Felicia Day: "Five Things About 2010"

January 2nd, 2011 by

Terrific blog post from actress, writer, and producer Felicia Day.  Here’s her lede:

I think most of us get to this time of year and we look ahead to the next, setting goals and kindling that feeling of excitement of going into the New Year with a fresh start.  I know I’m the guiltiest of all for setting unrealistic expectations for resolutions (Last year on my list were: Learn Chinese, and Trapeze Lessons.  Huh?) but this year I decided to, before making a list, look back on 2010 and figure out what things I actually LEARNED as a human being.  Writing these things down really helped me put things in perspective, and made me more excited to set realistic goals for the next year.  I wanted to share these because maybe they could help someone else too, or at least inspire your own list!

All “five things” are great, especially good advice for the start of the New Year.  I’ll just excerpt one specific to writing:

If you want the prize, you have to build the ladder rung by rung.  There are no shortcuts.

The process of writing has never been fast and fluid with me, but I recognized the fact this year that I had unrealistic expectations with my first drafts; that I expected them to come out fully formed and perfect, and that the need to rewrite made me feel like I was a failure.  Then I read some biographies and some great writing books, talked to some writers I admire, and realized that good writers lay down a foundation and then refine and refine.  The first draft is a first step, nothing more!

I’ve realized that this point applies to other things in life as well.  A lot of us see people we admire, and we might envy them and feel like we deserve to be where THEY are, think things like, “Why do THEY have that role and not me?!”  (I know I felt that early in my acting career a lot.)  But the reality is, that those people built their careers rung by rung, role by role, draft by draft.  Yes, sometimes it’s luck, but mostly it is HARD WORK that shouldn’t be resented:  That work is what makes success all the sweeter, so learning to enjoy that BETWEEN work is the key to success, I truly believe it.

Felicia is talking about prep-writing and the insight she had about it underscores why I promote it as a one of the most critical aspects of a successful creative process.

Felicia goes on to talk about the web series she created called The Guild, now in its 4th season. Here is the first episode of season 3:

I promoted the series here in January 2009, so I’m happy to have contributed even in a tiny way to her success with “The Guild.”

To read the rest of Felicia’s inspirational blog post, go here.  And while you’re at it, check out “The Guild.”

"Felicia Day Talks New Season of The Guild, Xbox Deal"

January 6th, 2009 by

We’ve looked at scripted Web series here, here, and here and the trend toward Internet based “TV” content continues. Wired recently featured actress-writer Felicia Day and her web series “The Guild”:

Felicia Day took a pleasant, if troubling, addiction to World of Warcraft and transformed it into a successful and popular web series, The Guild. Now that show is back with an exclusive distribution deal through Microsoft’s Xbox and the game console’s Independent Video Channel.”The Guild’s partnership with Xbox is revolutionary,” Day told Wired.com. “Our little non-industry show is literally made in my backyard with talented, dedicated friends. But, it’s getting equal status with network shows because of the millions of viewers we can reach with Xbox.”

The deal with Microsoft and Xbox is obviously huge, but the point which grabbed my eye was how Day financed an entire seasons of webisodes:

Day originally wrote the show as a pilot, but was told a series about gamers was “too niche” for TV. She partnered with Kim Evey (Gorgeous Tiny Chicken Machine Show), and the pair decided to produce the show as a web series. The first season of The Guild consisted of shorts that ran from three to six minutes. The popular show was supported by fans who made donations through PayPal.

PayPal. If that isn’t a perfect example of “If you build it, they will come,” what is? Web content is akin to spec scripts as the creator is putting a product ‘out there’ hoping the right set (or sets) of eyeballs dials in. So my first question: Have you ever produced any content for the Web? My second is: Are you considering creating content for the Web? Like movies, it’s storytelling. Indeed, as we noted here, YouTube launched Screening Room as a platform for longer form content, basically short movies. It’s all headed the way of the Web. Should all of us be thinking more in that direction as well as the traditional studio model for full length feature films?

Felicia Day makes this observation in the Wired piece:

“Online production and distribution evens the playing field,” Day said. “I consider Hollywood a dammed-up lake. There are only a few release valves for all of that creativity to flow through — and that’s keeping talented people and good material from reaching the public. Online lets that creativity flow without middlemen dictating what the audience should like.”

More power to her for creating content and putting it ‘out there.’ And here is Episode 1 of “The Guild.”