|Address Research & Collecting Skills 101|
Lesson 4 Links
Lesson Four: Collecting for Intermediate-Advanced Collector
Mary, Mary, quite contrary, how does your autograph collection grow? Pretty good I bet! How many addresses have you collected? You should have a few pages of notes, at least 10 pages of addresses and a lot of email is coming your way from collectors, e-lists and from the fan clubs and newsletters. If you've started out collecting with these lessons, you're probably curious enough to at least check back to see what links I have for you. By the end of this lesson, I hope you are really excited and can't wait for the next one. If you were already are a collector and are not convinced I can offer more, hold on! This lesson might just convince you....
Summary Lesson #3
1. You learned to step up your network.
2. You checked out the conventions list & checked for upcoming events in your area (possibly attended one and got an autograph or two)
3. You browsed through some WebRings and checked out the voice sites. Did you find someone?
4. You signed up for some sort of chat & found a collector buddy to chat with about collecting.
5. You have updated or started to make a site to display your collection; or are at least preparing your 'site' in your mind or on paper.
6. You checked out the list of Venue addresses and tried to relate them to people who work there. Maybe you found some cool people who gave you an autograph or two.
7. You checked out my address diaries and found some awesome addresses and other info.
8. You went to the Voice Chaser's site and said "wow!". Did you find a bunch of people and an address or two? I know you did!
In This Lesson
Solidifying the network
Searching BBC, Actors Equity, et al.
Writing to movie sets in productions
Reverse Address/E-Mail Lookups/E-Mail Requests/Home Addresses
The Internet & real phone books
Autograph Collecting Magazines/online magazines
TIP #1 Now you have a network of collector's you contacted. You may have 3 or 4 people you contact regularly. Now's the time to get more personal. Make an attempt to meet your new friends, talk on the phone, give your addresses to them, chat on live chat, send a photo of yourself, or share your collection. If you do not have a site, scan your items in. Share everything. How you got the items etc. Share your stories and solidify your relationship by doing something kind for your friends. Remember the old adage what goes around comes around? Do nice things .... be the first to show good faith. Some of your collector friends might be able to get you autographs by in person meetings, private signings etc. Some of them might eventually get deep into the hobby and be involved with conventions or other things. BE a part of a network and make yourself a big part. Be assertive but be kind. This is one of the most valuable tools you now have. Get rid of poison people; you don't need it in any sense. It's more important to be happy.
TIP #2 Ever wonder how come someone has a 'rare' person and you wonder how they managed to get the address? Well sometimes, it's no secret. Sometimes it's a stab in the dark or something VERY generic. For example, lets say you know Jennifer Aniston is in TV show called Friends and Friends is an ABC show. Only you can't find the Friends fan mail address for anything. You can do what I do... send to ABC and direct it to the most generic address you can find. They'll sometimes forward it on to the appropriate offices. The same goes with the BBC. Many British Actors work for the BBC and the BBC will often just pass on the information. Go to the BBC site and type in names. If the names pop up, try to reach the stars there. You can do the same with BAE (British Actors Equity). BAE. is a union for actors. Don't abuse this. Just send there if you're confident the celebrity might be doing something there currently. Remember the Book publishers addresses I gave you (venue/company addresses)? Well most writer's can be reached there... and the comic book artists and writers? They can be reached there 80% of the time. So write to DC Comics if you know someone freelances for them. Or write to Del Rey Publishing if an author publishes all or most of their work there. Same goes for Lucas crew members....ILM or Lucasfilm....and the Gamers at LucasArts! If you see someone spotlighted on a company website in some way, you know they work there. So yes, those addresses are 'guesses' but very important and just might work. The BBC has been great for me and it can for you too.
TIP #3 Remember IMDB from Lesson 2? Well go to IMDB and at the very bottom you'll note a link called "in production". Click that and browse. These are films currently in production. You will not many stars are listed and sometimes addresses are given for those filming locations. I found no less than 10 Star Wars people (just actors...I never did check the crew) currently making a film. If the address is not available, go back to your browser and type in the name of the film and the production or release year. You need to act fast because the actors times on the sets are limited. See the list of major Movie/TV Production Addresses, phone numbers and site links for your convenience, but it'll be up to you to figure out who might be filming a movie there. These will be generic addresses that might come in handy for many moons to come so keep them. You can call the main number and ask specifically where to send fan mail etc. IMDB is a good source for many reasons. This is just another power of IMDB!
TIP #4 Mapquest is handy for in-persons because it maps out where individual buildings are. If you get an RTS or a success in the mail and don't know who it was from and want to try to figure it out from the postmark, MapQuest can help. I got a request once and had only two people who it could be from. Both were located in England. I looked on the postmark and discerned the postmark and city. By typing in that name and the name of the cities for the two requests on my list, I figured out the nearest city to both addresses. I had sent to Ewan McGregor near the postmarked city and that's who it was! It was one of my first successes and I didn't know his sig at the time, so that was a big help.
