Robert Pattinson had never stayed at a friend’s house before. But when the “Twilight” star heard that the actress Reese Witherspoon was hosting a Christmas party, he decided to take the opportunity to crash. And it goes without saying that he wanted to make the most of the stay. So he called up his friend J.J. Abrams, creator of hit TV shows like “Lost” and “Fringe,” and asked him to show him the ropes. And Abrams obliged, taking the opportunity to guide him on a tour of Los Angeles, showing off spots that would play a pivotal role in the actor’s future.

The result is this fascinating look at the Hollywood life of one of the biggest A-listers today, as told to Vanity Fair’s Rebecca Keegan.

How to Make the Most Of a Guest Appearance

The holidays are a magical time of the year, and being a guest on someone’s television show is a real feather in an actor’s cap. But how exactly does one make the most of a guest appearance?

Abrams started by teaching Pattinson how to act like a pro. And that meant breaking down the art of acting into easy to follow steps. So if you’re ever asked to lend a hand at a Hollywood party, here’s how you can make the most of it:

Step one: Arrive early

The first key to making the most of any guest appearance is to arrive early. This way, you’ll have the chance to look around and get a feel for the place. As in any other situation, being early is being smart. And it doesn’t hurt to arrive a little early anyway. Just make sure you’re not too early. When you’re in Hollywood, you’ll quickly learn that the later you arrive, the later you’ll get your ride. And believe it or not, being on time is one of the most charming qualities you can have. It shows politeness and it makes your host happy to have you.

Step two: Touch base with the host

The next step is to touch base with the host or the organizer of the party. This is crucial because not all hosts will be receptive to your help. In order to help create the best experience for yourself, you have to know what to expect. And you can never say too much about how grateful you should be for the invitation. Even if the host is not exactly your style or you have never met the person before, it’s good manners to express your thanks. You never know when this could come in handy. In this case, Patton managed to reconnect with Witherspoon on Twitter and they stayed in touch ever since. It’s also important to follow up with the host a few days after the event to see how things went and to offer your help if needed. Believe it or not, there are people who will try to cheat you by saying that they’re doing everything. So by being a little proactive, you can avoid any unpleasant surprises.

Step three: Tailor your contribution

Once you’ve got your ticket, it’s time to tailor your contribution. Does the host need help with anything? Are there things you can do to make the party better? The answer will dictate how much you should actually contribute. If you’re asked to decorate the Christmas tree or to bring some nibbles, then that’s what you should do. But if the host needs someone to drive or to help with the kids, then you should consider offering your services. Deciding what to contribute is easy. Just make sure you don’t overdo it and end up being a bother. You don’t want to contribute too much, otherwise you’ll appear like an amateur (even though you are acting like one).

Step four: Use your in-house resources

Now that you’ve seen how to make the most of a guest appearance, it’s time to put your newfound knowledge to good use. Remember, you’re an actor and this is what you do every day. So when you get the chance to utilize your talent, don’t hesitate. Your host will appreciate your input and it’ll make you feel like a real contributing member of the team.

As a guest on ‘Friends’, you’ll get the opportunity to show off your amazing acting skills. Is there something you’d like to suggest to the show’s writers? Or would you rather sit this one out and let the experts handle it? You’ll have to decide what’s best for yourself but, hopefully, you’ll end up choosing the second option and helping out. Who knows, maybe in a few weeks they’ll even ask you to come back and help out again. So don’t hesitate to jump in whenever you can. The more involved you are, the more you’ll enjoy yourself.

Step five: Be there when needed

Lastly, make sure you’re there when needed. Being a guest is one thing. But being a guest who disappears when they’re not needed is quite another. Your host will thank you for being an active participant at the party and, in return, you’ll receive numerous invitations to return. So make sure you don’t disappear because, eventually, someone will notice you’ve gone and then your host will have to explain where you went. Just be there when you are needed and contribute where you can. You’ll make everyone feel that their efforts were not in vain and that you truly enjoyed yourself. And that’s the best way to make sure your host will keep inviting you back over and over again.

You might not always get the opportunity to participate in a friend’s party. But if you ever do, make sure you make the most of it. With these tips, you’ll be able to charm your way through any situation and make everyone feel grateful for having you there. So go out there and have fun! And when you get the chance to join a friend’s birthday party in the near future, make sure you jump at the opportunity. After all, it’s good manners to accept an invitation from a person you don’t know that well and good manners to go ahead and show up when you are invited. That way, you’ll make a good impression and your friend will like you.