I have to admit, I’m not a huge fan or organized book signings anymore. They are just so limiting. I mean there are always, “Strict guidelines” to follow, generally they freak out when you bring something from home and they are just excuses to sell another book.
However, there are the rare cases when the celebrities are kind and actually care about the fans that they are meeting. Jack had such an experience with Martin Sheen who was out promoting his book, Along the Way: The Journey of a Father and Son.
Check out his recap after the jump!
So there was this guy and he tipped his hat like so and who do you think that guy was…not Emilio Estevez. Today I’m out and about in Ventura County instead of venturing down to the LA area to meet Martin Sheen and Emilio Estevez, who are promoting their book Along the Way: The Journey of a Father and Son at the Thousand Oaks Barnes & Noble.
I previously met both Emilio Estevez and Martin Sheen at an awards screening presented by Backstage at the Landmark Theater in Los Angeles. Both Emilio and Martin were very accommodating with each fan request, regardless if it was an autograph and/or picture. Both CB and Pinky can testify as they also attended the event. Martin really took his time with each individual giving each fan their “minute” with him. Martin signed a West Wing DVD for me while I obtained a Men At Work DVD from Emilio for my mom (It’s one of her favorite guilty pleasure movies).
Even though I possessed other items for both I decided to limit myself to one item each since I didn’t want to seem pushy. In hindsight I wish I would have gotten my Young Guns DVD signed as well, but I rather be satisfied with one than none. Unfortunately I missed the signing Martin and Emilio did at the Grove and was thrilled to learn another signing would occur literally in my neck of the woods.
Before the event several guidelines were posted online. On the Barnes & Noble website, it warned Martin Sheen’s time was limited and numbers would be issued starting 9am on the day of the signing (about 2 ½ hrs prior to the event). Immediately that sent up red flags to me, but I was still determined to attend to meet Emilio and Martin once again. This time I brought along my Breakfast Club laserdisc, The Way DVD, a West Wing season 2 DVD insert and my Limited Edition Repo Man DVD. Worse comes to worse I could always run back to my car if the signing is limited and/or attempt for personal items after the signing.
8:50- I arrive at the Thousand Oaks Barnes & Noble. There are about a dozen people ahead of me and one of the first people in line is a dirty, smelly hippie, who looks like the lovechild of the Renaissance faire and a commune. Now that I think of it, he looks like Mark Hudson, but without the crazy colored goatee and is decked out in green. Don’t get me wrong I have nothing against “free spirits,” but it has been my experience when someone dresses as unusual and “far out there” like this gentlemen it usually means the signing will turn interesting.
9:00- The store opens up and we all head to the middle of the store where they distribute numbers for the signing. I overhear Emilio may not be showing up now. I disregard the “rumor” and obtain my number, which is in the first 15. We are informed that lineups will begin at 11:00 in numerical order for the 11:30 signing. Then it happens. We are handed a guideline sheet- No personalizations, only 2 items signed per person (e.g. one DVD and one book) and no other memorabilia will be signed except for The Way (DVD or Blu-ray) and/or book. I couldn’t believe it, but at the same time I wasn’t surprised with the guidelines. Nowadays, strict guidelines are becoming more standard with book signings thanks to autograph dealers being greedy. I decided to tough it out just in case.
9:05- Head over to the magazine section and look for some issues, including the Deborah Ann Wall’s “True Blood” Entertainment Weekly (even though I’m a few days wait). Instead I pick up a copy of High Times and The Hollywood Reporter with my favorite director on the cover, Oliver Stone and check out.
Since I live so close I decide to head home and relax until 11ish since I already have my number. While I’m about to leave, a Barnes & Noble employee is calling the Shopping Center security on “Hippie Guy” since he is hanging outside the store making fresh orange juice on his car after he bought his book. I seriously wish I was making this up as I couldn’t stop laughing with how far-fetched this situation was outside the store.
11:10- Return to the store and line up in my spot on the second floor. Oh God! We are lined up in the romance book section, which is located directly across from the signing table. Why can’t lines ever be wrapped around good sections? From the looks of it, there are around 50 to 75 people at the signing. There is only one chair at the signing table so the Emilio rumors must be true.
11:20 Martin Sheen arrives and people in line are impressed he doesn’t have an entourage. He is just walking the aisles with the Event Coordinator. Martin Sheen is part of the last great generation of actors, who appreciate their fans thoroughly and always seem happy to accommodate their fans. Sure, Martin Sheen is arguably one of the nicest celebs you could meet, but “older” Hollywood certainly knows how to treat their fans right. Anyone who started acting before the 1970s generally possesses this fan friendly demeanor.
11:21- The Event Coordinator announces Martin has “graciously agreed” to read some passages from the book to turn the event into a reading/signing.
Before beginning, Martin notices almost all of us possess books and jokes “I guess this won’t increase book sales” before showing his signature smile. He also apologizes that Emilio couldn’t make it as he injured himself the night before and sends his best.
Martin explains how this book came into fruition and how it’s written with Emilio and himself alternating chapters from their perspectives on certain events. Sheen read the first few pages and the chapter when he became a father for the first time with Emilio. While listening to Martin, you honestly felt like he was reading just to you. His voice is pitch-perfect for an audio book.
Once he is done reading, we all reorganize in an orderly line (just another reason why the ‘burbs rule because we actually listen to the rules). Then another announcement is made: There will be personalizations allowed. Once the signing starts, Martin takes his time with each individual fan and is now posing for photographs. The Event Coordinator remains calm even though Martin is on a time crunch (He has another book signing at 3pm), but every once in awhile you could tell by looking at her she is freaking out on the inside and seems on the edge.
So far Martin is literally taking a few minutes with each fan posing for photos and personalizing books. One couple who had been bragging about traveling the Camino (if you have seen The Way you’ll understand) managed to get Martin to sign some seashells, their copy of The Way on Blu-ray, two books and took photos with him. At this point, an attendee in front of me turned to the event coordinator and said, “That’s so cool he is taking his time with fans and doing all that for them. I guess he is ignoring the guidelines.”
“The guidelines are completely up to each author,” the Event Coordinator said. “And so far he has broken every single one.”
Hippie Guy arrives at the table and you could tell the Event Coordinator was feeling antsy. Sure enough after getting his book signed, he magically pulled out a sack of oranges before posing for a photo (The Event Coordinator called someone to complain about him and all I could do is laugh). Since Martin signed some seashells I decided to get my West Wing insert ready along with my copy of The Way on DVD and book because obviously he is definitely off his own guidelines for the event.
Just like the time before at the Landmark, Martin was happy to meet me and gladly stuck out his hand. He immediately grabbed my West Wing insert and personalized everything of mine.
We talked about The Way and how it was a pleasure meeting him again. We reminisced about the award season for The Way and discussed the Camino.
After learning my age, he encouraged me to travel the Camino (like he did at the Landmark event) and I thanked him once again for making an awe-inspiring movie like The Way.
Martin is seriously one of the coolest celebs I have ever met and I walked away with three autographs. More “book signings” need to be like this and I love it when things go smoothly like this. Not a bad way to start my Saturday, but it was only just beginning. Until the next time, happy autograph hunting!
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