it’s like winning the actor lottery

When we're on location for Eureka, Felicia Day is like my best friend and my younger sister, all at once. We give each other shit all day long, we hang out when we're not working, and we lean on each other when we have those days all artists have that make us question why we thought we could do this silly thing in the first place.

All of our scenes yesterday were together, with Neil Grayston (who plays Fargo). I adore everyone in the cast, but Neil, Felicia and I spent so much time together last season, we've formed a special bond (helped along by repeated viewings of clips from The Room between setups, Leeeeesssaaaahhhhgghhh.)

I can't discuss the specifics, but I had some major technobabble in one scene, and though I nailed it in the master and all of Neil and Felicia's coverage, when it was time for my coverage, my brain took a walk. It was really embarrassing, because it made me feel like I wasn't prepared, even though I knew the scene, and had worked on it precisely to prevent the sort of brainfreeze I found myself experiencing. Everyone was kind and patient (it happens to all of us from time to time) and we got through it, but I still felt like I jerk when the scene was finally done. Jamie Paglia (writer and executive producer) and Matt Hastings (director) both told me that we got the scene, and I knew that there were takes where I nailed it, but I still felt like a rookie when it was all over.

We broke for lunch, and the three of us ate together in Neil's trailer. We watched a bunch of YouTube videos that ranged from hilarious to so-bad-they're-good to so-bad-they're-bad-really-bad-no-seriously-turn-it-off. It may not seem like something worth mentioning, but I've worked as an actor for — holy shit — 30 years, and this kind of friendship, camaraderie, and genuine enjoyment of each other's company isn't as common as you'd hope for or expect.

After work, Felicia and I went to the comic shop, and while we were grabbing our pulls for the week,we stopped in front of the Dr. Horrible book.

"I can't stand here and have you looking at us from the cover of this book," I said. "That's weird."

"It is a little weird, isn't it?" She said.

Before we could move, a couple of guys walked over to us. "Can we take a picture with you?" They asked. I looked at Felcia, because I didn't want to say yes for both of us.

"Is that cool?" I said.

"Of course," she said, like I'd just asked the dumbest question in the world.

"Okay, it's fine with me," I said.

We posed for a picture, and when we were done, one of the guys said, "Are you guys here for The Guild?"

I love when people see me and tell me they watch The Guild. I'm so proud of it, and I love playing Fawkes so much, it's the coolest thing in the world to meet people who enjoy watching it.

I turned to Felicia. "Can you imagine having a budget to shoot on a location like Vancouver?"

"Yeah that's not going to happen," she said with a laugh.

"We're here for Eureka," I said.

"Oh! That's so cool!" The guy said.

We talked for a minute, and then we all went back to our shopping.

When Felicia and I were finished, we grabbed some dinner, and went back to our respective apartments.

While I was walking down the hallway toward my door, I thought to myself, "I would be incredibly lucky just to work on a series and have some financial security. I would be incredibly lucky to work on a series where I get to play a character I enjoy playing. I would be incredibly lucky to work on a series where I really like the other actors … the fact that I get to do all of these things on Eureka is like winning the actor lottery."

50 thoughts on “it’s like winning the actor lottery”

  1. Love the Room. I even own the Johnny bobblehead! BTW, is it true you shoot in Chilliwack? I just moved to Chilliwack and have heard rumours….

  2. I love reading stuff like this. Even though I’m not an actor (and never could be), I absolutely love being given an inside look at the process, ESPECIALLY while it’s actually going on! Every time you talk about acting in some way, it makes me pine for more.
    Hey…have you thought about writing a book on acting? I don’t mean how to be an actor, or how to get into the industry. I’m talking about what it’s like living the life and what it means to you creatiely. Or would that be approaching the “Whoa there, that’s for my brain and my brain only” territory?

  3. I am so happy for you and impressed with how much you get it ! I imagine that Fillion was feeling quite the same type of thing with Firefly. Then it was canceled. Enjoy it while it lasts, Wil. I can’t wait to see your excellent technobabble.

