|Address Research & Collecting Skills 101|
Lesson Three: Collecting for Intermediate Collector
Hello again fellow collector! Soon you'll be right there with the best of the top collectors on the net. If you've been faithful to the lessons and did the homework, your network is in full swing and your list is probably getting larger and your collection big enough to need some type of organization! Congratulations. Can there possibly be more? If you are a true collector, you will realize that as long as an autograph exists that you don't have, you'll be looking for new and inventive ways of getting those rare addresses. If you started with these lessons when a new collector, you're probably hooked. If you were already are a collector and still think I've nothing to offer, humor me ...there may be more for you.
Summary Lesson #2
1. You learned about newsgroups, e-lists, chat boards, and fan clubs and signed up for at least one.
2. You looked through one of my templates and found some official websites. You looked at the page of fan clubs/newsgroups I put together for you.
3. You visited a couple of the major sites and noted information which could be useful in getting an in-person or ttm (see Tips page for abbreviations) autographs.
4. You visited Star Archive & said "WOW, thousands of awesome addresses!" (and maybe found a few Star Wars people on it). You also visited IMDB and saw credit lists and although don't understand the total power of it, you know in your heart it's an awesome tool for future use.
5. You signed up for a newsletter and know it's useful and know not to dismiss it a source of possible information in the future. You perused some major sites to see what type of information may be found to aid you in your quest (interviews etc).
6. You contacted at least one collector and started a "network". Maybe you worked a trade if comfortable.
IN This Lesson
Stepping up the network
Conventions and other Events
WebRings and Voice Sites
Making a site
Venues and Companies
Voicechasers/Other voice site
TIP #1 People in your network should include people in your Newsgroup, people on your E-lists, people who you've e-mailed and have been so kind as to email you back and people you've met in person etc. Use these people and let them use you for more than just answering questions. When attending conventions etc., have a card with your email address and website information on it to pass out. If a convention is near you, offer to purchase items for them. If they need IRC's or stamps, go to the post office and get them for others. Ask questions, become a little more intimate and step up the network. For your convenience, I am including a Conventions/Events. This also includes a list of book signings, sports signing etc across the US. Pass this info on to your new network. Always share this sort of information! If a convention is in your area, try to go. This will give you an idea as to how they are run, how much it costs to get in, what type of events they have and what sort of signers will appear. It is important to go to at least one of these as it can provide you with contacts for the future. You'll meet other collectors and can add more to your "network". Heck, you might even meet a star or two who might give you information, their address or contact info! (hint). Besides conventions, there are other events that may come to your area that offer chances of in-person signings. Such events include: book signings, radio talk shows, concerts, plays/shows, art exhibits, film festivals, store openings and premieres. There are many things that can happen and assuredly, one is happening right near you! Just look in your Entertainment/Ticket/Events section of your newspaper or tune into your local radio station. I'll discuss the how-to of venue collecting later. Go to these events and try to get one autograph. Once you do, you'll be hooked. Don't be nervous as they are only people too!
TIP #2 There's another internet tool that offers assistance in finding good sites. That would be WebRings. Not all WebRings are good in my opinion and I don't use them much, but it's a matter of preference and there are some good things about them. I haven't found a Star Wars Autograph Collecting one, but there are several Star Wars and several Autograph Collecting ones, so I am enclosing links to each. WebRings are nothing more than a group of sites banded or linked together. Think of it like one of those paper chains you used to make out of construction paper when in elementary school. A Webring could have as little as half a dozen sites to hundreds of sites, all linked together with one common theme. The good thing about WebRings is that you don't revisit the same site a dozen times. The bad thing about them is you get so far down into the links sometimes it's difficult to find your way back! But never dismiss WebRings. Little known sites sometimes sign up for these out of frustration of not being able to be listed in Browsers. So many undiscovered sites can be found there. A diamond can be found in a bucket of sand so to speak!
