It was a homecoming of sorts for the cast and crew of the popular web series, “The Guild,” who made a triumphant return to Long Beach Comic Con, otherwise known to Guildies far and wide as the real home of season five’s fake “MegaGame-O-RamaCon.” Director Sean Becker, Producer Kim Evey, Production Designer Greg Aronowitz and cast members Vincent Caso, Amy Okuda, and Robin Thorsen all joined writer/creator Felicia Day to discuss the show’s success, its epic cast of celebrity cameos and everything in between.
Evey and Day officially kicked off the panel by thanking the producers of Long Beach Comic Con, which played a major role in season five, and then several fans in attendance whom they both recognized as being part of the army of extras who helped to create the show’s most ambitious season yet.
The first question went to Day, who was asked if she thought her show helped pave the way for other web series. “I think ‘The Guild’ has definitely helped open doors for people,” she said. “I hope that it encouraged other people to go out and make a web series — tell their own stories — whatever budget they have to work with.”
The writer, producer and actress admitted that “The Guild’s” success might also have an adverse affect. “I think some people are disappointed sometimes when they have their web series and they’ll upload it and it doesn’t get millions of hits,” Day said. “When somebody asks me, you know, they’ll take me to lunch and they’ll be like: ‘Hey, can you tell me how to do a web series?’ I’m like: ‘Are you prepared to work eighteen hours a day?’
“Your video is just a small part of your web series,” Day continued. “I guess that’s the lesson that I think ‘The Guild’ kind of shows about web series is that it’s not about just the videos — it’s about making the best videos you can, but also creating a community and making people feel involved.”
One fan asked if geek icon Wil Wheaton, (“Eureka,” “Star Trek: The Next Generation”) was actually in the mysterious canine Furry suit every time it was spotted throughout season five.
“We actually had a variety of people in that Furry suit, but we gave them all what we call ‘Wil Wheaton walking lessons,'” Day explained. “So they would all, you know — I don’t know, it was just an essence of Wil Wheaton’s walking.”
When pressed about what exactly was the “essence” of a Wil Wheaton walk, Day quipped, “Walk with the loins.”
Fans were also treated to some behind the scenes dish about one of the production issues that plagued “The Guild” in season five when Day gleefully recounted that Amy Okuda could not fit her head into the Tink Furry costume created for episode eight. “So, Kim Evey, producer and Furry stand-in extraordinaire, she was in the suit,” she explained.
“If you see that scene, actually Amy Okuda is off-screen doing her dialogue and I was acting with a plush version of her on-screen and that was the weirdest acting I’ve ever done,” Evey said. “I finally had that thing where you go out of your brain and you’re like, ‘What am I doing with my life? I’m acting with a furry version of a woman.'”
With a cast of more than two hundred sixty extras and enough celebrity cameos to fill an entire season of programming on the SyFy channel, it was understandably difficult for the cast and crew to pick a favorite moment from season five, but that didn’t stop them from trying.
“I think any part of the Steampunk, for me, was just rad.” Thorsen, who plays the fun-loving Clara, said.
“You know what was really fun? Godzilla or Tinkzilla was my favorite outfit,” Okuda said, explaining that Production Designer Greg Aronowitz came up with the idea on set to build paper houses that Tinkzilla could crush in a mighty rage. “I got to crush them and it was fun. I also got to crush some camcorders which was really fun!”
“Anything you crush was basically your favorite part of the season?” Day asked.
“Yes! I like to destroy things,” Okuda confirmed.
“My favorite part of the season was the dynamic chemistry between Vork and Nathan Fillion,” director Sean Becker shared.
Aronowitz confided his favorite moment in season five actually took place behind the scenes when the two actresses cast as Tink’s twin sisters never showed up to shoot their roles and one of the extras on set had to be promoted. “It was one of those things that, you know, it’s just a Hollywood dream to be standing there and have the producer turn and [say,] ‘You’ve got moxie, kid!'”
“My favorite was the whole scene in the apartment at the celebrity party where I got to do the whole walkthrough,” Vincent Caso said. “Rick Fox actually was amazing.”
When asked how they were able to secure the huge roster of celebrity guest cameos that had Twitter and other social media sites buzzing, Day said, “We just called people. You know, I guess just doing a lot of shows and doing a lot of conventions, we meet a lot of people who do a lot of awesome things and so we just sort of happened to get to know them on Twitter or emailed them and they actually all — everybody but one person — showed up and that one person didn’t show up because they had a scheduling conflict.”
One fan asked about the physicality involved in “Dragon Age: Redemption,” Day’s newest web series for popular game developer BioWare as compared to her work on “The Guild.” “That was definitely different from just sitting and playing on a computer game. To actually have to do sit-ups? That’s a horrible exercise, guys! Why? Why does the stomach need to move like that in order to be firm?” she asked. “It makes no sense to me. There should be a pill or a salve. Something should firm that shit up!”
To play Tallis, the deadly Elven assassin, Day underwent extreme physical training for three months. “It was kind of my equivalent of being naked on film,” she said. “It’s like — I’ll never do that, but then, you know, those girls in thirteen years are like: ‘Look how hot I was!’ Well, that’s my equivalent. ‘Dragon Age’ would be that for me.”
One fan was curious to know if Day, a well-known Sci-Fi enthusiast, would be interested in creating something for the genre, and while admitting that she would love to do a show that took place on a spaceship at some point, Day was also candid about the hurdles involved in creating a believable new universe.
“After doing ‘Dragon Age’ the web series, you know, you realize that the web scale, it’s very challenging to pull off creating a whole new world on the web scale that we have right now,” she said. “Kim [Evey] and I are definitely long term thinking about bigger projects like that, but in the interim, we have like many smaller projects that we are working on right now to do for the web and we’re really excited about those.”
Given that the last episode of season five was titled “Grand Finale,” and story-wise, everything was wrapped up quite tidily, Day was asked if the Knights of Good would be returning for a sixth season.
“We have to wait until we get picked up. Microsoft could wait until the end of the year to let us know,” Day said. “It’s always a question mark. We love working with them and Sprint who has just sponsored us for four seasons. You know, we’ll see. My fingers are crossed and I definitely have another story to tell if we get picked up.”
Season five of The Guild is available online at www.watchtheguild.com.