  4. It’s so cool that you & Felicia Day are working together on Eureka. I adore The Guild and Fawkes is my favorite character (really, I’m not just saying that because I’m on your blog — he totally makes me laugh). I’ve never watched Eureka, but clearly I need to put it on my list. I guess Netflix has been suggesting it to me for a reason. :-)

  5. I think the guy who took that photo of you two in the shop just won the fan lottery. Can you imagine just bumping into you two, just IN FRONT of the comic with you two in the cover? I would be grinning 24×7 for a few months!

  6. A few months back, I got out of the habit of checking your blog every day. I’m so glad I’m back reading it again. The planet sometimes bogs me down with things that aren’t “me”. Like working for evil-empire companies. Or dealing with bigoted neighbors. I feel so good when I re-find my people again. :)

  7. Wil may have his own reply to this but I felt like adding my own thoughts on this.
    I am also an actor in Los Angeles, a chronological peer (although certainly not at the same level of recognition yet) and I think that we all have stories like this. I love that Wil shares his stories in a very open way and find posts like these inspiring me to continue my own work.
    Regarding living the life, you could ask 10 different people for advice and get 14 different answers! So here’s mine:

    There’s creativity to be found in any industry. If there wasn’t we wouldn’t be living in the future, would we? Creativity is born of passion and an overwhelming desire to express that passion. Find yours and work past/around/through whatever obstacles you think you have & success will come… in one form or another.

    Felicia and Wil are both great examples of this.

  8. I hope there will be more fawkes this season :)
    Wil you crack me up. & i love when you’re on the big bang theory. evil wil wheaton too funny! looking forward to seeing the eureka seasons you are on.

  9. GAHH I KNOW the person who took the picture with you guys at that comic shop! SQUEAL! I feel like I won the lottery too!
    I think he’ll be excited to know you mentioned him.

  10. Hey,
    I’m that guy who asked for a picture with you and Felicia at Golden Age Comics(currently my facebook profile pic btw). I’m an artist for a Microsoft Game Studio in Vancouver and all my game industry friends are going bat shit crazy over me meeting you and Felicia!
    My coworker sent me a link to your blog because he said you blogged about me…haha I thought it was bullshit at first.
    What’s funny is that one of the game designers at my studio was talking about playing D&D with you when he worked at Wizards of the Coast just the other day.
    Anyways, I hope you and Felicia enjoy the rest of your time in Vancouver. It truly is one of the best cities in the world. If you guys want to know where some cool spots are around town or if you’re interested in any greenery, just hit me up.
    Thanks again for the pic, it’s epic!
    - Vin

  11. In renewing my love for TNG this past year, I read your hilarious season one reviews, which led to looking at what else you have done, which led to watching and absolutely falling in love with both The Guild and Eureka. Thrilled you are filming more. Thank you!!

  12. I love reading these stories, whether on twitter or here on the blog, because I think it makes for great television when all of you love making the show and we love watching it. A share of the lottery wins :)
    Thanks!

  13. Dear Wil, I LOVE this story…especially the last bit. If I saw you and Felicia together, I’d be so full of squee I don’t know what I’d do. It’s so awesome that you guys are so real and down-to-earth with fans! :)

  14. I’ve never seen Eureka before, probably cause I have cheap apartment free cable. I did love you in The Guild and thought you were the coolest villain ever. Hope you’re gonna play Fawkes again in the future!
    I like this blog post, it makes this whole blogging thing kind of real for me, instead of reading an actor’s blog it feels like I’m reading one of my buddies blogs.

  15. Your post is testament to the fact that you need to spend more time in Canada. What’s not to love? We have Eureka, Stargate, hockey, poutine Alex Trebek, William Shatner, Michael J. Fox, snow (if you’re into that type of thing) and great beer.
    Canada vous aime.

