Last week, we solicited your questions for the actor and director Adrian Grenier, whose new documentary film, Teenage Paparazzo, just made its HBO debut. His answers touch on everything from paparazzi methods to the role of the consumer in media culture. Thanks to all, especially Adrian, for playing along.
How easy or difficult is it to avoid media scrutiny as a celebrity? Do many of the train wrecks we see on shows like TMZ or in the tabloids actually crave attention, or is it just that difficult to avoid? It seems like there are thousands of actors we never hear about unless they have a new project coming out (which is just fine with me). – Mantonat
TMZ is entertainment, and its stories are fabricated and embellished at best. You can avoid being the topic if you stay low-key and keep to yourself. Or better yet, go and volunteer at a school or charity because if the paps get you, at least you’ll be doing something constructive.
Do we need so many paparazzi pictures of celebrities arriving (or departing) at LAX? It strikes me as the height of laziness for photographers to hang out at the airport because they know sooner or later almost every celebrity in town will walk through there. Does this collective obsession with the minutia of celebrity lives have an upside?- Abe Stalin
Finding celebrities and taking their picture can be a lot of fun, exciting and adrenaline-inducing – it’s the waiting around that is the work. Some of these guys will spend 12 hours at an airport to get that shot.
We as a culture are saturated with media, we have become savvy as to how manipulated it can be. We are aware of the facade so we look to the tabloids and the paparazzi to get those candid, unposed moments. Something real.
Do you ultimately believe the general public – the readers of tabloids – is responsible for the intrusions of privacy by the paparazzi? – Michael
One thing I’ve learned is that we all play a role in tabloids. It’s a symbiotic relationship between performers or celebrities, the camera people, the tabloid outlets, and the consumers. We all need to take responsibility and recognize the role we play, and recognize that we have power in what we choose to take pictures of and what kind of stories we create and consume.
There are some celebrities that you always see in the magazines, but other seemingly just-as-popular celebs are rarely seen. How do they stay out of the limelight? Why do you think there is such a difference in L.A. versus N.Y. when it comes to paparazzi? Thanks! Also, I’m a big fan of Entourage! – Anna
Thanks for watching – both Vince and I appreciate it.
There is a difference between New York and Los Angeles because there is more of a concentration of performers and celebrities in L.A. It’s Hollywood, it’s where people come to be famous and stay to be seen. There is only one main industry. N.Y. is also the country’s fashion and finance capital, and it is easier to get lost in the crowd.
At what point in your career (if ever) did your feelings toward fame transition from being flattered and excited to be recognized on the street, asked for an autograph, etc. to finding the attention bothersome and intrusive? Have you developed methods to cope with the excessive attention and have a seemingly “normal” day or night out? – Bill C
Being famous is something that has to be dealt with, or reconciled with, psychologically. Everyone who is famous must deal with it in their own way. The way I deal with it is by turning the cameras out into the world and asking questions, and in turn that lessens the instrusiveness.
I’m a high school social studies teacher. My 2nd period class has a couple of questions for you. #1: What did you learn later in life that you wish you learned while you were in high school?
I used to look at school as a place I had to be at, but now I seek every opportunity to learn and wish I could go back to school.
What responsibility do celebrities have to use their cultural capital to change the world (within the immediate community, internationally or both)? Do you feel you have a responsibility at all? Why? Why not? – Gifford Street H.S. 2nd Period Social Studies- Mr. Nemec
I have a responsibility on a human level to give and contribute responsibility. The celebrity part is just entertainment, but if that celebrity can highlight the positive things I’m doing, then great. But I think each and every one of us has that same responsibility.
What’s a side of you that you wish fans/media knew more about but never get a chance to observe? – Jon M
I’m not a very secretive person. I have nothing to hide.
Adrian, why is it we never see you in the tabloids or on TMZ? Is this intentional or do they just not bother you? Or perhaps one leads to the other? Thanks and keep up the great work on Entourage. – Thomas
Leonardo DiCaprio once said, and I’m paraphrasing, he “found a way to become paparazzi proof by making a serious film about the environment.” Tabloids thrive on simple conflict and crass hearsay. So if you are looking to avoid the paparazzi, sadly doing positive things that require more thought will often be ignored. Tabloids are junk food. It’s important to balance your media diet.