learn to swim

Eventful is getting lots of press, which is great for Brian and his entire team, because I believe that it’s a tool that indie artists and guys like me will be able to use to connect with our audiences in ways that just weren’t possible as recently as a year ago.

But I’m getting really tired of reading things like this:

The Eventful demand system is still new, and right now the system is overwhelmed by a collection of demands to hear former Star Trek actor Wil Wheaton speak. But don’t let that put you off.

I’m sorry, but why would that put anyone off? Because it’d be better if Eventful was filled with demands for huge artists that don’t care about meeting their audience, and wouldn’t listen to demands, anyway?

Yeah, it’s a really terrible thing that I hopped on board with Eventful, and consulted with Brian before it even launched, because I believe in it, and my upcoming trips to Montreal and Boston are perfect examples of how it can work, right? And it’s equally off-putting that because of Eventful, the people who read my blog and I have a way to figure out where and when I should come perform, right? Yeah, that’s just terrible! It’s so off-putting!

And excuse me if this puts you off, Mr. Web 2.0 writer, but could we maybe retire the phrase "former Star Trek actor?" I know it’s hard for you mainstream media types to understand that I’ve done a few things with myself since Star Trek ended over a decade ago, (like publish two books, write several weekly columns, and provide voices for several video games and animated series,) but I have a lot more in my life than just being a "former Star Trek actor," which you would have known if you’d done your homework.

Update: The article’s author has apologized:

I’d like to apologize to you, Wil. I did not mean to offend nor to diminish your work. My tongue-in-cheek comment about how a ton of Eventful Demand posts to see you might be overwhelming to people trying to set up their own demands was not meant as a slight to you personally (although I can see how it was insensitive). As I said to one person who wrote an email to me, it’s clear that you’ve done a lot for Eventful and Eventful has done a lot for you. That’s how good business gets done.

I’ll buy a ticket to see you when you come to SF.

Thank you, Rafe. Whenever I hear "former Star Trek actor . . ." without any mention of anything else I’ve done with my life, I do feel diminished and slighted. Apology accepted and appreciated very much.

72 thoughts on “learn to swim”

  1. You are still: The BOY!!!!??
    Worf will always tuck you in.
    A drunken you will always save the Enterprise from a meteor.
    But hey, I would trade everything to know that for as long as ST:TNG runs I could still be seen frenching Ashley Judd in “The Game.”
    You *are* and will always be Wesley Crusher. The stuff you do as Paid Geek won’t last or be relevant forever.
    Stand By Me and Star Trek pass the test of time.
    Live long and have a beer before the flop!

  2. Wil, I enjoyed your character Wesley on TNG. In my opinion they should have spun off a series when your character went off with the Traveler.
    But as a regualr reader of wwdn (and the exile version)
    I have come to love you as writer. Those I consider writers are read voraciously!
    I read every word they publish. You are one such writer.you touch on things that matter to me. “We close our eyes” is an example. remembering reading that brings tears to my eyes.
    Writing gives one a lot of power. Rafe misused that power, but realised his mistake and apologised. He is a bigger man for realising that, and has gained some of my respect.
    I am sure he will come up to see you when you appear in his town. I hope the 2 of you bury the hatchet then…

  3. I’m glad that you received an apology. Not only did you deserve it, but apologies seem to be rare these days.
    On a smaller scale, I relate to you and the whole “former Star Trek actor” label. I was a very silly girl in my teens, playing up the dingy bit…the airhead, silly, blonde role seemed to be my fate. It’s what people expected and what guys wanted. Sad. But, it’s what I did, and how I was labeled.
    When I hit my mid-twenties and actually started to use my BRAIN and move on to bigger and better and more intellectual endeavors in my life, I began to dread meeting up with former friends simply because they had already labeled me and we always had to have that awkward moment where I had to convince them that I wasn’t the silly girl they once knew.
    For some reason, we like to catalog and label people, and we resist accepting the changes thye make in their lives. If you have huge success voice over work, in writing, even if the whole world is aware of your talent, you will still somehow be labeled as ‘former Star Trek actor’. But maybe it’s not bad. ROn Howard is still somehow Opie Taylor to alot of people, yet I still respect and enjoy his work and always look forward to seeing interviews with him on TV, because he always seems to just be himself and natural. Perhaps that’s the key…perhaps that’s why I also enjoy your blog…because you just seem to be yourself…writer, actor, husband, stepparent…Wil…

  4. Rafe’s comments were a low blow. Glad to see he squared up. However, no offense intended, but I wish you had disclosed the fact you “consulted” with Eventful when you first promoted their service on your site. I don’t know if this was paid consulting or not but I interpreted your post as merely passing along something you discovered.

