At this point, Felicia Day has become an inescapable part of the geek culture cosmos.
Aside from her many appearances in the film and TV work of Joss Whedon, from “Buffy The Vampire Slayer” on through to “Dr. Horrible’s Singalong Blog,” the actress has virtually cornered the market on crossover web series with her tongue-in-cheek fantasy serial “The Guild.” Aside from writing and starring in that series (and releasing a wave of comic tie-ins through Dark Horse, the second trade of which is on sale now), Day has expanded her entrepreneurship in 2012 with Geek & Sundry — a YouTube-based network featuring “The Guild” and scads of other shows.
On the last day of Comic-Con International in San Diego, the writer/actress sat down with CBR to unwind after a crazy weekend and spell out her big plans for the fall including a new wave of Dark Horse motion comics on Geek & Sundry, the web and comic plans for Season Six of “The Guild” and her possible involvement in the sequel to “Dr. Horrible.”
CBR News: Felicia, you’ve got a lot on your plate right now between Geek & Sundry and a new season of “The Guild” and your comics work. Who are you interacting with the most at a show like this? Where are your fans drawn from?
Felicia Day: There are still people who love “Dr. Horrible” and have never seen “The Guild.” There are people who love “Supernatural” and people who only know me from “Buffy.” And now there are people who just love “The Guild” or know me for Geek & Sundry. So I’m very blessed to be a part of a lot of different worlds in this awesome venue. This is my celebration for the year, and I love the fact that people love what I do.
Geek & Sundry have been hosting rounds of Dark Horse motion comics, and I hear a new lineup is on tap for the fall. What’s the plan there?
We’re relaunching the channel in the fall, and it’s really exciting. We got a lot of high profile anime voice actors to do parts, so Wendy Lee from “Cowboy Bebop” and a lot of awesome folks like Will Friedel and Yuri Lowenthal from “Ben 10” are involved. We reached out and got some amazing actors. I was in there listening to the recordings for the second round, and it’s been really good. We’re doing a big run of Brian Wood and Becky Cloonan’s “Conan” as well as “The Massive.” I’m a big Brian Wood fan, so I’ve just been “squee-ing” all over. We have a “Goon” Christmas special coming and some other really good titles like “The Strain” and “Criminal Macabre.” The technology in motion comics is always evolving, and I’m really happy with what’s come so far, but we wanted to make it bigger and better.
We learned that we wanted to start from the beginning a little more so that audiences that are brand new to titles can get along for the ride a bit more. That’s one of our goals for this next half, but the actors are an amazing addition.
You sit in a different position where you’re a trend setter in things like YouTube channels being built up, and you’ve got an audience willing to try new content you produce. But is there a pressure on you to succeed there, too? Do you have the luxury of saying, “This wasn’t 100% the first time. Let’s pull it apart and try it a different way”?
If I was attracted to doing low risk things or predictable things or easy things, I’d be on a half-hour sitcom right now making five figures a week. This is a world I chose to live in and is a much harder road, but to me, challenging myself and getting that feeling where you don’t know if you’ll succeed or not — I’m not excited as a creator otherwise. I feel like how can you create something with vision that really is about your creativity? In a sense, I feel like it’s my obligation to do things in a different way. A lot of people have taken what we’ve done with “The Guild” and tried to replicate it, and if it’s inspired them to do a web series or write a comic or do books, that’s so much more important than me having a really comfortable job.
I definitely would love to do higher profile jobs with bigger budgets, but I wanted to create a world where “The Guild” community and the thing it’s created — this sense of camaraderie and a shared voice — has a whole network for just that. If “The Guild” ends up stopping at some point, that community will still go on. It’ll have a home. That’s why I took this crazy challenge of creating a network from scratch. From zero! [Laughs] I mean, it’s crazy. We have such a small staff. It’s really just three women running everything. I do a weekly show, and we just announced Season Six of “The Guild.” So it’s definitely not the easy way of doing things, but I love that I can be one click away from everybody.
You started doing comics of “The Guild” after the show was well-established, so you had moments in the narrative that you could easily plug those stories into. Now that you’re working on a new season, are you looking for opportunities to synch those two stories up in the present some?
Doing the comic was definitely an interesting process, and I didn’t agree to do it until a year after Scott Allie, my editor, suggested it. It was always so up in the air whether we’d ever get to do another season from season-to-season, so I was never able to map it out long term. I knew I’d never fit a whole season between seasons in comic form because the turnaround time is much different in comics. The process is much longer than doing the web series. So the comics I’ve written so far have been prequels in the sense that they started from why Codex needs The Game all the way through the one-shots which end at the start of episode one, season one.
I’ve tried to keep them pretty separate from there. We did a “Fawkes” one-shot and a Free Comic Book Day edition and a few other one-shots, but it is a tough challenge in that I write it all myself too. I love the format. It took a while to get a handle on it because I’m not really a visual writer. Everything I’ve ever done has been from dialogue, and most of my stuff is the opposite of comics where you don’t have the real estate to do big monologues. [Laughs] But I love the format, and one of my aspirations for the next year is to create another title.
I was going to ask about that! Do you think you’ll get into developing another story or another world outside “The Guild”?
The fun thing about “The Guild” is that other characters can always fall under that umbrella. But at the end of the day, we’ve been doing it for five years. Season six will hit by the end of this year, and as a writer I’m definitely looking to explore some other avenues. I have a couple of ideas that I’m attracted to doing in the comics format. So after we get Season Six done, I’ll evaluate whether we’ll do more “Guild” comics or something from scratch.
Joss Whedon said this weekend that “Dr. Horrible 2” will be rolling this Spring. Have you been warming up your pipes for that?
Well, as you can hear right now my voice is completely shot from the show! [Laughs] I’m very excited that Joss and the crew are going to get that going. I can’t say whether I’m involved or not, but it’s something where I feel so strongly that they should make another one that I’ll just show up to make them coffee. I think retrospectively, “Dr. Horrible” really set the bar for all new media. It’s amazing that he created a whole new push that’s yet to be equalled. I think we can say that “The Guild” is one of the few other series that really stands out as a more commonly known web series, but still, it’s not something that’s broken through in a way we could ever expect to be like “Dr. Horrible” because that was so ahead of its time.
But I think this year will be a tipping point. We’ve got 100 new YouTube channels, and a lot of really high profile people are creating web-specific works. Really, people are becoming agnostic about their content. So this will be the tipping point year where people are more likely to perceive a web series as being watchable as a part of their lives rather than a novelty, and if you look at “Dr. Horrible” and how it was released, I think that’s the model that will be followed. All I can do is make the best shows I can on the web scale and hope that maybe one day I can pay people a living wage to do it with me.
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