Anyway, like I said, I'm no expert, but I have to say that based on several occasions that I let myself go crazy and do such things as tarding over "artists" or "celebrities" (in quotes because that distinction is relative and may cause fan wars) and "stalking" them (also in quotes because of the possible negative connotation. LOL!), it can actually be done with minimal resources and collateral damages and maximum benefit. Call it oxymoronic, but I do believe people can do insane fanatic things sanely.
Several entries in this blog should have already indicated that I am tarding over Kris Allen ever since he appeared on American Idol last year. Heck, I re-wrote a frakking Donna Summer song for him. I guess by now you're thinking that I am going completely nuts, what with him having been in the country for a couple of days for the Febfest. Yes. Squee, flail, thud. And some fop fop fop. :P
Using my recent adventures "stalking" (i.e., meeting) Kris as, shall we say, a case study, here are some things every tard needs to remember:
- Don't expect too much. Someone *ehem* mentioned that entitlement is not sexy. Hello, if you're entitled to anything you wouldn't be staking out hotel lobbies in the first place, right? But let's admit: we fall into this fantasy that this supposed once-in-a-lifetime opportunity is something that should be really really REALLY perfect.
These celebs are human too. Good thing Kris Allen is not a primadonna (or drunk, as some suggest he is when he shows some bit of excitement), but again, you are going against not only a badass security detail but also against a gaggle of other die-hards, who also want the same things on your "basic" fan wishlist: a picture and an autograph (the better if you can get the idol do some voicemail message or video or something). Prioritization is key here, while hoping for the best and expecting the worst case scenario. Personally I stick with the two basic ones I mentioned (and I also limit it to one of each). That way things are easier to manage. Also, rewards are great and disappointment kept at a minimum.
- As much as possible, go legit. Most gigs have official meet and greets as part of the organizers' promotions anyway, so might as well try your luck in these. Heck, if have to pay your way to it, then by all means (if you have budget of course). That was the reason for the "She Works Hard for the Money" ditty, as I mentioned in my last post. Yes, I still believe that that cinched my being picked for one of the coveted spot to meet Kris. :)
The catch or consequences of such official functions are, of course, practically limitless (so again, remember #1). This event is not under your control, after all. Organizers can do a no-photo policy (you should already be thankful to actually meet the idol in person!), or there are lots of winners, which will prompt a single-line autograph-signing-only event. I just found out midnight after my adventure began that the organizer won't allow both personal picture-taking and autograph signing. This leads to the next item...
- Be prepared. Scout's motto is always the golden rule for these types of engagements. As mentioned in #1, standard fantard wishlist is almost always 1) an autograph and 2) a photo with their idol. Obviously one needs to have a Sharpie that's er... sharpened, the object to be signed (photo, CD, slam book), and a camera ready.
(Sidenote: I also stick a small Post-It of my name on the item/s. Ryan taught me that to speed up the process that usually takes a lot of effort from both parties trying to spell a name. Also, it's one thing not to have an autograph, it's another when you have a signed CD that someone named BJ can claim as his. ;))
- 3 is a magic number. Actually the two is already optimum. If you're brave enough and resourceful enough to fly solo, then by all means do so. The main point of this is that less is usually more. The idol and/or the security detail will not get concerned of a possible schedule delays, or worse, a stampede of bat-shit crazy fans, if there are only three eager people waiting for a signature. The reason I pegged three as the magic number is because in a very hectic and stressful situation, three people working like clockwork can accomplish a lot of things. One person, for instance, will take care of the autographs, the other pictures, the last one a video capturing the fantard moment. LOL! I usually get the autograph task, mainly because my hands get shaky under pressure to take good pictures (besides, I suck at photography in general).
This is not meant to discount the power of numbers, though. I guess it depends on the object of affection's mood, or ego, or whatever. When I saw Kris at the hotel, I was kinda disappointed when I saw several other fans there. But with some sort of collaboration, it took us three attempts to ask for a picture (the last one with a long whiny "puh-leeeease") before Kris asked permission from his bodyguards to take one group pic with us. Not the ideal (solo pic is better!), but again, item #1 should still be in mind in times like this.
- Always bring a non-tard with you. Overinfested fans tend to freeze or go batshit ("ZOMG! ELEVENTY!!!11!!") when they see their idol. Then they end up getting nothing to remember their experience by. Or they take crappy pictures because they are all tingly inside. Or they end up just... in tears. I always bring someone with me with little or no interest with the celebrity because it provides some sort of a sanity check. They will be the ones who will nudge your ribs to wake you up from your fan-induced stupor. Or strike the initial conversation with the idol. They're the ones who will take good pictures for you.
A word of caution though: some non-tards become instant "converts" and will try to hog the spotlight from you (hey, they do get starstruck too, you know). So it's still a matter of preparation and trust, especially if you know each other for a long time. I've met my friends Tonette and Melissa way back when we were obsessing over the British boyband Blue. I think what made our relationship... er... complimentary was that each of us has his/her own member of the group (it's always good to have diverse favorites -- it's less drama on the mundane things like who stood beside whom or whatnot), so whenever one member shows up, we all know which one of us gets first dibs in picture taking.
Bringing a non-tard is good karma, too, in a sense. It fosters a sense of give-and-take, such that next time your friend tards over someone, you can be his/her sanity check. I've done that with Melissa for Josh Groban, for instance (although I ended up having the picture taken with him), so when Kris came to town, it was easy for me to ask for the same favor.
Not bringing a non-tard was a mistake I made the day Kris arrived. I had the opportunity of apparently being the only fan lounging in the hotel lobby and fake-drinking coffee (thanks to an intel I received as to what his ETA was), but I frakking froze the minute I saw the beanie-d head of Pocket Idol. Thoughts of security kicking me out took over, so I just resorted into pretending that I was just casually passing by (ironically greeting Cale by his first name and welcoming him to Manila as if I knew him waaay back. LOL!).
I almost freaked out when I saw three-fourths of the band in the lobby that night when I returned from the presscon. This time, though, I had Tonette and Melissa to practically push me in front of the group to talk to them. Hence this pic: