Every year, I dream up some epic April Fool's thing, realize how much work it would take to do it well, and end up just waiting to see whatever Think Geek does.
This year, I ended up doing something fairly (hey, my fingers just automatically typed fail while my brain was thinking fair. That's funny.) Anyway, I ended up doing something fairly quick and silly. On Twitter, I posted: Dbrentspiner I'm grabbing lunch with levar and frakes before the super-secret TNG reunion show table read. You want to join us?
I wish I'd had enough characters to add, "Just call me on LeVar's cell, because my battery is almost dead," but I think it was pretty funny on its own, so consider this paragraph the Director's Cut, I guess.
For those of you keeping score, replies were about 80% "I see what you did there", "5% HA HA YOUR STUPID AND CANT USE TEH TWITTER", and 5% "Dude, that's so awesome I ca-- oh. FFFFFFUUUUUUUUU." The final 10% replied to Pat Buchanan.
And because it's funny to me, here's something from behind the scenes: the first time I tried to send a "fake" DM to Brent, Twitter sent a real one, so I had to send another one to tell him what I was doing. He replied, "Where are you? We're already here, waiting for you at the Paramount Commissary." Brent, as he has since 1987, wins.
So this is all prologue to the one actual April Fool's prank I ever pulled since I started blogging, back in the good old days when digital watches were a pretty neat idea.
Reaching into the vault, I pulled out this, from Chapter 8 of Just a Geek:
"Creativity is the absence of fear," a friend of mine liked to say. After Vegas and The Galaxy Ball, a lot of the fear that Prove To Everyone That Quitting Star Trek Wasn't A Mistake and The Voice of Self Doubt relied upon to survive was gone, and my creativity blossomed as a result. When I wrote in my weblog, I produced entries that were genuinely funny, and entertaining . . . to me at least. Things like:
10 March 2002
Make it burn!
As I write this, Anne is behind me, doing some workout video tape, and I can only hear the breathless voice of the girl who is leading the workout saying, "Oh yeah, oh yeah, doesn't that feel good? Don't stop, you're almost there *pant* *pant*"
If I didn't know any better, I'd think she was watching "Debbie Does 7 Minute Abs."
But seriously folks, try the fish, and be sure to stick around for the comedy and magic stylings of Johnny Funnypants! I hear the late show gets a little naughty.
I was overflowing with creative energy, and on April first, I pulled a notorious April Fool's joke.
01 April 2002
Good News, Bad News
Good morning, everyone and happy April! I hope everyone had a nice weekend. Okay, let's get straight to business: here's the bad news: the entire site has crashed and we can't figure out why. I don't know when the crash happened, or why, because I was offline all weekend, but I'm working on it. I suppose that if you can read this, it means things are working again, which will bring us to our second bad news: I tried to upgrade to Movable Type 2.0 on Friday and it broke. Goddammit! I swear, I am fucking cursed. I know what went wrong and I'm going to start pleading with the authors for some help. They seem like cool people, so hopefully they will be willing to give me a hand. *sigh*
On to the good news! Oh, this is such amazingly good news and it's been so hard to keep this to myself, but there have been contract talks and all sorts of negotiations and all that . . . but I can finally make the big big announcement:
The official announcement will be made on Thursday, but I've been given permission by Paramount's hired goons to make the announcement today.
In four weeks, I will be joining the cast of Enterprise in a recurring role!
The details are still being worked out, but basically what they plan to do is have Wesley use his Time Traveler abilities to move through space and time to the NX-01. He'll be more like the dark, troubled Wesley of “The First Duty” and “Final Mission” and less like the gee-whiz Wesley of days gone by.
Here's a little history: Nemesis is testing very well and Paramount is extremely excited that this lame little website has generated such a huge following. I guess some people started a letter-writing campaign, without my knowledge and Paramount listened. I spent most of last week on conference calls with Rick and Brannon, as well as some of the brass at Paramount, working out the details, making sure that Wesley will not be saving the NX-01 all the time.
