Tom Hanks is just about everyones favorite actor. A year or so ago, he was interviewed by PARADE magazine and was asked what he would most like to do if he were president. He replied, “I would make a truly great state-of-the-art national rail service a huge priority”
I mention this because I’m working on a project for the Rail Passengers Association that involves celebrities. We want to get quotes from well-known people about the need for more and better passenger trains. The idea, of course, is to start moving public opinion to stronger support of passenger trains and hopefully generate some new RPA memberships, too. And so I set about looking for celebrities who might wish to champion our cause.
These days, if you’re even a little bit famous, everyone wants a piece of you. And believe it or not, several different web sites will, for a modest fee, provide you with the contact information for literally thousands of celebrities: phone numbers, snail mail and email addresses—not for the celebrity, of course, but for the people he hires to run interference for him.
Of course there’s no way of knowing if all that information is up-to-date and it can get pretty discouraging when you consider the odds against your request actually getting through all those layers to someone like—let’s just say hypothetically—Tom Hanks. Your calls or emails have first got to reach someone actually connected to the celebrity—usually the agent, the publicist, the manager or a personal assistant. One of those people has to receive your communication … open it … actually read the damn thing … and then that person has to like your proposal for involving his or her client or employer in your cause.
The fact is, to locate and then successfully recruit a celebrity whose words of support will actually cause people to think favorably about passengers rail involves an absolutely staggering amount of good luck.
I did think of a possible shortcut, however: If someone reading this has a good connection with a bonafide celebrity—you were a fraternity brother of Tom Hanks in college or maybe you played in a garage band with Bruce Springsteen back in New Jersey, please do let me know.