Last night, while I slept, I found myself standing on the set of Next Generation. I was in my red ensign's uniform, and LeVar was in Geordi's gold engineering uniform. We were in Geordi's quarters, and the entire crew was waiting to roll the cameras on an important scene.
But I had no idea why I was there, what my lines were, or what the scene was about. I hadn't done my homework. I hadn't prepared my scene. I was about to be in big trouble.
I have dreams like this from time to time. I call them "stress dreams", because when I wake up from them, I feel really stressed out, and I don't feel rested at all. I've heard other people describe similar dreams, ones where they can't remember something they were supposed to do while someone important waits for them to do it, or ones where they find themselves naked in the middle of a crowd. My stress dreams are always the same: I'm either on an audition and I don't know what it's for, or I'm on the set of a TV show and I realize that I haven't learned my lines.
Last night, though, was the first time in my thirty-nine years of dreaming that I had a stress dream that put me on the set of Next Generation, which is probably the only reason I remember so many details so clearly: Geordi's quarters had been built on Stage 8. There was a mantle over his bed with a bunch of futuristic knick-knacks on it, including a block of wood with a 20th century book leaning against it. The script, though, is the thing that stands out the most clearly to me: the script wasn't a traditional script of 8×10 paper, punched three times and held together with brass brads. This script was a WIRED magazine. All the lines and descriptions were written as they usually are, but they were inside an issue of WIRED magazine.
So I was on the set, and we were about to roll, and I realized that I didn't know my lines. It seemed that I knew what the scene was about in a general sense, and why Wesley was there, but I didn't know the exact words. So I improvised, got through the take, and then picked up the script — actually a WIRED magazine — off the top of an apple box next to the script supervisor. I flipped through it, and couldn't find the scene we were filming. That's when I remembered that I had decided to learn the scene that morning, during makeup, rehearsal, and the time between blocking and shooting (this is something I'd never do in real life, because it's profoundly unprofessional)… and I hadn't done it for some reason.
"Are you okay, Wil?" The script supervisor, Cosmo, asked me.
"I can't find the goddamn scene," I said.
"It's right here," he said, turning pages past where I was. I realized that I thought the scene took place earlier in the script than it did. How could I be so unprepared? I thought briefly about just owning up to not knowing anything about why I was there, but at that moment, I flipped to the correct page, and saw the scene we were filming. I scanned the dialog, and saw that Wesley was in Geordi's quarters because he wanted to learn all about 20th century woodworking. Wesley had about a quarter page of dialog about it, and it was all exposition.
What. The. Fuck.
Even in my dreams, the writers don't give me anything good to do in a scene. No wonder I didn't learn my damn lines.
I woke up and looked at the clock. It was 4:17 and I had a splitting headache from tucking my chin down into my chest. I sat up and drank some water. My head throbbed as the dream I'd just had replayed itself in that blurry montage your brain gives you when you wake up at 4:17 in the morning. I woke up enough to cement the details in my memory, so I could write about them today.
Seamus, asleep at my feet, grumbled, stood up, and stretched himself out along my left leg. I reached out my hand and patted him on his head. He sighed. We both went back to sleep.