Publicity Director, one-time thespian and all round nice guy, Greg Day is one of the four members of the FrightFest gang. Here, in an exclusive interview, Greg chats about his time before FrightFest and what the future may hold for the brand. (Photo by Steven Hurst)
HC: Is it true you used to be an actor?
GD: Yes. The height of my short-lived fame came in Grange Hill, where, as Geoff, an ex-pupil turned bike thief, I got caught nicking and ‘bundled’ by the whole school.
HC: How did you get started in the world of PR?
GD: I’d formed a theatre production company as an excuse to put on my own plays. This resulted in a massive overdraft. I took on a job as a runner for Columbia Pictures to pay off the debt. The then Head of PR liked me and plonked me in the press office re-writing the press notes coming in from America. An opening came up for a press officer and he persuaded me to take it.
HC: You formed Clout Communications in 2008 along with Kevin Wilson and David Burns; why did you decide to venture out by yourselves?
GD: I’d formed a kind of PR discussion group (I’m a bit of a social animal). We used to meet once a month at Grouchos to network, exchange news and get drunk. David and Kevin, whom I’d known for years, were part of the group and we gradually realised that we all wanted the same thing - to branch out from our own PR enclaves but not lose our independence and style of doing things. It’s been a great success and I think we’d all agree it was one the best decisions we’ve ever taken.
HC: Your client list is incredibly varied, is it this variation that helps keep you fresh, meaning you’re not dealing with the same kind of artist/company etc. all the time?
GD: Our client list reflects our own personalities. Kevin loves musical theatre and the big West End shows. David is great at handling the complex psyches of comedians and the kind of performers and theatre companies who inhabit the ‘art-house’ scene. My background is in film and TV and I’ve worked a lot with celebrities. Also, we all appreciate talent so we’ll take on anyone or any project that we find stimulating, challenging, fun and rewarding. Also, we’ve all either performed or produced ourselves, so we can see things from the client’s perspective. I’m also a qualified psychotherapist which comes in handy!
HC: How did you get involved with FrightFest?
GD: I’d met Alan (Jones) whilst working at the Columbia press office and liked him immediately. Our friendship really blossomed when I invited him on the set of a horror film I was the Unit Publicist on in Gstaad in Switzerland. One of the producers killed himself so the film folded, leaving most of the crew stranded, unpaid and mutinous. I sprained my ankle trying to save a midget from falling down a hill (don’t ask) and Alan was great. I will always remember us doing an aerobics class together conduced by Deborah Shelton – she of Dallas fame. Fast-forwarding, I’d supported Alan during the Shock Around The Clock and Fantasm days and when he asked me if I wanted to get more directly involved with FrightFest I jumped at the chance. I could see the enormous potential straight away.
HC: Are you involved in the choosing of films that are shown?
GD: Not really. Alan and Paul are the masters and I trust their judgement completely. Occasionally, when there is a dispute over a film, or a split decision, I’ll be asked for my opinion.
HC: FrightFest is such a well known brand now; do you think it could get any bigger?
GD: Yes, definitely, but the key is for this to happen gradually, as has been the case so far. We will put on more regional events and we have plans to make the London event even more appealing. Also, we’ve just launched a bi-monthly E-Zine. However, it’s the fans that make FrightFest the brand that it is. We must always listen to them.
HC: What’s next for FrightFest and what other projects are you working on?
GD: We have our Halloween event, which, this year, is at the Empire. Very exciting.
Other Clout projects include Derren Brown’s next TV and stage shows, Video Nasties: The Definitive Guide, released by Nucleus Films, Avenue Q, Doug Stanhope, Thriller Live and we’ve just taken on Katzenjammer, who can be described as “Two comedians, four hands and one piano”.
HC: Do you have a top five of movies shown at FrightFest and what’s your most vivid memory from past events?
GD: My top five, in no particular order are: Pan’s Labyrinth, Martyrs, Living & The Dead, Insomnia and Switchblade Romance. Tons of great memories but two spring to mind now – George Romero in the Odeon West End foyer surrounded by zombies and the moment I joined the other three on stage and received a round of applause. I was truly part of the FrightFest family!
HC: Greg Day, thank you very much.