Suddenly Susan Poses The Question: Is The Autograph Hobby Dying? Inquiring Minds Want To Know!

It’s very interesting this world of ours.

Suddenly Susan, who I’ve been friends with for many moons now, has penned a wonderful essay, and in it, she poses the question: Is the autograph hobby dying?

I know there can be cases made for both sides to be sure, but with the rise of the con circuit, the insane crowds and most recently the tragic shooting of Christina Grimmie, they are all good things to question.

For myself, I was talking to Scotty the other day and I said off hand, “I’m so glad I started cast posters like Fight Club years ago because now they would be impossible.”

edward norton signed autograph signature fight club promo mini poster brad pitt helena bonham carter david fincher

And it’s true. Even people who are technically “easy” aren’t so easy anymore. It’s a changing world.

I, and Susan would love to hear your thoughts, leave some comments below!

Mike The Fanboy Signature logo

Philography. Is that the study of people named Phil? No, it’s the name for the hobby of autograph collecting. I’ve been a philographer for years without knowing it what it was called.

Michael Fassbender Bafta Awards 2016 signing autographs 52

That’s how I started my first article for Mike the Fanboy back in February of 2012. In the past four and half years I’ve been fortunate enough to meet some A-list stars, some unknown (at the time) actors, and some childhood celebrity crushes. Along the way I made some lifelong friends and interacted with an array of crazy characters all in the name of getting an autograph. Lately, however, I feel this crazy hobby of mine is dead, or at the very least on life support. There have always been challenges when trying to nab a celebrity autograph or photo op, but recently I feel the odds of doing so are close to impossible.

suddenly susan posting with norman Reedus at stan lee's comikaze expo 2012 the walking dead

I’ve never been a fan of premieres. The setups are different at every venue and it doesn’t matter how early you arrive. You can be the first person there, in what should be a primo spot, and the celebrity gets dropped on the other end of the street. Or they start two people down from you but walk in the other direction. Not to mention getting there in time requires time off from work. I know others have done very well, but they are too much of gamble for me. Lately, from what I’ve read, celebrities are instructed to only sign for randoms pulled into a fan pit. I’ll be damned if I’m going to use a vacation day, be first in line, then get screwed over for tourist from Alabama who’s never even heard of Joel Edgerton.

joel edgerton the gift q and a fan photo signing autographs 1joel edgerton the gift q and a fan photo signing autographs 1

There are smaller venues with tiny premieres and intimate Q&As, but if you’re not lucky enough to be a guild member, or good friends with a member who will bring you in as a guest, you’re pretty much screwed. There’s always outside the location, of course, but depending on the celebrities, that can be more crazed than a red carpet premiere. Then there’s the toss up of will the sign inside or outside, neither, or both? It’s a 50/50 return at best. Less than a year ago, a no name C-lister would have 4 people waiting outside, whereas now there’s a minimum of 30 people waiting everywhere, at everything, for everyone. The secrets are out and this once fun hobby is now an exhausting and fruitless pain in the rear.

crowds at TIFF

I started collecting autographs way back in grade school by writing to celebrities. It was a joyous moment to receive something back through the mail. Some 25 years later I read an article about teen idols. In it, they referred to Ricky Schroder receiving so many fan letters during the height of “Silver Spoons” that a group of women was hired to answer for him. I was crushed. That hand signed, black and white 5×7 of the Ricker is most likely a fake. For me, that’s the problem with TTM. No offense to those who utilize it, but you never really know for sure, do you?

olivia munn signing autographs fanmail ttm rare magic mike

So instead, I’ve taken to attending conventions in order to meet certain celebrities. There’s no guess work involved, no physically battling people for a signature, and no waiting for 12 hours in the hot sun or cold night. You’re able to have your choice of pen type/color, have a quote added, and get your item personalized all at once. Sure, cons have their disadvantages too, but I’d rather take a chance with a celebrity cancelling an appearance over having a bunch of dealers put my eye out with one of their precious 8x10s. Conventions have a lot to offer and I always find a friend to join, turning it into a mini vacation in a new city that we can explore after hours.

gotham cast ben mckenzie Wizard world meeting chris evans jeremy renner 12

Deciding to attend a con or wait outside on the sidewalk depends a lot on why you’re trying to get a signature in the first place. Are you trying to finish a cast piece you’ve been working on for 10 years, or do you just really want to meet a certain actor? Are you ok with the item you’ve brought getting ruined by a bunch of overzealous dealers and fans, or is it a special item that can’t be replaced? What I particularly enjoy about the con circuit is the tiny moment you get with the person you’re there to see. A hug, a kiss on the cheek, giving them a gift, telling them how much a certain movie meant to you – all worth the cost in my opinion. It’s something you’re never going to get smashed in a fan pit with people screaming and pushing all over you. The prices for any big Marvel stars like Chris Evans, or Hemsworth are ridiculous, I must admit. But when I think of all the money I’m now saving on gas, parking, and tickets to panels, I can certainly justify it. Now I keep a convention fund and put any extra savings into it. Problem solved.

Wizard World Chicago 2014 (33)

Again, I’ve been truly blessed. I’ve been able to meet my favorite actors more than once, get unique pieces of memorabilia signed, and snapped some awesome photo ops. Except for two well-known franchise stars and one unknown actor who lives and works solely in New York, I’ve gotten an autograph from everyone on my “want list”. Aside from those few and no photo op with Hugh Jackman, I’m pretty set.

Chris Pratt Meeting Fans On The Set Of Parks And Recreation 1

I’d love to hear from some fellow collectors. Is this hobby dying? Already dead? Thriving? The same as it always was? Comment below and let us know what you think.

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