TIP #3 Another way I keep in contact with a few collectors is through an online messaging service. Chatting. I signed on when someone invited me on and I got someone else to sign on and they got someone else to sign on and I now chat with over half a dozen people. What's the relevance to autograph collecting? Well sometimes I get really excited about a success and must tell about it immediately. If someone gets a success and can tell me if an address works, I can actually get that request out that day! I've found that sometimes I am unable to extrapolate my feelings in email. So if someone misunderstands me, I can use messenger to clear it up because I can answer questions quickly. It's a little cumbersome sometimes if you have too many people online at once, but you can get them on the same conversation by inviting them in. Or you can keep two or separate windows open. Either way, it's good if you are talking and coordinating efforts or have lots to ask or talk about. This is not really as much of a collecting tool as it is a networking tool. You can step up your network by using this tool. You will begin to become "real" to the others and they will become "real" to you. More personality shows and you can better understand who you are dealing with. Here are links of messenger services: MSN Messenge, AOL Instant Messenger and ICQ.
TIP #4 Build a site. Get it online and make it straightforward. Contact people who collect Star Wars or have Star Wars sites to exchange links. Ask other autograph collectors too. Add to it but don't clutter it. Keep it fresh and update often so people come back. Pretty soon, other collectors will contact YOU. Most of my personal network was because of my site. Once people saw an item in my collection they didn't have, they contacted me. Some wanted to visit just because they liked Star Wars and my site has even inspired a collector or two to start collecting. Become a formidable force on the net and the force will always be with you! If you do not know how to build a site, contact me and I'll try to help you with links or information to get you started.
TIP #5 Contests are a good way of possibly adding to your collection. Plus, signing up for contests sometimes signs you up for further emails that will tell you about upcoming events etc. Here's one: www.planethollywood.com. I am not going to find more for you, but there are tons of these. You can find information there too sometimes. For example, I learned from the Heath Ledger Knight's Tale Sweepstakes, that his full name is Heathcliff Andrew Ledger and he's from Perth, Australia! This is invaluable information for better address searching. So never dismiss sites that have contests. General sites sometimes list Star Wars Actors and such. So if you see Harrison Ford is in a new film, check sites like Planet Hollywood! Plus, you could even win autographed stuff!
TIP #6 I know a lot of you are just visiting here hoping I'll say, Here's Harrison's Ford's address, he signed through the mail and it's authentic. Sorry. But, you actually can find some addresses on this site. Just go to my address diaries and see how many I've gotten and how they were obtained. Visit 2000 and then the 2001 diaries respectively. Then go to the Trilogy, Prequel, Expanded Universe, and Non-Star Wars Autographs. These lessons are primarily to help YOU find the resources to research your OWN addresses. This is half the hobby and is really an exciting part of collecting. It's half the fun and is really rewarding to find something no one else has and do it alone and get a response! Don't just ask people for addresses. Work for them. The reward is much sweeter.
TIP #7 I have provided on this site, a list of production, business and other addresses like theatres, agencies and directories. If a new movie is coming out by say Sony Pictures starring Ewan McGregor, you can probably reach him during production by writing the production company. In addition, did you know that a Fan Club President (Oliver Denker), the Editor of Star Wars Galaxy and someone from Topps was in Episode I as extras? Well, having there work addresses would be awesome then wouldn't it? Well it's yours. You must do the research to see if these addresses will be of use to you, but I think they will be! If not now, but later you might hear from a newsletter or site that someone is somewhere . . . I may have provided you with addresses that are awesome and way convenient. But you will have to do some research to make them work for you.
Something Good: Many Star Wars people were voice artists, a lot were puppeteers and a lot were little people. I am gonna tell you about a couple cool voice sites for now . . . Voicechasers and a Lucas Arts related Voice Site which will both give you some addresses or information leading to addresses!
Homework Assignment: Look at the list of conventions and see if one is near you. If so, go. Bring lots of cash and business cards. Start conversations with others and pass out those business cards. Some of these people could become important to you. Go pretty deep into at least one Webring. Note sites that do not come up when you are searching....these little known sites could be a treasure trove. Sign up for chat. Find someone who'll try it with you. Chat with them. This will help you get to know people better. Try building a site. Nothing elaborate. Just a simple thing showcasing your collection or interest in autograph collecting or Star Wars. Have fun. People will contact YOU if you get that site out there. Check out contests like the one at Planet Hollywood. Check out my diary pages for 2000 & 2001 and get addresses. Check out the list of way cool addresses I gave you, research names on the voice sites, the theatres, the agencies etc. you might find a couple people there....but it's up to you how useful these could be. .
END OF LESSON