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Alum Sara Hull Credits MCCC with Leading Role in
Her Hollywood Career

4/8/13


West Windsor, N.J. -- According to Sara Hull ’04 (A.A., Communications), national publicity coordinator for Fox Searchlight Pictures, Mercer County Community College helped her decide on her future path and motivated her to get there.

For Hull, “there” can be Los Angeles, where Fox Searchlight is located, or film festivals around the country, or even as far as the Cannes Film Festival in France – anywhere her job takes her to get the press and movie-goers talking about her latest film project.

According to Hull, organizing red carpets and other high-profile press and awards events are all part of a day's work. “We work a lot of red carpets, escorting talent down to talk to the various press outlets,” she says.

In February, Hull worked the most famous red carpet of all, the Academy Awards. She served as the escort for Quvenzhané Wallis, the youngest actor ever to earn an Oscar nomination. Wallis was nominated for her break-out performance in Beasts of the Southern Wild.

Beasts was extraordinarily special, in that I worked directly with the 9-year-old star of the film,” Hull observes.  “In addition to getting the press to see the film and organize interviews with the cast and filmmakers, I also traveled around the country with the team from the film.”

A graduate of Hamilton High School West, Hull says when she enrolled at Mercer, her exciting future was far from planned out. She chose the college in part because her mother, Donna Penn, is a member of the Nursing faculty. "She really encouraged me. It was close to home and a good option while I figured out what exactly I wanted to do.  It was a launching pad to get me to the next step in my life.”

Having always been drawn to the entertainment industry, Hull pursued every possible option at Mercer as she sought out ways she could turn that passion into a career.  She took courses in journalism, public speaking, television production, radio and more.  She immersed herself in extracurricular activities, performing in the improv troupe Mouthworks, (an oral interpretation speaking group led by Communications Professor Kathi Paluscio), working as a disc jockey on the college radio station, and serving as co-editor-in-chief of the college newspaper.

She recalls her Mercer professors as top notch -- and life-changing.  "My teachers were extremely supportive. They helped me live my dreams. They inspired me to want to do and learn more and push myself to succeed. Through the classes I took and the people I met along the way, I figured out what I should be doing and never looked back.”

From Mercer, Hull headed for Southern California, set on a public relations career in the entertainment industry. She completed her bachelor’s degree at California State University, Fullerton. While at Cal State, she landed the internship of a lifetime in the publicity department at Focus Features.

Hull is pictured with Oscar nominee Quvenzhané Wallis at the Academy Awards.
On the job as the natonal publicist for Fox Searchlight Pictures.
 

Hull's first job following graduation was as a movie marketing assistant and then a junior publicist at 42West, a leading full-service public relations entertainment firm with offices in New York and Los Angeles. During her three years at 42West, she took on increasingly challenging roles, which set the stage for her job at Fox Searchlight. 

Her work at Fox Searchlight is fast-paced and varied. On any given day, Hull is organizing, pitching and running press days, junkets and premieres with talent in Los Angeles and at well-known film festivals such as Sundance International Film Festival, Toronto International Film Festival, South by Southwest, and Cannes Film Festival. Among the awards events she has worked are the Critics' Choice Awards, the Directors Guild of America Awards, the Independent Spirit Awards, and, most famously, the Academy Awards. She has carried out publicity campaigns for major motion pictures including Black Swan, The Descendants, Crazy Heart, Our Family Wedding, Just Wright, Conviction, The Art of Getting By, Win Win, The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel and Stoker.

Hull's long and active list of contacts embraces all types of media – print, online, radio and television outlets – from The Los Angeles Times, USA Today, People Magazine and Entertainment Weekly, to television shows like Entertainment Tonight, Access Hollywood, Extra and E! Entertainment.  She regularly reaches out to talent show bookers on The Tonight Show with Jay Leno, Conan, Jimmy Kimmel Live, The Late Late Show with Craig Ferguson, Chelsea Lately, Fox Television's Good Day L.A. and KTLA-TV Morning News.

Acknowledging the joys of the career she has molded for herself, Hull advises MCCC students to work hard and never give up.  “Stay focused on what you want and you can make it happen,” Hull says.  “Take the time to figure out what you are passionate about and what you want to do with your life, and never settle and never sell yourself short. Try new things and never pass on an opportunity because you never know where it may lead.”

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