With the second episode of The Guild now live on the web, former Buffy the Vampire Slayer actress Felicia Day (she played Vi) and her band of renegade guildies aim to bring us a fun web-delivered sitcom of sorts for our geeky entertainment. Felicia wrote the popular webisode series and stars in it as well.
The show is directed by Jane Selle Morgan, and is produced by Kim Evey (Gorgeous Tiny Chicken Machine Show), Felicia Day and Jane Selle Morgan.
I recently had the privilege of interviewing Felicia (aka Codex) to get the scoop on "The Guild." The interview continues after the break.
Ryan: What gave you the idea for "The Guild"?
Felicia: I had a REALLY bad WOW addiction for almost 2 years. The life of an actor is either very busy or VERY SLOW, and I filled every second of the slow times with WOW. I knew it was bad when I was turning down professional opportunities to run MC with my alt :) So I had to stop for a while, cold turkey was the only way to go to get my life under control. The problem was I missed my Guildies a lot, that was why I played so much, because I enjoyed hanging out with them. I also thought that so many interesting types of people were online gamers, and that most the world was unaware of the whole sub-culture. So I decided to write something to show the world that gamers weren't just guys in their 20's who lived in their mom's basement. That cliche has become so annoying. I love doing comedy and I wanted to write something that didn't make fun of gamers but was funny to gamers and non-gamers alike.
I first wrote "The Guild" as a sitcom pilot, but everyone said it was too "niche." So I decided, with two other producers' help, to make it for the web, because I knew people would appreciate it here.
Ryan: I think the web audience has responded very well to the project, as far as I have seen. So what do you hope to accomplish with the series, is it just for fun or do you have a specific goal for it in mind?
Felicia: We did the initial episodes for fun, because the script made us laugh. The goal is to get a web content site to help us produce and feature the show. Everyone working on "The Guild" is a professional in the film biz and working for free as of now. Putting out an episode every 2 weeks would be an ideal goal, and having a dedicated site with forums and support would be amazing. I can dream!
Ryan: Are the actors actually in your guild? Are they good friends or just fellow actors you know?
Felicia: A few of the other actors are gamers, but none play MMORPGs. Sandeep, who played Zaboo, actually wrote, directed and produced the short called "Legend of Neil" which is a hilarious spoof of Zelda, a definite must-see on YouTube. Sandeep and Jeff Lewis, who plays Vork, are improv actors who I perform with at a LA improv theater. They are hilarious and I specifically wrote their parts for them. The rest of the cast was found through auditions, and each of them came in and owned their roles. They are really top notch and I'm so lucky that we found them. I consider them all friends now.
Ryan: About how long does it take to shoot and produce an episode? Can you take about the process you guys use a lil, many of our readers would love tips on movie making if you have a few tips.
Felicia: We shot the first three episodes all together in 2 1/2 days. It was all shot in our houses with a minimum money spent on props and sets. I was literally driving around at 5 am to someone's curb to get stuff posted on Craig's list "free" for Bladezz's set. It was a huge group effort to do everything for minimal money. The next episodes will take 1-2 days to shoot each, full days. We're preparing now to shoot the next two episodes in two days. It's really ambitious to do a webisode like a real sitcom, but somehow it continues to come together.
My advice on film making is that if you have an idea, go ahead and just do it. It isn't that difficult if you have a real vision of the end product and get people with experience to help you. Make sure to work on other films sets if you can, for free, and learn how to be professional and make the most of everyone's time. Movie making can take FOREVER and you need to have a clear plan going in, or you can end up with a mess.
Make sure you have a really solid script. It doesn't need to look perfect if it's funny and is a good story. This is a new age for film, where anyone can take a camera and post their work on the Internet for everyone to see. Take advantage of it. If you think TV shows suck, write something yourself and shoot it with your friends. It will be a lot of work, but you'll have a great time and having an end product you can show people ... priceless.
Ryan: Who's idea was it to have the baby chew on the power-strip in the first episode? I laughed so hard at that, such classic subtle humor.
Felicia: I can claim credit for that :) We wanted the baby to be playing with something and we had very little time (because babies don't always do what you want them to do) and someone said, "Get the baby a rattle," and I was like, "No, we have to get the baby something inappropriate to hold, because Clara is a horrible mother!" so I ran into my garage and got that power strip. We didn't even clean it off, come to think about it. Sorry, baby.
Ryan: Lawls. Do you have any info on the future of The Guild for us, any sneak peek juicy tidbits you can (and want to) give us to look forward to?
Felicia: The goal is to get a small budget to be able to pay for the show, ideally featured on a video content website. I don't want to give any story hints, but we will definitely spend more time exploring all the characters, and...no one is normal, I promise you that :)
Ryan: Why the class shift? I know you play a warlock, what was the reasoning behind a character that plays a priest? Do you think there is some sort of expectation that women should play healers in general, or did you just love the name Codex enough to build a priest instead?
Felicia: The player name is actually my Internet name from when I was like 12 years old. I took it from Ultima 5, and the book of infinite wisdom. Can we say geeky? :) I wanted Codex to play a priest because it was the class that fit her personality the most. She's not assertive, she has a terrible anxiety disorder, and I saw her as more of a supportive person rather than a flashy front man. I think in-game certain personalities are drawn to certain classes. It's like when I played violin in an orchestra: you could definitely match personalities with instruments. Same thing in-game. I was always a little more huffy when I was on my warlock as opposed to my priest.
I don't agree with the stereotype that women should be healers, although I think that they might adopt those classes more often, maybe because men are more aggressive in claiming the DPS classes, and someone has to heal. In my raid there were plenty of men healing, and the raid was 1/3 girls.
Ryan: Definitely not a stereotype that holds up well on any of the servers I play on, though it is a popular one in conversations. Before you go, is there anything else you would like to say, any sage wisdom, a message, advice for us, or even your personal soapbox?
Felicia: I guess my message would be that if you're in a guild, make sure you try to meet your guildies. You'll be surprised that hanging out in person is even more fun than playing online. And you'll be less tempted to flame them when they wipe the group if you know their face. :)
Also, if you're in the web content business feel free to contact us through our YouTube account, watchtheguild. A new episode will be up in less that 2 weeks, so make sure to subscribe!
Ryan: Well, thanks for taking the time to chat with me Felicia, I appreciate it, and we all look forward to your new episodes. "The Guild" is one of my favorite web shows for sure. I can't wait for more!
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