Sept 25, 2006  <===original posting date

You Don’t Know Them


I have given a tremendous amount of deliberation to the idea of whether or not this column should be written.  The questions and concerns were many.  It is likely to be an unpopular piece.  I run a great risk of this column being considered to be one giant blind item and I have a deep seated dislike for blind items.  They are taunting.  They are mocking and they are arrogant.  They are saying, “Look at how powerful and “connected” I am because I know something and youuuuuu do not!”  If you know something and you are in a position to broadcast it but for a number of reasons (or one very good one), you are prevented from doing so, then you should likely just keep your big yap shut. 


Why do people run blind items?  I believe it is to be popular, showing that they are “in the know” and/or to taunt, mock and be arrogant, dangling the tasty bait over the people who you know are going to jump high to reach it, only to jerk away in a massive power play at the last second.   The litmus on that one is that this column isn’t likely to win me any popularity contests, not that I was sitting on that throne anyway.


Regardless, I do feel these things need to be said and honestly, I’ve never really heard anyone give voice to them except in hushed tones and private settings.  I am not trying to be the little kid who gleefully squeals out that the Emperor is wearing no clothes.  I simply feel moved to give this information a voice.


As a number of our Eye on Soaps readers know, the EOS staff is very honored (thrilled, actually) to work as staff at many of the soap opera events that are held around the country.  We see what you see when you come to the event and we also travel to the other side of the looking glass and see the reality of what goes on behind the scenes.  This is, of course, largely privileged information, which is why I will be speaking in generalities.  I will, however, be giving you some basic truths that the average soap fan attending an event will not likely hear elsewhere.  I do not for one minute want it to appear that I am taking advantage of the courtesies that have been extended to me and my staff.  Those generosities are never, ever underestimated or unappreciated and I in no way intend to do them an injustice with what I print here in this column.  The very people who afford us those privileges are likely the ones who will best understand what I'm saying.   (I know, I know... "So go ahead and say it, right, and stop with the qualifications and disclaimers!") 


OK, here we go.


It is obvious to anyone who spends more than 5 minutes surfing a soap opera  message board that there are varying degrees of fandom out there.  Personally, I am a fan of the genre of soap operas as well as a dedicated fan of each of the 3 ABC daytime dramas.  I watch them to be entertained. I watch them because I care about what happens to the characters.  Some I love, some I hate and to some I am completely indifferent.   


I focus tends to be on the show itself and the composite work that comes from the cast.  Characters and actors are usually evaluated according to what they bring to the table.  How do they help the show?   How do they hurt it?  How much do I fast forward when they are onscreen?  I like to see characters grow and evolve and react and interact.  Soap operas are the bedtime story that goes on forever; the book you never have to put down.  If you hit a bad chapter or two or twenty, then eventually you’ll get a new writer who will fix it again.  You just hang in there and wait. Dead is never really dead.  Broken up is never really broken up.  Anything can happen in a soap and usually does.  In the soap opera, any character, couple or storyline is open to getting a complete “do over.”  That’s one kind of fan and there are many who share that category with me. 


There are also the very, very singularly-focused fans who see the show as secondary to a particular interest of theirs, be it an actor, a couple or a character.  Their fascination is targeted in one direction and their opinion of the show is based solely on how that one target of attention is affected by the rest of the cast, the powers that be or the storyline.  It is for them, the ______ show (fill in the blank with the l'objet d'affection of your choice). 


I have never been one to be particularly consumed by one actor, character or couple and honestly, I've never understood the concept.  It seems like such a futile approach to the world of soaps; sort of a terminal illness because the fact is that most likely that couple will ultimately split up, that character will be written off or recast and that actor will leave the show.  In any of those cases, the show was just diminished for you in a profound way.  Basically, that one actor/character/couple holds the show hostage.  You've been set up to be disappointed.


