We’ve all dreamed of this moment, haven’t we? There you are – looking stunning, might I add, that colour really suits you – and minding your own business wandering along the high street, and suddenly there they are! That guy from that thing! Or maybe you heard so-and-so was doing a small gig nearby and decided to go along and check her music out. Either way, you’re suddenly just a few metres away from someone of whom you are a massive fan. What do you do?
Fear not, wanderers. We have your back. Here’s our advice:
- Don’t interrupt. If they’re talking to someone, don’t barge in on the conversation. That’s just rude.
- If they’re working or in the middle of doing something, stay out of their way. Chances are they have something they need to get done, so let them get on with it.
- Be cool. Cool. That means keeping the flailing, screaming, pointing and whispering to a minimum.
- No photos, recording or filming without their express permission. That is, unless you say ‘Can I take a photo with/of you?’ and they say ‘yes’, don’t do it. ‘Candid’ shots are for the paparazzi to take, and we all know how popular they are.
- Don’t summon the fandom if they’re just going about their daily business. Livetweeting everything somebody famous is doing in your local supermarket is a sure way to cause mayhem. If you’re going to tweet about it, wait until later and make it clear they’re not there now.
- If they’re doing an event, particularly an open one people can still get involved in, tweet to your heart’s content.
- Hands off. You might get a chance to shake hands, they might even put an arm around you for a photo, but please respect that you don’t know this person and they don’t know you. Random surprise hugs are a no-no.
- Don’t think they owe you anything! They don’t. If they choose to be friendly or chat with you, that’s really nice of them. If they’re busy or in a bad mood, or just don’t want to talk, accept that gracefully and move on.
- Equally, all you owe them is respect. Don’t start feeling like you have to do something for them, because all that does is get you flustered.
- Remember, they are not their character. If you’ve run into an actor, don’t make the mistake of calling them by their character’s name or expecting them to behave the way their character would.
- Try not to be creepy. Aim for “You are/were great in [that thing]” rather than “You’re hot” or “I totally had a crush on you when I was fourteen”. “I WANT YOUR BABIES” is right out.
- Respect the privacy of their conversations and phonecalls. Try not to listen in on private conversations, but if you can’t help overhearing something, keep it to yourself. The internet does not need to know.
- Acknowledge anything particular they’re doing, even if it’s unrelated to your particular fandom. For example, if the lead actor from your favourite show is doing a gig with their guitar, comment on the gig before – or even instead of – rambling on about their acting work. If they’re doing something different, they’ll be glad to have it appreciated rather than ignored.
- If you know every last detail about them, try not to make that obvious. There are few things more disconcerting than someone coming up to you and rattling off your life story. Keep things simple.
- Follow instructions. Anything they or any PR/security people they might have with them say automatically overrides anything in these guidelines. If you’re asked to move back, leave, or quieten down, do it. It’s only respectful, after all.
- Don’t panic! Just be polite and enjoy the moment!
Eleanor Musgrove (hopes you have fun!)