Have you ever had a brush with fame? Ever wanted to?
I’ve been lucky enough to have made the acquaintance and friendship of some of my heroes–not quite A-list celebrities, but certainly A-list in my heart. Here’s some strategies for getting to actually meet that person that you’ve been idolizing so long:
- Show up and be patient: the closest I ever came to real celebrity was after a Tori Amos concert with my girlfriend in Madison, WI. After the concert she wanted to wait by the stage door. I thought it was a waste of time…but wait we did, and after not really too long, she came out. She’s shorter than she looks on stage, but her eyes and smile are just as radiant as you’d imagine.
The fans outside had been told they should not ask for autographs (hint: when they tell you that, listen. Otherwise you annoy the artist (who may just leave) and the other fans (who will at the very least glare at you, and maybe worse) and she smiled and shook hands with people. My girlfriend, who was shy, hung back–and that’s when the magic happened.
Tori saw us, there in the back, and she pushed through the fans, taking my girlfriend’s hand and asking "How did you like the show?" We were tongue tied, of course, but she shook our hands, smiled warmly, and got into the limo.
Not all stars will be so gracious. But Tori is.
- Get to know the fans: There’s this really cool thing called the internet…oh, you’ve heard of it? Well, if you get to know the other people who truly believe that Keanu Reeves is a fine Shakespearean actor, via the internet, you may find some surprising things…like people who actually know him, and will agree that there was no finer John the Evil to ever attempt Much Ado About Nothing.
Ok, that might be stretching it, but really, it could happen. One of my heroes is Jeanne Robinson, a dancer and author from Halifax. As part of a group of fans who talk on the web a lot, I was one of the first to hear from another (under a condition of secrecy) of an opportunity to spend a weekend with her and her husband Spider (another hero of mine, and a fine performer in his own right).
Within minutes I was actually talking on the phone with her. I spent the weekend with them and others, and it literally changed my life. But that leads to point 3:
- Be who you are. All that talk about Keanu aside, don’t spread it too thick. Be honestly critical, and honestly appreciative. Do it in newsgroups and blogs and chatrooms, and you’d be amazed who will hear of you.
Now, if you’re an obnoxious loud blowhard, maybe it’s not such good advice. But the most important thing is: when you meet them, continue to be yourself. See, they have lots of people who turn to mush around them (see me around Tori, above). Someone who remains a functioning human even in the face of celebrity, now…that’s rare.
- Take advantage of opportunity: You know how people say things like "Don’t worry, I’m sure you’ll get another chance…"? It doesn’t apply to celebrity, in my opinion. I have had conversations with Bill T. Jones, talked with Greg Benford, bounced Donny Osmond’s son on my lap and traded stories with the fetish diva Midori, all because I did things that, in a rational sense, there was no reason to do. For example, when I got the chance to meet Jeanne and Spider Robinson? I really couldn’t afford it; I didn’t have vacation time; there was no reason that I should have been able to go.
I went anyway. It sort of ties into the first point, of showing up. But it’s also taking advantage of any opportunity, even the ones that don’t make sense. I recently signed up on a list to have a donkey come visit me for a week. Why? Because I’m a big fan of John Cleese, and even though I know he won’t actually be coming, the stories I write about Basil’s visit will be fun and possibly funny to him.
What’s that? You’ve never heard of Basil the Donkey? That’s ok; click on the link, and now you have.
So…those are m suggestions. Be around, be active in the community, and you’ll get noticed. And be sure to let me know how it works for you!
(note: this entry is part of the "Pro-Blogger’s How-To". Be sure to visit and see what else you can learn!)
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