After 8 years in the soap commentary business, I am still surprised by the passion and aggressive enthusiasm some fans will invest into their “cause.”  It truly does make a person wonder if they are actually (genuinely) aware that this is a fictional story about fictional people.   That it's not "real."  You want to presume that they know on some level, but then you hit a soap opera event and you realize that many are fuzzy on that issue.  (Many)


The money, time and energy invested into demonstrating such undying affection for an actor, a couple or a character is staggering, often showering an actor (or even a character) with gifts.  Fans are nothing if not extravagant when it comes to pampering the actor or character of their choice.


The lengths to which some fans will go to just to defend the honor of a fictional character is equally as mind blowing.  They will completely eviscerate a “real” person on the other side of the monitor because they dared to insult a fictional character who is the invention of a soap opera writer who was just doing his job;  writing a story, wearing boxer shorts, drinking his 15th Corona of the night, scratching his ass and power eating Fritos.  Real people with families and money problems and a job that they hate but need to work to feed their children are frequently less important than a character on a show, which in reality amounts to little more than pixels on a soap writer’s word processor. 


That is exactly why I no longer participate in message board conversations.  The bloodbaths that ensue over fake people in a fake town playing out imaginary scenarios are painful to watch. 


Sadly, there is a reason why the word "fan" is derived from "fan-atic."


Where must people be in their lives that the fictional world inside a metal/plastic box warrants so much aggression and brutality and takes so much precedence over the basic consideration of another living, breathing human?  Are these message board barracudas actually people who are docile and reticent in their “real” lives but turn into raging marauders (all in the name of defending their favorite characters to the death if needed) as soon as they are behind the relative safety and anonymity of their keyboards?  Are these people who are perpetually angry and resentful in general?  Those Dr Phil folks who rage and rant and attack everyone who has the misfortune to come into their sphere of influence when they possess the audacity to see something/anything in a different light?  Are they people who are so insecure in their own opinions and emotions that they need to have everyone around them agree with every nuance of their impressions or else considered them to be an idiot (or dinner)? 


I can't even imagine what brings a person to that point.


Indeed, there is truly a layer of fans out there who are deeply, woefully, painfully hurt (we’re talking eating locust, wearing sackcloth, beating their chest and wailing hurt) if those around them do not agree with their own assessment of a character, couple or actor.  At best, they lose respect for those who do not mirror their thoughts or share their affections for the target in question.  At worst, they draw the sword and start slicing, with their cronies gleefully joining in at the first scent of blood and not stopping until they are down to bones and bloodstains.  The other person deserved it, after all, because they were not supportive of a fictional character or did not agree on the objective assessment of the level of talent a particular actor may or many not possess.  It's madness.


In reality, however...


I do understand a life that is so complicated (or conversely, so empty) that escaping into a fictional place is your only good defense.  Under the best of real life situations, it’s delicious.  Under the worst, it’s tragic and sad.


I do understand that it can be difficult and challenging to invest emotions into “real” people.  It’s risky and takes a lot of work.  Loving a fictional character or an actor is risk free.  They are there for you several days a week, looking gorgeous, going through the motions that you basically expect and not interfering with your life or causing you direct pain.  It is a “safe” investment of your time, your affection and your energy.


I do understand how easy it is to love someone (as in an actor) when you only really ever see the best parts of them; the parts they choose to allow you to see.


I do understand that it is easy to twist the fact that these actors are going to work and doing a job (whether they are acting on screen or acting at a soap event), just like your garbage man or your bank teller or your plumber, into the idea that they are actually doing something for you


I do understand that in the absence of truly loving, viable, trustworthy people in your life, having those qualities reflected to you 5 days a week by fictional characters can be intoxicating.  Those fictional characters do not screw up your own life or otherwise inconvenience you.  The only risk you have is that they will be killed off, recast or divorced.  When you go to a soap event, you get a quick five minutes with a gorgeous person who you admire and of course, they are not going to be rude (usually) or ungracious during that moment.  They are doing their job.  They are acting.


What I don’t understand is where a dedication to any or all of those issues (or falling into those traps, depending on how you want to look at it) gives a fan license to treat another person in such a deplorable, despicable manner. 


