel CNBC: ‘It’s going to be epic entertainment. I’m so excited about that deal.
‘They’re smart, they were shopping it around across all the major companies and I think we really put together the best complete package.
‘We’re going to do a wide range of entertainment with them. I can’t tell you anymore than that about it at this point, but I think it will be some of the most exciting, most viewed content next year.’
It is understood the couple may appear on camera in their documentaries but Meghan – who was starring in legal drama Suits when she met Harry – is said to have made it clear she has no plans to return to acting.
Asked about the subject, Mr Hastings said: ‘The real focus for them is on being producers and on building that production capacity.
‘That’s the key thing. They’ve developed a great eye for story and we’ll be working with them on that basis.’
The lucrative deal already appears to have helped the couple further sever ties from the Royal Family, as it was announced that they reimbursed taxpayers in full for the £2.4million used to renovate their Windsor home, Frogmore Cottage.
Last week, the Duke and Duchess were accused of ‘over-stepping the line’ after a thinly-veiled swipe at Donald Trump as they urged Americans to get out and vote in the upcoming election.
In the couple’s most high-profile intervention in the US presidential election, Harry urged voters to ‘reject hate speech, misinformation and online negativity’ – all qualities critics associate with Mr Trump.
In a TV appearance to mark Time magazine’s 100 most influential people roll call, Meghan – who has made no secret of her antipathy towards the president – described November’s vote as the most important election of her lifetime.
Meanwhile, Harry complained that he had never been able to exercise his democratic right to vote because of the convention that, as a member of the British Royal Family, he should remain politically neutral.
It was been reported that Prince Harry and Meghan Markle will appear on camera in a new Netflix series.
Prince Harry and Meghan Markle will reportedly feature in a new reality series that will show a ‘glimpse into their lives’.
The couple are thought to have signed a £112million deal with the streaming service, where it was originally thought they would work behind-the-scenes – but a new report from The Sun has claimed that they will also feature on screen.
A source said that Meghan wants the public to see the ‘real her’, adding: “It will be tasteful. They want to give people a glimpse into their lives.”
The report suggests that they will be followed for around three months, but that it is unclear whether cameras will be allowed into their homes.
They added: “Much of the docuseries will be about their philanthropy rather than what they get up to behind closed doors.
“But it will still be a fascinating insight and Meghan hopes viewers will get to see the real her.”
PR expert Mark Borkowski added: “Viewers will be interested to see what they are up to but there needs to be authenticity.
“They have laid out a grand plan and are fulfilling it. They are doing this all on their own terms.
“Their determination to have their voice heard sustains them.
“The big hits on Netflix are ones based in reality so it makes sense.”
Speaking about their deal with Harry and Meghan, Netflix said: “The couple already have several projects in development, including an innovative nature docuseries and an animated series that celebrates inspiring women.
“But we are not disclosing any of the programming slate at this time.”
THE ONLY WAY IS SUSSEX Prince Harry and Meghan Markle agree to film Netflix reality series despite ‘media intrusion’ moan
PRINCE Harry and Meghan have agreed to be filmed for a fly-on-the-wall reality series.
They added: “It will be tasteful. They want to give people a glimpse into their lives.”
The Sussexes moved to the US after moaning about alleged media intrusion.
Former Suits actress Meghan, 39, and Harry, 36, had said they wanted to “shine a light on people and causes around the world”.
A source said: “They may have had all these lofty ideas about producing epics highlighting environmental causes and the poverty gap, but Netflix obviously want their pound of flesh.”
They will be followed for three months but it is not yet known if cameras will be allowed into their £11.5million, nine-bedroom home in Montecito.
The source said: “Much of the docuseries will be about their philanthropy rather than what they get up to behind closed doors.
“But it will still be a fascinating insight and Meghan hopes viewers will get to see the real her.”
However Ingrid Seward, editor of Majesty Magazine, said: “We were told they had gone to California for greater privacy so it all appears rather hypocritical.
“It is extraordinary. This is exactly what they said they wouldn’t do.
“The more they talk about themselves the more people will want them to do just that and won’t be interested in anything else they have to offer.”
PR expert Mark Borkowski was more supportive.
