Trillium Book Awards Author Reading 2015

Understanding the Message with Braden Wright

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It was a chance meeting and a casual conversation about promotion that gave me the idea to contact Braden Wright for this piece. The Toronto native has spent the last 16 years in Los Angeles working in and around Hollywood in a number of different ways. He is perhaps best known for his work as the Unit Publicist for 24 feature films. His first movie, which he says was a fantastic experience, was the Academy Award winning film Moonstruck starring Cher and Nicholas Cage. Nothing like starting at the top of your field! He also spent 10 years with the Disney Company as a photo editor.

What I like about Braden is his ability to cut to the chase which is what he did when we sat down recently to talk about the challenges faced by writers or anyone really who wants to get their “word out.” Where to begin? Braden says it come down to knowledge: “Define who you are. Define what the message is that you want to convey. Define who would find that message relevant.” In the old model of advertising the message was based on "pushing out” a message. In this model, the person receiving the message was directed to do complete an action like buy, read or listen to something. With the advent of the internet things have suddenly become bi-directional and have taken on a much more conversational aspect. As such the message needs to be more of a “pull”; drawing people in or towards the message by using their inherent curiousity.
Marketing experts speak about the need for 11 “touches” or points of touch for consumers to be aware enough of a product to make a purchase. Just making one attempt is not enough. The problem after we put out a blog or create a flyer or an ad that is met with silence, is the conversation that follows in our own heads. This self-talk is often filled with negativity about our message not being good or strong enough rather than acknowledging that it may have been heard but not kept. Relevance is the key which creates awareness and conversation.

This is a useful piece of information for writers. It doesn’t matter how good your message or your piece is, if it exists in isolation it is likely to quickly die on the vine. One of Braden's strategies is for you to take your message and in working with it try and think of it as being part of a conversation. It is a difficult concept at first but ultimately freeing; allowing us to be in the position of not “pushing” or preaching a message but opening it up like a package for the world to examine. As writers, we are communicators and have to be amenable to all forms including the promotion, publicity and advertising side of our work. Try and think of doing an all-encompassing campaign to promote your work and your brand and not simply a publicity push which is more likely a singular event.

This is a man who has worked as a feature entertainer for 24 years in various capacities like skater in a touring ice show and actor and has learned to draw people to him. Working with Braden and listening to him as he patiently explains these concepts is like accepting an invitation rather than being forced through a lecture. Braden Wright is an accomplished writer (Old Pros) who is 2/3 the way through his first novel and recently completed a book about PR and its’ applications for small business. He makes his home in Los Angeles with his artist wife Diana who works in Contemporary Celtic Art ( Braden says he has always worked as a freelancer and loves the advantages that his work style gives him to do other things as they come up. He says: “As any artist knows, the secret is diversification.”
If you would like more information or would like to contact Braden he can be found online at

The views expressed in the Writer-in-Residence blogs are those held by the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views of Open Book: Toronto.

Pj Kwong

Pj Kwong is a figure skating expert and writer currently working for CBC Sports. Her first book, Taking the Ice: Success Stories from the World of Canadian Figure Skating (BookLand Press), will be in stores in September 2010.

Go to Pj Kwong’s Author Page