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Future Entertainment Part 1: Reviewing ‘The Guild’

Introduction
The times, they are a-changin’. Really. This is a three-part series about how entertainment is changing and why that can only be a good thing in the long run:

Part 1 – ‘The Guild’

Part 2 – ‘Doctor Horrible’s Sing-Along Blog’

Part 3 – What’s next?

What’s ‘The Guild’, then?
The abbreviated version is that it’s a Internet series written by and starring Felicia Day that recently won the YouTube ‘Best Series’ award and ‘On Networks/SXSW Greenlight Award’ for best web series. It follows the exploits of a group of Online Gamers (they play an unspecified MMORG – Massively Multiplayer Online Game) who, because of circumstances,  meet in real life. This is difficult for them, and hilarious for us. There are 10 episodes in Season 1 and the final episode is due to be released next week. UPDATE 15th May 2008: Episode 10: Boss Fight has now been posted on YouTube and can also be viewed on the WatchTheGuild.com website.

An Internet Series?
Originally Felicia Day had written The Guild as a half hour pilot for TV, but it was turned down as being too ‘specialised’. And why did she write it at all? Well, for two years Felicia was addicted to World of Warcraft. Also, as an actor she had not seen any major roles for female gamers or geeks that were not heavily stereotyped as wearing glasses and snorting when they laugh. The producer, Kim Evey, had already had success on the Internet (see ‘Georgeous Tiny Chicken Machine Show’  for a brilliant example) so putting Kim, Felicia and Jane Selle Morgan together with Greg Benson almost guaranteed a highly-watchable series. Instead of just shelving the project and moving on, Felicia decided to go ahead and, with the help and encouragement of the team, Episode 1 of ‘The Guild’ was thrust upon an unsuspecting Internet audience on July 27th, 2007. Since then, it has been gaining viewers, winning competitions and inspiring other artists to look at the Internet as a viable distribution network. Notably, Joss Whedon, during the WGA strike, contacted Felicia about a new project made for the Internet after he had seen ‘The Guild’. He wrote it with his brothers Zach Whedon and Jed Whedon and Jed’s finacee Maurissa Tancharoen. It’s a three-part musical called Doctor Horrible’s Sing-Along Blog starring Nathan Fillion, Neil Patrick Harris and Felicia Day.

Cast and Credits (from YouTube watchtheguild channel):

Created by and Starring: Felicia Day (Codex)
Also Starring: Vincent Caso (Bladezz) Jeff Lewis (Vork) Amy Okuda (Tinkerballa) Sandeep Parikh (Zaboo) Robin Thorsen (Clara)

Directed and Edited by: Jane Selle Morgan, Greg Benson

Produced by: Kim Evey (Gorgeous Tiny Chicken Machine Show), Felicia Day and Jane Selle Morgan)

What’s happened so far?

9 out of 10 episodes from Season 1 have been released (thumbnails from watchtheguild.com):

Episode 1: Wake-Up Call Thumbnail
[3:58]
The action starts in the bedroom. Codex’s bedroom. She has been having problems engaging with real life and has been spending too much time online with her  Guild. This has some unexpected consequences…  
Episode 2: Zaboo’d
 Thumbnail
[2:48]
With her new-found house guest, Codex must try and make some decisions and take positive action. That was never going to be easy…  
Episode 3: The Macro Problem Thumbnail
[4:28]
With her home life in disarray the last thing Codex needs is a problem with her one remaining source of comfort, so when The Guild is threatened, will it push her over the edge?
Episode 4: Cheesybeards Thumbnail
[5:06]
Forced to take action, Codex arranges for The Guild members to meet up in real life for the first time. Maybe some things are better imagined… 
Episode 5: Rather Be Raiding Thumbnail
[6.49]
Being skilled in the art of online healing apparently does not prepare Codex for the realities of keeping The Guild meeting on track. Can The Guild survive and pull together? 
Episode 6: Total Wipe Thumbnail
[5.33]
The aftermath of the Cheesybeards’ meeting causes more mayhem for The Guild. What a comfort it is for Codex that Zaboo is there…
Episode 7: Home Invasion Thumbnail
[4.05]
Just when it seems that things could not get any worse, Codex experiences the full force of a mother’s obsession. But could it have a positive outcome?
Episode 8: Tipping Point   [3.29]  Codex becomes a ninja but fails to dress herself properly. Still, Zaboo has a plan…Help me, Codex-One, you’re my only hope. 
Episode 9: Owning Bladezz  Thumbnail
[4.48]
The Guild meet up to face down their nemesis and use the only tactics left to them – but will it work?  

We are eagerly awaiting Episode 10, the climax of Season 1. Will there be a cliffhanger? My bet is that there will be! For a roundup of all the lastest Guild-related interviews you can try the handy guide I published on my other blog, ‘the last geek bus home‘. And Felicia is already hard at work writing for Season 2, so there will be more to look forward later in the year. For the team there are issues about funding, timing and filming to address and these are same issues that all Internet-based programs will have to deal with. But from where I’m standing, the future is bright indeed.

One more thing!
I nearly forgot to mention that you can see Felicia Day, Jeff Lewis and Sandeep Parikh (who play Codex, Vork and Zaboo in ‘The Guild’) appearing as the Improvision Group ‘Being Humans’ (name nice) for the last time this Friday 16th at 10.30 PM. Felicia has already said that her stage work this year is going to be very limited so now is your chance to see her live – being funny! Anyone who has seen ‘The Guild’ outtakes will know that Jeff Lewis and Sandeep Parikh are seriously funny people. So the prospect of some live on-stage action between the three of them is exciting indeed. Yes. For full details see WatchtheGuild.com.

UPDATE: June 5th – Being Humans have confirmed three new dates: Friday June 6th, 13th, and 20th. Performances start at 10.30 pm and full details are on WatchtheGuild.com. Go, enjoy, post your photos on their Flickr page and then tell us how great it was!

In Part 2:
Why Doctor Horrible’s Sing-Along Blog heralds another step-change for Internet-based entertainment, and what it might look like.

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May 12, 2008 - Posted by | Felicia Day, Joss Whedon, The Guild | , , , , , ,

6 Comments »

  1. Howdy! I found your Blogger blog–so if I want to follow you, are there TWO blogs that I should add to the RSS feed? This is quite confusing.

    Comment by John Brougher | May 14, 2008 | Reply

  2. Hi John,

    I’m a big fan of Freelance Switch and your podcast Freelance Radio, so I hope it’s not too inconvenient for you! This blog is likely to be updated weekly with more focussed articles, while I’ll be keeping Blogger for the usual stream-of-consciousness geek musings.

    Of course, if I had actually planned things properly I would have registered my own site and hosted everything there. This is probably the solution in the long term, but then there’s the whole ‘messing people around’ issue…

    Any thoughts/advice?

    Comment by worldofhiglet | May 14, 2008 | Reply

  3. That was interesting & well written.

    Haha, I just went and watched the episodes of The Guild :) I think it’s exciting that this sort of thing is on the internet.

    Comment by chiyapike | May 15, 2008 | Reply

  4. Hi Chiya,

    Thanks for your comments. I’m glad you went to watch ‘The Guild’ – it is a very funny series! Last episode of Season 1 is apparently to be released today – so watch out for that!

    Comment by worldofhiglet | May 15, 2008 | Reply

  5. hmmm… lost me on this one. I need the advice as much as you do… lol

    Comment by Macros | June 11, 2008 | Reply

  6. Nope, Macros, I’m obviously more lost.

    Where did you get lost, exactly, and where can we get the advice? :)

    Comment by worldofhiglet | June 11, 2008 | Reply


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