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Although some movie and television stars are reclusive, most understand that fan service is a part of their job. Every autograph given out means another fan who spreads the word. A celebrity's name is their brand, and talk about them is free advertising for that brand. Balanced against this is the fact that many celebrities receive literally thousands of letters and requests each month. Many even have staff devoted solely to processing fan mail. Here are three simple ways to get a free autograph from a celebrity.

By Mail

Find the celebrity's address. Although you can spend money on the internet to get contact information, it's usually easier to go through the celebrity's agent. There are several directories listing which agents represent which celebrities, and it is the agent's job to get people in touch with the celebrities they represent. Many celebrities ask that fan mail be sent to them via their agent.

Write a brief letter requesting an autograph. Don't write a long list of why you're her biggest fan; most of the time, the letter won't ever reach the celebrity in question.

Send your request to the celebrity along with a stamped, self-addressed envelope. Unless it's very important to you, don't include special paper or a photo for signing. Most celebrities mass produce signed publicity pieces to mail out for requests.

Wait patiently. Wait very, very patiently. Your request may take months to be received and processed.

In Public

If you live in an area convenient to seeing celebrities out in public, spend time in restaurants, bars and other locations known for a celebrity presence.

When you spot a celebrity, be courteous about the situation. Many are happy to pass a brief moment with a fan, but if they look busy or engaged in whatever they're doing, wait for a better moment.

If the moment is appropriate, introduce yourself very briefly and make your request. Don't gush or try to start a long conversation.

Once you've got your autograph, say thank you and move on unless the celebrity invites you to talk longer.

At Events

Many celebrities make public appearances for the purpose of talking with fans and signing autographs. Check the websites of the celebrity and his agent to find appearances in your area.

Some appearances require an admission fee, and many free ones require tickets you can get through local businesses. Get yours early.

Show up early for the event, but not so early that you're camping out. The celebrity's security team will pay special attention to people who show up abnormally early for the event.

Arrive with whatever items you want the movie or tv star to sign. You will likely be able to pick up an item at the event, but those will almost always cost money.

Wait politely in line and get your autograph.