A few tools and some serious rules about celebrity sightings at SXSW
Twitter is your friend.
Born at SXSW less than a decade ago, Twitter has become the most reliable way to find out what’s going on near you at any given time. Want to know where Luke Wilson is headed after his appearance? Check Twitter. Want to know if that really was Mr. McConaughey you just bumped into? Check Twitter. Is that session or party a good one? Check Twitter.
You get the idea. Never is immediate interaction more of a desired effect than during SXSW, and never is it used to more efficient results. Download Twitter to your smartphone and make sure you keep an eye on your favorite films, bands and celebrities, so that you can potentially turn your fandom into a “chance” encounter.
Instagram is your acquaintance.
Also making a splash at SXSW of a few years ago, Instagram has been a staple of the social media world. Instantly shared pictures, available to all audiences, makes for a great way to see what’s going on right now in the world of the celebrity you’re looking to see.
SXSW is your bestie.
Follow SXSW on Twitter and Instagram. The best way to know what is going on RIGHT NOW during SXSW is to follow the official social media accounts of the people putting on the event. Celebrity appearances, schedule updates and special event announcements are all disseminated through their official accounts. Follow them and interact with them, It’ll pay huge dividends.
Don’t be THAT guy or girl.
Yes, celebrities of the internet, music and film worlds all collide in Austin during SXSW. They’re walking the streets, they’re eating in restaurants. They’re even attending sessions. You’re going to want a picture. You might even want to take a picture with them. It’s a celebrity, when will you ever get the chance to do this again?
Some advice from a few Austinites – “Don’t be THAT guy (or girl).” Yes, it’s awesome that they’re there and you’re there. Yes, you’ve loved their music or roles since you were a child. Maybe they’ve inspired you. But this isn’t just SXSW. It’s Austin. So, be cool. You don’t NEED that picture with them. You just want it. Weigh what it means to you to have it, and then proceed. And, if you still find you cannot forgive yourself if you don’t try, here are some rules:
DO NOT interrupt them. If they are having a conversation, do not get in there. Celebrities of all industries are at SXSW to work. They’re having conversations with people that can help their career, help their band or film or simply get them the next conversation that will help. If they’re mid-conversation, DO NOT interrupt.
DO NOT ask for multiple takes. If you’re lucky enough to have them agree to a photo for your Instagram or Twitter feed, it’s not about your lighting or “best side.” Avoid the Kardashian-like temptation to get the right angle and lighting to flatter your image next to theirs. Take one shot and be glad for what you have.
DO NOT try to turn their appearance into a bonding experience for the two of you. As we said, celebrities aren’t at SXSW primarily to engage with fans (though that is one of the goals). But, even further, their attendance isn’t to bond with ONE fan. So, keep your interaction to a minimum of compliments and questions. They get hounded quite enough in the 24-hour news cycle and the questions you have have been asked by a thousand fans a thousand times before. Like we said, it’s Austin. Be cool.
DO be polite and ask if they mind a picture. Offering the option, rather than cozying up to them and snapping a photo, is much preferred, and it’s the polite thing to do. Truth be told, celebrities don’t get a lot of politeness in their world, and your kindness, whether agreed to or not, can be a breath of fresh air to a world of constant demand.
DO thank them, whether they agree to take a picture with you or not. You’ve taken up some of their time, infringed on a little of their personal life and potentially thrown off their groove. Thank them for taking the time to speak to you or shake your hand. Politeness matters.