Hi, could we chat for just a sec?
Here's a topic -
Originally written April 7, 2008, but not posted publicly. Now, though, after reading an Asylum report by shannon_doll, I don't care if I get flamed, this stuff really needs to be said.
Here are some suggested guidelines for convention-goers.
If you happen to be a "wild rebel" who doesn't give a rat's ass what anyone else in the fandom, or anyone else period, thinks of you or what you do, including the actors, and nothing pisses you off more than someone else telling you what to do, you should spend your time elsewhere. This won't help you anyway. These are not the droids you're looking for. Bye-bye.
First Rule - The Actors Are Human Beings.
I. Do not embarrass the actors.
- A. Do not ask about fanfic, wincest, photomanipulations, or fan art - these are all FAN generated, NOT SHOW or ACTOR generated! These are fandom pursuits, they do not involve the actors, directors, producers, writers, or anyone officially connected to the show! It is a SEPARATE thing. It is not the responsibility of the actors to acknowledge, condemn or condone it, leave them OUT of it! They're ACTORS, doing their JOB and they take time out of their PERSONAL LIVES to come and meet with fans at conventions.
-- 1. If for some reason you are just dying to know, check YouTube or LJ. It's already been done, MORE THAN ONCE, let's not do it again.
- B. Do not present them with fanfic, or even mildly obscene or homoerotic works of art.
- C. Do not bring up fandom problems or problems you personally have with something regarding fandom i.e. you hate Wincest and want an actor to back you up. They are NOT there to arbitrate fan disputes or make comments on fandom controversies! You deal with your fandom problems YOURSELF!
- D. Do not insult them or their character, even indirectly.
- E. Do not express a preference for one actor over the other.
- F. During a duo Q&A, try to make sure they are asked an equal number of questions.
-- 1. Have questions ready for each actor and ask the actor who is getting fewer.
-- 2. Ask a question both can answer.
II. Do not bore the actors.
- A. Check YouTube or LJ to see if your question has already been asked.
-- 1. If you must ask a question that has already been asked try to make it more specific, i.e. What is your favorite episode could instead be -
--- a. What is your favorite episode of the most recent season?
--- b. What is your favorite (co-star) scene/performance?
--- c. What has been your favorite stunt/set/prop/piece of wardrobe?
(I'm not inferring that these are great questions, just examples)
III. Do not put the actors in a situation where they have to tell you no.
- A. Understand that there are 100 or so other fans who want to ask a question.
-- 1. So have your question ready, and do not ramble.
-- 2. Don't ask for hugs or kisses because there isn't time to hug and kiss everyone.
-- 3. Do not give gifts during the Q&A because it takes up too much time.
--- a. Give gifts at the autograph table.
--- b. If you weren't financially able to purchase an autograph ticket, and you must present the gift at the Q&A, make your way to the stage as quickly as possible, and be brief in whatever you have to say.
Autograph Table Etiquette
I. Understand that there are 100 or so other fans who want an autograph.
- A. Do not ask the actor to write a novel on your pic.
- B. This is your face-to-face moment, think about what you want to say.
- C. Do not ask the actor to sign anything you wouldn't show your mother, or his mother.
Photo Op Etiquette
I. Understand that there are 100 or so other fans who want a photo op.
- A. Do not ask for a special pose.
-- 1. If you must ask for a special pose, be the last in line.
--- a. If you must ask for a special pose, and you cannot be the last in line, at least ask for something simple and quick.
- B. If you have props, get them out and ready during the previous photo op.
- C. Don't ask that a second pic be taken because you screwed up.
-- 1. Pay attention to the photo ops before yours.
--- a. If the photographer isn't asking anyone else when they're ready, Be Ready.
-- 2. Talk AFTER the pic is taken.
--- a. If you talk before, you will be talking WHEN the pic is taken.
- D. If the actor is sitting/standing, don't ask him to change positions
-- 1. Unless you are physically challenged
-- 2. Unless the height differential is more than seven inches
-- 3. Unless he asks if you'd like him to.
Convention Hotel Etiquette
I. If you see an actor in the hallway.
- A. If they are standing still, approach, be polite and be brief.
-- 1. Do not interrupt them if they are having a conversation with someone else.
- B. If they are walking, approach and be very very brief.
-- 1. Note whether they seem to be walking toward a restroom, in which case, do not approach.
- C. If they are running, do not approach.
II. If you see an actor in the elevator.
- A. Be polite, make casual conversation.
-- 1. Do not follow him out of the elevator to continue the conversation.
III. If you see an actor in a restaurant/bar. (Not during a special convention event)
- A. Approach, be polite, be brief.
-- 1. Do not greet actor when he is chewing.
IV. If you see an actor in the restroom.
- A. Do Not Approach.
Second Rule - See First Rule
Third Rule - Behave As If Everyone Else At The Con Will Be Reporting YOUR Every Move On LJ And Posting All YOU Do And Say On YouTube The Next Day.
I think all this is reasonable. Conduct yourself with a little class, is all I'm saying. Put yourself in the actor's place. For instance, I'm not saying the actors don't LOVE to be asked about fanfic, maybe they do. I'm just saying that, to me, it's not appropriate. It's a fan thing. It's not part of their job. They didn't sign on for it. They shouldn't have to deal with it, or be confronted with it in front of large crowds of people.
Be nice. Be thoughtful. Do your part to make everything run smoothly. You do what you can to make the actor feel comfortable and have a good time, and he'll do the same for you, and everybody wins.
