I took a lot of pictures when I was in Washington, DC, but I think this one is my favorite:
“…and I want a Higgs Boson, and a unified field theory, and the solution to Maxwell’s last equation…”
It’s important to be easily amused, everyone.
I spent most of yesterday with my writers and producers, working on a script for The Wil Wheaton Project. We watched a ton of clips, and then worked out jokes that went with them. At one point, we were trying to make a funny joke even funnier than it was, and realized that we’d gotten “room drunk,” which is what happens when you’re having so much fun in the writer’s room, you just get completely goofy and too silly for the task at hand.
There’s a strange thing that happens in a writer’s room (at least a comedy writers’ room, based on my limited experience doing this show and several years of sketch comedy) where we’ll come up with something really hilarious, but nobody will laugh. Someone will just say, very calmly, “oh man, that’s really funny,” and we know that we have a winning joke or premise. Other times, we’re just riffing about bullshit, completely cracking each other up, and though we don’t get anything out of it that we can use directly, it’s an important part of the process that gets us to “oh man, that’s really funny.”
A lot of that happened yesterday, and though I was creatively, physically, and emotionally exhausted by the time I got home, it was a very good day.
Anne and I had dinner, shared a Ruination IPA, and watched The Americans (one of our very favourite shows on television) before we went to sleep early, because we were going to be picked up at 6:15 to go to the airport. Because our brains hate us, we couldn’t fall asleep until around 11, and we both woke up at 4:15am. Because that wasn’t enough, our brains wouldn’t let us sleep on the plane, and now it’s just about 9:30 here in our Undisclosed East Coast Location, where we will remain until Saturday.
Now to the important part of this post: Sunday, I am going to do a live show at the IO West in Hollywood, and I’d really love it if any of you reading this in Los Angeles would come to the show.
MY DETAILS LET ME SHOW YOU THEM:
Whether you’re a hardcore nerd or just dig Sci-fi, join us this May Fourth (Star Wars Day) for a special event at the iO West!
The Wil Wheaton Project premieres on the SYFY Channel May 27th, but you can catch a sneak peak with a special live performance with host Wil Wheaton May 4th 7pm at the iO West!
The Wil Wheaton Project covers the entire Sci-Fi umbrella with the latest news, as well as the best clips from TV, film, gaming and the web.
With special guest Jonah Ray (The Meltdown on Comedy Central)
A lot of the stuff we’ve been working on for the last several weeks will be in this show, which is designed for us to try some things out in front of an audience, and get a sense of what does and doesn’t work. My instinct is that most of it will be really funny and entertaining, and even if some of it doesn’t work, the audience has my permission to give me a rousing BOOOOOO-URNS.
Now, listen, Internet, I know how this usually goes down: I say, “Hey, I’m doing a show in Los Angeles, and I hope you’ll come see it!” And instead of something like, “YES! WE WILL BE THERE AND BRING THREE FRIENDS AND ALSO BEER YOU LIKE” what usually happens is the Internet says, “Oh. Well. That’s great. Why aren’t you doing a show in $name.of.my-city.h?”
So I get it, that most of you aren’t in LA, and even if you are it’s a hassle to leave the house on a Sunday for a show that your favourite Internet scamp Wil Wheaton is performing, that won’t even take an hour, at a comedy club in Hollywood that has a great bar and even survived a car crashing right into it one time. I get that, and I want you to know that you get a free pass to miss this one, because of reasons.
But, seriously, if you’re in Los Angeles (or nearby) and you’d like to 1) get a sneak peek of what The Wil Wheaton Project is going to be like and B) help me, simply by being in the theater, to know how I’m doing, I would be ever so grateful. The show starts at 7pm, and you’ll be on your way home by 8pm (unless you want to stay for the next show, which I hear is pretty great).
That said, this theater isn’t huge, and there’s a non-zero chance it’ll sell out, so if you want to go, I’d recommend getting your tickets now.