There is a very thin line between dedicated fan and scary-assed stalker.  There is a big difference in joining a fan club for an actor versus tearing their clothes or pulling their hair or touching them inappropriately. 


If you have ever been to a fan event, you know there are always those who cross the line, either because they don’t know any better or because they just don’t care.  Like a sexual predator, their wants, their needs and their intense drive for those wants and needs all become secondary to what their target might feel or need in the form of privacy, dignity and personal boundaries.  It occludes all rational thought and shuts down any sense of social restraint these people might normally possess.  This is what I see as the biggest problem in the fans vs actors issue.   This very behavior is what causes some actors to boycott events (if you notice that there are actors who are almost never at public events, this is likely why).


This column, even though I am now 3 MS Word pages into it, is actually directly about the actors and indirectly about the fans, so let’s get to the part that is more direct.


I'm just going to put it out there:  you don’t know them.


You may think you know an actor because you have attended every fan event they have ever hosted and stalked them to the ends of the country.


You may think you do because you got an exciting kiss on the cheek, read every article about them and watched every episode of “One Day With…” or “SOAPOGRAPHY” pertaining to them.


You may think you do because you know their PR biography by heart.


You may think you do because they remember your name from a previous fan event (for the record, that is not always for a good thing).


You may think you do because they spend extra time at your table or because you paid four digits for a tour of the studio given by them and spent an hour being shown around the hallways and sets.


You don’t know them.


There are two very strong premises that I want to put forth here and I want you to very, very carefully consider them as we wade into the next part of this incredibly long missive:


1)  These people are actors.

2)  These actors are people.


If you can keep those two principles strongly in mind, some of the things I am about to say will make perfect sense, even if there are those who do not want to hear them.


Let’s start with the second one first.


These actors are people.  They have the same feelings, emotions and reactions as anyone else.  They do not become immune to the behavior of others with whom they come into contact simply because of what they do for a living.  In fact, in some ways, they are hypersensitive to the behavior of people around them due to some pretty strong security concerns.  Garbage men and plumbers do not normally amass a list of stalkers.


They get tired.   They get depressed.  They have mood swings.  They have stress factors.  They do not open their eyes in the morning and say, “I am Steve Burton and thank God that I am because I am so hot” or “I am Natalia Livingston and I am the luckiest little ex-Home Depot employee in the whole, wide world.”  They wake up in the morning and think, “Why is that frickin jack hammer pounding away at 7am on a Saturday morning?”  They wake up and think, “Oh shit. I forgot to turn off the sprinklers last night.”  They wake up and think, “Crap, I just bought this home that I can barely afford because I’m on a three year contract, but I’m never in any scenes any more.  Please God, let me get called in for a scene today… just one scene.  Why did I buy this stupid house?”


They might have their car valet parked.  They might have their plastic surgeon on speed dial.  They might get a special table at the club.  But above it all and under it all, they are still people. They may be more plastic than we are (figuratively and literally), but still people.


Then we go back to the first and to me, the most painful (and the most painfully obvious, yet least considered) rule:


These people are actors.  Their job, what they do every day, is to pretend to be someone they are not, feeling something that they don’t.  They have these jobs (most of them anyway) because they are good at doing this.  They are accomplished at pretending that they are happy when they are not, that they are glad to see you when they are not, that they are nice, warm, loving people when sometimes they are not.  


When we cover the “These actors are people,” premise, we have to also consider that people come in all different kinds of personalities.  Some are real sweethearts.  Some are real assholes.  I’m here to tell you that 9 times out of 10, the fans don’t have a clue which is which.  They ALWAYS think they do, but they do not.  Why? Because these people are actors.  Their JOB on a daily basis is to convince you that they are something they are not and this does not stop at the fan events. I cannot tell you how many times I have seen the mask drop.  The nicest, most popular actors (some of whom even won fans over not because the part they play is particularly riveting, but because they are so damned lovable and engaging at the fan events!) can drop the smile and the eye twinkles and the fake flirting the second they walk out the door to leave the event.  The mask goes on… the mask comes off.  Comedy, tragedy.  Smile pretty, grimace hatefully. 


