About Insider Talks to Los Angeles based Publicist Sherry Lee Owner of GTK PR Talent Agency, LLC.
GTK PR Talent Agency, LLC also has Virtual Satellite Offices in Los Angeles, Atlanta, New Orleans, New York, London and Huntsville
HI! THANKS FOR TAKING THE TIME TO CHAT WITH US! CAN YOU TELL US A LITTLE BIT ABOUT YOURSELF, WHO IS SHERRY LEE IN YOUR OWN WORDS?
Sherry Lee is the mother of teen actor and an engineer during the day. She is also a publicist who owns and operates GTK PR Talent Agency, LLC with clients in Los Angeles, Atlanta, New York, Florida, Nashville, Alabama, New Orleans, England and has just added a client in Canada.
AT WHAT AGE DID YOU REALIZE THAT YOU WANT TO JOIN THE ENTERTAINMENT INDUSTRY?
I had actually never thought about working in the entertainment industry until my son showed interest in being an actor. Our story started out as a very negative traumatic event but resulted in a positive change for our family. What happened to our family was hard to talk about at first but in doing so has actually helped us to see the positive in the situation. I remember as a kid my dad used to say, “Things will happen to you in your life Sherry, some good, some bad but remember no matter what, they are supposed to happen to make you into the person you are supposed to be”. His other saying was “Sherry stop worrying so much, things always look better in the morning”. So far, he has been right.
When my son was three years old, we dealt with a home invasion. I was able to convince the invaders they had the wrong house because they did. Once I had convinced the men they had the wrong house, as they were walking out the door, it gave me enough time to lock the door behind them. I was able to get my son and husband into the back room of our house until the police arrived. After the home invasion, I got my son into child play therapy to deal with this traumatic event he had experienced. He was able to act out his feelings to help him cope with the trauma. Even several months after the home invasion when I heard a doorbell, my anxiety would take control of me and my son would run and hide under a table.
A few years later, I asked my son if he would like to go to acting class and he usually replied “Nah”. I remember watching him act out infomercials he would see on TV so I thought acting would interest him and I knew he had a talent but I did not want to push him. We lived in Alabama at the time and the south is a great place, southern hospitality is the absolute best. People in the South are so courteous and always willing to help if you need it. In 2012, my husband saw an article in the local newspaper that Grayson Russell (Diary of a Wimpy Kid) was in town filming his new movie “Space Warriors” in the U.S. Space and Rocket Center. Grayson Russell was going to be at a local movie theater viewing one of the “Diary of Wimpy Kid” movies with fans and would be signing autographs before the movie. My husband took our son to the movie to meet Grayson Russell. He took the time to answer my son’s questions and took pictures with him. At the screening, Grayson mentioned they were looking for extras to be in the movie he was filming. My son asked if he could go and be extra on set and the next day I took my son and he fell in love with the environment on that set. He loved watching the crew move their equipment around to do the same scene but to get the shot from different angles. The next week, I enrolled him in the local acting school, Hollywood Huntsville. Bill Billions and his wife, Ayoka Billions, trained him.
I would like to say these two acting coaches have been a positive break in our lives ever since. In six months, he booked his very first role in the feature film called “Campin’ Buddies” and he signed with his first Agent in the New Orleans area called Trinity Talent, Tabitha Huffman was his first Agent. From that day, he started to film all over the southeast and eventually landed an agency in Atlanta, Jana Van Dyke Agency. It was then he landed another Agent in Nashville, Talent Trek. The next few years he paid his dues by traveling all over, the southeast filming productions like “Daddy’s Home” with Will Ferrell and Mark Wahlberg, “My Pretty Face is Going to Hell”, “Man Down” with Shia LaBeouf that is one of my son’s and mine best memories of being on set. Shia came right up to us and welcomed us on set as if we were family and Kate Mara gave me a big hug as if we were long lost friends. My son played the role of a bully and they asked me to play his mom, so I did. It was not long after this that my son booked a role on short music video outtakes with country singer Tyler Farr. He was up for the County Music Award, it happened, and it created a new YouTube TV Series called The Grayson & Kate Show starring my son and Kate Kilcoyne. In a few short months my son booked a Doritos commercial with actress Stella Smith whom he has remained friends with ever since and now she plays Artemis on ‘Stargirl’. My son booked several more productions in the South and then decided it was time to visit Los Angeles. We all fell in love with the icon city.
