That is a question. This topic has been on my Facebook newsfeed a couple times and I’m concerned about it. Celebrity has become something odd in the past few decades. On the subject of conventions—of which I am a big fan (not of the subject, but of conventions themselves)—well, let’s just talk about some conventions.
Con goers- do you save up your hard earned dollars so you can go give them to B-C (D?) listers for a moment to stand beside them? An autograph? Maybe a picture of you and whoever? Is it worth $20.00 to have a digital still of you standing next to Gary Busey? Jake Busey? Don’t get me wrong, I dig both of them Buseys, but wow… I know folks who go to these conventions and stand in line to get pictures taken with the whole lot of celebrities that show up. That’s like an entire paycheck or more for pictures on your own camera. A lot of these are young folks, too…and that paycheck is quite important to them.
Here’s how it works from what I’ve gathered. Celebs bring in the fans, no doubt about that… but the convention guarantees many—if not all—of the “special guests” a certain amount of “take” from being a guest—and that “take” can be an astounding number… That money covers their expenses and a nice bit of bank… The only way the con can guarantee that money is by making sure they get a LOT of asses through the door. Otherwise, they have to pay out to cover the contract.
Now, I’ve been to Comic Con San Diego, Horror Hound, and the new Days of the Dead and several smaller conventions… I’d like to go to others. I enjoy seeing the folks who make the movies—I do. But I just can’t wrap my head around paying someone for their autograph, for a picture of me with some old man who was in some old film 30 or 40 years ago. Can’t see shelling out my hard-earned cash for 60 seconds standing next to the cast of The Walking Dead… what do the principles get paid per episode again? How many movie tickets/DVDs/T-shirts/books/collectible figurines/CDs/posters/BluRays/Special and Extended Edition DVDs and Blurays of movies we already bought a couple forward slashes ago do we need to buy to support their craft, and then pay them again to meet them? That’s how they thank the fans?
It’s all so sincere: Thanks so much for coming to see me and being my fan, I really appreciate it. It means so much to me, I feel so blessed—now hand that staff member $20.00 please. NEXT!
Last time the female star of a certain “Halloween” film came through it was $80.00 a pop and might have been by lottery as well. She’s selling poop-inducing yogurt now. Nothing against her, I like her movies, well most of them, and I get it from her perspective, from the celebrity perspective. That’s easy cash… but what is it that drives a human being to want to pay to meet other human beings?
One of my friends was stoked to meet Danny Trejo until we got to the con and he found out the dude is only like 5’6” tall… It was like he’d just learned there was no real Easter Bunny. Boyhood dreams, forever lost. He’ll never watch Machete the same way again. Now, folks tell me Trejo is a great guy, and I believe that and maybe one day, I’ll have a beer with the guy, but I’m not payin’ him $20 bucks… although I would buy the first round.
They’re just people. Very lucky people who get to do cool things for a living…but just people. I wish conventions were more about the art… Meeting the artists, creators…seeing how the films are done, seeing props from the sets, effects work live in person. That’s why I go to the cons… that and to people watch, and I’ll snap pictures of the famous people and put ‘em on Facebook…but I ain’t payin for it.
What do you think? I know you’re out there—what’s your thoughts on paying celebrities for photographs/autographs?
Anybody done that in the past and now wish they had all that money back?