Sometimes, the actors don’t bother trying to be nice.  There are plenty of times you can go to the group fan events (Super Soap Weekend, the GH Fan Club Weekend, the OLTL Fan Club Weekend, the AMC Fan Club Weekend) and get to a table where the actors are just being little bitches.  When an actor says to their manager well within earshot of the people in their line, “I’ll give you five more minutes, then you get these fucking people out of here and I’m going home,” it’s not a challenge to ascertain how they feel about being there.  When an attractive actor is performing a love scene with a fan (that she won) and the time comes for the kiss and he reaches his hand around her head, covers her mouth and instead of kissing her, kisses his own hand, you don’t walk away with happy thoughts about him.  When an actor says, “Can’t we charge the same amount for the ticket and just not serve any food so we can make more money?” it ain’t about the fans any more.


Sometimes, actors are just snotty to the fans and don’t even attempt a grab for the mask.   I have found this to be particularly true if the actor knows they have just inked a big movie or prime time deal and are on the way to bigger and better things.  They are so completely done with the whole soap thing that they just want to put in the time and get out so they can mark off another day until their new life as a superstar begins.


By now, a lot of you are reading what I have written thinking I am talking about any actor except the one you love.  I’ll say it again:


You don’t know them.


Honestly, I don’t know them either.  I don’t sit in their home and drink coffee and eat tea cakes with them.  I don’t stand around the corner with them drinking 40s and singing doo wop songs.  All I know is what I see on the other side of the curtain, when they are away from the crowds and the flash bulbs, which is a good bit more than the average fan gets to see. 


I do know from that experience alone that there are a LOT of things fans don’t know about the actors and how they feel about their fan experiences that they really should know and in most cases, honor.  Mind you, the ones who really need to know these things will likely be pretty sure that they I’m not talking about them or about their actors, so much of this will fall onto deaf ears.  I just want to ears that might “get it” to hear.


Just to make everyone more comfortable, let’s preface each of these observations with the phrase, “As a rule…”


1)  Actors really, really hate to hear themselves or their characters referred to as “My_____.”  (As in “MyTristan,” “MyTodd,” “MyCameron.”  It’s just weird, twisted and way too possessive.  It’s invasive of their identity and tends to make them extremely uncomfortable.  It is also disrespectful of the fact that the actor concerned is possibly/likely in a committed relationship of their own.  Did I mention that it is creepy too?


2)  Actors are extremely uncomfortable when food or drink items are sent to them at the studio or given to them at events by fans.  You have to think about it from a security standpoint.  They are well aware that there are fans out there who do not know the line between what an actor does and what a character does.  Any actor can tell you stories about times when they have been met with anger, resentment or downright hatred over something their character did.  Actors are also more aware than most of the world’s citizens that there are some real crazies out there who would not be above lacing food or drink to get revenge for something a fictional character did on screen.  Of course, the actor will graciously smile, say thank you and tell you how much it means to them and then they will likely dispose of it.  Again, these people are actors.  Inside, they will be on red alert status and their gut will be crawling a bit wondering if this is safe or not.


3)  Actors do NOT like it when their character is sent gifts.  I can’t tell you how many actors I have heard say, “If you are intent on buying baby booties for a baby that does not exist in real life, please send them to your nearest homeless shelter rather than to the studio.”  Where do you think the gifts for a fictional child go?  They are bundled up and given away to charity.  It makes more work for the interns who have to do it and honestly, my impression is that the actors may appreciate the gesture, but they really don’t think it’s a great idea.  Most of the actors I know are uncomfortable receiving expensive gifts from their fans.  Although the gesture is appreciated, most are very aware that they make more money than the average fan and feel uncomfortable with expensive gestures of affection.