  5. There have been a lot of good points made. I read and re-read the comments by Rafe, but I guess I thought “former..” was actually helpful. I would have absolutely no clue you were a writer if my geek hadn’t turned me on to it. Not a clue. And I *loved* you as Gordie and Wesley Crusher when I was a kid. (You and Whoopi were the only reasons I watched Star Trek – although I am a big Patrick Stewart fan now too.) Until you were on Star Trek – I wouldn’t have been caught dead watching it. I guess what I am trying to say is that the words “former ST..” might make people say “Wait… Wil Wheaton?? HEY! I remember that guy! What is he doing now?” That was my response when my geek said “Hey have you read Wil Wheaton’s book?” I actually said “WHO?” and I used to have posters of you on my walls! I just had associated W.Wheaton with the Star Trek and SBM.
    I think you are a darn good writer, but I had to admit when I read your books, I half skimmed, mostly skipped over the pages and pages where you expressed your frustration with being remembered as Wesley Crusher. I thought it was a tad whiny and I don’t see you as a whiny person. You describe those times in your life as fun – good memories -wish you could go back and do it again but .. if WE say “the guy from Star Trek”, you seem to take is as some huge offense. I don’t understand it. It’s a bit of a contradiction to me.
    Einan78 had a good point about Mark Hamil. He will always be Luke Skywalker. Always. He’s done a ton of cartoons too, but forever.. in our hearts, he is Luke.
    You and I are almost the same age so I guess I can say I grew up with you – in the same times that you did. Going to see SBM at the movies, watching TNG, and Wil – I even wanted to buy “The Curse” when it came out on VHS just because you were in it. Wow. Yeah. Sad, huh. (Well, I WAS 14). Even with all that, when I heard “Wil Wheaton, the author.” I didn’t even perk up. When he said “You know.. Wesley Crusher” I immediately went to Amazon and ordered! We’ve lost track of Wil Wheaton as we grew up, but we’ve never, ever forgotten cute little Wesley Crusher *grrrooowwwl*
    I guess what I am trying to say is this.. instead of hating the “former TNG” thing. Embrace it. Hell, sell the crap out of it. If that is what people remember you by, use it to say “Yeah, those were good times. Wanna hear about what I’m doing now?”

  6. Well, it shouldn’t matter if I was paid or not, Moto, but in this instance, I was not paid. Before I met with Brian, I didn’t know much about Eventful, other than it was a cool new thing that would probably be interesting and useful to guys like me. Once I signed an NDA and knew exactly what it was, I was able to share my experiences and opinions as a mid-list author and fairly-widely-read blogger with him.
    I don’t have an obligation to disclose if I’m compensated for any consulting I do, but you can be sure that I don’t lend my name or support to anything unless I completely believe in it, and would recommend it to my friends and family.

  7. “Please don’t let this put you off” ?????? umm okay. Anyways I just wanted to send a few words of encouragement towards your way. I don’t think that that sound of your name would make people too disapointed, you’re an actual successful child star who has a rather large following of lyal fans. Good luck w/ the rest & know that everyone is rooting for you.
    Em

  8. Chin up. You have alot of fans that want to hear you speak and meet you! You are a successful child star, because you decided to do it the right way and not the wrong way. I’ll always be a fan of yours, even if I can’t afford to buy your books. Lots of hugs, kiss and love to you from me.

  9. I agree it shouldn’t matter if you were paid for your consulting. Either way, IMHO, disclosing your involvement would have been the better course. I’m not tryin’ to bust your balls here. It’s just that I passed along a recomendation to the site to an artist relative of mine based upon your use and recommendation. The only reason I referenced payment was that not disclosing paid consulting would be more aggregious (if I’m even right in that assertion) than non-paid work. I didn’t mean to attack your honesty or ethics. Please discuss it with friends if you don’t see the ethical issue. Your readers value your opinions and deserve all the relevant facts.

  10. I haven’t read all the comments, so this was probably already pointed out. You over reacted. It seems clear to me that what he was talking about people being put off by was the system being slow, not you. So relax, it isn’t always about you even when you are mentioned. ;^) Though the former Star Trek thing probably is a bit annoying.

