Everyone has their goals when attending a convention, a concert, or any public place known for fandoms. Some fans just want to purchase merchandise relating to their favourite anime, television show, music, movies, etc., and others aim to meet the people behind their favourite things.
Musicians. Artists. YouTubers. Voice Actors. You name it. They are out there, and they are—at times—coveted. But it’s important to remember that, at the end of the day, these people are just…well…people. Like you and me. They have perfected a craft in a manner that has allowed them to achieve stardom and fame, but they are not immortal beings impervious to annoyance and damage.
Here are five friendly tips for how to compose yourself when meeting someone who you look up to. In reality, these are five friendly tips for handling people in all walks of life, but since we typically don’t find people glomping cashiers at the supermarket, we’re going to direct this at celebrities and the like for the purpose of this article.
1) Wait your turn.
Many conventions will place their guests at a table against a wall, and patrons can wait in a line to be able to meet that guest, have their merch signed, and take selfies with them. Other times, you might just see a celebrity vegging out in a hallway quietly talking to some of their fans. Whatever the case, you don’t want to be that loud, obnoxious person who barges through the crowd and demands to speak to their idol right now *fingersnaps*.
Not only is this impolite to the others around you, but it is also impolite to the celebrity in question. This person has their thoughts collected and is likely engaged in talking with their other fans, and here you are…barging in mid-conversation like a rogue tornado. At a minimum, this celebrity is now going to be very flustered, and at a maximum they may be outwardly angry at you. I have seen many a Tumblr post discussing how much of a jerk Celebrity X was when they met up with them in public, and many of them will inadvertently admit that they barged into a pre-existing situation when things hit the fan.
Nothing good comes from placing your ego above someone else’s trophies. Trust me: no matter how polite that celebrity may be to your face when you do this, there will be some sort of negative comment made about you as soon as you’re out of earshot. Be a rational human being. Wait your turn.
2) Be respectful.
I follow many voice actors and musicians on Twitter. Some of them even follow me back, because I abide by the rules featured in this article and they have deemed me to be a good person. You know who they don’t follow back and deem good people? People who are rude to their faces.
I know, right? It bewilders me, too. Yet there are people out there who will wait in a (sometimes very long) line just to insult or mock the celebrity on the other end of the table. I’m not sure what the point of this is. Do they expect the celebrity to rear up and try to punch them out, so they can flaunt their bruises and victim complex on social media later that night? Do they expect the celebrity to own up and admit to whatever horsecrap is flowing from the attendee’s mouth? I’m sure there are isolated instances where this happens, but in general the response is much sadder.
Normally, I will see the celebrity tweet about the incident, and while somewhat agitated they are usually bewildered. Sometimes shaken. Sometimes showing signs of defeat. How do you normally feel when people try to rip you a new one in public? Remember, celebrities are people, too. They have feelings. There is no need to approach them just to be a jerk. Just stay home if that’s your prerogative.
3) Don’t bring them a mountain.
On the flip side, most attendees are very respectful and kind to those they meet. And as a result, most celebrities are more than happy to fire off a quick autograph or two. But I’m sure they all groan when the fan with the giant messenger bag approaches. You know the one. The one who pulls seven prints, two CDs, a DVD, four boxsets, two Tee-shirts, a rogue sock, and their lunchbox out of their bag, plops it all on the celebrity’s table, and says, “Sign these, please.”
There are certainly celebrities out there who are more than happy to sign multiple items, but not an excessive cacophony of everything you own. For situations with lines, you aren’t winning yourself any points either. Bring one or two things with you, and if the area is barren and the celebrity is in good spirits, then by all means you can ask them if they will sign a few other items. If they agree, see how many they are willing to sign; if they decline, nod your head and thank them for their time anyway.
Say it with me: manners. They’re important. Use them.
4) Respect their privacy.
Every celebrity has the story of the time someone asked them for an article while they were trying to take a pee in a public restroom. Or the time someone approached them in the middle of their steak dinner and wanted to tell them his or her life story. Usually these stories are told with humour because they are events of the past. But, trust me, these were not funny at the time.
When I am in a stall, I want peace and privacy…not some kid poking his head underneath the door asking if you really voiced Dr. So-And-So in the new anime on Kids WB. When I am upset, I want time to calm myself down…not some fangirl knocking me over in a hall and thrusting a comic book in my face. Again, the reoccurring theme is that these celebrities are people, too. They need privacy. They deserve privacy.
Wait until someone is out and about with an approachable demeanour before doing cartwheels across their path. You are likely to have a much better and more positively memorable experience if you go after someone in a neutral zone than while they are trying to wash their hands post-urinal.
P.S. Bonus points to celebrities who wash their hands.
5) Know to whom you’re speaking.
This is another one who baffles me. If I’m going to wait in line for someone, it is going to be someone who I know (or whose work I know). If I’m going to approach someone, again it is going to be someone who I know. If I just want to collect autographs, I can just utter an “It’s great to meet you” and rattle off a quick fact about them that I saw in the event pamphlet’s blurb. But some people approach celebrities boldly and proudly…inevitably announcing that they have no clue who they’re talking to.
I wouldn’t believe it, but I see tweets and grams confirming it all the time. Fans will bring celebrities photos of them to sign…but it is someone else rather than the celebrity in question. This is just poor Googling. In 2016, this shouldn’t be happening. Some celebrities will keep quiet and just sign the item; others will document their confusion on social media.
If you meet someone and give off the impression that you truly care about them and their craft, at least take five minutes to do your homework and figure out who they are and what they’ve done. If you go up to Kevin Smith and tell him that you loved his work in Yu-Gi-Oh!, you are not going to get the reaction you intended. You are probably going to end up as a meme, and I will share your meme on my profiles along with the rest of America.
Seriously, events give out free pamphlets to their attendees, which include a photo of the celebrities and a biography of what they’ve done in their lives. Five minutes, people. Five minutes.
I think the takeaway from all of this is respect. We have been told since kindergarten to treat others the way we would want to be treated, and this goes for celebrities as well as the average joe. Before approaching someone, just take a moment to ask yourself how you would prefer to be approached if the coin was flipped. And if your answer differs from how you were about to introduce yourself, it is time to take a few deep breaths and readjust your course of action.
Keep things light. Keep things fun. And keep yourself from scaring your idols.