"A cleverly constructed and vivid collection of memoirs with flashes of brilliant wit, this title betters even Dancing Barefoot." - Paul Hudson, Linux Format, Nov (top stuff award)
Wil Wheaton has never been one to take the conventional path to success. Despite early stardom through his childhood role in the motion picture "Stand By Me", and growing up on television as Wesley Crusher on "Star Trek: The Next Generation", Wil left Hollywood in pursuit of happiness, purpose, and a viable means of paying the bills. In the oddest of places, Topeka, Kansas, Wil discovered that despite his claims to fame, he was at heart Just a Geek.
In this bestselling book, Wil shares his deeply personal and difficult journey to find himself. You'll understand the rigors, and joys, of Wil's rediscovering of himself, as he comes to terms with what it means to be famous, or, ironically, famous for once having been famous. Writing with honesty and disarming humanity, Wil touches on the frustrations associated with his acting career, his inability to distance himself from Ensign Crusher in the public's eyes, the launch of his incredibly successful web site, wilwheaton.net, and the joy he's found in writing. Through all of this, Wil shares the ups and downs he encountered along the journey, along with the support and love he discovered from his friends and family.
The stories in Just a Geek include:
- Wil's plunge from teen star to struggling actor
- Discovering the joys of HTML, blogging, Linux, and web design
- The struggle between Wesley Crusher, Starfleet ensign, and Wil Wheaton, author and blogger
- Gut-wrenching reactions to the 9-11 disaster
- Moving tales of Wil's relationships with his wife, step-children, and extended family
- The transition from a B-list actor to an A-list author
Wil Wheaton--celebrity, blogger, and geek--writes for the geek in all of us. Engaging, witty, and pleasantly self-deprecating, Just a Geek will surprise you and make you laugh.
About the Author
Wil Wheaton may be one of the most unusual celebrities of our time. Born into stardom with the movie "Stand By Me", and then growing up on television as Wesley Crusher on "Star Trek: The Next Generation", Wil was in the spotlight nearly his entire childhood. Instead of burning out as a child star, he left fame behind and became a computer specialist in what Hollywood might consider the middle of nowhere: Topeka, Kansas. Now, Wil considers himself "just a geek", and both Dancing Barefoot and the forthcoming biography Just a Geek are about his journey in rediscovering himself and coming to terms with what it means to be famous, or, ironically, famous for being previously famous.
Excerpt. © Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.
N I N E
Alone Again, or . . .
"Is your fax machine on?" my manager said.
Alone Again, or . . .
ON APRIL 5TH, 2002, as Anne and I were packing for a Spring Break trip to Lake Tahoe with Ryan and Nolan for a much-needed change of scenery, I received a phone call from my manager. It was the end of pilot seasona period at the beginning of each year when studios cast for their new fall television shows. Most actors, myself included, hope to get a job on a pilot each year, because it means financial security and a chance to be on the next Friends or West Wing. During pilot season, most actors have several auditions each week, and its a hectic but exciting time. The pilot season that had just ended was the fourth in a row where Id had fewer than 10 auditions, all of them failures.
"Is your fax machine on?" my manager said.
"Good. Im sending you two appointment sheets for next week."
"Oh crap," I said. "I cant go. Its Spring break for the kids, and Anne and I are taking them up to Lake Tahoe."
"When do you leave?"
"In about 20 minutes. When are the auditions?"
"Youve got an independent film on Tuesday, and at least one, possibly two pilots on Wednesday. Callbacks will be Thursday or Friday."
"What do you think I should do?"
"I cant make that decision for you. Talk it over with Anne and call me right back." I hung up the phone.
"I know how you feel about your family, but this is our last shot at pilot season," said a familiar voice.
"This is stupid, Prove To Everyone," I replied. "You and I both know Im not going to book these jobs, and were all looking forward to this vacation. Were packing up the car, for fucks sake."
"What the fuck is wrong with you?! Youve had ONE audition in months, and youre going to pass on THREE OF THEM in one week? Do you want to be an actor or not?!"
"Im not so sure I do."
"Oh, you think youre going to be a big writer because you write a stupid weblog?" we were joined by The Voice of Self Doubt.
"I thought you guys were gone," I said.
"We were just waiting for you to call on us again. You know that fear you feel right now? That fear that you may be letting a golden opportunity slip through your fingers, and youll regret it for the rest of your life? We felt it too." Prove To Everyone was right. The Fear hadnt completely gone away. Id just managed to keep it hidden for a few months.
"If you blow off this opportunity, you will live the rest of your life as That Washed Up Has Been Who Used To Be An Actor When He Was A Kid," he said.
I stammered something about April Fools and how Id redefined myself.
"Thats bullshit. Anyone can write a bunch of drivel on the Internet," said The Voice of Self Doubt.
"No, Wils right. If he passes on these auditions, he can always sign autographs at a Star Trek convention for a few more years until he digs himself out of debt," Prove To Everyone said. "And theres always Celebrity Boxing to get that career going again."
I walked out to the car and told Anne that I had to stay home.
A few minutes later, we called the kids over to the dining room table.
"You guys, I just got a call from Chris," I said, "and I have two auditions next week."
"Did you tell him that were going on vacation?" Nolan said.
I couldnt look him in the eye. "I told him that we had that planned, but I have to stay here and go on these auditions."
"Why?! Were getting ready to leave!" Ryan said.
I looked to Anne. Her eyes were welling up, but she said nothing.
"Im really sorry, you guys. I havent had any good opportunities for work in months, and I have to take these chances when they come along."
It was silent in our house. A car drove by outside. Nolan said, "Well, can you drive up and meet us?"
I shook my head. "Its eight hours there and back, Nolan. If I get a callback, Id just have to turn right around and come home."
"This sucks," he said.
I looked at Anne again. She looked away.
"I know how much were all looking forward to this trip," I said, "but I just cant go. Once youre there, you wont miss me at all."
We all knew that wasnt true. We were having enormous problems with Annes ex-husband, and our family desperately needed to get away from him. I really didnt want to stay home. I wanted to go with them, and play Auto Bingo and I Spy on the drive up. I wanted to play with the kids in the melting snow and roast marshmallows over the cabins wood-burning stove.Silence hung over the four of us, until Anne quietly said,
"Why dont you two go and get your backpacks, and take them to the car."
The boys went into the back of the house, and I looked at my wife.
"Im sorry," I said.
"I know." She wiped tears out of her eyes and left me alone at the table.
"You did the right thing," Prove To Everyone said.
"Fuck you," I said.
I sadly bid them farewell and watched them drive up our street. I stood at the end of our driveway long after theyd passed out of sight. When I walked into our silent and empty house, I sat at our dining room table, and wondered if Id made the right decision.