Point me down the right line because it’s time

"Let me in from the cold. Turn my lead into gold. Because there's a chill wind blowing through my soul, and I think I'm growing old." -Pink Floyd.

In addition to Project Do Something Creative Every Day for the Rest of the Year, I am in the middle of Project Exercise Every Day For The Rest of the Year You Lazy Fat Bastard. I mentioned this on RFB31: I'm using the Seinfeld "mark the calendar every day" method, and not breaking the chain is proving to be a great motivator for me.

Late yesterday morning, Anne came into my office and asked me if I wanted to take Seamus for a walk around our neighborhood. 

"Yeah, that would be great," I said. "I'm stuck on this thing I'm writing, anyway, and I think the change of scenery will be helpful."

Seamus is part Great Dane, so he is really dopey when he's excited. He does this little walk where he keeps his back legs mostly straight, and sort of springs along on just the fronts of his back paws. I'm not describing it correctly (though Dane owners may know what I'm talking about), but it's just adorable. We call it his happy prance.

Seamus did the happy prance to the side kitchen door, and sat down in what we call his super good sit pose while Anne and I put on our walking shoes.

A few minutes later, we were walking down our street. It was a beautiful day, with just enough chill in the air to hang around in the shadows, but run away from the late morning sunshine everywhere else.

Anne held his leash while he trotted along the curb, sniffing at mail boxes and patches of grass that seemed to contain Mysterious Things That Only Dogs Know About And Are Very Interested In.

"I love that the leaves have changed early this year," Anne said, pointing to a maple tree that was covered with yellow and red leaves. "Last year they didn't change until almost Christmas."

She grew up in Oregon, and while she doesn't miss the weather, I know she misses being in a place that actually has seasons more varied than HOT and NOT QUITE AS HOT.

"Yeah, I noticed that yesterday. We're going to have serious leaf piles whenever it decides to get windy."

"Serious leaf piles are serious."

I chuckled, and appreciated the reference.

Two blocks away from our street, the gutters were filled with leaves, about ankle deep. I delighted in walking though them, kicking them around, crunching them beneath my feet.

Anne and I were talking about the things you talk about when you're out walking your dog. She said, "hey, would you tone it down on the leaves? I can't hear myself think."

"Sorry," I said. "Serious leaf stomping is serious."

We stayed out of the gutters until we got to the corner of our street, and walked down the middle of it back to our house.

"How's your story coming?" Anne asked.

"I'm about halfway done, I think, and I hope to finish it today. This one's definitely going to need a re-write, though."

I feel pretty good about doing a draft, leaving it for a day or so, and coming back to it to give it a polish before releasing it. It may not seem like a very big deal, but just doing that and not being so paralyzed by The Fear of Failure has been a real challenge for me. But, like I said the other day, the point of Project Do Something Creative Every Day for the Rest of the Year isn't to be perfect; it's to be creative … and to just keep going.

"That's good," she said.

"Yep. I'm probably going to just lock myself in the office and go to Mysterious Writer Island for the rest of the afternoon."

"Okay."

We got back to our house, and my phone rang. It was my manager. "Hey, do you think you can go to [PLACE] for [AWESOME VOICE OVER AUDITION] at 3:30 today?"

"I would love to do [AWESOME CHARACTER I LOVE], but I think my voice is too old. Would you make sure they know I can't play too young?"

"I'll do that, but I think you'll be fine because [THING YOU CAN'T TELL ANYONE]."

We have very interesting conversations, guys. This is actually how we talk, and I am totally not just saying that because [CLEVER THING].

"Ohhh. Neat. Okay. I'll go at 3:30."

I looked at Anne. "Dude! [AWESOME STUFF ABOUT THIS PROJECT THAT I HAVE TO KEEP SECRET]!"

"Woah, cool!"

"Yeah, so I'm going to go do that in … holy crap, two hours."

I went to my office, printed out the audition sides, and prepared. I briefly looked at the blinking cursor in my text editor, and the blank space in front of it, and down the page.

"I'll get back to you later," I said, quietly. "I'm going to go do something else creative today."

I drove to the audition, where I saw my friends Chris Hardwick and Phil Morris.

"You know, it's weird," I said to Chris, "I didn't get any of the messages you sent me about how you were going to interview Matt Smith on your podcast, so I should totally come over and hang out."

He laughed. "That's so weird, because … I …. uh … totally did that."

He told me that Matt Smith was as awesome as we all hoped he would be, and that if he gets anyone else from Doctor Who in the future, I would totally get to come hang out. Then he grabbed me by the shoulders and shook me around, pretending to sob while saying, "You have to come on my podcast! The podcast can't go on without you!"

Again, I'm not describing it well, but it was really funny.

