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Scott's L.A.™ Hollywood Article:
Seeing Celebrities at Public Events

Celebrities do live and work in L.A., so it is possible to see them around town.  However, it’s similar to seeing meteors in the sky -- you have to be in the right place, at the right time, and looking in the right direction.  Your best “right place, right time” source of information is

But if you’d like something more certain than sheer luck, your best bet is to go to the public events presented by the American Cinematheque, Museum of Television & Radio, American Film Institute, Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences, or the Academy of Television Arts & Sciences.  These events are scheduled for specific dates and times and feature celebrities discussing specific projects.  Best of all, you can plan ahead and have a good idea of what to expect.

The Events
Most of these events have similar formats.  The cast/crew of a movie or TV show are introduced, clips or entire films/shows are presented.  Afterwards the cast/crew assemble in front of the audience, discuss their work, then take questions from the audience.  This can take an entire afternoon or evening.  These events are relaxed, informal, very informative, and extremely entertaining.

A perfect example is the American Cinematheque's 20th Anniversary Celebration of the film The Right Stuff.  This film told the story of Chuck Yeager breaking the sound barrier in 1947, the real test pilots at Edwards Air Force Base, and the initial days of NASA’s first Mercury Astronauts.  The photos below were taken at this “once in a lifetime” event featuring the actors, the director, and the “real people” involved.


Because this is a very wide shot, it’s difficult to identify all faces, and some are unidentified Warner Brothers executives.  However, from left to right you can see Pamela Reed, Mercury Astronaut Gordon Cooper, Director Phillip Kaufman, General Chuck Yeager, Mary Jo Deschanel, Barbara Hershey, Veronica Cartwright, Harry Shearer, Ed Harris, Jeff Goldblum, and Scott Wilson.

How Close Do You Get?

These events are usually presented in medium to small venues, usually theaters similar to the Egyptian Theater in Hollywood.  This photo was taken from the audience at the Egyptian and you can clearly see General Chuck Yeager (with microphone), and Director Phillip Kaufman, reminiscing about some funny story.

While it’s impossible to predict what will take place ahead of time, there are “celebrity perks.”  I was lucky enough to sit next to Teri Hatcher during a screening of Lois & Clark:  The New Adventures of Superman, and a few feet away from George Lucas as he showed us various clips from the original Star Wars and told us “how they did it.”


Photos by Richard Greehnalgh
Used With Permission

The lasting impression of these events is that they humanize the people, the films, and the film-making process.

  Sometimes the participants are available for autographs after the events, sometimes they aren’t.  If they are, it’s a wonderful opportunity to get close and say “Hi.”  If they aren’t, it’s extremely bad form to try to force your way close to these people, and Security people will definitely stop you.

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