  16. It’s posts like these that remind me why I make the audition rounds and am determined to be an actress who is paid to act. I hope someday my acting lottery numbers come up and I get to be as lucky as you, being paid to play pretend with your friends and have other people love your work. *cross fingers and leaves a sacrificial goat for Thespis*
    P.S. If I saw your and Felicia together, I wouldn’t be able to talk. At all. I barely managed to talk with you (At Pioneer Square in Portland while you were shooting the second appearance on Leverage) and Felicia (at Dragon*Con two years ago where I accidentally knocked our heads together during a photo op) separately. Both of you at once? I’d explode in fangirly glee.

  17. Every time I read you saying something like OMG, I can’t believe I get to do all of this and make a living at the same time, I think of my favorite quote from “Broadcast News”:
    Tom Grunnick: What do you do when your real life exceeds your dreams?
    Aaron Altman: Keep it to yourself.
    ETA: You rock, Wil. I meant it in a good way.

  18. I’m trying to think of another actor/writer that let’s his fans/audience in as much as Wil does, and I come up empty/short. Sorry, just wanted to keep doing the cool slash thing…think I screwed/fucked it up…..

  19. In this day and age when when all one seems to hear is the bad things going on in with all the actors, it’s a nice turn when I read stuff like you have just written here. How great that all of you guys are as close off as you are on set. I remember you saying the same when you worked on The Big Bang. You have that kind of personality that immediately attracts people to you. Thanks for always giving us these great updates of yours. I wish you the best on your show. :)

  20. As a former actor myself, I can totally relate. It is the best feeling in the world..working on set. Couple that with a project you actually really believe in must be fantastic. I had a small, tiny, virtually nothing role on Enterprise (an episode that LeVar Burton directed) and I can honestly say it was the highlight of my very small acting career (in terms of real roles you can list on your resume). Funny, but I made more money shooting headshots than I did acting. Hmmmm. Go figure.
    Eureka rocks.

  21. Great blog, Wil. Savor that feeling. I know what it’s like (though not from acting). I’ve worked in a number of tech startups and what your feeling is the reason I still do startups. Once you find your calling, something you love that incorporates and fits into all those other things you love, it’s your untethered home.
    I remember the first time I felt something like that (the untethered home thing). I feel fortunate enough to have realized it (I was in college) and made myself stop and take it all in. I had no idea if I’d feel it again (sorry, I’m not a pessimist but I am a realist) and I’m glad I did. Not to say I didn’t find something similar later but each of those types of moments/periods in our lives are different because of how different we are as we experience more and more.
    Anyway, enjoy it as long as you can. Looking forward to catching up on Eureka (my DVR died midway through season 4 so I’m anxiously waiting on the DVD release!

  22. What do you expect from a website that spells Wil with two Ls?
    Maybe they got Wil confused with his evil twin Will Wheaton…

  23. I don't know where that website gets their numbers, but I can assure you that I am not even *close* to worth 2.5 million. That's just … that's pure fantasy.
    I mean, I would love to be worth that much, but I have a *long* way to go to get there.

  24. What do you expect from a website that spells Wil with two Ls?
    Maybe they got Wil confused with his evil twin Will Wheaton…

  25. Neil Grayston won my heart the day he showed you The Room.
    Also, now that you’ve won the lottery, I bet you get calls from Fame Advisors.

  26. I was touched by this because I have had moments like these myself.
    I did not have a background like yours. I was raised in virtual anonymity in upper class and disenchanted suburbia whose childhood acting never left community theater. I was a geek, alone among a wash of generic white bread who were smart in their own way, as long as it was socially appropriate. An only child, I was not supported by my parents, and at 18 was suddenly on my own. I had a really bad childhood I won’t derail this piece with, but some of your struggles are still parallel to my own.
    I am 42 years old, and have no answers to the meaning of life, the universe, and everything. But I have a niche life, oddball and filled with fellow geeks, and only just last year did I really begin to appreciate it. I work with Linux at an ISP and get to play with computers all day. I am convention chair of a large anime convention and written and published some short stories and a book (second one coming out next month, I hope). I have gotten to meet some of best hard core science fiction movers and shakers no one has ever heard of, and some who it would be gauche to name drop and tell people I have seen them drunk.
    In February, I looked out at the balcony of the hotel our convention works out of, and saw thousands of anime fans in cosplay outfits having a good time, and thought, “I am one of the luckiest people on Earth.”
    It’s a damn good feeling, and you deserved that moment, sir.

