The Christian Science Monitor calls celebrity activism “the entertainment industry’s unofficial pastime.” But where are all these actor-vists coming from, anyway?

Just like any big Hollywood production, they’re created by groups like “Celebrity Source,” the “Show Coalition,” and “Cause Celebre.” These outfits actually match up stars and causes for big bucks. Fees for Celebrity Source start at $4,000 and skyrocket from there.

“If you were looking for [a celebrity] to represent a charity dealing with prostate cancer and had $500, you wouldn’t be able to find anyone,” said one celebrity fixer. “But if you had $50,000 you would be surprised at how many agents would step forward to say their clients had it.”

But does the money buy conviction? Ask Peter Schaeffer, the owner of one such agency, Starfield. “You can’t help feeling that sometimes, when they stand on a podium and get all misty-eyed about cripples, or homeless nuns or dying dogs, it might be just another clever act.”