When I went to college, there were PR companies that would recruit college students to watch a movie and fill out a form on our opinions about it. We had to hide that we were studying film or writing or anything. They only wanted normal people. Nobody who had any background on how to craft a story, or a three-act structure, or the difference between a simile and a metaphor. Just your average Joe.
So, my friend and I were handed tickets to see “Runaway Bride.” We sat toward the back. As the movie started, there was the noise starting behind us. The noise was of people trying desperately to be quiet while they murmured. Now, we had heard that some of the famous actors and actresses that appear in the movies sometimes drop in unannounced to get a feel from the crowd. So, my friend and I asked the people behind us who showed up, thinking it was either Richard Gere or Julia Roberts.
“No one, just the director,” they said.
I was an aspiring writer. My friend, an aspiring director. We didn’t want to meet Richard Gere or Julia Roberts. We wanted to meet Garry Marshall!
At the end of the movie, we filled out our questionnaire and filed out into the lobby. There, we saw Marshall talking with a couple of suits. We came up with something to say to him and waited for an opportunity to sneak in. We stood about 25 feet away and lingered. Marshall had one eye on us for a few minutes. I figured he was trying to figure out a way to ditch us. Instead, he put up his hand to interrupt the suits and walked over to us. That’s right, he stopped talking to the corporate people and made some time to meet us. He asked us our names and what we thought of the movie. Honestly, I don’t remember what I said. My friend said something about the music choices. He thanked us for our feedback and went back to the suits.
It was just a cool moment. He was pretty friendly and just seemed genuine. Every once in a while, you hear about someone meeting a celebrity and he was a decent human being. This was definitely one of those cases.