4)  When actors are at a fan event, they do not appreciate it when they are moving from table to table for autograph time if fans from other tables get up and follow them.  It is very disconcerting to have a crowd of people following you around when you are trying to do your job.  If you have any respect for the actor at all, sit down and wait your turn.  They will come to you and you will get your time.  Almost all actors are very conscientious about making sure everyone gets their time.  Despite what impression you may be under to the contrary, you really and truly do not deserve more time than the other people who are at the event.


5)  Actors do not go to fan events looking to hook up or get laid.  They are there to do a job and leave.  Do not go to the event thinking there is going to be a "their eyes met across the crowded ballroom" kind of thing.  They will joke.  They will sometimes flirt.  They will make you feel wonderful about yourself, but don't expect to end up on a date with them.


6)  Actors do not want to sign autographs when they are on the way to the bathroom or worse, IN the bathroom.  They also often do not like to sign autographs when they are out with their families.  Think about it.  It's like being at work all the time.  They usually want some time when they can be alone with their children or their spouse and enjoy the world like a normal person.


7)  As difficult as this may be to imagine, most actors do not care about the direction of their storyline as long as they have a storyline.  They usually do not follow what’s happening on the show other than the scenes for which they have actually read.  Most soap actors do not even WATCH the show.  That's like imagining that the guy who works the drive-through at Wendy's goes home and pounds down a few tasty, square hamburgers every night.   Recasts especially are normally not well versed on the history of their character. 


Other than a professional interest in working opposite a particularly respected actor, they usually do not care who their character fights with, has sex with or otherwise interacts with on a regular basis.  (The exception to this is if you are Kirsten Storms and have a major crush on Ted King).  It really is as simple as this:  they get up, they go to work, they do their job as they are told to do it, they pick up their checks and they go home.  They do not normally get all bunged up about "character direction" or "character integrity." 


WE care about what happens to their characters.  WE may have years of vested viewing behind us.  They usually do not.  They will give a few good sound bites to the magazines.  They will smile and speculate when a fan asks, but when it comes down to it, their concern begins and ends with the number of days they are working that week, just like anyone else.


8)  When you are at a fan event and are invited to ask questions, any question that starts with “How do you feel about…” and addresses some fictional situation on the show is likely going to be a dud as far as the actor is concerned.  As soon as those words come out of a fan’s mouth, you can almost see the actor’s eyes glaze over.  Likewise, questions about who the character should sleep with or what a character should do or what a character was thinking when they did x, y or z are just not good players.  Asking an actor how they feel about other cast members, about the executives of the show or how a show is written will always, always get you a PR censored, 100% studio approved fake answer.  There is no way they are going to bite the hand that feeds them and you have just put them in a remarkably uncomfortable situation by even asking.  Likewise, do not ask the actor to comment negatively on shows they have worked on in the past.  They actually do want to work again in the future and show business is a small, small world.


9)  Because of rule #1, These actors are people, some of them will be really, really dumb, really, really drunk, really, really obnoxious or really, really stoned when you see them.  Jussst like in the real world.


10)  Continuing to consider the above notion that "these actors are people," they also do not like to be touched in inappropriate ways.  They do not like to be touched on the body parts that their bathing suit covers.  They do not like to have their hair caressed or their legs humped.  When they offer you a friendly kiss on the cheek, they tend to be grossed out if you turn your head to steal a full-on-the-lips smooch.  Even worse, if you warrant a peck on the lips, keep your tongue in.  Remember that even if they see you every other month at an event, you are basically a stranger to them.  They have personal space just like anyone else and your tongue should stay out of it. 


11)  Actors may or may not read their own mail, so it is possible (gasp!) that htey will not actually remember the letter you sent to them four months ago. They do, however, usually find it amusing when fans send items to the studio execs to promote an idea or to support and actor who is getting canned.  Personal gifts creep them out; campaigns are usually met with a smile.


