Stephen Huvane: Founding Partner at Slate PR

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Stephen Huvane is a veteran entertainment publicist with over 24 years in the industry.  Currently he is a partner in the firm SLATE PR where he overseas the press campaigns for the following clients: Jennifer Aniston, Ellen Barkin, Amy Brenneman, Nicolas Cage, Giada De Laurentiis, Entertainment Industry Foundation (Stand Up 2 Cancer), Isla Fisher, goop, Chelsea Handler, Anne Hathaway, Bryce Dallas Howard, Helen Hunt, Eva Mendes,  Julianne Moore, Gwyneth Paltrow, Nicola Peltz, Meg Ryan and Liv Tyler.

Huvane started his career working as a Jr publicist at the firm Baker Winokur Ryder where he assisted in the press campaigns for Michael J Fox, Dylan McDermot and many others.  After three years at BWR renowned entertainment publicist Susan Geller recruited him to work at her firm Geller and Associates for another three years.  Eager to start his own firm, he partnered with Simon Halls and Robin Baum to form Huvane/Baum/Halls.   The newly formed company thrived and added high profile clients like Russell Crowe, Ang Lee and James Franco, USA Networks and many more to their roster.  After a eight year successful run Huvane, along with his partners sold Huvane Baum Halls to advertising giant IPG where they agreed to merge their company with competitor PMK to form a new company called PMK/HBH.  After a period of eight more years working at PMK/HBH, Huvane and his original partners (Baum and Halls) joined up with Ina Treciokas and Andy Gelb to form what is now known as SLATE PR.

How did you get into the PR industry and why?

I originally got into the PR industry by chance.  I had moved from NYC to LA basically to change up my life.  I was looking to take some time off to re-evaluate what I wanted to do career wise.  I was in the IT human resources and recruitment business prior to my relocation to Los Angeles.  After only a month or so of taking time off I started to get restless. I had a friend named Nanci Ryder who was a partner at Baker Winokur Ryder and she suggested I check out the publicity world in regards to actor representation.  I went to work for her as an assistant and quickly progressed to being a publicist after signing several new clients.

How does your firm utilize social media and stay ahead of competitors?

The unique thing about our firm is that we represent actors, actresses, directors, producers, films, events, charities, and corporations. With each client, social media will play either a huge part of their campaign or a very small part depending upon the comfort level of the client.  Since I personally solely represent actors and actresses, we can completely set up a client on all social media platforms and guide them through keeping content relevant and entertaining.  However there are some clients who refuse to engage in the social media world and we also support that position.  The very nature of an actor is to maintain a sense of mystery in their persona so that when taking on a role, the preconceived ideas of their public persona does not get in the way of the audience buying into them playing the role.  Additionally social media can contribute to over-exposure for hugely popular clients and its then that we recommend pulling back on social media interaction.

What brands do you rep and what is the niftiest PR move you have implemented for them?

I don't represent Brands – I represent people. 

Your greatest success and mistakes as a CEO and what did you learn from them?

I am not one to toot my own horn nor am I one to scream out my failures.  I have been fortunate enough to find success in this field mostly due to my instincts and ability to navigate dynamic situations.   Of course there have been mistakes along the way but each mistake has made me better in the end.  I wouldn't feel comfortable pointing out any specific successes but I am very proud of the longevity of my career and that I have represented many of my clients for over 20 years now.

What traits make a great publicist?

A good sense of judgement, taste and timing and an ability to know when to step it up and pull it back.  I can read people very well and I learned very early in my career that my instincts tend to be right so I will always follow them.

Life Motto?

Life is short so stop wasting my time!

What's the most interesting headline you read this week?

Each week when the weekly celebrity rags come out - I'm astonish at the nerve these magazines have with their ludicrous headlines.  There was a time when you would see about 20 percent truth in the tabloids, but now-a-days 90 percent of what you read is completely fabricated.  I think for the most part the headlines on the tabloids have made the readers numb to celebrity news.

Favorite travel destination?

Anywhere in Europe and Mexico

Describe a great night out.

I'm very boring in this regard as a great night out is Margaritas and Mexican food with my husband.  Keeping it simple.

Role model - business and personal?

Professionally I have a few role models.  Nanci Ryder from BWR (Baker Winokur Ryder) who gave me my first job in this industry taught me a lot about actor representation.  Paul Bloch from Rogers and Cowan is a legend in this business and I have always admired his gentle and compassionate approach to what can be a brutal business.  Personal role models are my family members.   My father has worked very hard to raise and support 6 children who are all successful in their fields.  My sister Denise was one of my first bosses coming out of College and I have learned so much about work ethic and professional integrity from her. My Brother Kevin is both a personal and professional role model in that I have seen him rise to the top of his field, yet he is one of the most extraordinarily loyal and generous men I have ever come across in my life.

What's next for your firm and you personally?

For SLATE PR we continue to be a leader in the field of entertainment PR and have enjoyed a comfortable level of expansion with each year we are in business.  I personally remain committed to representing my clients to the best of my ability while still having fun.  I promised myself a long time ago that when the fun in my job ceased to exist – that is when I would throw in the towel.  Fortunately for me - I'm having a blast!