Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Oh, the Fake Fans You'll Find...

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Just got another one of these “fan” requests:

Hi Erin,

I am a fan of you and your work as an actress. I hope you are doing well and wanted to know how I can get an autographed photo of you. I tried to write you a while back, but never heard anything and wanted to try again. Thanks so much for your time. I wish you continued success and blessings :) Take Care and have a great week.

~ (name redacted)
Boaz, AL (full address redacted)

At least this one included an address. Most of them don’t, which leaves me scratching my head a little. Seriously, it’s not that I think I am not worthy of having a fan, but I’d have to really drink the Kool-Aid to believe that this someone wanting my autograph for legitimate reasons... =)

UPDATE (8/26/09): Check out the comments on this blog to learn why I post these kinds of fan requests on my blog. To see other fan letters (and their comments) click below:

Creepy Never Ends
Really- Who Are You?
Fan Request

Actors who are forewarned are forearmed!

Erin Cronican's career as a professional actor and career coach has spanned the last 25 years in New York City, Los Angeles and San Diego. She has appeared in major feature films and on television, and has toured nationally with plays and musicals. She has worked in the advertising & marketing departments of major corporations, film production companies, theater magazines, and non-profit acting organizations. For more information, please visit http://www.erincronican.com.


  1. Why do you think this is fake? O_o;

  2. Because she is fake. Somebody takes time to write her and she puts it on a blog--Classless!

  3. Thanks for your comments- here are some answers:

    Marcellis- I think it is a fake request because I get these kinds of requests often (written with much the same text) and there is simply no way that these folks could be fans of my work. There is nothing that I am in that is running in Alabama, so I know the notice has to be disingenuous. I have no idea what the motive would be- some people suggest that folks are trying to gather autographs so that if I become famous, these folks have something to sell. As I mentioned in the post, it baffles me.

    Anonymous- The reason I post these kinds of things on my blog is to give a heads up to other actors who have gotten the same messages. I have been contacted by many actors who thanked me for posting these, because when they got contacted by the same person, they looked online to see if the request was legitimate. I took care to remove contact information so that the person's privacy was respected. I also did a thorough search on my own, and if the person turned out to be a true fan with an online presence, I would not have posted this notice. What I did find is an actor's guestbook filled with the exact same request that is posted here, plus a bunch of others that I have also received. Check it out here: http://www.marlenemccohen.com/html/guestbook.php. Notice that these folks, except for Patrick, ask for an autograph but leave absolutely no return address. Very strange.

    By the way, it makes me giggle a little that I am called out for being fake by someone who leaves the comment anonymously. I'm not wanting to cause an argument, I just find that amusing...

  4. Ok, folks. I think I have an answer of who Anonymous is, based on my web stats. The person who posted that did a search for "Patrick Kelley, Boaz, AL" and the server is listed as being from Alabama. So, very possibly, Anonymous is Patrick himself.

    Patrick- if this is indeed you, I do apologize for having your name on my site and if you would like me to remove it, I will. Please read my comments above and understand that as a young woman in this industry, we receive a lot of fan mail that seems to be unfounded, and I am trying to help others out there by sorting through it. Your request was respectful, to be sure, but just look at it amidst all of the other requests (using the link above as an example), and you can see why autograph requests of unknown actors can be suspect.

    Again, if you comment back here and tell me that you are a real person who (at one time) had a real interest in me as an actor, please let me know and I will delete this blog post.

  5. I have an actor friend who was contacted by Patrick about 2 years and he is legitimate. He apparently has collected autographs for many years and lives in Alabama. He apparently has around 5000 autographs in his collection. Not being famous or an actor, I don't understand autographs, but some people have varying hobbies. I would say that he is not fake, especially if he included his home address. Perhaps you should have posted another fans email without their address for clarification of your point. I think we are somewhat over cautious today, which is odd with the rise of social networking. Thanks for letting me post my comment--cool website.