There is no doubt that having these people in our living room or even bedroom via the TV five days a week gives us a false sense of familiarity that they, in turn, do not possess for us.  We are a face in a crowd to them.  That does not mean that they are unappreciative of their fans.  Most are very grateful for everyone who takes time out of their day to stand in a line or spend 2 hours at an event just to see them for a few minutes, not to mention the hundred of dollars a year often spent on fan events in general. 


It does, however, mean that they still expect to be treated with dignity and respect. I can't tell you how many times I see people who appear to be otherwise normal, intelligent, functioning humans treating these actors as though they are their own personal property to be ravaged as they choose.  Everyone, including the actors, would have a much better time at fan events if those who attend kept all of this in mind.  The sense of entitlement some people feel over the rights and personal space of these actors would just blow your mind... or maybe it wouldn't if you are one of THEM.


Lastly, every time there is a major fan event, the same questions come into play:  Are the actors paid to appear?  How much money is going into the event coordinator's pocket?  How much money really goes to the charities?


Having been privvy to some of the planning processes, I can give you the answers to those questions.  Take it or leave it, it's the truth as I have seen it to be.


For the major events, such as the Official Fan Club Luncheons and Super Soap Weekend, as well as some of the major charity events, the actors are not compensated financially.  It is still of benefit for them to attend.  As you may have heard, "No press is bad press and any press is good press" and being seen at these events and interacting with the fans is priceless.  Since they are often on the other side of a camera rather than live stage, it is sometimes the only way they can know how fans respond to them.  In particular, Blake Gibbons, Sonia Eddy, Laura Wright, Tristan Rogers and (this year) John Ingle are ones who were particularly surprised at the overwhelmingly positive reception they received.  It is quite gratifying for them to hear the cheers and see the fans on their feet as they come onto the stage. 


When an actor hosts their own event, usually with their Official Fan Club or their publicist, they are normally compensated.  There are some actors who will not appear at the event unless a certain number of tickets or sold, assuring a baseline payment they insist on receiving (usually between $3,000-5000 of the ticket sales).  Otherwise, they feel it is not worth their time.  Some insist that the majority of the revenue from ticket sales goes toward making the event of the highest quality, personally taking part in the planning and preparation.  Some show up, do the event in the shortest amount of time possible and leave as soon as they can.  Some intentionally plan their event on a day that falls in advance or after the main bulk of events to ensure a smaller gathering.  In most circumstances, the degree of involvement the actor wishes to have is honored and the event is built around that foundation.


As to the question of how much of the money goes into the event coordinator's pocket, my first thought is to wonder whose business that is anyway.  When you go to a Rolling Stones concert, do you stand there, screaming and bouncing up and down and singing "Satisfaction" along with Mick or do you sit with brow furrowed and wonder how much money the auditorium is getting, how much each band member gets and how much the security team gets?  When you fly to the city where the event is held, do you snipe with your friends about how much of your airline ticket price went to pay the pilot, how much went for the food and how much went into the airlines' pocket?


A fan event is exactly the same situation.  You pay a particular amount for a product; in this case, an event ticket.  You get what you get, which is essentially, the experience.  If you take it as simply that, you will enjoy it a lot more, trust me.  Like in any other circumstance of a service being provided, you pay your money and the service is provided.  I do not understand why a soap event ticket is treated differently, with fans feeling they have a right to pie charts and reports on the break down of how their ticket fee is spent. 


When it comes down to it, different event planners are compensated in varying amounts.  In some cases, it is a flat fee.  Sometimes, it's a percentage of the profit after the overhead is met.  In some cases, once the actor is paid and the expenses are covered, there is nothing or almost nothing left.  Sometimes, the event coordinator ends up in deficit and pays for things out of their own pockets just to make sure YOU have a good time at the event.


You would blanch white to know how much these venues cost to use.  Even a simple meeting room that will hold 100 or so people is astronomically expensive.  On top of that is the catering cost for whatever food is served.  Before the event even begins, there is the cost of any gifts the fans will receive, decorations, ticket printing, security, even the actor's valet parking and that of their special celebrity guests is usually covered.  The photos and other memorabilia at the event are also costs accrued in advance of the event and rarely are "sold out."  The expense adds up quickly.


