Thursday, June 9, 2011

Gigi's Meeting with MacGyver

By Gigi

When I was twenty years old, I experienced the most thrilling celebrity encounter I knew I'd ever have. I met Richard Dean Anderson -- MacGyver himself -- and personally handed him a copy of the MacGyver movie I filmed at age seventeen.

I wrote about the details of the movie itself here, a project I wrote, directed, and starred in with my best friend one summer during high school. We were so sad that our favorite TV show was ending, so for a summer project we put our high school theater tools to good use and made a continuation of the series ourselves, set in the mountains outside of Los Angeles and full of MacGyver-isms.

 Yup, that's our MacGyver Movie, "The Rescue of Mac and Sam," in his hand.

Here's the interesting thing about that experience: Once I gave MacGyver -- er, Richard Dean Anderson -- that VHS tape with my homemade cover, my childhood desire to meet celebrities was over.

Growing up outside of Los Angeles, I had plenty of opportunities as a teenager to attend concerts, music video shoots, Jay Leno episode tapings, etc. It was interesting at the time, and I do think it's cool that I've had my photo taken with my favorite rock stars -- which, to be fair, is much easier to do when your favorite bands are the not-quite-superstars Toad the Wet Sprocket and Teenage Fanclub -- but once I gave my movie to the man I thought of as MacGyver, my childhood hero, what else did I need?

As it turned out, not a whole lot. I never even learned if Richard Dean Anderson watched our little movie (he was wonderfully gracious when he accepted it) but it wasn't really about him; it was about me and my friend doing something meaningful for us. I continued to be enamored with writing screenplays, but I lost my fascination with celebrities. Sure, I'm still going to click on The Daily Dish on the San Francisco Chronicle website, but I was done standing in line to meet someone famous.

At least, I thought I was over it. Fast forward a dozen years, when I started attending mystery writer's conferences. At a convention last year, I saw Aaron Elkins on the attendee list. If you're not familiar with Aaron Elkins, he writes an amazing forensic anthropology mystery series featuring "skeleton detective" Gideon Oliver. I love these books. I've loved them since I was a kid. I knew that if I met Aaron Elkins at the convention, I would completely freak out.

It turned out he had to cancel, so I never learned if I would have freaked out in his presence or not. When I thought about my reaction to this near-encounter with a minor celebrity, I realized there were a few more authors who I'd probably become either speechless or a babbling idiot in front of -- and they're all writers who made a great impact on me when I was a kid.

I've discovered some great authors as an adult, as well, but I don't have the same gut reaction when I think of them. They're people who write amazing books, who I'd be happy to meet and tell them how much I love their books, but I doubt I'd be tongue-tied around them.

Is there something magical about the celebrities we latch onto as we're growing into ourselves? Whatever it is, I hope you'll forgive me if you run into me at a mystery writer's convention and I'm a babbling idiot because I've just spotted Aaron Elkins.


Mysti said...

I have seen:

Ben Stiller being stood up at Sunset Theatre.
David Spade being stood up at Farmer's Market.
Jason Alexander and Mel Gibson both trying hard to control GIANT white SUVs in crowded Hollywood traffic.
Madonna and her bodyguard/trainer a little annoyed that no one was noticing her, dressed in sweats, on upper east 89th or so.
Rock Hudson and his trainer/bodyguard, before dawn on Market Street, clearly relieved no one was noticing him in his sweats.

I am glad no one knows me. I am so impressed that you gave him the movie. Amazing graceful confidence of youth...

Juliet Blackwell said...

This cracks me up! Like Mysti, I'm so impressed that you slipped him that video -- I hope he watches it from time to time and remembers the day two beautiful young women worshiped him --er, MacGuyver-- enough to make a movie in his honor.
You were something. Still are! ;-)

Aaron Elkins said...

MINOR celebrity??? Well, I must say!!!

Seriously, Gigi, I really appreciate those generous comments. And I thought I would let you know that I will DEFINITELY be at at least one mystery conference in the next couple of years...Malice Domestic, in Washington, D.C., in 2013. So if you're there too, please do say hello (and remind me of who you are), will you?
Full disclosure warning, though: I'm a pretty old guy, and I'm not really all that thrilling...just ask my wife.

Martha Flynn said...

Aaron, for the record, Gigi has been pimping your books to us FOREVER.

Gigi, I kinda feel like we need to printscreen/fame this moment!!!!

Juliet Blackwell said...

Aaron Elkins? THE Aaron Elkins???
Seriously, Gigi really HAS been pimping you out forEVER. Very excited you two now have a date for the future ;-) I'll come with her and gape while she loses her words ;-)

Rachael Herron said...

HA! This is the coolest thing ever. I wanna know what Gigi did when she read the comment....

Gigi Pandian said...

Wow, I go offline for the morning to get some writing done, and come back to find Aaron Elkins came by the blog! Hopefully I'll be a little less tongue-tied by 2013 :)

Nicole Peeler said...

Now where the hell is RICHARD DEAN ANDERSON???

*goes to google him to make sure he hasn't died, and she's stuck her foot in it again*

Sophie Littlefield said...

ha! i am now trying to figure out who to casually mention on *my* blog to magic them into appearing.

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