  27. Better hope the IRS doesn’t see that and come a knockin’.
    “No, seriously. I’ve never made that much.”
    “You’ve never claimed that much you mean?”
    “…”
    “It’s on the internet; it must be true.”
    “You guys are impossible.”
    “What size cuffs do ya want?”
    “Well, my wrists are rather normal… waitaminute!

  28. “I would be incredibly lucky just to work on a series and have some financial security.”
    …in one of the most beautiful cities in the world?
    I know I have to add that every chance I get. I went to the beach with my family yesterday just to see the waves blow in and the gulls blow out… and ended up seeing a Coast Guard hovercraft rescue a beached boat.
    It was cool, because we saw the hovercraft from far off, and I said, “What kind of boat is that? Spitting up a tonne of water… hovercraft?!” Firs time I’ve seen one in action, personally.
    Cool things happen in the Lower Mainland. :)

  29. I loved this posting, Wil. I can relate to it, but in a different way. I’m not an actor, but I was a teacher before becoming a full time Mom. I had never thought of being anything expect a teacher. It had been my dream my whole life. I graduated from Appalachian State in 2002 and became a 7th grade Language Arts teacher. I had a day much like the one you described. A day when my efforts culminated into the realization that I was in a great place and I was doing something right. Coming from a home that was full of abuse and terrible adversity, this was a beautiful moment for me even though the circumstances leading up to it were very sad. I had a student come to me, and made a B-line to me, when she heard she lost a member of her family and she got very emotional about it. I was shocked that she felt close enough to me of all people to comfort her. It was then I realized that my job really was more than just teaching grammar, but to help to heal open wounds. I was honored that this kid chose me to help her. I hugged her and just let her cry like crazy while tyring hard not to cry myself. Her mother later came to me and thanked me and said I was the perfect person that her daughter needed at that moment and she was grateful that I made myself so accessable to her. I was sort of surprised by this since, I only did what I thought any other teacher would do. I hope to go back into teaching as soon as my little one is pre-school aged. That will be another year or so. I do love being a Mom, but I miss teaching and I’m looking forward to going back.
    I guess my point here is, no matter what sort of careers we end up in, we should do what we can to make sure we are doing something we love. You, Wil, seem to love where you are in your life right now and I couldn’t be happier for you. This is coming from a person that couldn’t be happier about their state as well. I know exaclty where you are man Isn’t the most awesome thing EVER?

  30. This was a pretty good posting. You see, Karma came back around and gave you something great after getting so wronged at the airport. I hope more wonderful things come your way.

  31. Really looking forward to the next seasons of Eureka and The Guild. Those are absolutely two of my favorite shows. Also, enjoying the appearances on The Big Bang Theory. I’m curious about the origins of the name Fawkes. I know Felicia did some voice work on Fallout: New Vegas. It’s such a unique name that I always wondered if it was inspired by a certain super mutant in Fallout 3.

  32. thanks for sharing, it’s awesome that you got that winning lottery, but as all good stuff in life, it is YOUR good karma, created by you (over long period of time, so long that 30 years in front of it would seem like a second (I think))

  33. Eureka is hands down my favorite show. I am so glad that you and Felicia are a part of it now (though it may hit some kind of awesomeness critical mass).
    Of course in our house, we don’t call it Eureka. We call the show ‘Pretty Sheriff’.

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