Season 2 of The Guild launched today. The first 10-episodes of the online series created by World of Warcraft junkie Felicia Day were made possible by contributions from viewers like you, but the show’s sophomore season has a big-time sponsor and distributor (in addition to using equipment donated by the Casanovas crew).
Microsoft has “an exclusive lock” on the next 12-episodes and Sprint will sponsor the series that seeks to find “what happens when hardcore online gamers stop gazing into their laptops and cross into the messy territory of real life.” It will be the first show “distributed worldwide simultaneously across Miscrosoft’s triple platform of Xbox 360’s Live Marketplace, MSN, and Zune.”
So what does that mean?
Well, The Guild will premiere on Xbox Live’s flagship channel for online, original programming – the Independent Channel – along other shows like Jace Hall and Red vs. Blue, and the tech behemoth has a four week window on each installment of the series. After that period, you’ll be able watch episodes outside the Microsoftiverse at WatchTheGuild.com.
I’ll be interested to see where most of the viewers com from as the season progresses. Real estate on a gaming platform seems to be a natural location for a show about gamers, plus XBox will distribute the series “day-and-date in nine languages in 26 countries where Xbox Live operates, reaching 14 million users.” That’s a helluva lot of potential fans.
To the presumed delight of Kent Nichols (and really a great sign for all independent content creators), Day also maintains ownership of the show and gets to keep all intellectual property rights.
Pretty sweet deal, right? So how’d Day get it? The show’s well done. Very well done. And its leading lady has surrounded herself with an all-star online video crew, including Legend of Neil‘s Sandeep Parikh, Mediocre Film‘s better half aka Gorgeous Tiny Chicken Machine Show‘s Kim Evey, Awkward Pictures‘ Sean Becker, and ICM‘s talent agent to online video stars (and real-life gamer) George Ruiz.
I recently caught up with Felicia Day to talk to her about the show’s second season and why she thinks The Guild has done so well.
Tilzy.TV: What’s Season 2 going to be about?
Felicia Day: It continues the story from season 1. Zaboo is still at Codex’s, only things have gotten worse: Definitely more annoying.
Tilzy.TV: Any new additions/cameos we should look out for?
Day: No new Guild members, but there are a few new characters for the season that are integral to the real lives of the Guildies.
Tilzy.TV: Was Season 2 harder or easier to make than Season 1? In what ways?
Day: Well, it was both. Our accelerated schedule of shooting definitely was challenging, since we only shot once a month last season. We’ve been shooting non-stop on weekends for almost two months now, because the script is 40 pages longer than last season (and two episodes longer)! Also, we started with a small budget comprised of leftover DVD money and our own money, but in the middle of shooting Xbox Live approached us.
On the plus side have many more crew members than we did last year because the goal was to up the production values: And we did! HD baby! Having more crew, many of whom were volunteers to begin with, has made it much easier for us to shoot because we can concentrate on writing/producing rather than set design and craft services, etc.
We have a director for the whole season, Sean Becker who is so talented, so we’ve put together a wonderful team and I think it shows in the episodes.
Tilzy.TV: Can you give me any numbers/breakdowns on production costs?
Day: No, but we’re still on a web budget
Tilzy.TV: If it wasn’t before, I think The Guild is officially an independent webshow success story. How has it worked when so many other shows haven’t?
Day: I work on this show 4-6 hours a day and my co-producer Kim Evey works almost that. We care about every aspect of this show, even when we’re not filming we personally answer all the emails, we maintain the websites and comments, etc.
I think it requires that much dedication and faith. We are working outside the system and we didn’t ask for permission to make our show. We did it about a subject that no one would have greenlit through traditional channels. This is a passion project and I think it shows in the work and the way we interact with our fans. We’d do it even if there was no way to fund it because we love the cast and crew and audience so much. Cheesy but true.
Tilzy.TV: What’s your end goal for the The Guild? You want to make the transition to TV?
Day: I love working in TV as an actor, but doing this show for the web, for this audience, is fantastic. I love inventing a new way of telling stories. I want to help other people create new ways to create stories as well. This is the Sundance of the new millenium.
Tilzy.TV: What’s up with your machinima show?
Day: In the middle of production. Really fun project, more to come in the next month or show. I can tell you that having two web series in production and acting on a sitcom for 4 weeks in the middle of it made me age about 10 years, haha. I need a video game vacation.
Tilzy.TV: Anything else I should know?
Day: We’re very excited about the show being launched internationally and working with Xbox Live. I would urge creators everywhere to make things without permission and try to retain control of their property, because without your ideas, there would be nothing.
Find out where to watch Season 2 of The Guild at WatchTheGuild.com.