He said: “Viewers will be interested to see what they are up to but there needs to be authenticity.
“They have laid out a grand plan and are fulfilling it. They are doing this all on their own terms.
“Their determination to have their voice heard sustains them.”
He added: “The big hits on Netflix are ones based in reality so it makes sense.”But this is something the Royal Family will find hard to stomach.”
Netflix said: “The couple already have several projects in development, including an innovative nature docuseries and an animated series that celebrates inspiring women.
“But we are not disclosing any of the programming slate at this time.”
New research suggests the public want to see a different approach from the usual seasonal extravaganzas from brands, with a greater focus on real stories and a move away from big-budget blockbusters.
PRWeek asked some creative comms experts to gaze into their crystal (snow)balls and predict some of the main trends in Christmas campaigns for the Covid-19 era:
Show that you matter – Mark Borkowski, founder and chief executive, Borkowski PR
“As we inch towards a new normal, we’re prioritising what we need over what we want. This is bad news for those reliant on a collective sense of hysterical consumerist abandon (ie: most brands, most Christmases). Top Christmas PR tips this year: 1) Show that you matter, and 2) Don’t rub it in for those who have struggled. Most brands will understand this basic premise but overegg the nog by adopting a sombre, worthy tone. Don’t expect the equivalent of John Lewis’ Edgar the dragon in a mask, or a social-distanced Sainsbury’s ‘plug boy’. The challenge for PRs out there is to reinvent Christmas as something other than cheesy, sentimental consumerism… but not many will be brave enough to aim that high.”
Read more at: https://www.campaignasia.com/article/swerve-socially-distant-santa-focus-on-joy-pr-pros-on-christmas-2020/463090
Meghan Markle and Prince Harry could be affected by the upcoming Presidential election if the Democratic nominee Joe Biden wins, according to a tax expert.
Meghan recently confirmed that she would be voting in the 2020 Presidential elections. Although she did not say who she would be voting for, royal fans have assumed she will be supporting the Democratic candidate, Joe Biden. The Duchess of Sussex was vocal in her opposition to Donald Trump when he was running for President in 2016 and she claimed he was “misogynistic” and “divisive”.
While members of the Royal Family are not expected to vote in order to remain apolitical, Meghan and Harry’s decision to leave the royal frontline means they no longer represent the Queen.
As a US citizen, Meghan will be able to cast her vote but Harry will not — unlike his wife, he was not born in the States.
Still, the couple’s new lifestyle in the US could be seriously affected if Mr Biden takes the presidency.
Tax expert David Lesperance recently told Express.co.uk that a change in presidency would “absolutely” affect tax laws, and agreed that Meghan and Harry’s current tax situation could therefore change significantly in the event of a Democrat win.
He said that if the Democrats won all three houses, at a minimum what they would promise is they would “increase capital gains tax to ordinary tax relief”.
Mr Lesperance continued: “If the Democrats ‘do a sweep’ there will be a jump in capital gains tax from that 23 percent up to the 47 percent.”
Capital gains tax is paying tax on the profit of the sale of the item — and Meghan and Harry have just bought their first house together in Santa Barbara, California.
They paid a whopping $14.7million (£11million) for a lavish mansion, with a $9.5million (£7million) mortgage.
As the Tax Foundation website explained, Mr Biden’s plan would only affect “filers in the top long-term capital gains bracket”, but he would nearly double capital gains tax for big earners like the Sussexes.
Mr Biden also plans to raise the payroll tax to income over $400,000 (£318,000), which is likely to cover Meghan and Harry.
The Tax Foundation website claims that the former Vice President wants to revert the top individual income tax rate for taxable incomes above $400,000 from 37 percent to 39.6 percent.
Indeed, Meghan and Harry have recently signed on to the same high-profile speaking agency as Barack and Michelle Obama, meaning they are likely to earn more than $400,000 per year.
Some sources have claimed that Harry could already have made more than $750,000 (£596,800) for completing a speech at a JP Morgan event earlier this year.
Mark Borkowski, a PR expert even speculated recently that the pair could earn more than $1million (£795,000) for each occasion.