Mapquest tells you how far you are from something so if you are going to a convention or event, you can judge how close you are. Or you can check your friends' addresses in comparison to an event in their area and let them know how close they are to the event. Remember, all tools on the net serve some purpose. You are only limited by your imagination. Sit and ask yourself HOW can I use this to aid me in my autograph/address research? You'll be surprised how using something like MapQuest can help!
TIP #5 Lookups/directories are VERY useful. Some people involved in the film industry WANT their information known! Some have businesses and it helps their business being listed. I've enclosed some of the better reverse email and addresses lookups available. If you know the email address but not the address, many times you can find it by just typing in the email address. Sometimes not, but it's always worth a shot. The reverse is true as well. Say you'd like an email address. Type in the address you have. It just might work. Sometimes, you can just try blank guesses and get a successful address in email. It works like this: Type in the name of the person (and different variations like Anthony Daniels or Tony Daniels) then type in the city, state and country you 'think' they might be in. Sometimes, these blind guesses work. Don't dismiss ANYTHING. So have you guessed some of my secrets? They're not secrets at all, just creative uses of Internet tools. Please note the following: Use etiquette and good judgment when contacting people via email. If you stumble upon a home address and that's the only way you can reach them, try it, but do not give the address to anyone else. And let the person know how their address was obtained. It's just good practice and decent. I will not post a list of specific email addresses here, but along with with email look up list, there is a list of Celebrity email address sites for you. Be responsible!
TIP #6 Did you know that some people are listed in the white pages of the phone book just there for anyone to see? That's right! Many stars do not disguise their identities and sometimes that's the best disguise. One celebrity in London had a business listed in the Yellow Pages. Yep, he's still there but I will not say who. I'm enclosing a list of white/yellow pages online at left. But do not forget to spend time looking at the LA Directory, London Directory and Sydney directories in hard form. You might just be surprised. James Earl Jones tells you to let your fingers do the walking, so what are you waiting for? You can obtain copies of phone books by going to your local library, or asking someone overseas (one of your network) to mail you one cheaply (media mail).
TIP #7 Magazines, both paper and online are good sources of information. Some of my favorites are the Star Wars Insider and the Autograph Collector. Regular magazines like Cinefx give even have ads from companies who list names of their employees (I saw one recently that said thanks to Stan Winston...and it was his co-workers who listed his site etc). So you are able to get information by reading the ads and fine print too. The Insider is one of the most valuable and fun tools a collector can have. Great interviews give you insight as to who is doing what and sometimes locations are hinted at. To gather the full potential of information available (Dealers, special offers, locations of shooting, new people working on certain projects etc.), you really need to get a subscription or get an old issue and look through it. I went to a Bookstore and decided to see how many magazines are in existence. Did you know that there are magazines devoted to Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Star Trek, Pearl Harbour and other films? There are other good magazines like Dreamwatch which tell a lot about upcoming films. Studios, production personnel etc. I noted in Dreamwatch the price was steep at $8, but it was virtually ad-free and the ads that did exist were good ones: upcoming conventions, autograph dealers, memorabilia ads, and more.
Tip #8 You'll need something for the celebrities to sign. I've given you a list of free or inexpensive places to purchase photos and cards etc. I've also listed craft and office suppliers and places to get top loaders, sharpies, paint pens, and other supplies; this is found in the resources area. Enjoy.
Something Good: The Screen Actor's Guild SAG is an organization that all actors/actresses must join if they have a speaking role on TV or the big screen. Although the Screen Actor's guild will NOT give out personal information, they have been known to give agent information. The catch is you must not call more than once a day and not ask for more than ONE person a day. Sometimes they won't tell you at all if they know you are calling every day too. So be careful. Just call and ask for the contact information/agent for so and so. Say thanks and don't get too chummy.
I have two good things for you this month!
The second good thing is the International Directory. This is the same as other online directories, only it's the most comprehensive International Directory online that I found. You should be able to find a few good people by using it.
Homework Assignment: Solidify your network of collector buddies and make yourself indispensable and be more personal (give your phone number, address and vice versa). Go the the BBC site, save the address I gave you and pick out a star listed as working for the BBC and even though you may have a good address for that star, write the BBC and see if you get a response. Try the same with British Actor's Equity. Look on IMDB. Find a show in production that has a star listed you are searching for. Find the address on the list I gave you or by searching in a browser. Write that set/lot/production house etc and see if you get a response. Explore email lookups, address lookups, Mapquest and links that list email addresses. Once you found a star, write or email them. Get hard copies of the phone book from LA, New York City, Sydney or London. These are huge, but maybe your library might have them. Or go on the net with the info I've given you. Find someone. Guaranteed that if you do the work, you will find someone. Write them! Go to free online site for a magazine. Gather info. Consider buying a single magazine on the newsstand like the Autograph Collector or a subscription like Star Wars Insider. Check out the International Directory and see if you can find someone. Lastly, call SAG and get ONE and only ONE stars agents information. Don't abuse SAG or it will no longer be a "good thing". Lastly, email me with your finds. Tell me who you found. You don't have to give me addresses, but let me know if any of the information provided in these lessons is useful. I
END OF LESSON