Landing the Big One: The Story Behind SUCCESS Profiles

So much in life hinges on these things: relationship-building, persistence and resourcefulness. Paul Scott Adamo, SUCCESS talent executive, knows this very well. Since the early issues following SUCCESS magazine’s re-launch in 2008, Paul has helped book interviews with celebrities, prominent businesspeople, entrepreneurs and sports figures.

Based in New York, Paul has more than 10 years’ experience as a producer, talent executive and casting director for television, radio and print. Increasingly, publicists come to Paul with requests for SUCCESS stories on their clients. But more often, it takes months or years of Paul’s persistent follow-ups to land the interview.

But there’s more to Paul’s job than following up; he looks for opportunities—such as new movies, books, business developments or charitable ventures, these extraordinary achievers want to promote. In addition to staying in touch with publicists, Paul attends book expos, industry events and parties, and movie screenings.

“You have to be persistent and never give up,” Paul says. “It can take a day to book someone—or two years.”

Such was the case with our January cover feature on director Ron Howard. Paul, a member of the Producer’s Guild of America, attended a guild screening of Howard’s Frost/Nixon, and introduced himself to Howard afterward. Howard was very interested in a SUCCESS cover feature, but his producing partner suggested waiting until he had an appropriate project to promote.

So Paul kept watching for upcoming Ron Howard films, waiting, checking in with Howard’s publicist. Our opportunity came with the release of Howard’s new movie, The Dilemma. Paul coordinated his efforts with the studio publicist.

Another big catch for us was Starbucks’ Howard Schultz, who will be on the April cover. We had been seeking an interview with Schultz since our first issue. Then in December, three years later, the publicist for his new book, Onward: How Starbucks Fought for Its Life without Losing Its Soul, contacted Paul to pitch a profile. The timing was perfect—we were debating cover options for our Leadership issue, and Schultz had just led Starbucks through the recession and back to financial health, and was eager to talk about the company’s transformation.

In addition to everything else he does, Paul points out that there’s something else essential.

“I always treat everyone with respect,” he says. “I stay in touch with the representatives that I book personalities through—this is not just to get the bookings. I really do care about the people I work with and book. I want to make sure that everyone is happy. They have a message and projects that they want to promote. I have to make sure that it is taken care of.”

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