here i dreamt

A couple days ago, I turned on asks at my Tumblr thing, because it felt like a way to participate in the Tumblr community. It’s been silly and fun, and — in the case of this one — a little cathartic.

tumblr_ask

If you can’t read the image, here’s what it says:

I’m afraid to ask this ? But.. Do you plan on making any other movies? Are any in the works? Truly you are a great actor, both funny and serious. I admire you Greatly!

I honestly don’t know. My career is pretty great at the moment, in terms of steady employment and creatively satisfying work, but it feels like Hollywood isn’t interested in seeing me work as an actor in movies.

It’s a strange and frustrating and ultimately depressing reality for me that most casting people would rather discover someone new (so they can say “I discovered that guy!” when he wins an award or has a breakout role) than give someone like me a chance. This is something I’ve struggled with a lot lately, and I think it’s one of the reasons I feel so depressed.

When I was a teenager, I desperately wanted a studio to make a Sandman movie, but I hoped that they’d wait until I was older, so I could work in it. Thanks to the arrogance of youth, it never occurred to me that there would come a day where I just wouldn’t be cast in films (or the really great cable series that seem to have replaced films) anymore. It didn’t occur to me that, if that Sandman movie got made when I was an adult, I wouldn’t have a chance to be in it, or even a chance to audition.

What I may have to do, if I really want to showcase myself as a dramatic actor who is worth casting, is make a short film entirely on my own and release it online. At worst, I’ll have created something I’m proud of and enjoyed the process of creating. At best, I’ll create a sort of long-form audition reel that (hopefully) casting people can’t ignore.

Thanks for your question. This is something that’s been on my mind, but I haven’t been able to talk about.

Also, thank you for your kindness yesterday. You know who you are.

45 thoughts on “here i dreamt”

  1. Well I, for one, would dearly love to see you in a movie. And to see you make a short film. I’m sure you’d find plenty of backers, were you to go crowd-funded.

    Is there any way for non-industry folk to influence casting directors? I feel like this needs to be a thing.

  2. It is a shame Will. I enjoyed your turn on Eureka, one of my past favs of tv-land. Seems a shame that with all of the media outlets out there ( movies, cable, web,etc) that there dis primarily only retreads of previous done material or not enough risk taking with newer material. Personally, I’m tired of the “traditional” casting on most show s today anyway (if you’re not a model or on a show glorifying looking different) there seems to be little chance.

    Having grown up in the 80′s, there seemed to be more room for the “normal” looking teen/actor out there in the media. I don’t know if it’s a problem with society today on a whole or with everyone needing to look plastic or too ‘perfect’ in order to be considered.

    Keep your head up though. You’ve gained more ‘fame’ or traction with being who you are on a daily basis.

  3. I’m glad that you received the support you needed yesterday. You are excellent at what you do, and I sincerely hope that you know that. I, however, completely understand the issue of self doubt. I don’t know if I necessarily battle with depression, but every single day I question myself about whether or not I have the ability to do the things I want to do in this life.

    I would love to see you in more movies. I doubt it really matters, since I’m not really anybody worth noting, but the entire time I was writing my latest novel I had you in mind. I wrote his lines in your voice, I saw you acting things out and saying things in my mind as I was writing it. Like I said, I doubt it really matters since I’m nobody, but I’m sure there are lots of people out there who think the same things about their works…and one of them has to be somebody. Maybe one of these days I’ll be somebody and my novel will be turned into a movie (currently writing a screenplay version). I would hope beyond hope that they would cast you for it.

  4. I feel you. I wont go into the ins and outs of my own acting career…but I feel your sense of “oh hubris!” and the frustration with “the business”

    I will say this: if you did want to do a short film, you must. Because that sense of “I should have” is more painful than any of the others. Go for it. and use your position to the utmost. Gather scripts from students at any of the local universities and 99 seat houses. read them. get inspired. If the word gets out, you would have no shortage of people wanting to get involved in any way they can.

  5. I was talking to my 21 year old son while playing Carrcasonne (as seen on Tabletop) and suggested that the next Star Trek film feature Captain Crusher taking command of the next version of the Enterprise (G, F, I, Z ?!?!?, I’ve lost track).

  6. i have tried more than a few times to write something that would be meaningful and insightful, but i can’t find an eloquent way to express myself. All i want to say is that i think you have a beautiful gift for the written word, and while it might not completely fill the void of movie screen acting roles, i hope that you feel a great sense of pride and accomplishment in knowing you created this *thing* that you “unpurposefully” discovered – and it’s a GOOD thing!

  7. I am not Hollywood’s target audience. I rarely go to the movies, because I rarely find a movie compelling enough to bother.

    That said, I’d love to see you in a movie, and one you made with friends or other actors/creative folks of your caliber? I’d love to watch that, online or not.

  8. It is not just you, Wil. I’ve read other very well known actors who talk about how their career seems to be performing in small independent movies to be shown at film festivals in the hopes a studio will pick one up.

