Sorry for the length, but I didn't have time to write a short blog.

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

I'm not famous...give me money

This is a sequel to a blog I did a while back about paying celebrities for their autographs.  It is really something that I didn't quite expect. Other than authors and comic book writers as San Diego Comic Con there were a boat load of stars.  All of them demanding their $40 from the fans who made them famous.  I was even stopped at on booth by a guy who announced that Sean Astin was signing and no tickets and no lines.  He did require $40 for the signature.  I looked him square in the eye and said, "I made him famous, and I am not paying for the privilege of the autograph," and walked away.  The guy was taken aback but
oddly nodded yes as I stated this.  There was one table which touted Michael Dorn, Marina Sirtis, Brent Spiner, David Duchovny, and Gillian Anderson and others, all asking for their signature money.  $40 to $80 dollars was the going rate.  I only wish they had not been so busy. I would love to see them all sitting there with their no photo signs behind them, pen in hand, stack of 8x10 glossies sitting undisturbed as fans walked by reminding them we made them popular. We made them in most cases genre stars.  They should feel honored to give us their John Hancock.  We should not pay. I remember when we didn't.  I have, in fact, Marina Sirtis' autograph to prove it. I also have Patrick Stewart's signature which he also now charges for.

At one booth, hocking Stan Lee's graphic novel of Romeo and Juliet: The War, they announced that if we bought the collectors edition, Stan Lee would be there the next day to sign.  One printed form of the graphic novel was the largest graphic novel, dimensionally speaking, ever printed  according Guinness.  It was printed in a 25 book run and is the size of 24.875" by 33" by 2". There was one on display.  The over-sized book is valued at $10k for each edition.  The normal sized consumer, collector's edition book is $30, and Stan Lee's autograph was $75. Let me get this straight: you want me to pay you for a book which will give Stan Lee royalties and then pay for his signature?  The irony was that the day before, I had been in a panel with Stan Lee and received a ticket for an autographed poster from ... wait for it...Stan Lee.  It was free, and I got to say hello to Stan Lee too.  You see, Stan Lee has for years signed virtually everything that has come his way.  As a collectible, it is far from  valuable; nevertheless, $75 for a Stan Lee is not money he will ever see from my pocket.

But then came the shock.  While my son and I were on the autograph floor, we became separated.  He found himself in front of one of the signing tables.  The person sitting there was not recognized by my son.  He explained he was the main voice for one of the Assassin Creed games.  In other words, his claim to fame was that he was a voice actor on a video game.  He wanted $30 for his autograph.  Has the performance industry digressed to such a point that even the nonfamous now think they should make autograph money.  Don't get me wrong, voice acting is difficult and important for modern games, but honestly, money for an autograph of a virtually unknown performer is the limit.

Thus ends the myth that this money goes to an actor's charity.  It clearly goes into their pocket.  Sorry, but we need to put an end for paying people we make famous more money not for their talent or, in many cases, their luck but for being famous or semi-famous or even...not famous at all. Time to remind them who made who a "star." Don't pay!