Autograph Project a Runaway Success ALREADY

I have gotten so many wonderful, kindhearted response to my autograph requests this week ALONE that I can barely keep up!
First, came this response, on my Wannabe flyer as requested, from the beloved Professor from Gilligan’s Island – Russell Johnson. He wrote this on the flyer “Dear Linda – I am a Wannabe – always have been – so I try to be – and one becomes – a busy bee. Love from the Professor, Russell Johnson.”

Seriously, could this guy be any nicer? This is exactly the kind of thing that I was hoping for. I want to be able to flip through my autograph binder and read inspiring messages from amazing people like him, just when I need it the most.

On the very SAME day, I got an amazing glossy photo from Jerry Lewis (seriously, I have GOT to get me a scanner!! I will accept donations on this…). He wrote on it: “To Linda: Wannabes NEVER give up! Jerry Lewis 2010.”

Too cool.

Believe it or not, on that SAME day (Monday, July 12, to be exact) I received a pre-printed autograph on a lovely picture of Morgan Freeman. Though I’m always hoping for real autograph, I consider this a “success”. It is fun mail, after all, and that was the idea in the first place. Somebody – an assistant most likely – sent my Wannabe flyer back, too. Someone wrote at the top: “Let me tell you something my friend. Hope is a dangerous thing. Hope can drive a man insane.”

Ummmm…what? There are an awful lot of inspirational quotes from The Shawshank Redemption. This is not one of those quotes…It sounded more like a “ you really SHOULD give up” kind of message.

Whatever. It made me laugh and it came with a photo of Morgan Freeman. It’s going in the binder.

The SAME day, I received a really nice note signed by George Lucas…’s secretary. It was really sweet, thanked me for my fan letter, said they said they regretted that he could not sign due to so many requests, but here, have this nice free 8X10 photo of George Lucas next to a camera looking all director-y.

Cool. It’s mail. It was really nice. Totally going in the binder.

A few days later, I received a black and white 8X10 photo signed by Carl Reiner. Keep in mind, I only sent out my cheap Wannabe paper. I can’t believe all this cool stuff I am getting!!! Half these people send back my own SASE so I can use it again to harass another celebrity, too!

You know who did send back my Wannabe flyer? Jean Stapleton, aka, Edith Bunker. She didn’t tell me to “stifle” either. She wrote “Don’t Give Up” and signed her name. The handwriting was really very shaky, and I can’t tell you how touched I am that she still signs autographs. You can tell by the writing that it was quite an effort. So sweet of her!!!

Next up, (LISTEN UP, RON HOWARD!!!!!) was Henry Winkler. He sent me a card with his name embossed at the top. He wrote “Dear Linda with the great sense of humor, Hope you are enjoying your summer. It makes me happy that you like what I am doing with my life…Hope you are watching Royal Pains on USA. Keep getting up and move forward. That is my key to life. It got me here (illegible) from a Wannabe, too. Henry Winkler.

WOW. We always knew The Fonz was cool.

Okay, at this point, it probably sounds like I making this stuff up. No way did she get all this stuff from all these famous folks (buy me a scanner already, people, and I’ll prove it!)

Stay tuned. You won’t even BELIEVE what I got in the mail today. I’m looking right at it and I still can’t believe it.

Richie Cunningham – Say It Ain’t So!

My letter to Ron Howard came back marked REFUSED in bright red with red slash marks all over the envelope. Wow.

The most likely reason is that whoever saw my letter assumed it was an unsolicited screenplay query letter and sent it back unread for legal reasons. The reasoning behind it is sound. The method is abhorrent.

As I said in my earlier blog, each letter is sent with a Warning sticker on the outside, saying the letter contains a fan letter and autograph but does NOT contain a request to read my screenplay. Clearly they didn’t read the label carefully.

For legal reasons, I have had a few letters – that really were unsolicited submissions – returned as refused. NEVER in bright red slashes. This was intentionally vicious; not the work of someone simply protecting the production company from unfounded lawsuits of “stealing” screenplay ideas.

Clearly, Opie himself did not get a hold of the magic markers and start slashing away like a manic child. But you have to wonder – does he know how his secretary or whoever is responding to his mail – his FAN mail, no less? If I thought for one moment that my assistant was treating anyone, no matter how low on the Hollywood ladder, with anything other than kindness and respect, s/he would be fired faster than you can say “Go to the back of the unemployment line, be-hotch”.

Even if a production company does not (understandably) accept unsolicited material, there are much better ways to respond to a hardworking Wannabe who is only trying to break into the business. I have sent out thousands of query letters and can probably count on one hand the numbers of responses that have been mean or rude. The vast majority are kind and respectful. One company sent me a form letter regretting that they are unable to read unsolicited material, wishing me all the best, and hoping that I would soon find another company to represent my work that would make their company seem shortsighted. Thus, this company protected themselves from any legal repercussions, while still treating me with dignity and respect.

I looked at the Imagine Entertainment website, and there seems to be no contact info. Some companies are just so big and so important, that they don’t need anyone to contact them, I suppose. They have no use for Wannabe actors, writers, etc. So, I suppose there is no way to let Ronnie know what is being done in his name or to find out if this is the way he really wants people to be treated.

If so, shame on him.

I’ve also sent some autograph requests to some of his former coworkers, including Andy Griffith, Tom Hanks, and Henry Winkler. Let’s find out if they have more class.

Sigh. What would The Fonz say??? Not cool, Richie. Not cool.