  11. Wil,
    I had no idea that you were a part of Eventful’s launch! It’s a brilliant, brilliant idea and I think having you onboard is just hawesome!
    It’s given us fans a place to concentrate our efforts and I’ve been telling every celebrity that I correspond with about it. Our DragonCon community has definitely latched on to the idea and I hope that it spreads like wildfire.
    You are such a multitalented person! At this point, StarTrek is the least of it. I see you as first and foremost a geek, then a writer then all the rest. I don’t blame you for being OVER the ‘former StarTrek actor’ thing, but trust me, that is NOT how we think of you.
    You rawk and we hope to see you in Atlanta soon!
    :-)

  12. Glad to hear that the author apologized. Before I knew that, I dropped off this little ditty:
    Wil Learned a Few Things About Capturing the Geek Audience That cNet Needs
    When you read this, I could see you thinking, “Well, ignore them, they’re just a small faction of Wil’s fans.” However, it’s worthwhile for cNet to look at Wil and study him, not mock him. When he first began, he was firmly negatively embedded in geekdom’s mind as “Wesley” (or, more specifically, as “Shut up, Wesley!”). Through several years worth of excellent writing, good comic timing, and a devotion to what geeks are really interested, he’s redeemed himself fully and is now quite the cult figure among geek circles. In short, he’s achieved what cNet needs to. You guys need to learn, not mock snidely.

  13. Hmmmm I don’t like the former actor thing either. How about Star Trek Alumni? I like the sound of it, kind of like graduation and now you’ve gone on to newer and more exciting things!
    Cheers,
    Patricia from Canada

  14. Rafe: Good of you to apologize and explain.
    Moto: I’m sorry, but I don’t see the ethical issue, either. If Wil were promoting a pay service in which he was in investor, that would be entirely different, but all he did was say “Here’s a service I really like — try it out if you’d find it useful.” That he found it so useful that he offered support is a benefit, not an unethical act. I don’t know why it wasn’t publicized, but it doesn’t matter from where I sit.

  15. ::laughs:: What I found most amusing about that article was the clamour of dutiful wwdn:ie readers who traipsed over there and explained a million times over that you were no longer a ‘former Star Trek actor’, some in more forceful terms than others!
    Doesn’t it creep you out a bit having that kind of power over your readers? ;)

  16. *sigh* Let me try this again.
    Moto: I met with Brian on my own time, on my own dime, just because I was intrigued with his idea. I wasn’t given any compensation, other than breakfast, for my time. But even if I had gotten a huge pile of cars and women and chocolates and mint-in-box Boba Fett action figures, that’s really not anyone’s business.
    Let me make this very, very clear: I do not help with things that I don’t believe in, and I don’t lend my name or support to things I don’t believe in. If I find something that I believe in, and I can support it and support my family at the same time, I’m going to do that. However, in this case, and not that it’s anyone’s business anyway, I got some waffles and a cup of coffee. You want me to declare that on some sort of form? Fine: Eventful’s demand service is going to change the way indie artists interact with their audience. I’d be saying that no matter what, but in this case, when I discussed with Brian how to tweak the service so it was more user friendly, and when I gave him my opinions as a blogger and as an indie artist, I got about twelve dollars in breakfast as my compensation.
    I’m Wil Wheaton, and I approved this message.

  17. Hey Wil,
    You were supposed to keep the huge pile of cars and women and chocolates and mint-in-box Boba Fett action figures secret!
    But serioiusly, here’s the story from my side: I contacted Wil because I had a strong hunch he’d grok what we were trying to do with Eventful Demand. So I sent him an email a month or two before we launched, and told him what we were doing, and that it might be something he’d be interested in, and that I would be up in LA a few times in the coming weeks and if he were interested, how about we grab a cup of coffee somewhere and talk?
    And Wil said sure, he was interested, and we eventually managed to get our schedules straight, and one day I drove up to LA from San Diego, and we met for breakfast in Pasadena, and I laid out the vision for Demand, and wanted to know what he thought, both as a blogger/fan, and as a celebrity/performer. I thought Wil would have a really interesting insight into Demand, and it turns out I was right. We had a great discussion.
    And then when we finally launched Eventful Demand, I emailed Wil and said, hey, we launched, and he started using it and posted a blurb about Demand on his blog, inviting, no, challenging his readers to invite him to come to their towns for an event. And it just exploded from there, and now we have over 3000 people demanding Wil in 138 cities. Hawesome indeed!

  18. On another bright side, Im flipping through the comments and so far 13/14 comments are bashing the author for being mean. The odd one makes a comment about an error 404 message.

  19. Will I understand how you don’t want to be only associated with your Star Trek days, but to me when I hear the name Wesley Crusher, I get weak in the knees and start re-fantasizing!! So please don’t completely cut yourself off from the past!!! Some of us do have fond memories of you on that show…

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