My new show premieres a month from today, on the network that I like to call “the network formerly-known as Sci-Fi,” but since that makes people who changed its name mad at me, I won’t call it that in this post.*
Seriously I’m bolding this because it’s important: The Wil Wheaton Project premieres at 10pm EDT on Tuesday, May 27th, on Syfy™ Syfy: Imagine Greater, and also watch WWE.**
(All silliness aside, everyone I’ve been working with at Syfy has been super awesome, super supportive, and as excited about this project as I am. I wouldn’t feel okay making jokes at the network’s expense if I didn’t know that they have a good sense of humor. We shot some promos last week where they let me really rip some of their own programming, because we did it in a funny way, and not all networks would let us do something like that.)
Okay. So, to business:
I’ve been meeting with my staff of writers, segment producers, researchers, and other creative people a couple of times a week for the last month or so, and we’ve been figuring out what shows we love, what shows we hate, and deciding how we’ll cover those shows as their (and our)season unfolds.
There are scripted shows we love, like Orphan Black, Game of Thrones, and American Horror Story. There are scripted shows that are so awful, it’s almost hard to figure out which joke we’re going to make (see: pretty much everything on the CW). There are some really great things online that I’m not going to describe now because I want to keep them to myself, and then there are the vast numbers of unscripted paranormal “reality” shows that are so insanely horrible, they actually come back around the track and end up being good: Mountain Monsters, Ghost Hunters, Ghost Adventures, Adventure Ghosts, Monster Ghosts On The Mountain Having An Adventure***.
When we get together for these meetings, we watch clips that the creative team has found, and then we pitch jokes to each other. It’s a really fun process, where we’re basically watching hilariously bad stuff, and then seeing who can make the room laugh the hardest. It turns out that all the MST3K I watched in college was actually contributing to my education, and I’m using the skills it taught me to this day.
I’m super happy and grateful that I’m working with people who are funnier and smarter than I am, so I have to push myself to keep up with them. I’m already a better comedy writer than I was a month ago, and I’m pretty excited that I’m leveling up those skills.
A couple weeks ago, we were pitching ideas to each other, and we came up with something we think will be really cool and probably pretty funny. It’s called First Contact.
The idea is for you to tell us a story about a memorable time you met someone famous who you looked up to or admired. Whether it was funny, awesome, awkward, awful, or some combination of them all, we want to hear it.
All of us on the creative team will go through anything you submit, and we’ll pick out a few of our favorites to be animated and recreated on the show. I’ve talked to some of my friends who are voice actors, and I’m super happy and excited that some of the very best actors in the business are going to be part of this.
We had to talk to lawyers and people who wear suits every day to get permission to do this, and they said that it was okay, as long as I said precisely the following:
This is what I need from you:
- We want to see you on camera telling the story.
- Make sure you are talking directly to camera in a well lit room.
- Go someplace quiet with no noise and absolutely no music playing in the background.
- Your story must be true and authentic in describing the people and events that took place. No fibs, please.
- Please try to keep these stories under 2 minutes. The shorter the better.
Once you’ve recorded your story, upload it to Youtube and send the link to HEYWWP at gmail dot com
Be sure to include any contact info so we can let you know if we plan on using your story.
Before you record, think about the details. I’m sure you were excited and nervous to meet your favorite celeb in real life. Did it take courage to go up to him or her? What was going through your head? What did you say? What did they say? What about them surprised you? How did it end? Were your friends jealous?
I’ll add that details about the time, place, and other environmental elements will give our animators stuff to work with. Speaking as a storyteller myself, I encourage you to get to the emotional center of the story as quickly as you can, because that’s how you connect to an audience. If you’d like an example of a first meeting that wasn’t particularly awesome, you can listen to my WILLIAM FUCKING SHATNER story from w00tstock.
If you have any questions about this, ask them in comments and I’ll do my best to answer them as quickly as I can.
*OMG this hand that feeds me tastes SO GOOD!
**OMNOMNOMNOMNOMNOM please don’t cancel me before i even start i’ll be good i promise
***some of these don’t actually exist, but they could, with just a little bit of creative editing.
After my very long day yesterday, I slept for 12 hours last night (and felt like I earned it, for a change).
When I woke up, Anne told me that Tabletop Season Three had it its first stretch goal, and we have the budget for a full 20 episode season.
