When many of us think of celebrities, we think of the glamorous lifestyle, the notoriety, and all the cool stuff we could do. Fame, noted by most celebrities, has its ups and downs. But of all the good and bad things, the most annoying of all of them might be the paparazzi. Known as the vermin of the entertainment industry, paparazzi are everywhere, but their job is to seem as if they’re nowhere to be seen. But as much as we hate them, it seems as if we know less about them than the celebrities they’re chasing.
Adrian Grenier, the star of HBO’s Entourage in which he plays a movie star, is beginning to have the line between reality and fiction blurred due to his fame in real life. He’s adjusting to the lifestyle of Vincent Chase both on and off the screen, except in real life he’s not playing a character. He’s Adrian Grenier. One day, while coming out of a club, amidst the mob of paps around him, he sees a young boy snapping his picture. He approaches the child; to only find out that he’s a thirteen-year-old paparazzo named Austin Visschedyk, a smooth and fast-talking kid from Los Angeles. This street-smart adolescent had recently gained interest in the life of a paparazzo when he met Adrian. This boy fascinated Grenier and before he knew it, he was making a film about him.
Camera crew in hand, Grenier and Visschedyk began taking the Hollywood streets by storm; Austin for his pictures, Adrian for an answer. Teenage Paparazzo offers not only a look into the life of a celebrity, but the people who put these celebrities on the cover of every gossip magazine known to man. The film, which was directed by Grenier, shows the human side of the paparazzi, insisting on talking to them one-on-one rather than dehumanizing them and writing them off as scum like everybody else in Hollywood has. Austin was only the beginning for Grenier. The life of a pap is unlike anything else; the adrenaline, the constant motion, the 24/7 workweek, and most of all, the money. Austin was making anywhere from $500-$1000 for a good shot of a hot celebrity, more if it met certain requirements.
I don’t want to spoil too much of the things that go on in Teenage Paparazzo, because that’s half the fun, finding out what’s going to happen next. Weaving in interviews with various celebrities as well as Austin’s story, the film really does give the viewer a neutral view of the lifestyle of both the paps and their victims. The relationship between certain paps and certain celebrities isn’t as strained as many think, which I find to be very interesting. With that being said, most of them are and it can get very, very, annoying. The price of fame is a price to pay, and Grenier is sure to convey this to the viewer. He explains what its like to walk out of your home and not three steps later start being flashed by camera lights at every angle.
If Teenage Paparazzo succeeds at something, it’s the truth that rings throughout the entire film. We’ve seen these people on TV, we see them in movies, on the news, on the internet, but do we know them? No, of course not. We think we do, but we don’t. It seems that a lot of people have yet to recognize that, though.