If you’re lucky enough to meet one celebrity in your life, you will have achieved what most of us can only dream of. The charge of recognition (Is that?), followed by the inevitable realization (It is!), makes life worth living.
What immeditately follows, however, is most likely an awkward exchange, both for you and the celebrity. You will leave with mixed emotions. On the one hand, you met someone more powerful and better looking than you’ll ever be. That always feels good. On the other hand, that celebrity has already forgotten your name, your face, and any potential of a lasting friendship.
It doesn’t have to be this way.
When meeting a celebrity, you have to do something that will make her or him never forget you.
Say you run into George Clooney. If you want him to invite you to a bar-b-que at his castle in Wales, you’re going to have to be memorable. A timid hello, a request for an autograph, a quick picture with your cell phone camera: all these things happen to him every minute of every day. Frankly, he’s sick of it. The only thing keeping him from lashing out at you is his inherent civility. To be memorable, you have to test that civility the way engineers test the tensile strength of a steel beam.
Shouting is not memorable. Paparazzi shout, and they have bigger cameras than you. It’s what you shout that will make you stand out. Non sequiturs are always good. If you like a movie of his that bombed at the box office, you could yell a line from that movie. You could say (at the top of your lungs) that the critics were wrong, the viewing public was wrong, and only you and him are in total agreement about the awesomeness of that movie. He’ll surely appreciate the gesture.
Touching the celebrity is a bad idea. George Clooney is really strong. Maybe not body-builder strong, but think about it. All he does is make movies and work out. He could snap your arm without breaking his stride. If he doesn’t take you down personally, one of his bodyguards will. In either case, you won’t be memorable. You will be in the hospital, and George Clooney will be having his bar-b-que without you.
Make him something. The trouble is, you never know which celebrity you’ll run into. If you plan on meeting John Goodman but you see George Clooney first, he’ll know something’s up when you hand him that ill-fitting sweater. George Clooney is used to wearing tailor-made suits. He is not going to wear your sweater. He will throw it away the first chance he gets and immediately wipe his memory of you. You’ll feel like a bad person, because you are a bad person.
Make a pair of socks. Everybody wears socks. When you see George Clooney, walk up to him and hand him the socks. Make sure he, not one of his assistants, takes them. George Clooney’s assistants are not famous, and you do not want them wearing the socks you made special for George Clooney. Now every time those socks come up in his rotation, he’ll think of the kind person who made them for him. That person is you!
If writing is your inclination, write a screenplay. Include a lot of characters, male and female, so that any actor you see will have a good part in it. Make it a spy story, or a screwball comedy, or a high-concept science fiction trilogy. Actors love the same kinds of movies us nobodies do. The difference is they make those movies.
When you see George Clooney, say “I’ve got a great script for you. Here.” before he gets the chance to turn you down. When he looks down at the words you’ve put together, just for him, he’ll marvel at your intelligence. You’ve just made a connection that will last a lifetime. You can probably ask George to borrow his Italian sports car right then and there.
Words, as we all know, are the most powerful achievement of humanity. Actors acknowledge that just as we do. Get to work on that screwball spy comedy set on a distant space outpost, and you’ll be ready to meet George Clooney. Heck, if George Clooney happens to read this very blog, he might even be interested in a little comic strip that would look great as an animated adventure. I always thought George Clooney would make a good voice for Pam.
Good night, and good luck.