It’s really rare that we get the chance to interview someone about something other than the video game they are working on or whatever product they are hawking so we jumped at the chance to interview Felicia Day. If you don’t know who she is she’s the director/writer/star of The Guild, an online show about a guild of World of Warcraft players. She’s also a veteran Hollywood actress who’s appeared in Buffy the Vampire Slayer, House, and will be starring in an upcoming episode of Dollhouse.
Can you talk about your earliest video game memories and why you like games so much? How did you get into WOW and what other games are you currently playing? What game are you most looking forward to coming out to this year?
Gaming was my #1 pastime as a kid. I was homeschooled and it was the best thing I did to pass time at home alone with my brother. We would fight over who got to play :). My earliest memory was playing Zork on my grandpa’s “Laptop”, which was so huge, it was the size of a desk, haha. One time we ran up a 300 dollar phone bill calling into the Sierra hint line for King’s Quest. That didn’t my Mom very happy at the time.
I got into WOW several years ago because my brother recruited me into his guild, but I’ve always played every RPG out there for the PC.
For this year, I am definitely looking forward to more about the KOTOR and Star Trek MMORPGs and Diablo 3 of course: Diablo 2 was almost the death of my college career.
Your acting work and your work on The Guild must take up a huge amount of time, how much time do you spend gaming for fun? What other game systems do you own?
I play at least 10-20 hours a week. I have a Wii and an Xbox, a DS, games on my iPhone and of course games on my Mac/PC. I definitely don’t get to play as much as I would LIKE due to all the work I’m doing on my web shows, but it’s never a tossup between going OUT and staying IN to play games: the games always win the Friday night.
Can you talk about the process that goes into creating an episode of The Guild? How long does each episode take from start to finish? What have been the hardest lessons you've learned in producing the show? Which episode has been the hardest for you to do? Which one was the easiest?
For season 2 I wrote the whole season at once, it turned out to be 100 pages, feature length, and rewrote the episodes between shoots on the weekends. We averaged a day and a half an episode this season, because we had more locations, more crew and actors, and were shooting on HD. It was a much bigger affair for Season 2. The hardest lesson I guess was learning how to roll out episodes 1x a week instead of 1x a month. A lot of logistics to work out and get the episodes delivered on time.
The easiest episodes are the ones where the cast are at their computers separately, and the hardest episodes were the last four of Season 2 because we had like 20 extras, were shooting in small quarters, fight scenes, etc. It was a lot to chew off on such a small budget! The good will of the fans comes in handy for our show; we’re so lucky that they’re talented and want to help make the show what it is.
Congratulations on wrapping season 2. Do you foresee a complete story arc with the Guild, one that comes to a calculated end--or is this a series that you feel can continue indefinitely?
I didn’t set out for this to continue indefinitely, but it seems like these characters have a will of their own, stories for them keep popping up in my head, so I’ll continue as long as that happens!
How did you come up with the avatar names for each character? What were some of the names that were rejected?
Interesting question! Codex has been my handle all my life, it’s from the Ultima games. I definitely remember Zaboo’s name was “Puck” at one point, and Clara’s was “Muffins”, until I had the idea of her using her own name.
What challenges do you face as an Internet producer? Is it hard to make a living making a career out of the Internet?
I definitely don’t make my living off the internet, I’m an actress and pay my bills that way :)
Even though The Guild feels like a sitcom more than something created by video game fans (ie RvB, Low REz, and Video Game Theater) and I think the reason why is that the language used when talking about "the game" is kind of generic MMO speak. Was this intentional to avoid any legal complications or we're you trying to reach a larger audience? How do you balance a show that caters to the hardcore with making the show accessible to someone who doesn't know a murloc from a minotaur?
Yes, we deliberately use generic RPG terminology, at first to avoid copyright, and then after that to make sure we focused on the characters and not arguing about crit ratings etc. It’s a delicate balance between satisfying the gaming aspects and the non-gaming aspects, but at the end of the day, these characters are people who game, they’ve created a community through gaming, but they’re more than their labels of “gamers.” As we all are.
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