While we were in Los Angeles, my son had auditions on top of auditions and he wanted to move there. When we flew back home to Alabama I decided to apply for jobs just to see if I could get a job in Los Angeles. The next week I had an offer to start by January of 2016. So, this Southern girl that went to Speak High School and lived in Moulton, AL was moving to Los Angeles. We did not have any friends or family in Los Angeles. I remember how scared and sad I was. I would be leaving my family and friends to go live in a city I was so unsure about. However, it all turned out great; I made new friends and still had my old friends from Alabama. I am still best friends with Jason Hill, whom I have known since our first date in fourth grade. I was so afraid if I moved to Los Angeles I would leave behind a piece of me but it turns out the friends I gained in Los Angeles just expanded my family.
When I came back home to Alabama even my high school classmates made a reunion out of it. I love every one of them and because of them and the family, I have made it so much easier to be in Los Angeles, it made me appreciate that I had to be that same person in Los Angeles. The first month we moved to Los Angeles, my son had to join SAG-AFTRA because he booked three productions that month. My son’s name is Grayson Thorne Kilpatrick and I am so proud of all the accomplishments he has made in his career. Matisha Baldwin, Wendy Farone, Ivana Chubbuck, and Gray’s Studio under David Gray, Margie Haber Studio, and Voice have privately trained Grayson over Coach Randy Thomas along with Sound Engineer Trey Murphy Thomas
HOW DID YOU GET YOUR START WORKING IN PUBLICITY?
I got my start as a publicist because of my son. I started looking for PR events for him to attend and created GTK PR Talent Agency, LLC that is named after his initials, Grayson Thorne Kilpatrick . Grayson wanted to attend events in Los Angeles and I did not realize how expensive it was to have PR. We tried a PR agency for a while but then I started to submit Grayson to events and I was actually getting better events for him than his PR agency. Then my son’s friends asked if I could help them get into events too. I helped them and then when they wanted to start to pay me for the services, I set up a company to make it official. I set up GTK PR Talent Agency, LLC and I got my license to work with underage kids from the State of California, I felt this was very important. As a parent, I would want to make sure his agents or representation were allowed to work with minors. My next step was to figure out what to charge? I wanted to be able to help people and not charge too much but with working a day job, I also needed to make sure to bring in a little extra from all the long hours I was putting in when submitting clients to events and looking for interviews for them. Nevertheless, I wanted to remember how hard it was for us being in Los Angeles and trying to get PR for our son. Therefore, I wanted my agency to be affordable. As I gained more clients, word of GTK spread around the LA area and into north Alabama (Madison, AL), Atlanta, New Orleans and even the New York entertainment market! I represent clients from all over the Los Angeles area and Eastern parts of the U.S. and London UK and now Canada.
I believe that everyone should have the opportunity to promote himself or herself and expand their name and display their talents without having to spend a lot of money to do so. I feel like I have proven myself in the past two years. I represent some amazing actors, singers, business owners and now I started to do PR for productions too. Besides the red carpet events and Interviews, we do so much more. We have an in house graphic designer to help our clients with business cards, making banners for their FB, IG, or YouTube profile covers. We have a photographer for headshots and lifestyle photos, James Stovall of The James Stovall Photography Studio. His photos have been featured on several magazine covers. We also have an in-house stylist to help our clients get ready for red carpet events, a video editor and videographer to help with auditions or to update demo reels. We do Electronic Press Kits (EPK), press releases, and social media. We recently got another client verified on IG. We assist with branding or rebranding. I am excited about all the things GTK has accomplished in this industry. If you have a child, under 18 make sure your management company and or PR service has their certification and licenses by the State of California as GTK does.
WHAT ARE SOME COMMON MISCONCEPTIONS ABOUT PUBLICISTS?
I think some misconceptions are that we can get our clients into any event or interviewed with any magazine. If you want interviews, you need to have something you are doing to be newsworthy. Booked a new production, wrote a book or something people want to know about. This is not true; if you are just looking to go to events, you do not need a PR agent. PR is so much more than events. If you want to be verified, we can help but there are no guarantees getting anyone verified. In addition, the thought process of any press is good press even if it is bad you are so mistaken. This is a losing strategy. You could have 1 million followers and not be verified, what is the content on your page? Do you need to be rebranded? I have seen accounts that delete all their content and start reposting but content is the same from what they were doing previously. Maybe it is just me but I absolutely hate seeing all these young girls on IG and TikTok with hardly anything on doing those ridiculous dances and sticking out their tongues and now we are seeing boys do it. Everyone wants to be an influencer. When I see these videos, I just shake my head.
