Adam Ashley hopped off a plane at L.A.X with a dream and a cardigan. Ok, maybe not a cardigan, but Adam did move to LA after graduating from Northern Kentucky University, in 2011. After spending his entire life in Kentucky, it was time for a change. His passion, contagious up-beat personality, determination, and motivation have led him to positions with Facet Public Relations, Levine Communications, and now UME at Universal Music Group.
Q. Why Public Relations?
A. One of my professors saw my passion for the Arts and my determination to become a performer. She told me, “If you really love the entertainment business, find something that you can be successful in. Everyone wants to be in front of the camera but there are a lot of opportunities behind the scenes that may be easier to achieve.”
So, with my professor’s advice I began researching opportunities. One day, during a random rehearsal of a play that I was doing, a Publicist entered the auditorium to discuss outreach for the production. I started talking to her and my love for PR was born.
Q. Did you intern throughout college?
A. I had 3 Internships in one year. I didn’t decide what I wanted to do until later in my college career so I tried to catch up by getting several professional internships in one year.
1.) Riverbend Music Center
2.) Katalyst Talent Agency
3.) Taft Theater
My advice for current students is to Intern, Intern, Intern!! Internships are essential. Know the industry you want and build your internships around that. I would advise students to start Internships right after high school. School, is very important but the real-life experience through an internship is irreplaceable.
Q. You were a member of PRSSA. Would you suggest joining to current college students?
A. Definitely, I contribute PRSSA largely to my success in the industry. I volunteered to do everything in the organization and became very active. The President became my mentor and I wanted to learn everything from her. By being active in a National level, I made connections with several practitioners throughout the nation and became great friends with them. My fellow PRSSA members, locally and nationally have become more than friends, but a constant support group and family that I can trust and count on both professionally and personally.
Q. What is a day at work like for you at UME for Universal Music Group?
A. Like most other jobs in the Entertainment Industry, UME doesn’t work normal 9-5 hours. We, as PR practitioners must be accessible 24 hours a day. Sometimes, I come home at 6:00 and sometimes I’m at work until 9-12 at night, depending on what the Talent may be doing at the time.
We are constantly strategizing as a division about how to protect and grow the Talent(s) image. We not only create campaigns for current Artist(s), we also create campaigns for Cataloged Artist (Deceased Artist, or no longer active). We do this to keep Artists that may have left us, relevant and remembered to the public. For example: Bob Marley Tribute at the Grammy Awards 2013. My department also pairs up Artist(s) with different Sponsorships. The most recent ones: Katy Perry (POP Chips), Taylor Swift (Diet Coke).
Q. What did you do at Facet Public Relations and Levine Communications?
A. Secured press for major clients in the film, book, and television industry. Doing constant outreach with National Broadcast and Print Media. We did a lot of talent/ and media handling on red carpets. Creating red carpet events from start to finish: Securing media, booking venues, permits, creating V.I.P parties, and follow – thru with media.
Q. What keeps you motivated?
A. “Courage + Dreams= Success” -Marlee Matlin
I say this quote every time I feel scared and lost in this world of the entertainment industry. I also call my fellow PRSSA Alumni up and talk to them about old projects and the memories that ultimately got me to where I am.
Q. Do you think you’ve found your PR niche?
A. I think, once you’re content that is when your work starts slacking. My advice is to never feel content with a certain PR niche or industry. Always put yourself outside of your comfort zone because you never know when you might like something else. Always work to achieve greatness.
Q. What advice would you give to those who want to move to another city to pursue their career?
A. Go for it!!! Know your industry and know where it is located. If possible, do summer internships in the city of your choice prior to moving. Reach out to members of the local PRSA and PRSSA Chapters in the city before moving and ask them for advice.
Prepare to work your way up. My first job in Hollywood happened to be an internship. Have enough rent money saved for at least 3 months. This way, you can focus on volunteering and internships to work your way up.
Network!! Networking is very important. Know your major “players” in the industry and ask them for an informative interview. Be yourself; people are looking for what YOU can bring to the table. Find something different about yourself, and run with it.
Publicity campaigns for San Diego Film Festival (SDFF), Gus Van Sant Tribute, Academy Award Nominated Dana Adam Shapiro (MURDERBALL), C.E.O Logan Mulvey (GODIGITAL), and Comedian Al Shearer ( BET, MTV’S PUNK’D), and Best- Selling Author(s) Arwen Dayton (RESSURECTION), and Stephenie Meyer ( TWILIGHT).
Film publicity experience includes: YOU, ME & THE CIRCUS (Matt Dallas, Omar Epps), THE SCRIBBLER (Eliza Dushku, Katie Cassidy, Michelle Trachtenberg), SATURDAY MORNING MASSACRE ( Spencer Parsons), BACKGAMMON (Brittany Allen, Christian Alexander), IN OUR NATURE ( Gabrielle Union, Jena Malone, John Slattery) ,THE GHOSTMAKER ( Domiziano Arcangeli), and casting for IDES OF MARCH (George Clooney, Ryan Gosling).
Music Publicity experience includes: Grammy Awards 2013 (Bob Marley Tribute), English Rock band (DEF LEPPARD), Award Winning (JOURNEY), and Country Superstar (BRAD PAISLEY). Adam Ashley is currently a member of PRSA Los Angeles (Public Relations Society of America), EAM (Entertainment & Arena Marketing). Other work Highlights: Los Angeles Film Festival (LAFF), Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF), and South by Southwest (SWSW) Hamptons International Film Festival (HIFF).