THE BLOG
06/28/2012 04:14 pm ET Updated Aug 24, 2012

George Clooney Can Give Alec Baldwin a Lesson in Paparazzi 101

Here's my little disclaimer. I've covered hundreds of celebrities for over 25 years as a freelance journalist... on red carpets, celebrity events, premieres, tons of one-on-one interviews both in person and via telephone. I covered an event in Washington, D.C. several years ago, where Alec Baldwin was in attendance. I had direct access to him at a press-friendly VIP reception back stage where I approached him to ask if I could pose a couple of questions to him for Us Weekly (the magazine I was freelancing for at the time). He said, with a hint of indifference in his voice, "No, I'd rather not answer any questions."

Then, I said, "Do you mind if we do a picture together?" "This won't be in Us Weekly, will it?" he asked with some reservation. I assured him it would not. He stopped, posed with me, flash! Done. I thanked him and he nodded politely. I moved on to other willing celebs who wanted to talk to me.

Let's take a page out of the George Clooney School of Correct Behavior at a celebrity event. I covered the premiere party for his TV dramedy/reality show K Street at The Palm Restaurant in Washington, D.C. in 2003. There were wall-to-wall people in the place (Clooney was there!), and I have never seen so many people approach one man in my life: famous politicians, women, high-profile local celebrities, young women, men who wanted to shake his hand, mature women, fans who wanted his autograph, more women! I was joined at the hip with him for an hour trying to get in a question here and there whenever there was an opening. He was literally almost crushed by people who wanted a piece of him. He never once told me to take a hike, nor did he ignore one person who came up to mingle with him. He was kind, polite, generous with his time, and one of the nicest celebrities I've ever had the pleasure of covering at any event.

Now, that's the way it's done.

The problem is, for some reason, Baldwin now objects too much about having his picture taken in public by the paparazzi who help keep his face and name "out there."

Here's a little revelation that most people don't know outside the world of people who "make their living" taking pictures of famous celebs or freelancing as a journalist. There's not a lot money in it people! Nobody gets rich. It's wait, wait, wait for hours on red carpets where there are dozens and dozens of reporters and photographers... waiting to take the same photos and ask some fluff questions that may never make it in print or online. It's wait, wait, wait -- endlessly -- outside buildings, restaurants, public places where the A-List celebs might be spotted, just to get a shot or two of photos that may or may not ever see the light of day.

How hard is it to smile when photographers want to take your picture? How hard is it to be polite? How hard is it to stop for a moment and say, "Thank you for wanting to take my picture!?

Is it not possible for you to be polite to random photographers on the street? Have you thought of getting out of show business and taking up pottery?

I wish the paparazzi would totally back off from Mr. Alec Baldwin... never take his picture again, ever. How hard is that? Focus on other celebrities who are grateful that you're out there for "them." You deserve better treatment and you certainly deserve more respect. (Yes, I know there are good cops, bad cops, but we're focusing on the good cops here.)

Leave the man alone. There are hundreds of other celebs who do appreciate the paparazzi and celebrity journalists (that work many long hours for little compensation) because, in their hearts -- and the hearts of their overworked publicists -- they are glad to see you.

Mr. Baldwin, you can buy and sell me a thousand times over, so I'm guessing this little "scolding" will just find you laughing to yourself. Go ahead, make fun of me. It's OK. But don't expect me to crawl under my bed, assume the fetal position and suck my thumb. (I haven't done that since I was five years old when my kindergarten classmate Tommy told me that red hair and freckles were only cute on Howdy Doody. I wanted to dye my hair and bleach my freckles, but my mother wouldn't let me.)

Get married, have a happy private life. And, please, keep your pants on. That's over exposure.

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