1. "Brevity is the soul of wit": While Shakespeare wasn't talking about the red carpet when he wrote these words in Hamlet, it is a really good phrase to remember. Your red carpet questions should be short, concise and to the point. As any experienced entertainment reporter will tell you, time is of the essence. You might only get one question with a celeb, make it count. This isn't the time to roll out the question that requires three or four follow-up questions. Save that question for the sit-down interview.
George Clooney is a pro. He can answer red carpet questions with his eyes shut.
2. Do Your Research: You should get a tip sheet before the event and at the event, but don't expect to do your research on your iPhone five minutes before the carpet starts. At big events like the Oscars, data service can be spotty with so many people all trying to tweet, text, and IMDB every A-lister in Hollywood. Be prepared, it will make you a much better reporter. Tip: My homepage on my laptop is The Hollywood Reporter. It will keep you updated on the latest industry deals, cancellations, and gossip.
3. Be Original: When you are the last media outlet on the red carpet, the celebs are exhausted and probably do not want to stop to talk anymore. So, even if you have to shout the question at them (and often you will have to do this), make it an original one...even if it sounds absurd. You will often get the soundbite of the night, a funny quip, or at least a laugh. BuzzFeed listed "The 10 Dumbest Red Carpet Questions" ever, try to avoid these...although your media probably will want the usual "Who are you wearing?" question. One other question to avoid is: "What's in your purse tonight?" If you are totally stuck, these can be your back-up emergency questions, but try not to use them because everyone else does.
4. Kindness and Courtesy: Celebs are human and they go through the same trials and tribulations all of us do. So, don't be that guy on the red carpet who is rude and intrusive, have a little compassion. If you are going to ask super personal questions about someone's divorce, loss, or financial issues, don't be direct and ask, "What has life been like since your husband cheated on you, left you broke, took the kids, and then divorced you?" You aren't going to make any friends. Try something softer like, "When you are faced with challenges in life, what have you learned about yourself?" You will get a soundbite and much more appreciative celeb.
I hope this helps your next red carpet adventure. If you have more tips or questions, feel free to add them to the comments section below. As always, you can tweet, Facebook, or Google + me, too!