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23rd-Apr-2010 08:00 pm
Hello all,

I'm probably gonna sound noobish with this question but.... do the guests usually charge for autographs if you bring your own book/picture/DVD, etc?  I have several people that I wanna get this year so trying to figure out how much to bring with me for it. Thanks in advance for any advice!
24th-Apr-2010 08:23 am (UTC) - Photo prices
If you're talking about the media guests - TV and movies, then yes, they charge. The minimum I've seen lately is $20, most charge at least $25. It depends on the guest, it's not something D*C has anything to do with. If they appear at the Walk of Fame (ballroom of tables where the media guests sit), they charge. Also, most guests charge an additional price if you want to get a photo with them at the autograph table. Some don't allow photos with them at their table if they have a professional photo op scheduled. Some don't allow any candid photos of them, even if you're not in the photo. It's not consistant, there's a wide range of prices and what is allowed.

If you don't have something to get autographed, guests usually have photos, but they may not have one that you like. You can go to the dealer room and buy something there but again, you may not find something you like.

Most of the authors sign for free. They don't appear on the Walk of Fame, there's a separate area for them.

You can google the person you want an autograph from and see how much they've been charging lately to get a feel of what you'll need for D*C. For example, I googled "shatner autograph price dragoncon" since I knew Shatner appeared last year. I found a forum comment listing Shatner and Nimoy at $75, Patrick Stewart at $60 and Kate Mulgrew at $40.

You can look at other scheduled conventions, many have autograph prices listed if they pre-sell autograph tickets.

You can check if the guest has a website, sometimes they list autograph prices. Fan sites usually have forums where they might mention the price they paid.

You can check eBay to see what autographed items sell for. Not a good indicator of what you'd pay at a con, but interesting to check.

When I get an autograph for a friend, I get the maximum price they'd pay before they say "Forget it!" I also get their cell phone number and call them if the price is just over their max. Last year I had a friend say the max he would pay was $20, but the guest was charging $25. I gave him a call and he said it was OK for the extra $5. Another person might have said no.

Tips for getting autographs -

- Do you want the item personalized or just the guest's name? Think about this beforehand in case you get so overwhelmed at meeting the guest you forget what you want. I've seen it happen!

- If you want it personalized, have a card made up with your name printed so they don't have to guess how to spell it, unless you have a common name like Bob. If you're using your own name on your D*C badge (many don't use their real names on their badge), you can use that.

- If you want the autograph in a certain color, bring the pen. While many of the guests have black and silver sharpies, if you want that signature in blue, bring your own pen. Sometimes even their black sharpies are worn out, so I bring my own black and silver sharpies just in case.

- Don't put an autographed photo into a plastic sleeve until it's totally dry. Black sharpies need the least time. The silver paint pens take a while. Test at home.

- Bring something to keep your items safe before and after they get autographed. Don't lay items on top of each other just after they get autographed, you may transfer the ink to the back of the other item.

- If you're getting a piece of clothing signed, sometimes it's better to use a fabric pen. Test this out at home to see if you need one.

- If you get autographs for friends and need to pick up a photo from the guest, does your friend want the guest in character or an actor headshot? Black and white or color? Should it be only the guest, or if there's something like a cast shot that will place the guest in a show, do they want that? If the guest is in multiple shows, what show? I had a friend who wanted an autograph from an actor who was on Star Trek and Stargate. Even though the guest was better known from Star Trek, my frient preferred a Stargate photo first, then Star Trek if the guest didn't have a Stargate photo. Fortunately the guest did bring both types.

I say, budget for what you think you need, then double it. Really!

Oh, and it's cash only for the autographs.
2nd-May-2010 09:57 am (UTC) - Re: Photo prices
Great contribution, I'm a 5 year guy, but the advice is very welcome :)
24th-Apr-2010 01:01 pm (UTC)
Depends on the guest butr generally yes. It is how the guests make money as the con doesnt generally pay them.
24th-Apr-2010 01:05 pm (UTC)
They do charge if you bring your own stuff. And some of them won't personalize. (Shatner and Nimoy didn't last year.) Most of them do have photos there for you to get sign and I have yet to see them cost anything more than the autograph price.
24th-Apr-2010 01:59 pm (UTC)
I wish they would post a price list of how much each celebrity will charge somewhere beforehand so that you don't have to wonder about it the whole time you're standing in line. All the D*C people would need to do is check with the handlers about a week or so prior and post it on the website along with the pocket program.

Makes sense....
24th-Apr-2010 02:24 pm (UTC)
Can't add much to the first response. But yes, basically, if the guest in the Walk of Fame is autographing an item (whether that's an item you bring, an 8x10 at their table, or whatever else), it will cost you a fee. As stated, prices will vary depending on the popularity of that guest. It's going to be rare to find out exactly how much someone charges, but doing research on fan forums helps, or ask back on this LJ about a specific guest when the con is closer.

I remember going my first year and wanting autos from sooooooo many people. You either have to (1) accept that you're going to lose a lot of money and bring a generous estimate of how much you'll spend, with the notion that you may have to withdraw more later. Or (2) make a budget and stick to it, making tough choices on who you won't get an auto from. If you're going with option 1, then start saving now!!