The Sunday Post
Our new normal will include big changes for the world’s biggest stars as we inch in and out of lockdown, say experts.
Celebrity watchers and public relations professionals burnishing the image of the world’s biggest stars believe the pandemic might be ushering in a new kind of superstar. As countries around the world went into lockdown, and coronavirus changed our daily lives, our adoration shifted from the celebrity elite to the key workers and frontline staff helping to keep us safe.
Our applause was reserved for nurses, doctors and other key workers every Thursday night, and even our glossy magazines featured everyday heroes, with fashion bible Vogue picturing a train driver, supermarket worker and community midwife on its front cover in July.
So, why has the Covid-19 pandemic changed who we admire?
Leading publicist Mark Borkowski, who has written on the history of public relations, believes the shift started years ago with reality television, and later the birth of Generation Z – young people who now expect more from their celebrities, and won’t settle for anything less than authenticity.
He explained: “What we’re beginning to see is a generation who, arguably, can be described as the woke generation. They’re more aware, politically, of what’s happening in the world, especially in terms of climate change, LGBTQ+ rights, trans issues, and the Black Lives Matter movement.
“And this time, this moment of Covid, has exploded that change. We’re beginning to see sacrifice, we’re beginning to see who has true value, who has true purpose, and who is actually contributing.
“Instagram stars heading off to Ibiza to show off their glamorous lifestyle has no value. Value is the people who can keep you alive, so naturally Vogue puts a nurse on the front cover.”
Mark agrees that readers, listeners and viewers now want to see more “real” celebrities, and points to the likes of Manchester United footballer Marcus Rashford, who graced the cover of Vogue’s September issue as one of the title’s “faces of hope”.
He said: “The people we are looking up to, going forward, are real people – the Greta Thunbergs, who have real values and stand for something.
“We’re slap bang in the middle of a very hot culture war. There’s a massive generational shift I don’t think we’ve seen since the 1950s.”
For celebrities who want to remain relevant, being relatable on social media is vital – but it’s tricky to get right, as Ellen DeGeneres proved when she likened quarantine in her Californian mansion to “like being in jail”.
Meghan Markle is set to become one of the most in-demand public speakers in the world after she delivered her first major speech since the royal split.
The Duke and Duchess of Sussex have been in Los Angeles, California for several months now after stepping down as senior royals in March.
Since then, Meghan and Prince Harry have occasionally been pictured out and about on various charitable causes.
But some royal analysts have recently said they have yet to start a profitable venture.
Now, PR expert Mark Borkowski has told The Sun Meghan Markle could be set to earn a substantial income as a public speaker, praising her “remarkable delivery”.
Mr Borkowski said the Duchess of Sussex, 38, could earn “many hundreds of thousands of pounds” per speech, helping the royal couple realise their goal of financial independence.
Meghan has spoken out on a range of powerful topics in recent weeks, most recently making an appearance at the virtual Girl Up leadership summit.
Mr Borkowski told the paper that Meghan is “on the message” with important topics such as mental health and the Black Lives Matter movement.
He said: “In the short, immediate term she could be the most sought-after speaker in the world.
“Brands want to learn from high-profile people, so having someone like that in the room, it can boost publicity and draw delegates.”
The expert claimed the Duke and Duchess should think about the number of speeches they make, however, as appearing at too many could lower demand.
Mr Borkowski added: “You choose one to four key moments a year to make a speech, then everyone is hanging on your words.”
According to reports, the Duke and Duchess recently joined the Harry Walker Agency – a public speakers agency claiming to work with some of the most high-profile speakers in the world.
These include Bill and Hillary Clinton, Arnold Schwarzenegger, Matthew McConaughey and others.
Mr Borkowski added: “In the short term, this is a billion dollar brand.”
London (AFP) – Johnny Depp walked into the hallowed halls of London’s High Court three weeks ago seeking to expunge the stain of being branded a “wife beater” by The Sun tabloid.
But the 57-year-old will still have to win in the court of public opinion even if he comes out victorious once the star-studded trial ends Tuesday.
“I think the damage is done,” said London PR agent and crisis consultant Mark Borkowski. “Even if he wins, it’s going to be a Pyrrhic victory.”