  9. Please do a short film. It’s pretty hard to imagine it being less than awesome, and I’d love to see what you create.

  10. That’s got to be difficult. I actually never thought about it. It seems like a unique problem for child actors as well in that as you said, you’ve already been “discovered” so they don’t care quite as much. Plus with so much supply, industries like the film industry just walk all over people because they feel they can.

    If you need help with your short movie, I’d be happy to help. :) Friend of mine likes to put together small shorts and I’ve helped him out with DP work and the like. But, seriously, why not grab a writer friend, put together a short script and Kickstart it? Reward tiers with names in the credits and other low-cost rewards will leave more funds for the filming and I’m sure you can get friends to help out.

    I know it’s difficult to deal with and easy to say but it’s also true: make something and don’t read the comments. People will troll and harp on this that and whatever but as a certain actor who shall remain nameless but was responding to criticism about his work said, “We get to make movies!”

  11. I’m sorry that Hollywood is about “politics”, it seems. If they are missing out on casting you, I imagine they are missing out on other talented artists too and what a damn shame. I am glad, however, that you are getting to work on other projects you enjoy and pay your bills as well though. But here’s hoping you get noticed again soon – as you should be IMHO.

    And I’d sure as heck watch something you produce on your own.

  12. Knowing all the people you do, I was wondering, have you heard of the Sci-Fic Writer, Larry Niven? Look up his Known Space Series. Wil Wheaton would make a great Beowulf Schaffer, or a great Louis Wu. There are a few female roles Anne could look into. You could even find some of the people you worked with in the past, and involve some of them. I doubt Niven would trust too many people with his life’s work. He might trust you! You could get together with someone Uber like Ron Howard, who has awesome directing chops, and that would make a great movie. Either use Niven’s Writing, (best idea) or tell a story of your own. Consider it!

  13. While I would certainly enjoy seeing you in a movie, I personally would rather enjoy your performance every week on television. Maybe a Big Bang Theory spinoff!

  14. That makes me sad. The way Hollywood has treated you. I always wondered happened to you after STNG.
    But, you do have your awesome #TableTop :).

  15. Hey, Wil, what does it normally cost for you to put a TableTop episode or entire season together? If you want it to be confidential, that’s fine. I’m just curious. I’d be all for Kickstarting (or finding some other means) seasons or other projects if you offered. I may not be a whale of a backer but I’m always throwing money at projects on Kickstarter…I wouldn’t mind if one of those projects was yours.

  16. I think you’re overlooking a real opportunity Wil. Like those above, I thought you were great in Eureka. I’ve seen you in Big Bang but that show’s not my thing. You talk about making something independent and I think that’s a good idea but there are IMHO two very key things.

    1. Be an actor, I’ve seen both Brent Spiner and Warwick Davis playing fictionalised versions of themselves, I guess I include your Big Bang character in there and I think you need to avoid getting trapped into that and being seen as that.

    2. Why make it yourself – you (kinda) live in this space called Youtube. Whilst the majority of what I see personally is light entertainment I’ve seen a good number of dramatic creations, both good and not so good. The opportunity has to be there to dip your toe into any range of roles without having to worry about the Hollywood casting prejudices and hopefully start creating a new body of work which could help you be seen as a potential movie actor again. And surely there are many creators out there who’d love to have your name attached to their creation.

  17. Wil, crowdsource that shit. Cull ideas from people who know what you can do, and build something that lets you play to your strengths. You’ve built a great body of work with diverse roles, so finding something that lets you just rock out and play shouldn’t be too hard. Make some content that you actually want to make, something that you’ll enjoy and thrive in, cast your friends so they’ll enjoy it too, and throw it up on Vimeo. Then let the world know about it. I bet you’d have a ball doing it too.

  18. Agree with Jenny – Kickstarter. You have enough, um, gravitas(?) to fund something. Could you get a thousand subscribers to pay $10 to get this done? Could you do something worthwhile for $10k? I’m betting the answer is affirmative to both. My £6.11 (at today’s rate, ymmv) is ready…

  19. Remember John Travolta? He was also this HUGE teenage star, and then he disappeared off the earth until Tarrantino had the foresight to say “Hey, this guy is still really awesome, wonder if he’d be interested in Pulp Fiction?”. EOS.

    I think there just has to be the right mix of Mojo for you, the right guy in Hollywood to come around and hit on that idea.

    Not to compare your career too much to Travolta’s….yours is unique, you discovered yourself as a writer, and fought hard to get absolutely great stuff published (Just a Geek, Dancing Barefoot and TableTop, for example). You didn’t just wait around for lightning to strike.

    That’s RARE.

  20. Another vote for croud funding. Not only would I like to see you make a short film, I would like to help make it happen. That way I can be part of the group that said “I helped make that awsome creative thing happen.”

    Tell self doubt an proof to everyone to take a vacation and be creative and have fun.

  21. There has been more than one great actor/actress that some of their best rolls are in independent movies. Go for it! It can’t hurt and can only help you. Like you said, you will enjoy it either way and it might get you some more recognition. Although you would think with the TV rolls you have had in the past few years, you would already be getting more recognition.

