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.