Heard has enjoyed a less lucrative career but has potentially even more to lose.
The 34-year-old’s allegations emerged just as the #MeToo movement began exposing a history of sex abuse in film and media industry as a whole.
“She becomes a totem, an icon,” said Borkowski. “She becomes a significant figure in the ongoing culture wars.”
The judge must read through a dozen volumes of evidence and is expected to take some days before delivering his verdict.
But Borkowski said he has already drawn his own conclusion from the case.
“To me it says one thing, both for Johnny Depp and Amber Heard and the whole process: Fame is toxic,” said the legal expert. “Fame is a monster.”
Prince Harry and Meghan Markle have sparked a publishing spree — but the Royal Family have always shifted books
There are not many hardback, non-fiction books that can generate 170 separate newspaper articles in the space of a week. But Finding Freedom by Omid Scobie and Carolyn Durand has done just that.
In case you have been living in Tuvalu, the book is a biography of Harry and Meghan, the Duke and Duchess of Sussex, due to be published on 11 August, which has been serialised across The Times and The Sunday Times. It has prompted another bout of what has become a regular feature of the British press since at least 1870, when the Prince of Wales stepped into the witness box in a divorce case: intense speculation over the private lives of our Royal Family.
According to Scobie, his book is different from the usual tittle-tattle. “For the first time we get to hear what’s been going on in their minds,” he has said. It is a bold claim and one that has fuelled the belief that the Duke and Duchess have given interviews to the authors, even though this has been hotly denied by the authors and the Sussexes themselves.
“That’s crazy. Everyone will raise their eyebrows that there’s been no contribution,” says Mark Borkowski, a public relations expert, who advises celebrities. “Maybe they haven’t sat down and given a formal interview, but there’s been amazing access. It’s what we in PR call ‘putting your own story forward’.”
Royals rarely emerge with dignity from airing their dirty linen in public. But those who do the laundry can end up winners.
Mark Borkowski points out that the real beneficiaries of this summer’s publishing bonanza are unlikely to be Harry and Meghan, but their biographers, Scobie and Durand. “It’s going to make two relatively young journalists megastars, just as Andrew Morton became a megastar. There isn’t the money in publishing that existed in the 90s, but there’s a lot more opportunity to take your content and make money out of it.”
Prince Harry and Meghan Markle moved to Los Angeles just before the coronavirus lockdown, where they have been working hard to support those affected by the pandemic through video calls and delivering food to the vulnerable.
Their decision to split from the royal family just before the Covid-19 outbreak means that their roles in the public eye are yet to become clear, although one expert believes that Meghan is set to become the ‘most sought-after speaker in the world’ following the success of her speech at the virtual Girl Up leadership summit earlier this month.
At the event, Meghan said: ‘Your generation is often referred to as digital natives, and you understand that our online world has the power to affirm and support as much as it does to harm.
‘We are not meant to be breaking each other down; we are meant to be building each other up.’
The speech has been become one of the most popular talks from the summit, and PR expert Mark Borkowski told The Sun that due to her ‘remarkable delivery’, the Duchess could be on track to becoming one of the most in-demand public speakers.
Meghan Markle’s popularity has been going through the roof ever since the royal exit, despite the immense scrutiny she faces.
After signing on to Harry Walker Agency, the Duchess of Sussex is all set to become one of the most in-demand public speakers all across the world.
Praising her “remarkable delivery”, PR expert Mark Borkowski told The Sun that this gift could help the duchess milk a hefty income as a public speaker.
He said the 38-year-old could earn “many hundreds of thousands of pounds”, which would help the Sussex pair get the financial freedom they had initially desired.
Jeffrey Epstein Investigation: Prince Andrew Doesn’t Have ‘Exit Strategy,’ But Experts’ Advice Could Indicate Future
Prince Andrew has continued to be connected to the ongoing investigation surrounding Jeffrey Epstein due to the friendship the two shared prior to the financier’s death. Now, following the arrest of Epstein’s former associate, Ghislaine Maxwell, some experts are offering advice to the Duke of York as he looks ahead.