Before we could agree on a time to do it, he was called in to do his audition. Sorry, Nerdist listeners, but we'll figure it out soon.

After Chris went inside, I talked about comics with Phil. I don't know how many people know this, but Phil is a huge comic reader. His collection is just breathtaking, and his love of the artform and all the stories from the last forty years is infectious.

We got all excited about Irredeemable and The Boys, but before we could descend into The Android's Dungeon, Chris was finished and it was Phil's turn to go in.

I said goodbye to Chris, and looked over my scenes. The character is right in my wheelhouse, and everything I need to know about him and his relationships was right on the page, so I was mostly making sure I was just familiar with the scenes, instead of doing real work on them. NOTE TO ACTORS: If you get the material ahead of time, and you're still working on it when you're waiting to go in, you're doing it wrong. You have to be prepared before you even get in your car to go to the audition.

Phil came out and I went in. I talked through the glass to the director when I got into the booth.

"Do you have any questions?"

"Nope. It's all on the page, so I'll give you my take on it, and make whatever adjustments you want."

"Great. Let's do it."

I did the audition, and … I had a lot of fun! I felt confident, prepared, and able to understand and apply the direction they gave me. I think this is entirely because of my recent work on Ben 10: Alien Force and Batman: The Brave and the Bold, where I've been fortunate enough to work with incredibly talented actors and one of the best voice directors in the business.

I didn't feel like I was stretching or reaching or struggling to create a voice and a character for this guy; I felt like I was working with the director to do the best I could do. I'm sure there are actors who feel like this on every audition, but I'm not one of them, and I was grateful for the experience. Everyone on the other side of the glass seemed happy with what I did, and I felt really good about it. There are a ton of reasons I may not book this job, but not doing the best I could do won't be one of them.

I drove home, somehow falling between pockets of rush hour traffic, in just under 25 minutes. When I walked in the house, the dogs met me at the door.

"Hi dogs," I said. They thumped their tails against the wall, happily.

"How did it go?" Anne asked me.

"I had a great time, and I feel really good about it," I said. "Even if I don't book the job, I can be proud of what I did today."

"That's awesome."

"Yeah, I'm really happy."

I walked into my office, and sat down at my desk. I looked at the blinking cursor, the blank space around and beneath it unchanged. As soon as I put my fingers on the keys, though, I knew that nothing was going to come out of my brain.

"That's okay," I said to myself, "I've done something creative today." I made a mark on my calendar. "And I exercised, too!" I made another mark.

I looked at the chain: only eight days long, but unbroken. I'm not going to lie to you, Marge: it felt good.

39 thoughts on “Point me down the right line because it’s time”

  1. I’m really glad I found your Twitter page, and subsequently this site Wil! It’s so refreshing to read something really positive and uplifting on the internet. Keep up the great work!

  2. Good for you, Wil! :-) This post made me happy; therefore, you have accomplished something else that’s good today. :-) I think you described Seamus’ happy prance & Chris’ reactions perfectly. Even though you didn’t say it, I get the impression that, as Chris was shaking you by your shoulders, he put his head down. Tell me if I’m right…
    -Alicia
    http://www.thewagband.com

  3. Seamus is part Great Dane? o_O What’s the other half and what was the gender distribution?
    The description of his prance made me giggle. ;o)
    *fingers crossed for the VO work*

  4. I'm an Android guy, actually, but I use a printed calendar and a pen. It's one of the few remaining things where I cling to the old ways.

  5. Glad to hear you had such an awesome audition. I’m a V.O. guy as well and I know how precious the feeling of a great audition can be. Good on ya, mate!

  6. Those are the best kinds of auditions–where the director looks at it as a working relationship from the get-go; it really gives the best opportunity to show your best work. The worst kind of audition is when the director gives no input and yet expects you to know exactly what they want. Maybe you do, but you feel naked the whole time.
    Actually, the worst kind of audition is the one where you’re not prepared before you even get into your car to go to the audition–you hit that right on the head. Hope I never have one of those again…

  7. Fair enough… for some reason I thought you were an iPhone guy. I should have known. All the good ones use Android.
    I too use an Android phone, unfortunately EpicWin is not yet available for Android…

  8. Since you missed w00tstock 2.7 to work on Eureka, I felt it was necessary to see what was so special about the show. Ten days later, my girlfriend and I had caught up on seasons 1-3.5 thanks to Netflix streaming. If we could watch the first 5 episodes of season 4 somewhere, we would be caught up completely and ready for the second half of the season to start.
    Anyway, while I’m looking forward to seeing Actor Wil on Eureka, I’m really glad that Writer Wil is back for awhile. You make it enjoyable for us to participate with you in the simplest of events, like going bowling or walking your dog.
    Thanks.

