The Business of Autographs at Conventions

Egon Spengler

Sr Member
Got no problem charging for autographs, but it's absolute BS how much celebs charge now to get a photo with them, with YOUR OWN CAMERA. Not talking about an actual professional photo shoot, but to charge someone that just bought an autographed photo from you, charge them to take a photo with you with your own camera, is absolute crap. Don't tell me it was always like this, because it wasn't, and even if it was, it shouldn't be. Yeah, I get they get lines of people coming up to their tables all day but you are also making great money off of selling those autographed photos too. I remember years ago, about 15 or so, you'd go to a con, wait in line, meet the celebrity, buy an autographed photo and they'd glady just let you get a photo with them for little to nothing. Maybe 5, maybe 10. Now you have these people charging ridiculous amounts and it's disgusting. Before anyone tells me to put my money where my mouth is and not buy autographs from people that do that, well, I got news for you. I don't. I avoid them. You should too.
 

Customrelic

Well-Known Member
A lot of what was said is incorrect. I spent roughly 9 years arranging signings. Up until a few years ago. Granted it was mainly sports figures, i did have occasional hollywood type celebrities. Their fees are based off of how popular the person was. For instance, a star from the ny giants would get a set amount for an autograph session. Lets say 40 grand. For that money, the event organizers are guaranteed 1 hour And 300 autographs by the star. If the even organizer fails to sell enough auto's to make back the money and a profit hes screwed. Happens all the time. But you can get retired sports stars and lots of hollywood (retired or not as famous anymore) guys for much less. Say 800 to 5k. Its easier to sell tickets at $25 each and make back that money. No celebrity would go do an autograph signing without a contracted amount. They would never just show up for no money and hope to sell 500 autographs. A few years back, i was involved with a signing with ernie hudson and frank sivero. I can't discuss specifics, but ernie got a lot less than frank. By many 1000's of dollars. For $25, you can get autographs from ernie and a nice picture taken with him. I spoke to frank 100's of times on the phone when the anniversary of goodfellas was coming out and he wanted his set fee (which was astronomical) plus a private jet. Both were willing to stay at the convention for a few hours and max 300 autographs. Whatever isnt sold out of the 300 to the public, the promoter gets for resale. But none were willing to just "roll the dice". So yes, certain people can comand big money for a signing, but its all about who it is. Jeter never did anything public. It was private with a laundry list of specifics only for 1 company and huge money. The prices listed at cons and auto events are set by the promoter based off what it cost to get them. Its a crazy business. And if anyone wants to know, ernie was a fantastic guy. Talked for hours about ghostbusters. I wish I recorded it
 

Moviefreak

Master Member
RPF PREMIUM MEMBER
I recall being able to get autographs for free.
I sometimes got them by writing the celebrity through the mail when I was a kid.
Then one day I got my picture back with a letter saying, "if you would like this signed, please send it back along with a check for $20 made out to..."
I was shocked but got my first taste of the future of the autograph community.
 

Apollo

Legendary Member
RPF PREMIUM MEMBER
One of the best kept "secrets" for years the talent sometimes did get screwed in the early years depending on who ran the event.

Norman R. has been cleaning up for about 2 years now as noted in the article
 

Customrelic

Well-Known Member
I recall being able to get autographs for free.
I sometimes got them by writing the celebrity through the mail when I was a kid.
Then one day I got my picture back with a letter saying, "if you would like this signed, please send it back along with a check for $20 made out to..."
I was shocked but got my first taste of the future of the autograph community.
I still do that with my kids lol. The old timers are the best. And the ones who normally ask for money arent worth it lol
 

rnbuda

Sr Member
RPF PREMIUM MEMBER
Last free autograph I got was from Mark Teixeira last week at the Yankees vs Rays game but usually I prefer to pay for autographs. It's business and if I was in their shoes I'd do the same.
 

