How to Get Famous, by Pete Johnson (OUP Rollercoaster Edition)
Tobey is determined he will be famous. He's not big-headed, he just knows he's got something special and he's determined that everyone will know it! He even hangs around with the stars, getting autographs at film premieres.
Tobey and his friend Georgia audition for a role in the local play - and to his huge disappointment, Georgia gets a part, but he doesn't. Can he turn this tragedy around and find a way to be famous after all?
A laugh-out-loud story full of the trials of the wannabes!
WINNER OF THE SHEFFIELD COMMUNITY LIBRARIES AWARD
“This is a thoroughly good hearted and entertaining book with lots of humour and witty dialogue. It also reflects on fame and portrays some of the powerful emotions – such as jealousy, disappointment – which accompany it. Fun and funny – a thoroughly enjoyable read."
Sophie Smiley, The School Librarian
OUP Rollercoaster Edition
An exclusive extract from: 'HOW TO GET FAMOUS.'
Tobey has only one dream; to get famous. He meets Georgia, another wannabe and he accompanies Georgia and her mum to a film premiere. They are not going inside, of course – no, they join the hundreds of fans waiting outside for an autograph and a glimpse of a star.
But it is at this premiere Tobey has an encounter which changes his whole life … Now read on.
An incredible thing has just occurred. And I want to tell you about it right away while it's crystal clear in my head. So I'll ignore the other stars we saw and get straight to …
We knew something momentous was due when two policemen lumbered over and told us to get right back from the barricades, which we all did until they looked away, and then we all surged forward again.
'Now just stay calm,' whispered Georgia's mum to us, 'but I really think Johnny Depp's about to appear.'
Five minutes later her prediction came true. There, stepping out of a huge, silver car was, indeed, Johnny Depp. Georgia and I grinned in an amazed way at each other, unable to believe he was just a few metres away from us.
He was wearing a blue check cowboy shirt with the collar turned up, a skinny, black tie and trilby hat. He was in a suit, his hair was dead scruffy but in a highly fashionable way and he had a bit of a beard.
All these flash bulbs started up, and there was this sea of white light all around him, while everyone began screeching: 'Johnny, Johnny,' just as if they were cheering on a horse at the races. It was mad and tense and incredibly exciting all at once.
And then Johnny Depp, half-glided and half-strutted over to us. People were really bawling at him now, while others thrust their posters as close to him as they could, but I hardly said a word, which isn't like me. I was a bit overwhelmed I suppose, being so close for the first time to a mega-star.
Then, quite suddenly, I remembered reading somewhere that Johnny Depp loved animals. So I launched into my impression of a highly, excitable puppy. I did the full routine: high pitched yelps and barks. And Johnny Depp turned towards me right away, a little smile playing across his lips. 'Hey Johnny, you big pirate, sign this, will you?' I cried, waving my poster at him. 'And make me a millionaire.' Another grin crossed his lips. He and I were really connecting. He clearly loved both my animal impressions and my sense of humour.
Then, in one swift movement he'd seized hold of my pen and signed his superb name just above his head on the poster. It was over in a flash.
Yet there it was, Johnny Depp's true autograph. He moved over to someone else then just like an athlete, so graceful and fast. And he seemed totally unaware of the policemen glowering behind him. No, he appeared totally relaxed and at ease as if we were all meeting up at a huge party. Then he gave this big wave to us all and was sauntering off when I yelled out to him. 'Hey Johnny, thanks a million for the autograph.' I gave another little puppy yelp too.
And do you know what he did? He turned round and grinned right at me again. And then he was surrounded by some very boring and very rich-looking people. After which he moved pretty smartly up that red carpet and disappeared into a glamorous, glittering place that we out here could only dream about.
And everyone was crowding round admiring the autograph. Georgia's mum was telling me to blow on the ink to dry it. And Reuben was instructing me to be sure and hold it at the sides as you didn't want it ruined with dirty great fingerprints, while Georgia just looked so happy for me. Johnny Depp hadn't for anyone else around me either. I was his chosen one.
It was a knock-out moment. I felt so proud and yet …
No, no, that's really silly. I'm not even going to write down what I also thought.
