THE COMPELLING AND REWARDING WORK OF JOURNALIST MARIETTA STEINHART
Have you ever wondered what it’s like reporting on the film industry in Hollywood? “It’s an outright compelling job,” says Marietta Steinhart, an experienced film journalist. “But make no mistake about it, the hustle is real. It’s a lot of hard work. On the surface it’s all glitz and glamor, but like anything else it takes true dedication and involves a lot of hours brooding over a computer and sitting in dark movie theaters,” says the Austrian film critic with a smile.
We bumped into Marietta Steinhart the other day – an open, engaging and keen lover of movies – at Insomnia, a small café and favorite hangout for local scribes, not far from the Hollywood strip. She’s the Austrian film journalist who covers all things movies in LA for the Austria Press Agency, a national newswire; Zeit Online which accompanies prestigious German newspaper Die Zeit; and ray Filmmagazin, a super-smart, decidedly exclusive, independent film magazine, published in Vienna. But what’s that like? “Like everyone else, we have a job to do. The difference, of course, comes when you do something that you truly love. I think that applies to anything you have a passion for – whatever it is you do, if you have a real passion for it, your work never feels like ‘a job’.”
Indeed, if your vision of being a freelance film journalist means dressing in designer duds, sipping exotic cocktails at the Polo Lounge at the Beverly Hills Hotel and talking to movie stars all day, Steinhart is the woman who will burst your bubble. “Of course glamor is part and parcel of this world, especially in Hollywood. That’s what you see when you read an article or watch a story on TV… But writing those articles involves doing research, watching material, juggling deadlines, managing different parties with their own agenda in a marketing-focused culture – and a lot of alone time in front of your laptop”, she says.
When Steinhart hangs out at places like the Polo Lounge, there’s nothing casual about it. Much like the celebrities who are there to promote their latest film or television project – “that’s why they call it the movie business,” she says – Steinhart has a job to do. Even if that job means interviewing the likes of Judd Apatow, Anthony Hopkins, Amy Schumer, or any one of scores more film professionals that have shared their stories with the journalist from Vienna. Teams of professional publicists are pulling the strings behind the scenes. Not only are journalists like her carefully vetted before ever putting a recorder or a camera in front of an interview subject. They also place firm limits on the amount of time allotted for most encounters.
When people talk about film journalists, many times they forget an important part of that title: journalist, and they don’t really address that word when they are conjuring up glamorous images of what a person in that position really does for a living. Marietta Steinhart has turned in countless of reports, film reviews and interviews over the years and has covered the Oscars along with top film festivals. “Your job is to riddle, interpret and … unravel”, she says. “And try to tell insightful stories.”