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How To Attend Red Carpet Events As A Fan

Leonardo DiCaprio BAFTAs 2014

Kyllähän se nyt kannattaa jonottaa jos näkee livenä Leon...

We often get asked how we get to meet and greet all these celebrities and attend red carpet events. Well, mostly it’s about knowing where to be and when and being prepared to queue for a very long time. It’s usually several hours, sometimes even a day or two. It’s pretty similar to going to filming sets: you’ll have to be prepared to do three things: long waits, disappointments and being nice to your fellow fans.

This year’s opening gala for the London Film Festival, the UK premiere for The Imitation Game serves as a very good example.

The Imitation Game red carpet event in London

Yes, I had to KNEEL to take this photo…


1. Prepare To Queue

I arrived to Leicester Square late on the previous night of the gala and a handful of fans was already there, forming a queue to get good spots as close to the red carpet as possible. Now, I’d just flown in from Finland and had all my luggage with me, and my friend who I was staying with lives quite far from the square. There weren’t any buses and tubes running later that night, so these lovely people allowed to take my stuff back to the house and come back the next morning. As early as possible, of course – only fair! So, for the biggest events, you’d normally have to stay around to hold on to your spot through the night. Other times you might be fine just by being there a couple of hours beforehand. It all depends how popular the franchise / film / event is among the most enthusiastic of fans.

The Imitation Game red carpet event in London

Happy campers.

2. Pack Snacks And Approriate Clothes

I woke up around 5am the next morning, got ready for spending a day outside, packed a blanket, water bottle and some crisps and nuts for emergencies. Usually, if you spend a lot of time queueing for an event, you’re allowed to leave the queue as long as everyone knows their spot. This time (and many other times) the first fans on the spot had organized a queue number system, so it was pretty easy getting everyone organized and in their own spots when the time came.

The Imitation Game red carpet event in London

Stay warm!

3. Red carpet events are better with friendly people

So, I joined the queue early in the morning with a big mug of coffee and started mingling. Believe me – even if you’re not a friend of smalltalk and feel awkward about it, it’s going to be even worse if you don’t talk to people. After all, you’re in it together. All night, all day, probably. As usual, I met a lot of lovely people during the day. Helped pass the time, too! Minutes turned into hours, a handful of people turned into a bigger crowd, and all the while we were mostly concentrating on staying warm and dry. I entertained myself by snapping a few photos.

The Imitation Game red carpet event in London

Creative people can keep themselves busy by creating new fan art!

4. Stay dry, remember to drink & eat

Once the shops and cafes started opening their doors, me and my little group of friends had early breakfast at Yates’s, a lovely cafe in the corner of the square. Turns out, we were the first ones to try their new breakfast menu and got photographed by the friendly manager, plus got some free treats as a thank you. We started chatting about the event and fangirls in general and they were very lovely about us popping in and out for coffee and toilet breaks all day.

The weather, on the other hand, wasn’t very friendly to us fanpeople at all. For a couple of times it was absolutely pouring and people had to seek cover from cafes and restaurants.

5. Enjoy the results

Around 3pm the security people started letting us into the pens they’d been building around the red carpet all day. We were among the first 30 so we got to choose our spots first.

London Film Festival red carpet

The red carpet was installed in the last minute.

And then, back to waiting. During all the waiting I went out to buy a piece of cardboard and made this funny sign to get the attention of Mr. Cumberbatch, but mostly it was for giggles. Little did I know we ended up right across from all the tv cameras and press, and several of them came to take photos and we appeared on the big screen and live feed around the country with it all night…

BFI even tweeted a photo of us. The lovely lady who snapped the photo came back later and told us she’d had to check with her co-workers about the meaning of Pointybatch. “I get it now, very funny.”

BFI Pointybatch

A BFI employee spotted us and tweeted this photo. POINTYBATCH!

After some more queueing the action started. The stars of the movie and some guests started arriving one by one, posing for press photos, getting soaked in the rain. The fans were shouting their names happily and some lucky ones even got selfies and autographs.

Benedict Cumberbatch at the LFF 2014

Benedict Cumberbatch caught in the rain.

Keira looked stunning despite the rain and wind and Benedict ran around trying to say hi to as many fans as possible. He apologized to the crowd for not being able to sign anything or pose for photos because of the rain (“pens are not working, people’s hands are too shaky for selfies!”).

Keira Knightley London Film Festival

Keira Knightley

You can find more photos of Benedict Cumberbatch’s arrival here!

After the last guests had arrived and made their way into the theatre, we gathered our soaked things and signs and headed home for a good night’s sleep. Before we left, though, I snatched a cardboard Imitation Game poster …because why wouldn’t I need one?

Tiia / Fangirl Quest
Tiia / Fangirl Quest
Photographer, illustrator, graphic designer, copywriter, marketing assistant. I once traveled across North America in flipflops. I love dogs, ketchup and many inspiring people. Visit my photo portfolio here.