John Green: A different kind of publicity tour “Paper Towns” 


Remember the olden days? Those were the days when television, newspapers and magazines were the way to publicize events.  I found out yesterday that social media really has changed the way things are done.  To my pleasant surprise I found out kids still read actual books, admire authors, and have good manners. (At least the girls were terrific; since there were no boys I can’t really comment on the weaker sex.)

The author, John Green, “No Fault in their Stars”, was in Columbus, Ohio, to promote his new book and movie, ” Paper Towns.”   Columbus, was one of the selected cities for this worldwide tour. ( I am not really sure what this book is about since I’m a lot older than 17. It has something to do with teenage love, angst and independence.)  After the tour, I decided I’ll read the book and forget that I’m on medicare.

John Green with his former best selling book

John Green with his former best selling book

An author is treated like a rock star

I wasn’t aware of what I was getting into when I volunteered to usher for “Tour of Paper Towns.” As I approached the Palace, a uniquely restored theater, I noticed that the street was packed with young girls of all shapes and sizes,  holding signs , posters and books!

When I got into the Palace, I discovered that I was ushering for the ” Paper Towns Tour.” The girls were waiting to hear an author, see a movie clip, and meet actors. The signs and posters pertained to the movie.

Our job, as ushers, were to make sure every seat was filled in the theater when they led them in at 250 at a time. The doors opened, and I felt nervous.  What if they were rowdy, mouthe, and confrontational?  No such thing. They filed  into the theater, being led by a young  guy in charge of the event. (He intently marched the groups of girls into the theater.)

The girls politely followed directions and got into their seats. It was a piece of cake! They were all dressed nicely in their 21st century clothes; dresses are out of style with this young crowd.

As soon as many of them took their seats, out came the phones, and the thumbs furiously texting. It sure kept the audience quiet. I think they were texting each other too. (Why talk when you can text?)

Many of the girls told me the primary reason they were there was to hear the author. “He is a great writer, and I like his characters and books,” said one girl. After talking to several others, I found out they were  also there to see the actors and a clip from the movie.  Imagine that, an author is an idol of the female youth of America.

Selfies, cameras, and publicity 

A young woman, who is an internet star, came out wearing a white dress that had a cape attached to it. She told the girls to take out their cameras, take a selfie and #Paper Towns Tour.”  In a few seconds hundreds of girls publicized the book.

During the showing of the clip there were some  screams when they showed the actors during the clip, and when they came out on at stage. The biggest screams were for the author!

Nothing like my generation where they got hysterical and fainted for musical groups. This was a more restrained kind of screaming.

After the movie clip the actors came out and had a very personal, familiar question and answer session with the audience. One of the more famous actors was Cara Delevingne, an English model. The other actors I also didn’t know were: Nat Wolff, Halston Sage and Austin Abrams.

John Green has a website, http:// John Green. com, a Twitter and a Facebook account. He can do the job of a press agent all by himself. Once you get on his sites, you can hear what he’s saying to the kids. (See, I’m giving him unsolicited publicity). I found it interesting that this young author was formerly part of a ministry in Columbus, Ohio, that volunteered at Children’s Hospital , sounds like a good role model!

It seems like the social media has brought actors and their audience into a more personal and intimate relationship. They don’t seem to be as far removed as they used to be, but only if you have a smart phone, and are a member of social media.

 

 




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