It's a Guy Thing

Spin Doctor Doctrine

Demystifying the world of public relations and cutting the bullshit with Zack Teperman

Originally from Toronto, Canada, Zack Teperman now finds himself back and forth between Los Angeles, California and Nashville, Tennessee, where he is the President of ZTPR (, a business, music, celebrity, tech, fashion, start-up and product and lifestyle public relations firm. Public relations if done right can help people and brands reach a large audience and get ROIs without the expensive cost of traditional advertising and marketing. Public Relations is also a very unique career in a negative way. PR executives have made it into the list of the 10 most stressful jobs in North America for the past few years. It’s a profession that can break people. 

During his rise in the public relations industry, Teperman has had to deal with all types of personalities. From actors getting drunk and arrested at the airport, to travelling from gig to gig with members of Guns N Roses, to unauthorized leaked sex tape scandals, to shaking hands and hanging out with folks like Megan Fox, Harrision Ford, Elton John and other a-listers, Teperman and his team have been around it all. Oh, and he also recently wrote the best-selling book called Cut The Bull$hit: A Guide To Getting Yourself Out There, Somewhere!.

Teperman cut the BS with FHM as we asked him about some of these scandals and more + how anyone can go from being an average joe to famous, even while dealing with the COVID pandemic!

Let’s cut the BS right away… Is Hollywood as crazy as everyone says it is? Hollywood and the people that live there are 100% very unique, and for good reason. While you have typical types of businesses, a lot of people “moving to Hollywood” are wanting to get involved in some way in the entertainment industry, and so you have a lot of creative types of personalities. And with creative types, personality levels are at an all-time high… it makes for some good stories! However, I love ‘crazy’. Crazy to me means that someone is driven in their pursuit and open-minded to ideas. As a publicist, working with people who come to me with ideas and outside of the box thinking is an added asset. Of course, just like in any town, sometimes personalities don’t mesh well and sometimes the Hollywood spotlight (or failures and rejection) can really do a number on people mentally, and a lot of “acting out” occurs. 

So, can anyone be famous? Depends on your definition of famous, but in short, yes, anyone can be known and talked about. It just depends if that person is looking for a quick 15-minutes of fame or something that is long-lasting.

What is something wild you have witnessed first-hand with a client? I’ve gotten calls at 3AM from police stations. I’ve had to file lawsuits on behalf of clients who wanted to sue someone for stealing their pet chicken (no joke!), too seeing bar fights and windows smashed at hotels after a night of partying. Nothing really surprises me these days. Dealing with all types of people has really helped me to be more creative also in the ways I handle certain situations overall in life.

“There’s no such thing as bad publicity”, right? Honestly, this statement is used a lot in the PR world, but it’s not entirely true, unless your only objective is notoriety. Although most business owners and people in other professions such as lawyers, doctors, designers, athletes, musicians and actors would agree that visibility and brand recognition are common goals, being able to have and maintain a positive public reputation is more important. With the internet, stuff stays around forever, and so bad press can really hurt you down the line. That’s why it is important to properly and strategically plan what attention you get, rather than just getting naked and running down a street yelling “look at me! look at me!”

You have dealt with clients who have had nude photos leaked. Have been arrested at airports while drunk. And even seen some of your top music clients have insanely wild nights out on the town. How do you manage this and try to minimize negative exposure when negative things do pop up? It’s all about pre-planning the best you can and knowing what may be coming before it does. With photos, we always ask clients if there is a chance that exes or people may have copies, so that we can properly have a response ready in case someone is trying to be sleazy and make a quick buck down the road. And when it comes to arrests or wild nights out, the best we can do is get ahead of any media stories so that we can either put out a proper statement or get it not published. That goes back to crisis management and trying to best spin whatever we can.

So, you guys in PR are spin doctors? PR is all about getting stories told, and putting the proper spin on anything we do. So essentially, yes, we can be seen as ‘spin doctors’. People hire us so that we can get them the proper exposure to get themself or products or services out there in a way that draws people in. If something bad happens, we have to look at the overall picture and figure out a way to spin it in a way that won’t hurt whatever we are doing on behalf of that individual or business. And trust me, it’s not as easy as it may sound!

What advice would you give to people to help get themselves out there more? Think outside of the box! What makes you different from the person next to you?! Figure out what you want to be branded as, be seen as, and use whatever tools you have (such as social media) to promote that “image”. The key is to set yourself apart and allow people to see you and what you have to offer. Plus, when it is safe again, go out and network at events. Meeting people, talking, getting yourself out there and mingling with the proper crowds is a quick way to expand your reach. In the meantime, don’t be afraid to try networking with people you look up to in your industry. Hit them up on social media or via email and ask for advice. Many celebs or high profile business people used to be in your same position, and would be happy to respond back. Heck, I even randomly sent a letter to Tom Hanks asking for parental advice, and he responded a few weeks later in a 2-page letter. Anything is possible!

Does PR really work? I always say, you can be the best actor, best singer, have the best product, etc., but if nobody knows about you and your product, or service isn’t getting people’s attention, is it really the best?! That is where PR comes into play. We help strategize with you your ultimate goals and the stepping stones we need to take to get you where you want to go. Plus, we have the contacts, relationships and connections to get you that exposure, whereas if you just email someone yourself, it may not get answered. PR is an investment in yourself… so, it’s up to you if you believe in yourself.