I’m still pretty gobsmacked, and I’ve been struggling for a couple of hours to find the words to express my gratitude. As I often do when I find myself stuck for words, I began wasting time on the Internet. We had a really fun and magnificently creative #photoshopwilwheaton experience on Twitter yesterday, so I went to the Photoshop Wil Wheaton Tumblr to see if any of them had been submitted there, and I found the perfect way to express my joy and gratitude to everyone who has supported Tabletop Season 3:
My thanks and epic high fives to jprakath, who made this amazing work of creative genius, and also to everyone who has helped us get here for Tabletop. If you’d like to help us get to the RPG show I’m dying to make, we need $250K in the next 15 days. I know it’s a ways to go, but I’m beginning to believe that we may just get to do that RPG show, after all!
I got up today before the sun did, after sleeping just under six hours. Normally, I would go to be good and early before a day when I have to get up at 5am, but I was up a little later than usual last night because I was playing tabletop games with a couple of my friends and a couple of guys who won the opportunity in a charity auction. And if I may humblebrag for a moment, one of those guys was Tom Vassel, and one of the games we played was his game, called Nothing Personal.
That may be a story for another time, because at the moment I am so tired I can taste time.
Getting up super early on less than the optimal amount of sleep isn’t that big a deal, but the massive pain I have in my neck is killing me. Two nights ago I slept weird and pushed one of the vertebrae in my neck out, so I have all kinds of pain down my right arm, shoulder, and back. It’s putting some strain on my throat, even, so my voice sounds a little strange to me (which may be a problem, because I’m doing a voice job and an on-camera job later today).
I haven’t done one of these off-the-top-of-my-head blogs in forever, so I guess that’s what this is going to be, because I have to leave for my voice job in 20 minutes, and if I stop to rest my eyes for even a second, I’m going to join Bart and Lisa with Groundskeeper Willie, and that never goes well, whether it’s Smarch or not.
So how about those Kings last night? And did you see that Tabletop Season 3 is about 12,000 away from a full season of 20 episodes?!
Back to my very big day: I just got back from an incredibly fun Western photoshoot with Anne and our friends Colin, Ashley, and Doug. It’s for our friend Donna’s shop, Clockwork Couture, and when it’s ready for viewing, I’ll link to it.
We had to start really early today, because I’m going to work on Teen Titans at 10am, and the minute I finish that, I’m going to shoot promos and things for The Wil Wheaton Project all afternoon.
I expect my day to end with me slipping into the sleep of the very very tired shortly after I walk back into my house tonight.
I’m not complaining about anything, mind you. I’ve had enough days in my life where I had nothing at all to do, and if I have a day like this which is so full of stuff I end up feeling like this guy, I’m really okay with that.
Also, If you’ve been playing along with me in the Dragons of Atlantis Advisor Wheaton questing super happy funtimes, be ready for a new quest later this afternoon.
The Los Angeles County coroner has identified a Palmdale teen who authorities said was killed when a suspected drunk driver crashed into her home and hit her while she slept.
Giselle Mendoza, 16, was pronounced dead at her home early Sunday after Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department deputies said Roberto Rodriguez, 20, crashed his SUV into a Palmdale apartment building.
Mendoza was sleeping in her first-floor bedroom when a 2007 Nissan Pathfinder slammed into the complex in the 1000 block of East Avenue R before 4 a.m. Sunday, officials said.
Please let me be your Internet dad for a quick moment: at some point in your life (maybe at several points in your life) you will be confronted with the decision to drive after drinking or using recreational drugs. You may think, “it’s only a mile” or “I’ll be very careful” or “I probably shouldn’t drive, but I think I’ll be okay” or “I don’t have money for a cab”.
But here’s the thing about that: you may convince yourself that it’s okay to drive, and you may even get where you’re going safely. You may do that more than once, and start to think that you’re never going to have a problem if you drive while intoxicated (even a little bit).
But what if you don’t? What if you lose your focus or judgement for one second, and you end up hitting a person who’s crossing a dark street in front of you? What if you end up missing a light, and crashing into another car?
What will you do when you, an otherwise good person who would never intentionally hurt another person, make the decision to get behind the wheel when you shouldn’t, and you end up killing someone?