  6. Readers of The Erin Cronicals... things are getting even more strange!

    Based on my web stats, the writer of the "Anonymous" comment (above) is the same person as the writer of the "Christa" comment (also above.) No one else has posted to this page today. I have taken a screen shot of the stats, in case anyone wants to see them. The comments were both posted from a "State Of Alabama" server, meaning it is a government site.

    Strangely, I just got an email from Patrick Kelley, who says this:

    "Hi Erin, I got a google search alert on me this morning and apparently I was the subject of one of your blogs. I was somewhat amused by what you wrote and understand if you had doubts. Just to let you know, my request was legitimate and I also have had someone pretending to be me on a couple of other sites. I am completely harmless and assure you I did not post under anonymous on your site. Thanks for your time. Patrick Kelley"

    Strangely, Patrick is writing to me FROM AN ALABAMA GOVERNMENT SITE- "alabama.gov"

    See, folks- THIS is why I post these kinds of things with names attached. People out there need to know about these situations. I have no problem eating humble pie when I am wrong, and was willing to address it. But this is so strange that I have to speak up. Regardless of the fact that his communications have been pleasant, the circumstances are very real and very scary. An autograph won't hurt me, but unwanted attention can.

    I have requested that "Patrick Kelley" no longer post comments here nor send me emails. I will seek legal counsel if he does not comply.

  7. NOTE TO READERS: In the interest of peaceful communications, I have agreed to remove the fan name from my blog post. The blog itself remains, though, as a guide for actors who are interested in learning how to navigate the promotional waters.

  8. The fan in AlabamaAugust 21, 2009 at 10:34 PM

    Just wanted to set the record straight regarding this situation. This is the "fan" who this posting was about. This is my first post on this site and did not have anything to do with the previous posts in which Ms. Cronican believes I had involvement in. I did state to her I have had people posing as me and had my obsolete Myspace account hacked along with my email. I do not hide behind anonymity, that is why I do include my address in every request that I make. Some actors prefer to send autograph requests themselves if granted as opposed to snail mail. If an actor wishes me to send a SASE, I oblige by sending to an address they wish (agent, company, etc.). However, I understand some actors wish not to send out autographs, which I totally respect. I have always been cordial in every request and Ms. Cronican even admitted such even though she threatened legal action which is somewhat laughable considering the situation. That is her perogative. All of my requests are legitimate and I take offense in being called "fake". I have a facebook account and found out Ms. Cronican and I have two mutual friends, one of which I do have an autograph from (Kristina Hughes). I also have autographs from about a dozen other actors on her friends list. The proof is in the pudding. In regards to Marlene, she did appear on one of my favorite television shows and even sent sent me a headshot after sending her a message. If certain actors take offense to being contacted, then why be on facebook, blogs, websites, etc.? Again, I understand being cautious, but if you are out there, then people will contact you. I have had positive responses from 99% of the people I have contacted and was somewhat baffled to find out my request was on Ms. Cronican's blog as a red flag. I feel this has been blown out of proportion and I do appreciate Ms. Cronican allowing me to post my side here. She did not wish to remove this blog posting, but did agree to remove my name, which is fine but you can find me on facebook and Linkedin. Autograph collecting is a hobby of mine and it is becoming harder and harder because of wackos on the net. I have an extensive collection ranging from sports autographs to actors and so on. I never sell my autographs or use them for any other alterior reason. Ms. Cronican I do apologize if my request brought you unwanted attention as you stated and definitely don't want you to drink the Kool-Aid, unless of course you like Kool-Aid. I hope this puts closure on this situation. Any other actors out there, please be aware that fans come from all areas of the United States and the world for that matter. Even if you consider yourself a minor player, you may have a fan or more out there. I understand being cautious, but don't assume they are fake or ingenuous. Thanks.

  9. The above comment the final comment I will be allowing from Anonymous parties on this particular blog post. I am allowing the one above because I think that actors need to be aware that people are not always who they say they are, even if they are articulate and relentlessly attempt to clear their name.

    "Fan from Alabama" - Thank you for your comment. I accept that you believe yourself to be a legitimate autograph collector. But the autograph request is no longer the point. If you had simply said, "I made the request. I am legitimate," I would have removed the blog, sent an apology, and probably sent the autograph. Case closed.

