In American culture there are several universal loves. We love sports. We love apple pie. We love fast cars. And we love famous people. Be it athletes, or television stars, or movie stars, or reality TV rejects, we Americans can’t get enough. You’d be lying if you said you’ve never done this: You’re checking out at your local grocery store and you spot an Us Magazine or People Magazine, or National Enquirer. See "Celeb X" is now dating or broke up with "Celeb Y". You know you at least picked it up and skimmed through it. Americans eat this shit up like Fiddo does kibble.
For whatever reason, we can’t seem to get over our fascination with the people that appear on our various “dummy boxes”. (Laptop, Smartphones, tablets, TVs etc.) Americans treat seeing a celebrity like discovering a 3 legged, purple polka dotted unicorn. Now working in Hollywood affords me the opportunity to “rub shoulders” with some of these people and here’s what I’ve learned.
A) They’re just people. Trust me they eat, drink, sleep, pee, and poop like everyone else on this giant blue floating ball of death we call Earth.
B) Most are actually really nice. Now, you do run into a few jerks, but that’s the case with most people in life. You had nice teachers and you had asshole teachers. You’ve met asshole cops and you’ve met nice cops. The same is true with celebs. Most people had to work really hard to get where they are.
While most are very humble and thankful for all they have, it’s the former child stars or second generation celebrities who are the real assholes. They’ve been “somebody” their whole life and think all they have is a “birthright”. They’ve always had someone kissing their ass and come to believe their behavior is “normal” or “expectable”.
Since I’ve interacted with more than few and since I have tons of friends in this business or who want to be in this business, I’ve created a list to show you guys how to interact with them. A la, how to take a picture or ask for an autograph.
1) Act NORMAL!!
I’m sure you’re excited to see “Joe Blo” or “Suzy Q” but remember they KNOW who they are and they get that “Oh my God it’s you!” reaction every time they leave the house. So when someone is just cool, calm, and collected it’s actually really refreshing. Be admiring but don’t kiss ass, and don’t make it seem like they’re the second coming. (Refer to “A” above.)
Remember we’re filmmakers, we interact with these people daily. We’re not civilians on the street. If you don’t make a living in the entertainment world, you sure lose your shit when you see George Lucas, or Brad Pitt, or Haley Barry. But remember, you, a filmmaker, acting like “that” is sort of like zookeeper getting “all hyped” at the sight of a lion. Trust me, you’ll be seeing them everyday.
2) Only ask for a picture if you’re sure you’ll never work with them again OR you won’t be working with them anytime soon.
There was a celebrity I worked with recently that I was pretty excited to meet. He’s a very funny comedian I won't say who it was. I actually wanted a picture, which is weird for me because I hardly do. But then I realized I’d more than likely be working with the dude again in a few weeks on another show. And wouldn’t you know it, I will be. If you’re on a one-day commercial with Denzel, sure you can ask for a picture. But if you’re on 3-month shoot with the guy don’t go asking for a photo op on the first day.
3) NEVER, NEVER, ask for a photo during the last day of production, on the way to set, OR right after they’ve wrapped.
These are easy ones. If you’ve been working all damn day, under hot ass lights, dressed in clothes you’d normally never wear, would you want to stick around any longer than you had to? Hell. No. They wanna get changed and they wanna go home. So never ever slow that process for them.
If they’re going to set, let them go to set. You stopping to take a “selfie” slows down the whole production. And if it’s a multiple day shoot, ask two days or one day before the last day. Everyone and they grandmother is going to ask on the last day. Don’t be that guy or girl.
4) Never take a photo with a celebrity too close to your own age or significantly younger than you.**
If you’re old enough to be their damn father or mother, don’t do it. How does a grown ass man/woman look take a picture with Selena Gomez or Justin Bieber. And the thing to remember about celebrities your own age or close, is you two are peers for God’s sake. I’d never ask Drake for a photo or any other celebrity that I could have went to high school with. This is especially true in your 20s because it just points out the fact that you’re the same age BUT for whatever reason they’re doing a lot better than you in life.
*Athletes from your favorite team is fine no matter the age gap.
* Now when you’re in your 40s and they in there 40s, fuck it. If you’re not “there” yet you’ll probably never get “there” so who cares right.