Just think about that for a moment, okay? If this kid, Robert Rodriguez, is found guilty, he’s likely going to spend most of his life in prison. He’s 20 years-old. He’s probably not a criminal, and he’s probably going to spend what should be the best years of his life in a prison, because he made the decision to drive while intoxicated.
Now think about the family of Giselle Mendoza. She was sixteen years-old. SIXTEEN. Her life hadn’t even started yet, and now she’s gone. Forever. Because a suspected drunk driver — just four years older than her — decided that he’d get behind the wheel of a car when he shouldn’t have.
Look, I get it: figuring out how to get home can be a hassle. Taxis and Uber are expensive, and public transit can be inconvenient.
But take a moment and think about Giselle Mendoza’s friends and family, and Robert Rodriguez’s friends and family, and ask yourself how much cab fare they think would have been too much.
Okay, thanks for listening and letting me be your Internet dad for a minute.
When our kids were little, they loved Harry Potter, especially Ryan, who has the exact same birthday at Harry.
I never read the books because of reasons, and I only saw the first couple of movies, also because of reasons.
Recently, Anne and I decided that we would finally read the books, and we’re about halfway through the first one (I’m a couple chapters ahead of Anne, because I had some time on an airplane that I spent … wisely).
Yesterday at Wondercon, while we were walking to our panel, I told Felicia that we were reading the books, and trying to describe to her how much I love them.
“I just … I really want to go to Hogwarts,” I said.
“They’re building one at Universal Studios,” she said.
We passed through a curtain and approached a set of large, closed doors.
“No, I don’t want to go to an amusement park recreation of Hogwarts,” I said, “I want to go to Hogwarts. I want to go to a train station, run though a wall to platform 9 3/4, and take a train to Hogwarts, where I will learn how to be a wizard. I want Hogwarts to be real.”
I noticed that she’d taken a subtle step away from me, which was probably a good idea. I was getting excited.
“What house are you?” She said. Our escort opened the doors and led us into an enormous corridor that was over twenty feet high, equally as wide, and a few hundred feet long. Chairs were stacked along one wall, and the other wall had doors in it that granted access to the various meeting rooms where the panels were held.
“I’m pretty sure I’m Ravenclaw,” I said.
“No way, dude. You’re totally a Slytherin.”
“I am not a Slytherin!”
“Yeah, you totally are a Slytherin.” Felicia crunched up her nose and grinned at me. “My brother’s a Slytherin.”
“Dude, I’m going to be Ravenclaw … or maybe Gryffindor. But I really think I’m Ravenclaw.” Our footsteps and voices echoed off the cement floor and walls. I imagined that we were in a castle.
“I’m Ravenclaw,” Felicia said.
“When I get home, I’m taking the test at Pottermore, and I’m going to be Ravenclaw, too.” We arrived at the door for our panel, and waited while the panel before us finished up. We talked a little bit about what we’d make sure to cover on the panel, and I realized that the corridor we’d just walked down was perfect for riding a longboard skateboard.
The previous panel walked out, the room filled up with people who were there to see us, and after a quick Tabletop trailer, we went inside for our panel. It was great.
When I got home last night, I was too tired for taking the sorting hat test at Pottermore, so I took it this morning. I was honest in all of my answers, and spent a fair amount of time thinking about some of the questions. I wasn’t trying to get the house I wanted (and I don’t know enough about Harry Potter to manipulate the results, anyway), so I was incredibly happy (and a little relieved) when I found out that, yes, I was in Ravenclaw.
I know it’s a silly thing, and I know I’m a little too old to really care about it, but reading Harry Potter makes me feel like I’m part of something that’s special, that means a lot to a lot of people.
And I know it’s silly to care about what house I’m in … but I’m really glad to be in Ravenclaw, because I have a lot of books I need to read.
How busy have I been? So busy that I forgot to write a blog about TableTop Season 3, and how you can help make it happen.
tl;dr: We’re crowdfunding Tabletop’s 3rd season. We’ve raised $500,000, so we can afford to do 15 episodes. If we get to $750,000, we’ll have enough to do 20 episodes (like seasons one and two), and if we get to one million dollars, we can afford to do the RPG spin off that I’ve wanted to do for years (a season-long campaign, cut into about 20 or so 40-minute-ish episodes with the same players, characters, and GM).