    But the fact remains that according to my web stats, the same person posted the "Anonymous" and "Christa" comments above. The first commenter called me a fake and classless. The second vouched for you as a legitimate autograph seeker. These emails came from the SAME server/computer at the Alabama Government, and according to the email address you emailed from, you work for the Alabama Government. In addition, you claimed to have visited my blog yesterday morning, and according to my stats the ONLY person who visited my blog that morning was the person using the Alabama State server/computer. (I have to records to show this.)

    The research above implies that YOU are the person posting all of these messages. You then contact me at my personal email address telling me that you are being impersonated, yet no person on this site has ever "posed" as you- they posted as "Anonymous" and "Christa." And now you are looking through my Facebook page to see what friends we have in common, and you are browsing to my personal website (as further shown by my stats.) Can you understand why this behavior seems odd? This is exactly why I post these kinds of things on this blog. This exchange is not just about autographs. The "Anonymous" comment implies to you are angry that I called your request "fake" and it seems you are finding as many ways as possible to stand up for yourself. Like I said, a simple, "I'm not fake" would have sufficed - posing as two different people using your company's computer didn't come across as genuine.

    Frankly, this whole situation is creepy and your attention is starting to scare me, which is why I asked you to stop contacting me. Law enforcement officials recommend that, in these situations, we state clearly that legal action will be pursued if the unwanted attention does not stop. This statement proves that the plaintiff, unequivocally, has asked to be left alone. It's not personal, I am simply protecting myself.

    Readers: I told "fan from Alabama" that I would allow him to post one comment on this blog, and then I requested that he not contact me again. As of now, he has complied.

    BE AWARE AND PROTECT YOURSELF. I will not be scared away from standing up for my rights, and neither should you.

    Autograph Seekers: If you are legitimate and truly want an autograph, I suggest that you be specific when making your request so that we know that you are legitimate. Where did you see our work, and when? What kind of impact did it have on you? What do you plan to do with the autograph? Most actors would love to receive a heartfelt request from a fan, and I think that being specific will help us meet your request. And if we question your motives, I suggest you communicate with us AS YOURSELF.

  10. OMG! The above posts are like something you would see from a dramatic reality show! I love it. Erin.. do you like Kool-aid? You are so smart to have done the research you did to find out about this person. I envy your brain. Thanks so much for sharing all the crazyness, hope to see you soon!

  11. Just got the following email from a girl who, for obvious reasons, would prefer to remain anonymous. So glad I could help!

    "Hi Erin,

    I am a fellow female actor and just received an almost identical request from this guy. Luckily I did a search before responding in any way and came across your blog. These postings allowed me to preemptively protect myself. Nice job fending him off. These kinds of things can get scary and you avoided a close call.

    Thank you."

  12. I also found your blog when doing research on this guy after an identical request. Thanks for your posting! This was not only informative but good entertainment too

  13. Erin,

    Hello, I am another fellow actress from Colorado who received a similar email earlier today. I also did my research before just sending this man an autograph. I found it strange that someone from AL would contact me seeing as how nothing I have done would have been seen out there either. It's funny how all us actors seem to do that. I pretty much Google everyone I encounter and it looks like for a good reason too. Although, I don't really see a problem in sending one little autograph whether he is a fan or not. Hey it might be worth something some day.;-) But hey, I guess if you Google someone and find information like this on them you wouldn't really want them having anything of yours. Anyway, great site. It was the first time I have visited but I will for sure be back. Very entertaining. And good lookin out girl!!!

  14. Oddly I was sent this email today. Gov address and did several searches. None of my work is in theaters ( 2 are post production, the rest are indie films shown at festivals that are NOT in AL). I found his email odd as it was a GOV email address.

    I'm on the fence about alerting the agency he works for given his above behavior as he works with Children.

    Thank you for this!

  15. been seeing some of these same situations popping up lately. tread lightly with the unexpected fan mail.


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