the big bang buzz

The Los Angeles freeway system, having thoroughly vexed me yesterday, was more forgiving this morning, and I arrived at work fifteen minutes early. I am happy to report that the simple joy of driving my car across the Warner Brothers lot, between sound stages and behind golf carts and past dozens of people working to create television shows and movies, and then pulling into my very own parking space, has not diminished at all for having done it twice.

I am also happy to share that, upon arriving at Stage 25 this morning, I discovered that it was the stage where they shot the V television series from 1984-1985, among other things. (The more you know…)

I had a little time to kill, having arrived early, so I sat down and played Guillotine with two of the other guest actors. As is the tradition when playing Guillotine with first-time players, I, being the player with the most experience, got my ass kicked. We plan to play some more tomorrow.

Once we started rehearsing, I noticed something that had changed from yesterday's rehearsal: the script was just as funny, but it was more alive when we performed it. I guess that, having lived with the script for a full day and having run the scenes several times alone and together, those difficult-to-quantify things that make us actors (I guess we could call them "Dramachlorians") have started to do their thing. We're thinking about the scenes when we're not in them, we're hearing the characters in our heads, we're subconsciously applying the notes we got from the director yesterday, and what was a collection of notes and chords 24 hours ago is starting to turn into a piece of music.

We rehearsed all morning, then took a lunch break before we did a run through of the whole script for the writers and producers. During lunch, I mowed through some delicious Thai food (I know, right?) and then I played ping pong. Now, let me tell you something about the cast and crew of The Big Bang Theory that you may not know: they love their ping pong. There are two tournament tables, one on either side of the stage, and a large box between them that is filled with paddles and balls. Whenever there are breaks during the day (we usually "take five" after hitting certain milestones during rehearsals) the tables come out, and a chorus of voices cries out dibs for the first game, just before a second chorus of voices announces that they've got winner. I'm not all that good at ping pong, but I still love the game, and I will admit that I wanted to get in on the fun, so I called winner against a couple of guys … before I realized that they both played at a level that was significantly above my own. Still, I did my very best, and over the four games I played, only lost by more than ten points once. (Um. Clearly, I'm going to have to work on my ping pong as much as I'm working on my lines … you know, to be prepared for work.)

After lunch, the writers and producers came in so they could see us put the script up on its feet, and give us some comments and notes after each scene. I will admit that I was nervous; it was very important to me that I didn't kill any jokes or make them question their decision to cast me. I mean, I love this show, I love this script, I love the things they've given me to do, and I didn't want to screw anything up… 

…so of course I stumbled over my first line, and had to say it a second time. But when everyone laughed anyway, (hopefully at my delivery and not at my nerves) I settled in, got out of my own way, did it how we rehearsed, and just enjoyed the experience of working with great actors to bring great material to life. When we finished, there was laughter and applause, and the general consensus was that we were all pretty funny, even Wil Wheaton.

I'm so happy and excited and grateful to be part of this show. After we finished the run through, and I was pretty much bouncing with joy the whole way home.

Even now, over five hours after I walked out of the stage, I can still feel what I'm calling The Big Bang Buzz.

37 thoughts on “the big bang buzz”

  1. Good to hear that the geek glee hasn’t become a stumbling block– sounds like win/win! Visit an awesome cast on an awesome set, AND get to perform. FTW! Here’s hoping for a recurring role– eh? Eh? Fingers crossed!

  2. Love the show. Looking forward to seeing the episode. I wish I could hang out on the set for a week. You make it sound really cool, and I’m watching the blog and twitter updates to make myself feel like I’m there!

  3. I can’t wait to see this episode! The Big Bang Theory is my favorite new show ~ Pasadena represent, man! Did you buy Guillotine at Game Empire? I love that game! Can’t wait to see your episode of BBT!

  4. For me and two other guys, ping pong used to be a big thing. Sort of. I say ‘sort of’ because we weren’t completely playing ping pong, per se. Well, we WERE but…we’d start out regularly, but then one of us would go overkill on the return, and instead of calling outs (or whatever), we’d chase it and hit it back. Eventually this grew to the point where we ignored the table completely and utilized the whole room (it was a pretty big room, too). This lead to the destruction of ping pong balls, which lead to ordering a big box of them on ebay, to individually numbering said balls, and recording start time, end time, how long the ball lasted, and method of destruction (because we didnt only beat the things senseless).
    I miss those guys. I miss those days.

