Tip of the Day #21: How to Meet a Celebrity

With Comic-Con less than a month away, the news of Exclusives and panels is starting to whip everyone into a nerd frenzy. Beyond excitement about Star Wars and Supergirl coming to SDCC, many are looking forward to one thing and one thing only- meeting a celeb. Whether it’s JJ Abrams, Peter Capaldi, or Nathan Fillion, most of us dream to have at least one magical encounter during the 4-days in San Diego. If you are new to Comic-Con, it’s actually easier to run into a celeb away from the con than inside it. Because of large mobs, having a meaningful moment inside of the convention center is really slim. So instead, you have to look elsewhere. Typically, con stars can be found at or near the five main hotels around the convention center (outlined below):


1. The Hilton Bayfront
2. Omni Hotel
3. Hard Rock Cafe and Hotel
4. The Hilton Gaslamp
5. Marriott Marina and Marquis

By trolling the lobbies, bars, or entrances of these areas, you greatly increase your chances of crossing paths with the object of your obsession. It’s not guaranteed but it is pretty surprising who you will run into and where. Crazy thing is that no one has the same experience twice. I have gone some years and ran into big names every day and other years I hardly saw anyone. That’s the beautiful unpredictable nature of Comic-Con! But remember, a bad encounter can lead to looking back on this trip with regret. So to prepare you for that chance of a life time, here are some tips to compliment the video:

  • First and most important, keep your head up and be actively looking. Many walk by unnoticed in plain site. They tend to be dressed a little nicer than the average attendee and accompanied by an entourage.
  • Don’t gawk. This is your one chance to meet someone you have admired for a long time. Don’t let the opportunity pass and seize the moment.
  • Respect their situation. If a celeb is engaged in business or in a serious conversation then patiently wait. Don’t stare or take pics.
  • Introduce yourself. Seriously, people forget this all the time and just jump straight to the picture (which is rude).
  • Remember, that celebrities are people too. Treating them like such will go a long way. Be natural and ask normal questions.
  • Respect their time and keep it brief.
  • No weird request. No kissing, no inviting yourself to their party, no asking for the shirt off their back. Don’t be weird.
  • ALWAYS ask to take a picture. These guys are daily hounded by paparazzi so politely asking will be appreciated. Just do one pic too- multiple pics are a whip.
  • I would not initiate a hand shake or hug unless they do. Whether it’s because of germs or personal preference, some celebs do not like the physical contact.
  • If autographs is important to you, then always have a Sharpie with you and know what you would have signed- like your Comic-Con badge.

matt_smith_bart_simpson-416916One last tip. The recognizable celebs are asked not to walk through floor to avoid causing a fan riot. However, between panels, celebs like to hit the exhibitor floor incognito. A couple of years ago, Matt Smith went out as Homer Simpson! Last year, Daniel Radcliffe did the same as Boba Fett. So if you see a normal (or nicely) dressed person in a random mask being followed by an official looking entourage, it might be a celebrity! Don’t out anyone but there might be an opportunity for a quick hello. I hoped this helped. I know there are a TON of stories out there of your celebrity encounter from past Comic-Cons. Share your story below and give us your tips below! Happy hunting!

Check out the rest of my Tip of the Day for this year. Special thanks to Sarah Pugh for her first time story. Leave a comment below with your cosplay tips. Check out past shows, tweet this post out, and make sure to subscribe to Shout! Factory.

14 thoughts on “Tip of the Day #21: How to Meet a Celebrity

  1. The most important thing is just to keep your eyes open! They are everywhere! I know most of us tend to zone out when we’re walking around and from Point A to B but this is the one time you really should be extra aware of your surroundings!

    • Absolutely! If you walk around with your face in your phone, you will miss some celebs. Thanks for commenting Barb!

  2. You almost gave me a HEART ATTACK!!! LOL Your email says … “with comic-con less than a WEEK away ….” I totally panicked thinking I had my month wrong!!! 🙂

  3. You about gave me a HEART ATTACK Tony!!! Your email prompt to this post said “with comic-con just one WEEK away …”
    I literally had a panic attack as I rush over to the SSCC website thinking this whole time I had the wrong month in mind. LOL

  4. 2009, we stayed at Hilton and had many celeb run-ins. My favorite was riding elevator with CarrotTop. Funny dude. My tip is to walk slowly outside the rear of the convention center. Last year we passed Robert Kirkman and by the time I had the ah- ha moment we were hundreds of people apart. You’re doing an awesome job, Tony. Keep it up!

    • Good tip! Yea, elevators are a common place to run into a celeb. Thanks so much for reading and thanks for commenting!

  5. I would also add, be aware that their time is limited, so be concise and to the point as possible. It can be intimidating meeting someone you admire, so a little floundering around is understandable… but they’re are often on very tight schedules so you want to make the most of the precious few moments you have!

    This is especially true in panels, so try to keep it to just questions and not long winded stories. It’s not fair to the audience who waited eons to get into the room to only get to hear a few questions if someone takes forever in telling a story instead of just asking a question, and even less fair to the people behind you who want to ask a question and may not get to if you take up too much time. Same thing for meeting someone one on one and there are people behind you waiting for their (likely one and only) chance to meet someone they admire probably as much as you do.

    Often times people want to tell celebs how they’ve been inspirational and that’s great! Just be aware that some people get uncomfortable with intimate details of a stranger’s life story, whether it’s an audience member or the celebrity themselves. It’s not to say your story isn’t important but just be aware of your audience, whether it’s in a room of thousands or a solo interaction.

    Basically, treat people how you would want to be treated if the roles were reversed.

    • This is all invaluable advice. As we get a little closer to the Con, I will post an article about the art of asking questions in a panel- covering a lot of tips like this. Thanks so much and thanks for commenting!

  6. Thanks for this. This is my favorite thing about cons, so I appreciate the tips. P.s I much prefer the written notes like the above to watching a video – but I believe there’s others who feel opposite.

    • Great! Yea, I am still working out the best way to merge video and written tips. Glad you like it and your feedback is appreciated!

  7. Pingback: Starstruck at SDCC | R Cubed

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