How to get a celebrity's autograph on the red carpet
The International Rome Film Festival is held annually every autumn in my adopted city. With one of the longest red carpets of any festival in the world it's a great opportunity to see Hollywood film stars up close. I've found myself spending many a long hour waiting for famous actors and directors to appear on the red carpet at film premieres, camera in hand, ready to capture the moment when hopefully, they approach and one's patience is rewarded with a prized autograph. Whilst teenagers are busy taking selfies with the A-listers to share on social media, the real money is still in building a collection of signed memorabilia, so I thought I'd share my own top tips about how to obtain autographs in person.
And remember, don't take it too hard if you don't manage to get that autograph. Try to enjoy the event ...and better luck next time!
Time required: Several hours
Cost: Determination and dedication
- Film memorabilia - glossy photograph, poster or DVD
- Rigid folder for storage
- Sensible shoes
- Sharpie Fine Point Permanent Markers
- Digital camera to record event
1. Stock up on Sharpies!
Some stars will bring their own pens to a red carpet, but it's better to be safe than sorry. You'll need at least two permanent marker pens (always bring a back up!)
2. Choose some interesting memorabilia
A recent magazine cover with the star on it in which they promote their latest film is a great idea, but won't stand out in a crowd. Bring something special for the celebrity to sign - a DVD or a poster of your favourite movie, even if it's an old one, is likely to catch their eye. This could also backfire of course - I always do some research to find out which is the star's own favourite film. A plain scrap of crumpled paper is unlikely to get you an autograph.
A glossy signed photo is worth more on the market if you are collecting to sell.
3. Get there early
Needless to say, getting to an event early is essential and be prepared for a long wait. Some stars, such as Tom Cruise or Leonardo DiCaprio for example, will arrive hours before a screening and take the time to sign, quite literally, hundreds of autographs.
4. Choose a strategic position
This is a tricky one. Where the limousines stop is quite a popular position as it's usually possible to grab the star's attention quickly before they are intercepted by journalists or press photographers.
If you see some fans who have prepared something very special, such as a banner, or who are dressed in a special way, making it more likely that the star will approach, hover nearby!
5. Wear comfortable shoes
Seriously folks - you're going to be standing for several hours - and possibly on tiptoes for much of that! You also may need to stand your ground if the event is very busy.
6. Make friends with fellow fans
Be friendly towards the people surrounding you and you'll be surprised by the camaraderie that forms as the hours pass. This solidarity will come in useful nearer showtime when last minute usurpers arrive and try to push to the front!
7. Etiquette - good manners go a long way
Always remember that whilst you may feel like you know a famous person very well, they are not your friend. In fact, they don't know you at all. Use your discretion and address them appropriately using Mr or Ms, rather than screaming their first name, if its an older star. First names seem to be fine for younger actors.
8. Remember to say "Please" and "Thank you"
This sounds obvious, but I see so many fans ignore the basics of politeness when desperate for an autograph.
9. Exchange a few words
Saying more than just "Please" and "Thank you" is also a nice touch. If there's time, some people will stop to exchange a few words. I witnessed a young guy in Rome recently tell every actress on the red carpet that her dress was beautiful - I watched amazed as that Italian charm worked every time and earned him a - "Why, thank you!" and a big smile from each and every starlet!
10. Don't ask for multiple autographs
If it's a busy event don't hog the celebrity's attention by bringing half a dozen items - let everybody have a chance and stick to a maximum of two items.
11. Keep the autograph safe
Allow the autograph to dry properly to avoid smudging before putting away in a rigid folder to preserve it intact.