Leading up to Maxwell’s next court appearance to face charges on four counts in connection with the trafficking of a minor for criminal sexual activity and two counts of perjury, British public relations agent Mark Borkowski is sharing what he believes Queen Elizabeth II’s son needs to do moving forward.
After stating that the member of the British royal family is “inextricably linked with the story,” Borkowski told NBC News that he doesn’t believe there is a proper “exit strategy.” As a result, he indicated that he thinks Andrew should either remain silent about the investigation or invite U.S. authorities to the United Kingdom so that he can explain his relationship with both Epstein and Maxwell.
Their new paparazzi lawsuit shows that Prince Harry and Meghan Markle are unafraid to sue their media tormentors. It is also a mark of their freedom of not being “senior royals.”
The invasion of privacy complaint, which was filed in L.A. County Superior Court, claims Archie was photographed in the backyard of the family’s Beverly Hills home, which is in a gated community.
It’s somewhat baffling to British eyes; the Daily Telegraph was far from alone in suggesting the retaliation would be counter-productive.
The media strategist and consultant Mark Borkowski disagrees. He said that while he suspects that the couple are “in a pretty deep bubble of folk around them supporting every last thing they do” with nobody “challenging” them, it was a misunderstanding to judge the success of failure of their strategy by the yardstick of conventional media coverage, especially in the U.K.
“They don’t care about the opinion of the fourth estate. They care about what their community and fans believe, and with the channels they access they are enjoying a lot of positive feedback. If they basically lose the territory of the U.K. and gain a territory like America, well, that is a positive for them.”
“They don’t see their future in the U.K. It doesn’t matter to them if the British media is selling this story of this mad, sad couple. They are not going to win any battles in the U.K. America is their home base now. This is about positioning their brand within the U.S. market.”
Essentially they are saying what Harry said to an imposter pretending to be Greta Thunberg: my wife’s a strong person and she won’t be bullied and silenced, and we will continue to “challenge” the media.
Asked by the fake “Greta” about the pressure of dealing with the media, he said that finding a wife who “was strong enough to be able to stand up for what we believe in together” had scared the tabloids “so much that they’ve now come out incredibly angry, they’ve come out fighting, and all they will try and do now is try and destroy our reputation and try (to) sink us. But what they don’t understand is the battle we are fighting against them is far more than just us.”
Epstein discovered The Beatles – indeed Paul McCartney referred to him as “the fifth Beatle” – and they signed a contract with him in 1961. He also worked with music artists such as Gerry and the Pacemakers and Cilla Black, and helped promote musicians such as Jimi Hendrix, The Who, Cream and Pink Floyd.
The film is described as “an emotional, witty, heartfelt story of the joy of success and the terrifying pressures of unspeakable risk and unfulfilled desire,” in a statement from the producers, Trevor Beattie and Jeremy Chatterton at Trevor Beattie Films, and Kevin Proctor and Perry Trevers at StudioPOW.
Peter Dunne, Mark Borkowski, and Twickenham Studios chairman and co-owner Sunny Vohra and managing partner Jeremy Rainbird will serve as executive producers. It is being produced in association with Er Dong Pictures, who will also be distributing the film in China.
Damian Collins: Spreading harmful content on social media should be an offence like dumping chemicals
Social media companies should be held liable for the spread of harmful disinformation on their platforms, according to a panel of experts, including the former chair of the Department for Digital, Culture, Media & Sport select committee. They also warn that the next “fake news” battle will be over coronavirus vaccine take-up.
Mark Borkowski, founder and head of Borkowski PR, said there should be an aggressive and visible effort to call out bad actors and social media companies.
“I think we should go much further in terms of naming and shaming tactics and [calling out] what people are doing. And we need to increase the pressure on the likes of Twitter, Facebook and YouTube to go for these people who will take note,” he said.
“We talked about David Icke being pulled down, and Katie Hopkins as well, but it took a long time for that to take place. I’m involved with something at the moment and YouTube are really dragging their heels [to deal with] someone who’s falsifying a lot of information, making up statistics… [they are very] reluctant to intervene.”
Borkowski didn’t mince his words when describing the impact of disinformation spreading on social media.
“It is polluting the web – it is no different from throwing poisonous toxic effluent into the web,” he said. “We’ve got to start looking at those people.”