Also, I'm not posting each of these in response to some horrible incident that has occurred at a Supernatural Convention. I'm posting it because I thought that all of these were basic understandings that all fans had, and apparently some of them are not. I think they should be. Maybe you don't, fine that's your opinion. And of course, even if you agree with the rules, there are always special circumstances which are the exceptions which prove the rule.
Finally, I'm not a perfect picture of manners and etiquette. NOTHING gives me the power to tell anybody else what to do, much less an entire fandom. If you disagree with the rules, or take issue with me posting them, fine, don't follow them, do what you want. Ask about Wincest. Insult an actor. Take one down with a flying tackle if you feel that's an appropriate behavior. Just don't say, "I don't understand why I shouldn't?" or "I didn't know I wasn't supposed to!" or "Why is everybody mad at me?" or "I can't believe (Jensen/Jared/Jim/Dairwendan) got a restraining order against me!"
Some final notes/reminders.
1. The actors are not your friends. It's fine to be casual and friendly with them, but you don't get to try to embarrass them, make fun of them or make negative comments on their personal appearance.
2. When both actors are onstage, it is RUDE, and UNACCEPTABLE to declare in any way which one is your favorite or (believe it or not, this is true) to ask a question of only one of them. I realize that few people understand this, but the truth is, if you have a question that only one of them could answer, you should ask that at his individual panel. This is not about YOU getting to ask YOUR question and OMG what if you don't get in line in time for HIS panel, so you have to ask it NOW!!!!! I know many of you may disagree with me, but it's true. It's about the actors and the fans having some Q & A time. The REASON that there are panels with J2 is for questions to be asked of THE BOTH OF THEM! The reason that there are panels with each one individually is for questions to be asked of each one individually!
3. The money you pay to go to the con doesn't entitle you to ANYTHING regarding the actors! You are paying guests at the con. The actors are paid guests at the con. You are all guests there together. It is the con organization and staff who are HOSTING you both. The actors don't run the con. So when they do their very best to accomodate things like autographs, photos, Q&As, greetings and farewells, even though the schedule is completely fucked up, and things are running late or short, you need to understand that they are doing that out of the goodness of their hearts, and their appreciation of you as fans.
4. Before you open your mouth to speak to an actor, especially to ask a question at a Q&A, consider three things.
First, please, imagine that you are about to ask this question of a similar sized man, face to face, who is not in front of an audience and has no obligation to be polite to you. Still think that's an appropriate thing to say?
If so, then imagine that it's you up there, in front of a bunch of strangers, knowing that this moment will probably be on YouTube within the hour, and that you have to be not only polite but good-humored, and someone asks you what you are about to ask? Still want to do that?
Okay, last test, imagine it's your mother/father/grandpa/little sister/son/daughter or other loved one and they are in the actor's place and what you are about to do is going to be done to him/her/them. Is it going to embarrass them? Hurt their feelings? Irritate them? Make them uncomfortable? Put them on the spot? Are you REALLY sure you want to say this?
If your question/comment passes the tests, go ahead.
5. The actors signed on for a particular set of activities - answering questions, signing autographs and taking pictures. Don't go beyond the job description. This means do NOT ask the actors to sing, dance, say a line, make a face, recreate a scene, etc. Especially not when they've been asked over and over. And you certainly do not BOO an actor when they decline to perform for you! Remember, you are at a convention, not an improv show! You don't get to shout out demands and have the person onstage do whatever you say!
6. You do not know the actors' personal business. If an actor doesn't come to a certain event (a wine tasting, a party, a stage farewell, etc.) you do not know WHY this is. You do not know the health and well-being of all of his friends and family. You do not know how he physically feels. Is he ill? Are his eyes hurting? Is his arm aching? You do not know how he mentally feels. Is it the anniversary of a death or negative event in his life? Is he worried about something or someone? Is he just plain in a bad mood (all human beings are allowed to have those, by the way)? You do not know his schedule for that day or the next, there ARE more things going on in his life and career that weekend than this particular convention. You do not know who may be depending on him to be in a certain place, or call at a certain time, or why. So how about giving him the benefit of the doubt, is that really too much to ask?
7. There will always be those whose behavior will embarrass the entire fandom. When someone says or does something inappropriate in your presence, first audibly gasp in horror and physically turn to stare at the person for their complete lack of couth. If you don't feel comfortable doing that, then maybe you could roll your eyes, shake your head, or drop your head into your hands. Please do something to show the actors that MOST of the fandom does NOT think that what this person said/did is okay. Get the attention of a con staff member, if one isn't already there. Then let the staff handle it.
ETA: I (probably insanely) posted a cleaned up version of this on Super-Wiki (no F-word, much less sarcasm and CAPSLOCK and without the "wild rebel" paragraph). Now I guess I'll see how many people will be offended by my saying 'hey, don't be rude'. Or if the admin team will delete it. Don't know why I'm doing this to myself, except that I kind of hope that someone who has been told that he's fat or boo'd because he wouldn't perform on command, might maybe look at it and go 'Oh, hey, yeah, that was just one stray crazy. They're not all like that.' Not because they're actors, but because they were essentialy bullied. And I gotta stand against that.
Anyway, it cleaned up nice and pretty.
2ETA: It was deleted from Super-Wiki the next day. Too inflammatory. And that was the NICE version! *LOL*