  9. Is Seamus named after the singing dog on the Pink Floyd album Meddle? Never considered it until I saw the quote at the beginning of this post.

  10. I read your blog everyday, even if you don’t post anything new I generally read the stuff over just cause I get so many giggles out of it :)
    Usually don’t post anything but just thought maybe I would this time to let you know how many of us lurkers out here love what your doing. Even if I didn’t “know” you from your Trek days, I would still find this blog an enjoyable read.
    *smiles from the shadows* :)

  11. Thank you so much for delurking and posting. The only real way I have to know if anyone even reads this stuff is when they bother to comment, and I've begun to wonder if more than 100 people in the world even care about this stuff I write anymore.
    I'm glad you took a moment to comment, and thanks for reading my blog. It really means a lot to me.

  12. Hey, I read your blog as often as you post! But I’ve commented before so I probably don’t count. Because you are kind enough to twitter when you post and you have almost 2 million followers on twitter, I bet a respectable portion >50% actually read your blog.
    I have a friend who has had two Great Danes so I know exactly the lope you’re talking about. Also another friend say that when dogs are doing that sniffing about, They are checking their “p-mail”. Just had to share that.

  13. I didn’t realise how well you knew Chris Hardwick until I watched his opening act from W00tstock 2.6 and he told the strip club story. You know, *that* strip club story. He had me crying with laughter via YouTube, so I suspect he’s lethal live. If you guys could make the Nerdist podcast featuring you happen, well, that would be seventeen shades of awesome. Oh, and hit him up for a Node invite!

  14. Wil,
    You probably made HeatherWanderer squee in delight at your response, and I am enjoying the daily posts. I missed your writing when you were busy working on set as opposed to in home.
    I like the idea of unbroken strings of accomplishments on a written calendar. it would probably be an OCDish/perfectionistic thing that I could keep up with, not wanting to see an empty space.
    Happy Wednesday

  15. I’m a lurker too. Not now. Chris is so right–you so need to do his podcast! And you are a vile torturer for not letting us know what this project is that you were auditioning for!!! (Okay I understand why, but it’s still torture, dammit!)
    http://bonzuko.com
    Also, I will be teaching an Art and Interpretation class soon, and that’s usually when I get the creative discipline down–I try to do the creative assignments I assign my students. ;)

  16. You know, you’re so right. I have readers that don’t comment on my own site, and it’s so true. Keep writing for us though Wil, we are here, and we read it all.

  17. *Impending fan moment* SQUEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE!*
    Ok, got that out of my system. :)
    Your welcome. I’ve had many moments myself, I use to run 3 blogs and had many times where I wondered if anyone was reading it or if I was sending forth my inner most thoughts and dreams into cyber oblivion. Eventually I believe that lack of interaction with my readers is what lead me to cease writing. Some day I’ll go back to blogging as I rather enjoy the creative process….just have to go into it with that thought, that I’m doing it for me and the comments are bonuses.
    When I first found this blog I have to admit all I could think/see was Wesley, but as I began reading the many posts I began to see the person behind the star and I enjoyed your blog daily just for the fact that you seem to be a genuine and interesting person.
    I get a kick out of your style of humor as it most closely matches my own inner geeky self. The ability to laugh at ones self is sadly fading away and its always great to see and recognize it in another person.
    Keep up the blogging, I’d miss this part of my day if you didn’t. And give Seamus a pat for me. :)

  18. lmao, Alicia…I wish I would have read your reply before I posted my reply to Wil….cause I totally did Squee…in life and in print…now I have to hide my head in mock shame. Totally pegged me and you never even met me :)

  19. I was sad to find out elsewhere you don’t have your VW anymore!
    However, the odd thing is … you now have a Mini Cooper, which if I couldn’t have my VW – is exactly the car I want. Must be a “thing.”

  20. Sounds like a blissful day! You always remind me to appreciate the seemingly normal but so very important things in my life (husband, friends, a student at work who makes me howl with laughter) and how very lucky I am to have them.

  21. Wil,
    It is great to see that you are giving credit to these art music people. You had a busy day and something positive could come in full view very soon.
    FG

  22. Two things I can relate to from sales:
    1) If you are getting a lot of sales the ones you miss don’t matter as much
    2) If you dont invest a TON of time into something its easier to move on to the next opportunity
    You have been working a lot lately which probably helps!