WHAT DO YOU LIKE THE MOST ABOUT YOUR JOB?
I love telling my client I was able to get them that interview or that event they really wanted to go to. I love telling them “I got you verified” or I was able to help some of my clients find managers or agents. I got into this business because of my son and then wanting to help others, which I feel like I have done. I have an amazing client list and I am proud of every one of them. I want to take this time and talk about them. I have clients from all over the world from Los Angeles, New York, London, Canada, Florida, Texas, Atlanta, and Huntsville.
I have clients that are actors, singers, acting coaches, acting school, business owners, directors, producers, and production companies and now I am doing PR for films and not just the actors in the films. I have some of the best clients you could ask for. The Legendary Paul Anthony of the Grammy winning group Full Force, Paul is also a working Actor, DJ Willy Wow Former President Barack Obama Children Event DJ, Eric Merriweather Author, Two-Time Gold Medalistand Masters 8-Time World Champion Gold, Silver and Bronze Medalists. Eric is a Life Coach and a 2017 Humanitarian Awardhonoree of the Legendary Awards. Joshua J Packard Model and Actor known for ‘The Truth About Santa Claus’, ‘The Greatest Showman’, Grayson Thorne Kilpatrick huge Rubik Cube fanatic and known for his Chris Farley (Matt Foley SLN ‘Living in a Van Down by the River’) Videos and ‘American Horror Story’. Rico E Anderson known for ‘Star Trek’, ‘S.W.A.T’, Chris Atkins former WWE Wrestler now Actor known for upcoming ‘P.T.S.D’. Jac Carrera known for ‘Gotham’ and ‘Machine Gun Kelly’. Susan Lavelle known for ‘Alien Nation’ and ‘Scrooged’. Nana Churcher of the famous The Nana Churcher Talk Show in London. Jennifer Collins known for ‘Conjuring 2’ and award winning ‘Mama’s Boy’. Ava Connolly known for ‘All creatures Big and Small’, ‘Rattled’. Eli D Goss known for ‘Rediscovering Christmas’ and ‘Reasonable Men’, Queen Harper business Owner of Glam Life Coach she is a published celebrity wigmaker and hair connoisseur helping woman who have hair loss. San Dimas Cake Company the owner Celine Esquivel creates Art with her custom cakes and won The 2021 Woman of the year in Los Angeles. Rachelle Henry Actress known for ‘Woodstock or Bust’ and ‘My Summer as a Gothic’. New Comer Hutch Warren Actor and Cancer survivor. Brain Inerfeld Actor and singer known for his ‘HitStreak’ and ‘Radio Disney’. Jake Kratzman Actor and Singer Jake attended the Tribeca film festival for his film ‘Materna’. Sasha Kerbel Actress known for ‘A Good Day to Die Hard’ and upcoming film ‘P.T.S.D’. Brenda Mejia Actress and Talk show host from her iHeart Radio show. Bo Mitchell Actor known from ‘Cobra Kai’, Tim Realbuto Actor known for upcoming ‘Bobcat Moretti’ and award winning film ‘Yes’, Summer Skyy Actress known for ‘6 Degrees of Ella’, Brandin Stennis Actor known for the ‘Young and the Restless’ and upcoming film ‘Remember me : The Mahalia Jackson Story’. Harrison Stone Actor known for award winning film ‘Green Book’ and ‘NCIS New Orleans’. Zhalea Vossough Actress known for upcoming Hulu series regular TV Series and ‘Jason Bourne’, Drayton Walker Actor known for ‘Sacrificing the Queen’ and ‘Fatal Attraction’ TV series. Saarrah Winter Actress known for ‘6 Degree of Ella’, Joseph Disberger Actor known for ‘The Xenophobes’. Robert Leckington known for ‘Gotham’ and ‘The Dark Knight Rises’. Carrie Anne Hunt Actress known for ‘Magic Mike’ and ‘Hillbilly Elegy’. Mathieu Silverman Actor known for ‘Still Harlem’. Savannah Chappell Actress known for ‘Zero’ and ‘Dormant’. Faith Monique Actress known for ‘Death Ranch’ and ‘I want Out’. Samantha Desman Actress known for ‘Legion’ and ‘Distant Vision’. Javier Collazo Lopez Actor known for ‘The Son’ and ‘Stand Out’. Charley Boon Actor and Acting Coach with Baron Brown Studio known for ‘Citizen Kayne’ and ‘Synapse’. Zach Thompson Producer and Director known for ‘Avatar’ and ‘Independence Day’. Brent Anthony Actor known for