  22. I have wondered if maybe your internet fanbase can work against you when it comes to films. You have released so much of you as yourself, or a stylized version of yourself, that we feel like we know you as person. That can make suspension of disbelief very difficult.
    For example, I thought you did great work on Eureka. But to be honest, never once did I really see Dr. Parrish. I always saw Wil Wheaton playing Dr. Parrish. No matter how great a performance is, it’s still only a performance. It’s harder to accept it as real when you know the performer.

  23. Silly question, but isn’t this exactly what Kickstarter is for? I know I would back a showcase project with you and friends. Maybe something Dr. Horrible in scope, if not necessarily topic and tone.

  24. I would love to see you in a movie too!! I think, and maybe I’m wrong, I don’t know what exactly is going on behind the scenes, but your predicament seems similar to that of Joseph Gordon Levitt, who has seen a renewed spike in major films, and I think his recent comeback (I call it that because there were several years after 3rd rock when I didn’t see him in anything) is due to continuing work in Indie films and diligently creating his own stuff. As a struggling female actor, I can tell you it’s hard to get anyone to take a chance on a new face (there are so many women in the talent pool, we all kind of blend together after a while). I’m actually kind of surprised that studios wouldn’t be interested in you, considering the following you now have! I know you haven’t been lazy or anything, you’ve actually been doing a lot, but all evidence seems to point to the idea that working hard on your own stuff and keeping yourself creatively stimulated will lead to larger rewards in the long run.

    In short, YES! MAKE THAT MOVIE!

  25. As a man in my fifth decade, I finally learned that I need to actually schedule a few times a year where I sit down and reevaluate my goals and dreams. I’ve learned from hard experience, wasting time and putting myself through stress and angst just to reach a goal that was no longer what I really wanted at all.

    I see this in an author friend of mine all the time as well. He’s an indie author, with some success, including a popular series with four novels now. But, I’ll often catch him comparing himself unvaforably to writers that are actually signed with huge publishing houses, even though he knows intellectually that being signed with large publishing houses these days is nothing like it used to be when those houses ran everything. These days they do almost nothing for authors except take their money, not even helping out with marketing. He knows that, but deep inside, in his heart, he’s comparing his present day self to the image of himself he had when he was a child, when he dreamed of being signed up as an author with a big publishing house. The game moved on, and even though he’s actually in a much better position for success now than if he were signed up by a major publisher, he’s too busy looking at his current success through the perspective of his old dream to really enjoy his current success, yet alone kick it up a notch.

    When you were younger, you were in films, and you dreamed of being in more. But films moved on. Today, as you know intellectually, film really isn’t what it was back then. Today’s films are incredibly formulaic, with almost ninety percent of them based on one or two screenwriting books that plot out the script to the minute, making all of these films incredibly predictable, unsatisfying, and incredibly uncreative when compared to films you and I grew up with.

    Like my author friend, you are actually in a much better position now to have true success than you would be if you were living out your old dream. Writers, directors, producers, actors, are constantly saying these days how television, especially places like HBO, give them far, far more creative control and freedom than films today would even consider. And many former film stars are moving from films to television so that they can enjoy acting in great projects again. Even today, Billy Bob Thornton spoke out on this, and echoed the sentiments of David Lynch and Steven Soderbergh when he said that television now provides a much more creative environment (http://www.theguardian.com/film/2014/jan/15/billy-bob-thornton-tv-movies-fargo).

    Sometimes you have to realize that the dreams you had yesterday need to be updated to match the new world of today.

  26. You’re building a bigger, better Wil Wheaton everyday, aren’t you?
    Well done!

    Have you given any thought to my “interview” request? (My 5×5 series)
    You’re eternal optimism and childlike sense of wonder would be a perfect fir for my blog.

  27. Okay, I now realize that I’ve been misspelling “fit”.
    I am a dumbass, its true, but I mean well.
    Sorry.
    But I still worship you, Wil Wheaton and I’d love to have you on my blog.

  28. I second this. I, for one, love the stuff you done but especially the random tweets and posts like these. I guess I should I like your writing too. :)

  29. Well, hopefully you read the comments here. I don’t go to the movie theater much anymore! It’s a 35 mile drive. I stream from Netflix, or get the discs. Duuuude. Really, try TV!! You’ve rovked it before. I mean, one of my favorite shows in Justified with Timothy Olyphant. You could star in, and rock the right show. Hollywood sucks anyway, they chew up and spit out their best and brightest. TV, it’s about TV!

  30. Man, I just want to say I really love your show Tabletop and I’m in the middle of re-watching you and the guys from PvP and Penny Arcade playing D&D so I forget you do acting a lot. Today I sat down to watch Big Bang Theory with my family and it happened to be an episode with you and it really just hit me how much I would love to watch you be in a movie or another show like Eureka. I just know seeing you in something will mean I’ll enjoy it that much more than if it had been someone else.

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