(Don’t read the comments; they will make you mad. Or, if you’re me, they’ll make you sad, because a lot of people don’t understand television production, and how much shows cost, so they yell at you a lot, based on presumptions that turn out to be wrong.)
Because we’re going completely independent , we can do some things we’ve always wanted to do, like an episode that’s me, Anne, and our kids. We’re also going to do a special episode that’s just a game or two for children, played with children, because thousands of people have asked me what I recommend they play with their kids.
We’re also going to do the SUPER DIRTY and PROFOUNDLY INAPPROPRIATE “TableTop After Dark” episode, where we play Cards Against Humanity. There may be beer and a couple of dirty comedians involved. This will be the episode that likely makes the world hate me forever.
We have a bunch of perks for people who choose to contribute various amounts to our effort, but I want to be really clear that we’re making Tabletop for everyone who loves it, whether they can give us zero or infinity dollars.
I’m not entirely positive when we’ll be filming the first 10 episodes, but I know we’re going to try to get them done soon, so we can release them later this summer. A lot of that schedule is going to be determined by how busy I am with The Wil Wheaton Project.
There have been a lot of FAQs about this campaign, so we did our best to answer them in the standard way:
Why are you going Independent?
Felicia: Geek and Sundry (and Tabletop) up until now was funded by YouTube’s original channel initiative, which is not continuing to go forward anymore. We have been talking to a bunch of partners and are excited about some of our options to continue G&S as a company, but Wil (and we) were passionate about being able to keep Tabletop on schedule to release more episodes this year, and stay independent of influence to change the show for sponsor/commercial reasons. That is why we are fundraising like this.
Wil: We want to make the same TableTop that we’ve made for two seasons, and give our audience something that we’re proud of, and we wanted to do that without compromising our vision for the show. The quickest and most reliable way to make that happen was to go directly to the people who love TableTop as much as we do, and ask them to help us make our third season as awesome as our first two.
Why are you asking for so much money?
Felicia: This show is a standout for a reason: We pay professional people to make it. It’s polished and stands next to TV show quality because we wanted to make something long-lasting, and impact in a big way, like a TV show when we conceived it. To put it in perspective: The average 30 second commercial you see on TV? Costs 1-3 million dollars. EACH. The average 1/2 hour comedy? 2-3 million dollars. Shows like Game of Thrones? 7-9 million dollars. PER EPISODE.
We are doing a minimum of fifteen, 30 minute shows for a fraction of ONE TV SHOW. If you put it in that perspective, we are definitely not paying people professional rates to work on it. I do a lot of low budget web videos (to help do shows like TableTop, actually), and I think the ones that last beyond that moment of consumption are the ones that have budgets, that people tend to enjoy over and over. My goal always has been to show the established TV world that people can work outside the system and compete with their business, Tabletop is our best example of that, just like The Guild before us. We are doing this show for the minimum we can do it and keep up what we have established before us.
Wil: This is a question that I wasn’t expecting, and I feel really stupid for not explaining this more in advance. I’ve lived in the film and television industry my whole life, and I’ve been an active producer on TableTop for 40 episodes, so I know how much it costs to make an average show, and how much it costs to make our show. Let me be clear right away: we’re not getting rich off TableTop. In fact, if TableTop was my only job, I wouldn’t be able to support my family for even one year. That said, to anyone who does not live in the film and television world, i completely understand a sense of ‘sticker shock’ upon hearing that this YouTube show needs half a million dollars to produce fifteen episodes.
This week, I’m doing an episode of The Big Bang Theory, When it’s all finished and cut together, it’ll be about 22 minutes (approximately the same length as the average episode of TableTop), and it’ll cost several million dollars to produce. If you do a strict math problem, you’ll see that we do fifteen (or 20 if/when we get there) episodes of TableTop – 33 minutes, at least, that’s 660 minutes of TableTop – for less than the cost of a single 22 minute episode of network television.