Remember, it's free to go up to them for a chat, even if their handler gives you an evil eye.
24th-Apr-2010 03:57 pm (UTC)
Definitely check out the autograph room schedule when the program grids come out. Anyone in the DragonCon autograph room (not the walk of fame) is signing for free. Usually, there are mostly authors there, though last year famous movie director and Monty Python member, Terry Gilliam signed in there for free (I love him so much for respecting his fans for doing it). Not that the celebs in the walk of fame don't deserve their money, they do, but the celebs that are doing really well for themselves seem to be sticking it to their fans (like last year's Star Trek guys, wish they hadn't come at all then see them charge those really high prices). I hear that talking to celebs is free, but the whole vibe in the walk of fame seems unfriendly to anyone who isn't paying for autographs, that I don't stay in there long. I usually pick one or two stars max to get an autograph from, this year it will be Luke Perry.

Also, if you are into comics, most artists and writers sign for free in artist ally, with a few exceptions, like raising money for charity or a couple that agree to sign a stack of things for you if make a purchase. Also know that most of the comic book guests still aren't on the main guest list this year. They are announcing guests on their their facebook page and have many of them (but not all) in the Comics & Pop Art tab on the side of the page. There guest list is really incredible this year.
25th-Apr-2010 08:25 am (UTC) - More about autographs
More on media guests:

While most of the media guests sign in the Walk of Fame room, some of the bigger guests have a separate room where they do autographs. Shatner, Nimoy, Stewart and Mulgrew were handled this way last year because of the anticipated number of people who were going to want their autographs. Keep an eye and ear out if your guest is a big celebrity.

Check the D*C schedule when it comes out online. It notes if the guest will be on the Walk of Fame, but not the times. It also notes when the guest has scheduled Q&A appearances. The guest probably won't be available for at least a half hour before and after an appearance, so you know not to go looking for them then. I give them an hour leeway myself.

Most guests are at their tables when not at a Q&A session. They do take breaks and may leave to go to lunch, although quite a few eat at their tables. I always feel a little bad when I want an autograph and they're eating. But they're at their tables expecting to work, or else they would go somewhere else. They're ususally careful to wipe their hands if they're holding their food, but keep an eye out, just in case.

How the guest handles their convention appearance varies from person to person. Some have scheduled signing times posted, some just scribble a "Be back at..." when they're gone, some you just have to catch them when you see them. Some have the same convention manager and they might have their signing schedules listed all together, even if you don't see connection between the guests. Guests that appeared on the same show may have different convention managers, so they may not all be sitting together. Some don't have any convention managers at all. A convention manager handles convention appearances and is separate from an actor's manager or agent. Some of the convention managers are actors themselves. You might not think this is relevant, but it explains why things are different for different guests. I know some con attendees got frustrated when what they thought were the "rules" don't apply to everyone. There isn;t a blanket set of rules. You just have to approach each guest as a unique experience.

When you're waiting in line, don't be afraid to talk to the people around you. It's your time to geek out about your favorite celebrity and you know the people in line share your interest in the guest, so take the time to connect.

Take a breath and center yourself before you meet a guest.

If you're not the chatty type, prepare a question beforehand so you have something to say besides, "I love your work, thanks for signing this for me!" Write it down, and look at it right before you meet the guest. Depending on the guest and/or the line waiting, you may not get time to say it, but it helps to plan ahead. I've been shooed away with scarcely time to say thanks, and I've had 10 minute conversations.

If you are the chatty type and there's a line behind you, be polite and limit your interaction. Share the love!

For me, the key to D*C is planning, but to be flexible when things need to change.

Hope this helps you with your autographs.
25th-Apr-2010 02:31 pm (UTC)
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<If you're not the chatty type, prepare a question beforehand so you have something to say besides, "I love your work, thanks for signing this for me!" Write it down, and look at it right before you meet the guest. Depending on the guest and/or the line waiting, you may not get time to say it, but it helps to plan ahead.>

We always do this and the research ahead of time pays off - the guest is more likely to give you a few minutes of their time regardless of the line (notice I said A FEW) when asked a question they haven't heard a mil times, or if you comment on something they did outside of the big geek reason they're there... we've had some great moments that way!
2nd-May-2010 09:58 am (UTC)
I actually considered doing this, thanks for adding it :)
26th-Apr-2010 07:01 pm (UTC)
If one doesn't have anything else... that nice big program book that Dragoncon publishes makes a great holder for autographed photos. I make sure to pick up at least 1 extra just for that purpose.

Most writers sign their books for free. Note that a very POPULAR writer WILL have a huge line and it MOST LIKELY WILL GET CUT OFF EVEN BEFORE THE SIGNING STARTS! A few set up at either their own booth or with a vendor for additional signing sessions. I know Missing Volume does signings at their dealer table and I'm gonna go ahead and bet that Jim Butcher will sign at a vendor table (probably Buzzy Multimedia).
28th-Apr-2010 07:51 am (UTC)
I really can't add much to what everyone has said, except bring cash. I know it seems like commonsense, but there are some that will take a credit/debit card (if have to get into a separate line to pay, receive a slip, then get in the line(s) you want & present the slip/ticket showing that you have paid), but you are charged an extra fee. This fee will add up. Also, if you are constantly going to the ATM, if your bank charges fees, those will add up. Since people are carrying large sums of cash and there are a lot of people bumping into you, keep you cash separated into different places, so that if any money is stolen from you, it's not all gone. Personally, I didn't have any problems, but I was proactive. Oh, if you get a photo op, the signature is usually not included. You have to pay extra for that. If the photo op is $60 & the person is charging $25 for something to be signed, you have now paid $85 for your picture to be taken with X and have it signed.
31st-Aug-2010 06:15 am (UTC) - Photos
From what I understand there will not be any photos of any kind to be taken at the Walk of Fame or anywhere on the 2nd floor. At least that's the way I understood the 2010 Dragoncon Pocket Program.

Anyone got some input on this? I so hope, I am misunderstanding something.

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