madmikeee

Sr Member
Got no problem charging for autographs, but it's absolute BS how much celebs charge now to get a photo with them, with YOUR OWN CAMERA. Not talking about an actual professional photo shoot, but to charge someone that just bought an autographed photo from you, charge them to take a photo with you with your own camera, is absolute crap. Don't tell me it was always like this, because it wasn't, and even if it was, it shouldn't be. Yeah, I get they get lines of people coming up to their tables all day but you are also making great money off of selling those autographed photos too. I remember years ago, about 15 or so, you'd go to a con, wait in line, meet the celebrity, buy an autographed photo and they'd glady just let you get a photo with them for little to nothing. Maybe 5, maybe 10. Now you have these people charging ridiculous amounts and it's disgusting. Before anyone tells me to put my money where my mouth is and not buy autographs from people that do that, well, I got news for you. I don't. I avoid them. You should too.
This is exactly why I would never pay them. You make millions of dollars playing pretend in front of a camera, those millions come from your fans. The LEAST you can do is give them the opportunity to have you sign a scrap of paper and take a picture with them. Charging upwards of 100 bucks for the privilege of being near them is narcissism at its peak.
 

Moviefreak

Master Member
RPF PREMIUM MEMBER
Then you have celebrities like Garth Brooks who will come out after a concert and stand for 8 hours signing for free. He knows these fans are the reason his music sells and his tickets to concerts sell, and he wants to thank every single one in person. Some celebrities truly appreciate their fans.
 

Laspector

Sr Member
I've never understood the infatuation with autographs. I think I've only had one in my entire life. Dave Prowse signed a pic for me once. I have no clue where that picture is, it went straight into a drawer and I don't think I've seen it since.
 

Lear60man

Master Member
RPF PREMIUM MEMBER
I have a pic autographed from Jeremy Bulloc, a picture of me having dinner with Peter Mayhew and my full scale R2 is signed by Kenny Baker (RIP) inside the rear door. I dont get the whole autograph thing as a must have. In my world asking for autographs and pictures is a big no-no. But over the years it happens fluidly and besides, after a while you see them as regular people.

Like I said above, this article was an eye opener.
 

Egon Spengler

Sr Member
So, I shouldn't have spent $400's for a TNG Cast photo with everyone minus wheaton and whoopie? :)

You can do what you want with your money. If it was 400 for the photo with all of them and a professional photographer, I think thats a bit pricey but still very cool. My main gripe is charging people large amounts for photos at the celebs table, with your own camera, not some pro set up. Autographs are ridiculous too!
 

Wes R

Legendary Member
Some of their prices are way out there though. I'm used to the old comic convention thing where nearly no artist charged for an autograph and one of them even gave me a free copy of their first comic script and signed it. 30.00 for an autograph is a bit much but not as bad as some who want 80.00 or more per item.
 

KrangPrime

Master Member
I've never understood the infatuation with autographs. I think I've only had one in my entire life. Dave Prowse signed a pic for me once. I have no clue where that picture is, it went straight into a drawer and I don't think I've seen it since.
I like to use them as wall decoratoins mostly.


I've got about 60 or less all splattered along the wall.

i used to send them in the mail (remember star archive?) but then conventions started to happen so i don't have a need for that anymore.
It also kind of helps me remember the event better too...i can still remember a slanted fedora event where a riot was about to happen because of some mishap or another. they appeased people by giving out pre signed leanord nimoy photos :)
 

Sluis Van Shipyards

Master Member
I've never understood the infatuation with autographs. I think I've only had one in my entire life. Dave Prowse signed a pic for me once. I have no clue where that picture is, it went straight into a drawer and I don't think I've seen it since.
Same here. I'll never pay for a picture or autograph. I just don't see any value in it as a collectible, memento, or whatever. That's just insane how much they are making at these things!
 

firesprite

Master Member
This is exactly why I would never pay them. You make millions of dollars playing pretend in front of a camera, those millions come from your fans. The LEAST you can do is give them the opportunity to have you sign a scrap of paper and take a picture with them. Charging upwards of 100 bucks for the privilege of being near them is narcissism at its peak.
You do realize that most actors don't make millions of dollars, right? Outliers like cast of TBBT, Friends, etc, are not typical. The average member of the Screen Actor's Guild earns about $52k a year, which barely qualifies as a living wage in LA.


http://www.hollywoodreporter.com/news/hollywood-salaries-revealed-movie-stars-737321


http://www.2016auditions.com/how-much-do-actors-get-paid/
 
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