We put everything we have into TableTop, because we love it, and we push our budget to its maximum limited so the show that we put out on YouTube can stand next to anything you see on Broadcast or Cable, and I’ll keep doing that as long as we can. I also want to make one thing really clear: we’re incredibly grateful – I am personally – incredibly grateful and honored by the contributions we’ve been given by the TableTop community. I know that you’re trusting us to keep doing what we’ve been doing, and I’m going to honor that trust by making the very best show we can possibly make.
Will TableTop still be free to watch? Do I have to donate to see it?
Wil: It will absolutely be free to watch. And now that we are completely independent, we aren’t limited to broadcasting on YouTube, so we’ll be able to make Tabletop available to even more people in even more ways, as we release season three.
Felicia: You do not have to donate, we appreciate it so much if you choose to do so, and understand if you don’t. It will still be free and watchable by you if we make our fundraising goal.
So there you have it. Tabletop Season Three is guaranteed at least 15 episodes, and we’re feeling pretty optimistic that we’ll get to 20. I think it’s a longer shot that we make it to the RPG show, but Tabletop fans keep surprising me, so maybe I’m more uncertain than I should be.
Thank you to everyone who has supported us, and PLAY MORE GAMES!
I spent the weekend in Portland, visiting my sister and her family. I also saw some friends, and recorded an episode of Livewire Radio. It was a gorgeous weekend, with perfect weather, so we got to walk even more than we usually do when we visit.
We were walking downtown with my sister and her son when I spotted this in the street next to the crosswalk:
I got really excited, because it’s the first Toynbee tile I’ve ever seen that wasn’t just a picture on the Internet. While I was taking this picture, Anne was counting down the seconds on the crosswalk. Hearing “…4…3…2…1″ while I was taking the picture made the whole stupid thing a little more thrilling than it should have been, but I’m easily entertained.
One more picture (as promised in the title) before I get ready to go to the set:
Steel Bridge is one of my favorite bridges in the country, and this weekend was the first time we walked across it and up the opposite bank of the river. When we were about a quarter mile from it, heading toward a different bridge to cross back to downtown, a boat came up the river toward Steel Bridge. “Dude! If we hurry, we can get up to the bridge and stand right there when it goes up!” I said to Anne.
“You think we can make it?” She said.
“Yes. I know we can.”
“Are you sure it’s going to go past the bridge?”
“Unless it makes a U-turn in the middle of the river, it has to go past the bridge,” I said. “Come on! It’ll be cool!”
We turned around and walked quickly back toward Steel Bridge, the boat slowly gaining on us. When we were about 500 yards from the bridge, the boat blew its horn, presumably to alert the bridge person that it needed to go up … but when I looked at the boat to see how far it was from the bridge, I saw that it had blown its horn to alert nearby vessels that it was making a U-turn in the middle of the river.
“Oh, for fuck’s sake,” I said, laughing, as we walked onto the bridge and began to walk back across it. “Well, it would have been cool.”
Anne laughed with me, and held my hand.
It was just after midnight, but thanks to the heatwave we’re having, it was still unseasonably warm. I walked comfortably in my T-shirt along a tree-lined street, the scent of orange blossoms filling the air.
A few miles away, cars on the freeway created a sort of white noise that I could pretend was a distant river. I looked into the sky, and saw Mars, red and beautiful above Vega, so bright it nearly outshone the brilliant white star.
I walked through the warm night, replaying the incredible events of the last few days, marveling at how lucky I am to be who and where I am. I walked into my house, and my dogs greeted me at the door. After inspecting me in the usual fashion, they trotted back into my bedroom, where I’d soon be competing for a spot on my bed with them. My wife was asleep, and I gently kissed her forehead before I got ready for bed.
I woke up this morning before my alarm, my head resting against my puppy’s head, who was sound asleep and snoring to my left. I moved, and she grumbled, stretched her legs, and snuggled back into me. From the foot of the bed, I heard Seamus’ tale thump, and I heard Riley walk into our bedroom, her nails clicking on the wood floor. I opened my eyes and looked to my left. Anne was already out of bed, and likely out of the house. I arched my back, stretched my legs, and kissed Marlowe on her little puppy forehead. Riley had arrived to the side of my bed and looked at me with her I’M A DOG face.
I stayed in bed for a few more minutes, before getting out, petting my dogs, letting them out, making coffee, and getting into my office to start my day.