ABCs ‘The Community’ and ‘The Chair’. Zack Kurz Actor known for ‘Snow Angel’ and ‘Revenge of the Mask 2’. Princeton Drake Actor known for ‘NCIS New Orleans’. Julie Haught Actress known for ‘Queen Sugar’ and ‘Homicide Hunter’. Norton Leufven Actor known for ‘Crazy Ex-Girlfriend’ and ‘Superstore’. Ta’j Actor known for ‘In New York’ TV series and ‘Evil Lives Here’. Daniel Thornton Singer, Music creator and Actor known for ‘Peanuts’. Samuel D Evans Actor known for ‘Time Jumpers’ and ‘Reset’. Christopher E. Richardson Author and Actor. Brodie Mullin Actor and Singer known for ‘One Shot’ and ‘The Science of Tortured Mind’. Love Walker Fitness Trainer and Actress. Calvin Benuto Actor known for ‘Perpetual Grace’.
WHO ARE YOUR BIGGEST INFLUENCES?
I think my biggest influencers are my friends and family that have been so supportive of my family and me. I think back on how and where I grew up and I know I would not be the person I am today if it was not for living in Moulton, AL and all the friends I had growing up and going to school at Speake High School. I am still friends with them today. I love being on FB to talk to them. I love seeing what they are doing and the older I get the more I miss them. I look back on the time I spent there and I take the values I was raised with. When I started GTK PR I wanted to help people in the industry that could not afford PR so I work a day job to try to keep down the expenses. I try to remember what it was like when Grayson was just starting out. I try to treat each of my clients, as I would want my son treated.
WHAT IS SOMETHING WE SHOULD KNOW ABOUT YOU THAT MIGHT SURPRISE US?
As I mentioned earlier, during the day I work as an engineer. I am also currently pursuing my Ph.D. My son Grayson is an actor. I was born and raised in Alabama. I collect Faberge and I absolutely love peacocks but I would not want to own a real one (they are so loud) but I love the colors. I do not like warm weather at all! If it is 65, it is too hot for me. I love the fall and winter. I love Britbox, I absolutely love British TV. My dream is to retire to Scotland one day. However, if I could have one wish I think it would be to take my son on his dream vacation (tour of Italy) and spend time with him for one month. When he was younger, I was always working and I cannot remember us going on any vacations. It seems like he has grown up so fast now, he is 17 and he passed the California High School Proficiency Examination (CHSPE) exam so he is starting college a year early.
WHAT DO YOU THINK IS THE IMPORTANCE OF PUBLICISTS IN THE ENTERTAINMENT INDUSTRY?
I think one of the most important things a publicist can do is to create a positive message for each of my clients so they can enhance their careers and reputation. I get excited every time I am able to submit my clients and get them approved for a verification on social media or get them into events or interviews. I want all of my clients to support each other and encourage each other. When one of my clients gets a win I feel we all get a win. Before COVID I would have a Christmas event just for my clients, we would play games that I brought from my southern roots (Like dirty Santa, I think in California they call it White Elephant but in South we play it a little different) For kids I would do Saran ball until I started doing for the adults to have fun. Every year my clients ask me if we are having the Christmas party but sadly we had to cancel it in 2019 and 2020 due to Covid but I am hoping we can have it this year.
ANY UPCOMING PROJECTS YOU CAN TALK ABOUT.
Well, I have recently started to do Public Relations on production companies and feature films. I have recently signed a film called ‘Carbynarah Chronicles: The Inset’ this film was written by Franklin Randolph. You can find the series on Amazon. I am very excited to work with them on this project.
WHERE CAN OUR READERS FIND YOU ONLINE?
They can find GTK PR Talent Agency, LLC and Sherry Lee at www.gtktalentagency.com
IMDb Pro: https://pro.imdb.com/company/co0761773/