Imagine that you're standing outside the exit of a theater, waiting for one of your favorite actors to leave. You're hoping to score an autograph from him as he makes his way to the getaway car, but so are the 60 or 70 other people that surround you. You know the actor will sign, but he'll do it as he quickly walks the gauntlet to his vehicle, meaning most people will come away empty-handed.
What's the best way to get that actor to sign your photo? Do you say his name loudly over and over, hoping to lure him? Do you scream at the top of your lungs? Or do you stand silently and patiently, hoping to attract him in a much more subtle way?
I've always been curious as to which method is more successful. Do the celebs instinctively gravitate to the folks who make the most noise, or do they actually scan the crowd and look for fans who seem more shy and reserved? I'm not really an outgoing person, and except during football games, I rarely hoot and holler in everyday life... It's just not my nature. So when I find myself in a crowd hoping to score a signature, my immediate instinct is to stand there quietly among others who are yelling and screaming trying to get attention.
In 1992, I lived in Pittsburgh, PA, and scenes were being filmed at Point State Park for the Bruce Willis action flick "Striking Distance." Some friends and I decided to try our luck, and we went to the park with the hope of getting Bruce's autograph. A lot of other people had the same idea, and there were at least 100 fans waiting for Bruce to make an appearance. As he left his trailer, Bruce had to walk past the throng in order to get on the set, and as soon as he started moving towards us, the screams and hysteria began. Bruce casually approached us as the fans' noise grew louder. He stopped at the first person in line, signed, and then began moving on, bypassing dozens of folks. As people were thrusting photos and posters towards him, clamoring for his attention, he came up to me and stopped. I was standing there quietly holding an 8x10 picture of him in "Mortal Thoughts" (a relatively minor -- but good -- film that he did with then-wife Demi Moore). Maybe the photo caught his attention; maybe it was the way I stood there, not begging him for a signature. In any case, he took a look at the picture, took a look at me (immediately followed by that famous Bruce Willis smirk) and signed the photo. It was the second (and last) piece he autographed that night.
To this day, I wonder how I was able to get that signature. Maybe it was the novelty of him seeing something other than a "Die Hard" photo or poster. Maybe it was pure luck. Or maybe it was the fact that I was standing in line with a bunch of frenzied fans and I didn't act like a screaming fanboy desperate for a signature.
When you're going for an autograph, what do you think is the best way to stand out in a crowd?