More often than not the part of my job that people find fascinating is the occasional close proximity to movie stars.

It’s entirely understandable, even to me certain actors have that aura of unattainability to them, as if they belong to another planet where everyone has perfect hair, shining white teeth and a publicist.

The question/assertion that most people follow that up with, however, is “you must have soooo many autographs”, which is a slightly thornier issue.

There are no real ‘rules’ regarding autographs among journalists (although it’s the quickest way to annoy a film PR person).

Some of the older guard think it unacceptable, unprofessional even; while at the other end you have people who race to the talent in the hallway of a hotel, with a bunch of 8x6’s in their hand and hope in the heart.

I stand, as usual, somewhere in the middle – I definitely appreciate the need for any serious journalist to appear professional and separate to a general fan, but I also appreciate the fact that it’s not every day you’re opposite a movie icon. So, have I gone up for an autograph? Yes, but mostly for other people.

I got Kiefer Sutherland’s autograph for a friend, and my sister was overjoyed with press notes signed by Gerard Butler (I mumbled “my sister’s your biggest fan”, to which a very jetlagged Butler looked at me awkwardly and replied “oh… thank you”).

Mostly though, I’m far too hesitant, like the time I dithered as to whether to get Steven Spielberg’s autograph only for him to leave while I was still deciding; or a similar situation where I could have gotten a photo with Michael Caine.

These exceptions aside, however, I consider meeting people I admire and discussing their work my ‘autograph’. That sounds incredibly pretentious, I know, but I’ve got far more pleasure from playing back old interviews or questions I’ve asked at a press conference than from the autographs I’ve collected (although, granted, I have a few of those as well). One person I know who does autograph hunting right, is my friend Jason, a fellow journalist. He keeps a nice split between business and signatures – seeking out the star after they’ve left the interview.

Sometimes the star (or, more likely, their handler) says no, but most of the time they are happy to sign his DVD or memorabilia and chat about their movies (such as the time he made Colin Farrell’s day by asking him to sign a DVD of Miami Vice, one of his more underappreciated movies).

The result of all this good timing is that Jason now has an autograph collection many would kill for.

He was one of the people who got a Spielberg autograph, and has had similar success with Martin Scorsese, Jim Carrey, Hugh Jackman, Liam Neeson, Anne Hathaway and countless others.

I’m still happy listening back to my interviews, but I imagine his office looks a lot cooler than mine!