Tabz’ Guide to Convention Going (or how to avoid looking like a scruffy nerfheader) Part 1: Celebs


Conventions. The mecca of geekdom. Attending conventions is something I’ve done for awhile now and I’ve seen all sorts of “guides” to going to conventions. Many of them are full of practical tips like shower often, eat, sleep. The basic survival guide to attending. Very rarely though have I seen a guide for not being that fan. The one that makes everyone else cringe or at the very least be extremely awkward. Since I’ve attended and worked at conventions here’s my recommendations for avoid the cringe worthy moments.


Celebrities are regular people. This is obvious, I know. I’ve had my fangirl moments with celebs (like the time I just giggled and giggled when talking with Joss Whedon).  Here’s some tips to avoid going from enthusiastic fan to possibly crazed, “get him/her away from me” fan.

1. Celeb spotting. If you see a celebrity standing about or walking through the con, say hi. Please do not become that person who suddenly goes into super spy mode and tries to sneak pictures or touch the celebrity inappropriately and run away. It’s really creepy to know people are watching you but not talking to you. Just say hi and, if there’s a crowd of people around the celeb, try and let other people have a chance to say hi too.

2. Touching. Speaking of touching. Do not inappropriately touch celebrities. It creeps them out and it is just not cool. Inappropriately touching anyone at a con is not okay.

3. Gifts. I personally try to only bring gifts that relate to the celebrity or the show the celebrity is on (i.e. here’s a custom fig I made of your character). Other items are cool, but remember that this celebrity probably has a lot of stuff given to him/her and your item may just wind up being given away if there’s not an emotional attachment to it. Other gifts you should avoid: erotic fanfic of their character, your unpublished screenplay, photo manips, photos of yourself, dead things.  [Side note: If you want to bring a gift for a celebrity make sure there’s some way to carry it. Bags are cool. Most of them have to carry around their own stuff (or have one of their minions do it). So having a way to carry the giant quilt you made of their face is appreciated.]

4. Autographs. Unless you’re paying for multiple items, please be respectful of a celebrities time and bring one or two items at most for them to sign. If you bring something like a DVD, take it out of the plastic while you wait in line. Have everything ready to go when you’re up there. If you’re ambushing for autographs, don’t be sad if the actor/actress says no – many of them are on tight schedules during a con and probably have somewhere they need to be. That said, always carry around silver and black sharpies for autographs (if that’s your thing).

5. Conversation. I’ve found it’s been helpful to rehearse what you want to say or ask a celeb before you see them. I know, it’s kind of cheesy, but if you’re prepared you’re less likely to spit something random and embarrassing out.  Appropriate topics: I love your work, your character is inspirational, your book helped me through a really rough time, I watch your latest project every week. Kind of weird topics: Can I touch your hair, will you marry me,  who do you wish your character could get it on with? Would you read my unpublished book and write a recommendation. Inappropriate topics: Anything sexual, period.

6. Hogging. I’m fairly sensitive about this because I love that conventions allow everyone time to see their favorite celebrities. If you get a chance to interact with a celeb in any setting, try not to hog all of their time. Be gracious and it’ll go a long way. I often find myself ending the conversation with a celeb so someone else can talk with him or her. It may not be as fun as taking up all a celeb’s time, but in the long run I think it makes the con a better place for all.

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  1. Posted May 1, 2013 at 9:33 pm | Permalink

    My line to celebs at events (in my 20s, when I went to lots of industry parties) was always “By the way, I’m H*, it was nice not meeting you tonight” – got me invites to a few awesome celebariffic after-parties. I was pretty brazen at 22, but looking back, I have no idea how that line worked.

  2. Posted May 3, 2013 at 6:23 am | Permalink

    Well, so much for my entire plan on what to do if I ever meet a celebrity!

  3. james
    Posted March 25, 2016 at 5:05 pm | Permalink

    I’ve a met a handful of celebs. These are good tips. Rehearse what you want to say/ask, and that minimizes the chances of blowing it or looking awkward. Don’t ask weird or personal questions (Why did you divorce John Doe). Also, don’t ask for hugs or anything like that, that’s just plain weird. Instead, the most appropiate thing to do as far as “touching” is to extend your hand out for a handshake as you thank them for signing your stuff. Don’t stick around like a groupie after you’re done. Make the best out of it when it’s your turn, thank them, say goodbye, and leave.

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  • By Under The Tents: SDCC News for May 1, 2013 on May 1, 2013 at 10:57 pm

    […] are everywhere at Comic-Con. What do you do when you spot one in the wild? Fear not, read part one of “Tabz’ Guide to Convention Going (or how to avoid looking like a scruffy […]

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