I can also assure you that these events are an enormous effort to coordinate and plan.  I personally know of one actor who changed the theme of their upcoming event three times after tickets were sold and marketing was in place. Managing ticket sales, ticket exchanges, ticket cancellations, changes in actors' schedules, conflicting event times, changes in menu, purchasing gifts for the ticket holders,  setting up and breaking down the event, arranging for security and check in staff, dealing with overzealous fans... it's quite a handful (almost a full time job) and it's my firm belief that whatever these event coordinators are paid, it's not nearly enough.  They work their asses off all year around to set up these events when, in most cases, the actors show up the day of the party, walk in, do their 2-3 hours and leave, check in hand.  


Everyone involved with the production of these events earns their compensation and then some. (Why do you think Ticketmaster tacks on a ridiculous service charge to every ticket they sell?)   Many of these event coordinators plan multiple events in a year, so they are always in the process of planning the next event while handing the fallout from the one that just happened.  Yet people think they should be not be compensated for this?  Puh-lease.


For their efforts, the people who put on these events get to hear fans sniping and griping about every little thing and demanding audited accounts for how every dime was spent.  Yeah, don't try doing that to the Rolling Stones, folks.  It's hot at the GH Fan Club Luncheon?  Surprise!  It's JULY in LOS ANGELES, which is in the middle of a DESERT when the entire country is experiencing a heat wave!  You can't find a hotel you can afford for the OLTL Official Fan Club Luncheon?  It's New York City, not Topeka, Kansas!  Any time of year, the cost of a hotel is off the charts.  It's part and parcel with the location.  So we adapt! 


Charities are an even dicier subject.  I have seen actors make up charities and keep the money themselves.  I have seen actors lie about their own personal interest in the charity (inventing fictional relatives who supposedly contracted the disease in question).  I have seen actors say that they are working for a legitimate charity and still keep the money.  I have see actors freely and enthusiastically announce that "a percentage of the proceeds of this event goes to [insert charity here]" and have that "percentage" be $10 or so.  Remember that premise from a lot further up this page... "these people are actors."  I believe that as soon as you represent yourself to be working on behalf of a third party (the charity) - who normally is not represented by an actual person at the event, you should be willing to have an open book policy.  If no charity is identified, then the books on the event should be closed.


I have also seen actors who work diligently to actively support their favorite causes.  I don't for a minute wish to portray them all as assholes.  I just don't want you thinking everything that comes out of an actor's mouth is God's truth.  You don't know them.  You may think you do, but you don't.


A point to make, however, is this:  If you (meaning an actor) are going to give to charity, why not do it quietly and discreetly rather than blasting it to the world?  Make it an issue between yourself and the charity of your choice rather than the full focus of the event?   


It is not my hope or intention that everyone who reads this becomes jaded about actors and how they engage the world.  That would definitely be a shame because there are some good ones out there, just as there are good people out there in the general population (If you just exhaled in relief because you are now confident that your favorite actor could not possibly be anything but one of those good folks, don't be so sure).  My hope is that people will give some careful, well thought out consideration to themselves; to how they approach these actors and how they think about the people who are working hard to put on a fun, quality event for their paying guests. 


Graciousness, forethought, dignity and respect are wonderful qualities to carry with you as you are entering into this world of Soap Opera Interaction.  Standards of decorum, discernment and discretion should not end as you cross the threshold into an event. 


Watching someone do their job, whether they do it poorly or well, on TV each week does not mean that you know the actor.  Reading the press that their publicist puts out there for public consumption does not mean you know the actors.  Best to go with the premise of, "You don't know them."


Because although you may think you do, you don't.


That doesn't mean you can't enjoy their work, think they are hot or want to get your photo, hug and autograph.  It just means you don't know them. 

PS:  No you don't.