  23. Wil-I try to do something I enjoy each day, too. But most of my favorite activities are creative…Let’s see…ummm- I crochet, bake[I have made a DeLorean out of cake], write poetry and short stories, etch glass, make jewelry(sometimes out of vintage pieces, or items not meant to be jewelry, such as Christmas ornaments, or the colored wire from inside USB cables and phone cord), I design/create custom price tags for some of my friends, I decorate the boxes that I put the jewelry I make into before I send it, and a few thousand other crafty things-just to make sure I don’t go batty. The Pisces psyche is prone to flitting around creatively, if I only have one project going then I get bored/depressed. And all of that is on top of my day job(middle management at an office supply store) and finishing my bachelors degree.
    Keep up the chain and don’t forget-sometimes figuring out how to reach the last roll of toilet paper from the toilet-can be considered a creative endeavor{depending on how you do it!}
    Sorry for the rambling-but I did work today and then right as I was going to go to bed, stupidly checked my twitter…and then your blog, and my email, and next thing I know it’s almost 5 am. and I am rambling about my life to someone I have saved on my DVR["The Two Live Crew Job" Leverage] love the Kobayashi Maru line…anyway I digress again…goodnight before I make a bigger fool of myself..

  24. Wil, I too would have reacted the same as you did over missing an opportunity to meet Matt Smith (or anyone else from Doctor Who, past or present). In any case will need to check out that interview later (no can do at work, as Nerdist is blocked by my work firewall as being porn [???]).
    As for the writing/rewrite process, I find that it is best to let the text rest for a few hours or days before proceeding to a review or rewrite. This way you detach yourself from your own writing and can cast a more critical eye on the text.

  25. I was just asking over at the Nerdist site when you were going to be on the podcast. Hope you guys can work out a time soon, I think it would be a fun one. :)

  26. I can only speak for myself, but being in the UK, the time difference means that by the time I find out you have a new blog, the moment has usually passed for pithy comments – I tend to assume that after a day or so you don’t have the time to look back at your old content to look at the last stragglers of comments.
    Unless there’s a Doctor Who reference in your blog, in which case of course time is relative. :-)
    Bottom line; I’m sure there’s s significant subset of your Twitter followers who read your blogs (and plenty like me who started reading your blog way back before Twitter came along). Twitter is great for short info dumps, but the blogs win for depth of content.

  27. When you stare at a blinking cursor, alluding to being stuck on this thing that you are writing, is that thing you are stuck on something “big” that we will be able to sit down with and immerse ourselves in? Or, is it just a blog post? Perhaps just a personal note or practice script for a bigger project you are thinking of but may never materialize?
    I’m curious because you talk about so many things that you write, plan to write, or have written. I’m still expanding my library on the have writtens and am always looking forward to adding the next item to my Wil Wheaton collection.

  28. “There are a ton of reasons I may not book this job, but not doing the best I could do won’t be one of them.”
    Brilliant. Those are the best auditions. Those are the ones that you have fun just auditioning for them & hope that you book them so that you can have more of that fun. I love reading about you going through your creative process, both as an actor and as a writer.
    Thanks for being so darn relatable, Wil!

  29. There is a mini-marathon of the back half of Season 4.0 of Eureka next Tuesday on Syfy as a lead in to the Eureka and Warehouse 13 Christmas episodes. Alas it doesn’t include Wil’s only aired episode, “All the Rage”. Of course, nowadays you can see young Wil multiple times a day on Syfy AND BBC America with all of the ST:TNG repeats they are both doing.
    Rest assured that when Eureka season 4.5 starts up (likely in March since the US Being Human and Merlin season 3 appear to be SyFy’s new episodes in January), Syfy will run a season 4.0 marathon or two.
    And, yes, we do read the blog and enjoy the slices of Wil’s life but don’t always feel the need to comment). Things like taking time to figure out what all we want to do with Cherie Priest at Phoenix ComiCon is high on my priority list right now.

  30. Wil, I read your reply about wondering if more than 100 people actually read your blog because of the number of comments you get, and I think you should know that there are A LOT of people who are inspired by you. I, personally, love your little updates on everyday life with Anne, your dogs, and your two boys–especially now that I have two boys of my own. I just wanted to share with you a couple of pics, by the way. The first one is of me an my husband at GenCon this past August, when I was “incubating my human behind Cthulhu” (your words; we ran into you in the exhibition hall on Thursday). I was about eight months pregnant then: http://twitpic.com/2bz55s. Well, here’s my little Starfleet officer now: http://twitpic.com/3cv5c9. He’s two months old, and he’ll grow into it, hopefully in time for GenCon Indy 2011. (And he’s a medical officer, BTW, because his daddy’s a doctor.) Anyway, just wanted to let you know that you continue to inspire your readers, daily! Thank you for your words!

  31. When we’re walking our poodle (Celestial Princess Dark Starr, the last three are her AKC name from her original owner, we just call her Celeste) and she’s stopping at every opportunity to sniff, we call it “checking her peemail.”
    Happy doggie dances are always fun. Do you get butt rub convulsions from your canines? Celeste has been known to convulse herself off the bed at times, something that causes considerable merriment from my wife and I.

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