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article imageOp-Ed: Toronto film fest guerrilla guide to celebrity stalking Special

By Nikki Yee     Aug 11, 2010 in Entertainment
Toronto - After five years of celebrity hunting at the Toronto International Film Festival, a now "retired" celebrity stalker/blogger shares her wisdom to those hopeful to catch a sighting. TIFF begins Sept. 9, 2010 in downtown Toronto.
We've arrived at the busiest time of year in Toronto, the Christmas of film festivals, the Toronto International Film Festival. This is the time when the stars come out and everyone, except a few Scrooges, wants a glimpse.
Now before I give you a rundown on how you can make the best of your TIFF stalking experience, let me give you some of my credentials. I celeb stalked for five years. I started in school when I was a mere tweenage girl because I love acting and the arts, so it was cool to meet people with the same interests as me; even if it meant meeting people were super famous, (but equally as good looking). I honed my skills for four years until I wrote a blog covering the 2008 festival, because news outlets always go the mainstream route, discussing the movies themselves, but they never give you the real deal. So that's why I'm here; I've personally dealt with paparazzi, hotel security and celebrities themselves, and I did it like a true guerrilla. I'm basically the Che Guevara of celebrity stalking.
So without further ado, here is your complete guerrilla guide to celebrity stalking at this year's TIFF.
1. Aim low: The average person expects to see Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie. This if often summed up by the over used joke "look it's Brad Pitt!" By some obnoxious passerby. In reality, this will rarely happen. A-listers tend not to walk though large crowds for John Lennon like reasons. Then what's the point? Well the good news is, stars are made at film festivals like TIFF. When I attended in 2007, no one knew who Javier Bardem was, in fact, everyone thought his name was "Caviar". A year later, he won an Oscar for best supporting actor; sorry, Caviar who? The point is, you never know who you will come across. In my experience, for every one A-lister I encountered, I met three B-listers. Besides, the only people who you really want to meet are the ones you think are cool. It pretty much made my life when I saw Clancy Brown, because I love him as Mr. Krabs on Sponge Bob Square Pants, it was only later that I realized he was popular for his work in The Highlander, go figure.
2. The Intercontinental Hotel: It's my personal favourite, because it's the most accessible of all the viewing places, no barriers and the car park is close. You'll be able to see up Matt Damon's nose, you're right there!
3.Patience is a virtue: Celebrities don't come in and out of hotels all day long. Don't get me wrong, the hotel is busy as ever, but it's busy with *shudder* normal people. Celebrity hunting can literally take a full day, don't expect to see mountains of actors and directors before you. People tend to arrive in groups, so expect long waits in between. Hey, it'll give you a chance to make friends with all of the other creepers!
4. Security likes to pick on teenage girls more than any other group: Don't get me wrong, safety is important. This means not blocking the side walk and being respectful of other people's space. While some security guards are friendly to the general public, others look at you and see The Beatles mania all over again. It's no one's fault that some people get crazy about this stuff. Your best bet? Try to stay as close to the velvet rope as possible, and make it look like you're moving when they tell you to... but then sneak back later.
5. Paparazzi aren't your friends: Autograph hounds and paparazzi are there to do a job. But so are you; your job is to gloat to your coworkers and friends, and that is priceless. However, money means more to some people, so when they give you tips about where to find stars, be wary. Furthermore, they make a living off disrespecting the personal space of others, so don't be surprised if they disrespect yours. In addition to all of this, most of them are sweaty, ugly, old men; so fight for your right to your spot without any intrusions, because no one likes sweaty people up in their grill.
6. Us Weekly was right, stars are just like us!: Remember, celebrities are there to do a job. Signing an autograph for you is just one small part of a festival. Now, I'm not going to get as fan girl as I'd like to about the way a film festival runs, but I will tell you, that there is a lot more to it than your happiness. I remember back in 2008 when a smiley Gael Garcia Bernal ran into the hotel from the rain. He was criticized by psycho fans and hounds for being an a-hole, except he's not. He just didn't stop to talk to strangers whilst going to work. Imagine if you tried to get from your car to your workplace while being followed by sweaty men with cameras and screechy girls, now image all of that in addition to being late...I know right?
Now all of this is in good fun, so don't over do it. Remember, they're just celebrities and they can easily be someone's annoying brother or unwanted dinner guest, and not just in movies. My advice though? Don't just stand there, get involved! See movies, volunteer, go to Q and A's. I didn't stalk celebrities because I wanted to sell their autographs, I did it because movies are awesome, and that's why you should do it too! Okay, gloating is almost up there, but I stopped because I wanted to start getting involved, and someday it will lead me to the other side of the velvet rope, where I'll be cursing myself for giving you all these secrets on how you can stalk me.
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This opinion article was written by an independent writer. The opinions and views expressed herein are those of the author and are not necessarily intended to reflect those of
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