Some other stars arrived – Georgia's mum got four more autographs. But I just stood there in a daze. Georgia's mum thought I was still in shock after bagging an autograph from just about the biggest movie star in the world. And it was partly that. But there was something else, as Georgia suspected.
And later when Georgia's mum was discussing tonight's haul of autographs with Reuben and a couple of other collectors, Georgia took me aside. 'You should be really happy tonight.'
'I am,' I said at once.
'No, you're not.'
I looked away. Sometimes Georgia knew me so well it was annoying. And then I told her what I couldn't even bear to tell you because it sounded so greedy.
I said. 'Tonight, Georgia, Johnny Depp enjoyed my animal impressions and on more than one occasion laughed at my jokes. But … and this is going to sound insane.'
'I don't care, just say it.'
'Well, Johnny and me were getting on so well, I didn't want him to just sign my picture – and this is really crazy – I wanted him to say. 'Hey, I've got a spare ticket for this premiere and as you and I are getting on so well how would you like to come along as my guest?' Wouldn't it have been sheer genius if he'd done that.
'Oh yeah it would have been,' agreed Georgia. 'Pretty unlikely though. I mean, he probably didn't have any spare tickets on him for a start. And the people in charge might have been really angry with Johnny Depp if he'd just invited people off the street.'
'But I'm not someone off the street,' I said. 'And if I'd been allowed inside I bet Johnny and me would have been the best of mates by now. It'll never happen now, though, and I'll always be stuck on the outside of film premieres look in.'
'Don't say that,' said Georgia.
'Why?' I cried.
'Because you've got to believe that one day you'll get that lucky break.'
'Okay,' I muttered.
'No honestly, Mum says it's absolutely vital you believe in yourself.'
'Yeah, all right.' I looked across at the Odeon, Leicester Square. 'So one day, Georgia, you and I will stroll right inside that kingdom of magic.'
'We definitely will,' said Georgia. Then she added. 'But we won't forget our fans.'
'Oh no, we'll sign zillions of autographs. And we won't need personal shoppers and bodyguards and stylists.'
'Actually, I wouldn't mind a stylist,' said Georgia, then she giggled.
'And how about a totally buff, personal trainer?'
She giggled again.
'You can have the stylist,' I said sternly. 'But that's all.'
'I was only joking about the personal trainer,' she said.
I nodded. 'Because at all times we want to keep it real.'
'Yeah, we must always do that,' said Georgia. 'And we'll still do ordinary things – like get the bus.'
'Even when we've sold the movie rights to our lives,' I said.
And I went on. 'All the money and stuff will, of course, be brilliant – but what I'd really like is for someone to come up to me – old or young, I
don't care – and say they want to shake my hand for cheering up their life.'
'But that's exactly the same for me,' said Georgia looking eagerly at me. 'I'd love someone to say, that after seeing me in a play, I completely changed their life. Does that sound big-headed?'
'Oh no, not at all,' I cried.
We were both silent for a moment as we imagined being pursued by all these grateful members of the public.
'It'll be good also,' I said, 'in later years to meet all those people at school who made fun of us, and just smile knowingly at them.'
Yeah, we wouldn't need to say a thing, would we?' said Georgia, 'just give them a look …'
'Before strolling into our white-stretch limo.'
'Oh, we're having a limo now, are we?' asked Georgia.
'Yeah, just the one though, because we're not show-offs.' Then I gave a weary sigh. But right now we're …' I hesitated. I really didn't want to say the word, so in the end I hissed it: 'Wannabes.'
A look of total horror immediately crossed Georgia's face.
'I'm sorry,' I cried.
'No, no, it had to be said. And right now we are.' And then she whispered that miserable, hopeless loser of a word even more softly than me: 'Wannabes.'
'And it's so frustrating,' I cried, 'when we know we've got all this talent inside us. Georgia, the world is waiting for us. We've just got to get famous somehow.'
'Get famous,' repeated Georgia. 'We'll keep saying that to each other so we go out and find that lucky break.' Her eyes were gleaming and we were both elated now by the huge adventure which lay before us. Then she looked at me and said solemnly. 'Get Famous Tobey.'
And I repeated equally seriously. 'Get Famous Georgia.'