I'll be in 8 of 22 episodes for the two seasons, with an option to renegotiate at the end of the second season. I'm only recurring to allow me the freedom to participate in other shows, and pursue other projects.
I'm so freakin’ excited, I don't even know what else to say. I can't believe that I'm going to be working on “Star Trek” again and I can't believe that I'm going to be working on Stages 8 and 9 again.
I have to go to a fitting right now. I'll write more when I have more details. I hope everyone has a great day!!
The Internet bought it completely. My announcement was posted on mega sites Slashdot and Fark (who were in on the joke), and the "news" was carried by many Sci-Fi newswires (who were not). I had very carefully crafted the news, working it out over the course of several of days, adding in difficult-to-verify yet plausible details, like the testing status of Nemesis (they didn't even have a rough cut at the time) and talking with the producers about the nature of Wesley's character upon his return.
Minutes after I'd posted the prank, the e-mails began to pour in. Hundreds of Trekkies joined the regular readers of my website in expressing the joy I would have felt had it been real. The genuine happiness and kindness, pouring in from people all over the world, was the opposite of the reaction I expected, and as the happy e-mails piled up, I began to feel like I was misleading these people, and taking advantage of their good will. By the afternoon, I felt awful, and I decided to set the record straight.
Well, most of you have figured it out, by now, but the truth is . . .
. . . I'm not gonna be on Enterprise. Even as a computer voice, or within the secret, dirty, late-night thoughts of Capt. Archer.
I hope everyone takes this in good humor. Lots of people sent really kind and sweet congratulatory messages and I actually feel pretty badly for fooling such nice people. All the idiots who thought it was a really good idea to fill my inbox with “Wesley is gonna ruin Enterprise” crap should get a life and direct any further comments to /dev/null.
To be honest I was surprised at how many people were wishing me well; I was expecting the Kill Wesley Crowd to come out instead.
I think the greatest highlight of the day came when my mom called Anne while I was out..
The conversation went something like this:
Mom: Do you have something to tell me?
Anne: Uh, no.
Mom: Do you have some big news about Wil?
Anne: Oh, that. Uh, what day is today?
Mom: It's Monday!
Anne: Right. And the date is . . . ?
Mom: It's April Fir- OH! Damn you!
Heh. I guess my dad was all pissed off, stomping around my parent's house because I didn't tell them myself and he “had to read it on Wil's fucking website!"
Thanks go to the Frodo Crew(tm) who helped me take this scheme from stupid idea to stupid fruition: Spudnuts, jbay, JSc, Roughy, Bobby The Mat and Greeny. Also to /. and FARK, for getting on board.
All those people really did want me to succeed and they really were happy for me. The joy that I thought I would have felt, had I been given a chance to do Star Trek again, became real and undeniable when I realized that I had redefined myself with my weblog. Some people would still see me as That Washed Up Guy Who Used To Be An Actor When He Was A Kid, but many more people, including myself, saw me as That Guy With The Cool Weblog Who Is Just A Geek Like The Rest Of Us.
It's so weird to look back on the time that is covered in Just A Geek, because my life has changed so profoundly since then. I can so clearly recall thinking, "This will be great. All these people will be angry and go on and on about how I'll ruin Star Trek because they hate Wesley so much, and then I can be all, HA HA YOU GOT MAD FOR NOTHING IT WAS ALL A JOKE HA HA." It never occurred to me that anyone would be legitimately happy for me, let alone excited about the whole thing.
And you know what? Every single time I read anything from Just A Geek, I really want to do the Obligatory One Man Show called "Wil Wheaton is Just A Geek" where I distill the entire thing into 90 minutes or two hours, and perform it. I've done a lot of writing since I wrote this book, but it still means more to me than I can express in words (or pictures, which isn't really saying much because I can't draw for shit.)
Finally, this is probably a good time to mention that you can get your very own copy of Just A Geek: Teh Audio Book from my store at Lulu. As a bonus, if you buy it today and enter the code APRILFOOLS at checkout, you'll save 10%.
Happy April, everyone. The First Of May is just one month away...