He's managed A-list celebrities like the Kardashians, through to survivors of serious accidents and subjects of major news stories. This celebrity publicist reveals what it's like when fame - wanted or unwanted - comes knocking.
Insight speaks to people who have suddenly found themselves at the centre of intense media and public interest. What happens when your 15 minutes of fame is up? Full ep. on SBS and On Demand, Tuesday, October 13 at 8:30pm.
When a major news story first breaks, the people involved can find themselves quickly inundated by a barrage of media attention.
Max Markson, a celebrity manager and publicist, has worked with A-list celebrities like the Kardashians through to survivors of serious accidents and subjects of major news stories, such as “the girl in the cupboard,” Natasha Ryan. He said the sudden spotlight can be overwhelming, especially when cast on “normal people” who’ve never experienced it before.
“They get followed around,” Markson told Insight. “There’s literally TV crews, not just one or two but half a dozen or 10 sitting there. If there’s a big story, overseas crews come in for it as well.
"You might have 10, 20, 30 photographers all trying to get pictures, paparazzi … sometimes they’re like a deer in the headlights.”
This is where someone like Markson steps in.
“I sometimes think of myself like a lion tamer,” he said.
He’s there to manage the media and get the best deal on an exclusive story. Played properly, these deals can be extremely lucrative – from thousands to millions of dollars. Markson takes 20 per cent - the rest, he said, helps people move on, as it can be difficult to return to a normal job after being in the spotlight.
While the financial stakes are high – and the impact of this kind of attention and scrutiny can be huge – Markson pointed out the media machine is fed only by the public’s interest.
“At the end of the day, the media is entertainment, whether it’s a news story or a dramatic situation,” Markson said.
“The public … just want to hear the story. They want to pick it up in a magazine and read the story, they want to watch it on TV, or the documentary comes out or the movie gets made.”
Andrew Bucklow, an entertainment reporter for news.com.au, agreed.
“We can write a story … and know that people are going to be interested in it, because they are interested in these people."
“I can tell it is interesting to people, because people are clicking on it.”