  5. Guillotine is a great game! I remember coming across it years ago at a Wizards Of The Coast Store while I was keep a friend distracted the morning his mother was having surgery. (She recovered fine I am happy to say.) We watched the game play at the store and knew, just knew we had to have that game!
    Will, have you played a game called Inn-Fighting? It’s a dice and card game of a bar brawl in a D&D tavern. Its fast, its easy and it freaking funny. Almost as funny as Cthulhu 500.
    Any chance you might attend Loscon in November? It’s in your town after all?

  6. This is really great stuff, thanks for introducing me to it. It’s a geek’s dream show 8) Is the episode you’re working on for season 3 or 4 (meaning, when can we expect to see it)?

  7. These last two posts are just oozing awesome, Wil! Your insights and honesty about your experiences with the cast of TBBT are not only entertaining, they bring me into the world of a professional television actor. They give me the opportunity to appreciate the effort and love that everyone puts into producing it, and makes me appreciate it even more! Thank you and good luck!

  8. I’ve been ridiculously happy watching this show evolve: I didn’t watch it regularly from the start, because early on it struck me as very “Revenge of the Nerds”-y, with well-worn stereotypes and all-too-easy Trek jokes. Then a funny thing happened: It seemed like they started writing the show FOR geeks instead of just ABOUT geeks, and that’s when the jokes got smarter and the characters became more real. It’s not a growth you see often, especially in a sitcom situation, and I love this show for it.

  9. Yay! I feel in love with this show early in its first season and I can’t WAIT to see your episode! Jim Parsons and Johnny Galecki are too adorable.
    PS – There’s actually a website for some of the gear worn by the Big Bang Theory crew — Hahahahah!

  10. I can NOT wait for this episode. I told a friend the other day that Big Bang Theory is already geek-tasticly squeee-worthy, but add in Wil Wheaton and it’s a guaranteed geekgasm!
    Also: “Dramachlorians”? *giggle-snort*

  11. I’m not usually big on sitcoms, ’cause I usually just think the humor is stupid and based on the lowest common denominator of the public viewing audience… but Big Bang Theory continuously cracks me up. I’m pretty sure I went to college with these guys. (They were my best friends 😉 ) Anyway… I can’t tell you how much it tickles me to hear that you’re going to be in an episode. I can’t WAIT to see it!

  12. Sadly, I’ve never watched Big Bang Theory. The first time I saw a bit of it I thought I would like it, but it’s on at a bad time for me. I suppose I could watch it on the internets, like I do most things, but I have a hard time seeking out sitcoms to watch and my time is taken up by Heroes and Lost. Darn serials, so addicting.

  13. Love the Big Bang. Love all things Wil Wheaton. Love that you love being a part of the show. And… ‘dramachlorians?” Made me laugh out loud. At work.

  14. I was disappointed to see that several of the shirts come from Urban Outfitters. Can anything from Urban Outfitters truly have geek cred, even if it does have the periodic table on it?

  15. At some point, perhaps when the week is over, I’d love it if you could give us your thoughts on the differences between guesting on an hour long drama (Criminal Minds, Leverage) vs the half-hour sitcom. (Is the relationship between regular cast or crew members any different, differences between location shooting and having the established sets that they call home, one camera vs 3 camera, etc…)

  16. I’ve been reading your blog for years, but this is the first time I’ve ever actually posted a comment. It continually amazes me that despite how different our lives are, our lives are so similar.
    What really prompted me to post today is Guillotine! I absolutely love this game, and it’s the first time I’ve ever seen you mention it. I have a group of friends (that I live several states away from these days) that when we get together, playing Guillotine is a must. It’s like our own little cult – glad to hear you’re a member too.
    I enjoyed your recent performances on Criminal Minds and Leverage, both shows I like. But I LOVE TBBT so I can’t wait to see this episode. Keep up the hawesome.

  17. Oh Wil, I too always lose to new Guillotine players! But I love taking it with me on trips because it is so portable and it’s such a great gateway game. I love BBT so much as is…and for you to do a guest spot, goodness, I’ll be simply bursting on the day that it airs. I hope your shoot continues to go well!

  18. Gotta love that BBB (Big Bang Buzz) …
    Congrats on another wondrous acting opportunity. Glad to hear it is going well and that you are enjoying it immensely.
    Now, if only there were some sort of speed-training for SPPP (superior Ping Pong playing) …

  19. *gigglesnort* Did they have brown rice? And low sodium soy sauce?
    One of the things that makes reading your blog so fun, is how much joy you have in things that could become mundane – it is your job, after all. I am really looking forward to this episode!
    @ChuckEye – that’s an awesome suggestion!

  20. I love the Big Bang Theory and I am excited to hear you are a part of it.
    I just played Guillotine for the first time this weekend and lost horribly. My opponent was a bit more cutthroat than I.

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