The Hollywood Reporter
A biopic of music visionary, impresario and iconic Beatles manager Brian Epstein is in the works, with Swedish filmmaker Jonas Akerlund tapped to direct.
Midas Man is being produced by Trevor Beattie and Jeremy Chatterton at Trevor Beattie Films (Attacking the Devil, Nureyev, Spitfire) and Kevin Proctor and Perry Trevers at StudioPOW (Funny Cow, Cordelia). Peter Dunne and Mark Borkowski are executive producers. Twickenham Studios chairman and co-owner Sunny Vohra and managing partner Jeremy Rainbird will also serve as executive producers. Midas Man is being produced in association with Chinese production and talent company Er Dong Pictures, who will also be distributing the film in Greater China.
We’re in the dough! Meghan Markle and Prince Harry volunteer alongside former gang members at LA bakery to prepare food for the vulnerable – after signing ‘£1m-a-speech’ deal with agency used by Obamas
PR expert Mark Borkowski told The Sun the pair will ‘clean up’. They plan to speak on social issues including racial justice, gender equality, the environment and mental health, according to the LA Times.
‘I’m surprised they haven’t done this sooner. It will be one of the great income generators for them. The speaker’s circuit is a natural safe space for them to plunder,’ he added.
PR expert Mark Borkowski claimed Meghan and Harry could earn £1million-plus for each speaking slot they complete in the future.
He told The Sun: “I’m surprised they haven’t done this sooner.
“It will be one of the great income generators for them. They will clean up — they are up there with the Obamas.
“The speaker’s circuit is a natural safe space for them to plunder.
“And they are doing it in America, which is where the money is.”
A critic once said that if a play was any good, it didn’t need PR. This utopian idea has come to fruition a few times over the years, but in the post-Covid landscape a production will be as likely to take off without effective communications as the Miss Saigon chopper without a production team.
Public relations, marketing and social media are a theatre’s lungs, and the industry is going to have to shout louder and more incisively than ever before, or risk drowning.
To survive, theatre must focus on relevance and social impact, embrace new technologies, break with identikit marketing, become the talk of the town, and make promotion part of the art.
Theatre must be unapologetic about its positive role in society. It’s the only art form that puts the audience in the room with huge topical issues and experiences. This powers a unique ability to foster social change that should be ingrained in the creation of a show, never retrofitted on a whim. Social impact has rarely been a more powerful form of communication – look at Captain Tom: a call to aid the NHS turned a pensioner walking laps of his garden into a fairytale of human endeavour.
If content is king, platform is queen. Many point to streaming as a means of attracting new and wider audiences. Lockdown has seen the medium take a necessary step forward, and a streaming release will likely be part of many shows’ life cycles going forward. But theatre is created to be live and a stream doesn’t truly put you ‘in the room’.
Theatre productions native to digital platforms are still treated as a niche sub-genre somewhere between site-specific and multimedia. Creating theatre for new platforms, particularly virtual reality and augmented reality, is essential for building audiences and opening revenue streams. Comedy producers are making the biggest strides here and theatre should look to them for inspiration. The theatre experience also has to extend beyond the auditorium doors and be imbibed in every facet of a production.
It’s also worth considering specific comms practices in more detail. UK theatre marketing and PR pre-Covid was formulaic. It’s harder to stand out when a show’s public image is generated by an identikit, box-ticking formula. Producers should demand a genuine point of difference in the form their promotion takes, as well as the content.
This is particularly true for regional theatre. A huge amount of water has flowed under the bridge since I started out at the Wyvern in Swindon, but PR and marketing for regional theatres has been in stasis, notwithstanding the advent of social and digital media. If there’s a lesson to take from the olden days, it’s this: become the talk of the town, employ mavens (we’d call them influencers now), integrate productions with the local community, tell stories that break out of the arts pages and into news, and revisit the art of the publicity stunt.
The latter we owe to PT Barnum’s masterstroke of making publicity an extension of the art – the art and its ability to attract an audience are one and the same. As the former circus impresario Gerry Cottle once put it: “We either get an audience, or we starve.” The whole of theatre is now in the same boat.