“The Guild”‘s Felicia Day Doesn’t Stop
by Brian Walton on October 19, 2012
Felicia Day is nice. She’s also very busy. So while we feel kinda bad about taking up her time when she has such a myriad of projects in the works and on their way to you, we knew she’d be in a good mood regardless. The actress and web-series power player told us what we can expect from The Guild Season 6, upcoming programming on her YouTube Channel Geek and Sundry and her upcoming film Rock Jocks. Read on to find out how she earned the title of “Video Game Goodwill Ambassador.”
Nerdist: Dr. Horrible’s Sing-A-Long Blog aired on the CW last week. What was that like, seeing that web series transition to TV?
Felicia Day: I’ve been getting a lot of tweets and emails and blog comments about this show from people who found it. I think it’s very exciting to have made that leap from the Internet to TV for this. Because it’s such an iconic web series, I think it set a bar that we’re not even reaching today. It was so before its time. I’m just really excited that we were able to introduce it to a new audience on TV, and then also breathe new life into Dr. Horrible and hopefully do a sequel.
N: We noticed Jed tweeted something about potentially doing a sequel.
FD: Yeah, I know. They’ve been talking about it for a while. I have no idea if I’m going to take part in that or not, but I’m excited for them to be talking about it. Whether I get to participate or not, I think it’s such a rich world, people really want to see more stories told in that world. I’m crossing my fingers they can can get it going.
N: And now, we just have to get all the writers to go on strike again, which shouldn’t be hard.
FD: Yeah. Force people on vacations so they can do those types of projects.
N:The Guild Season 6 just arrived. With Season 5 and 6 you’ve kind of expanded the worldview of the guild beyond gaming. Was that always your intention, or did you just find yourself doing it a little later?
FD: We never really had a huge, concrete plan when we started. We were just making the videos that made us laugh. Thank goodness the audience laughed along with the stories that happened to come up each season. It took the show in a different direction. I think doing a web series is kind of unique, because you can’t really keep characters in stasis like you can in a TV show. We don’t have 22 episodes that cover most of the year. It’s more like an event, like a movie every year. It feels like it’s not satisfying the audience to tell a story that we’ve already told before. I think there is a sort of psychological need to always go somewhere with the characters we haven’t gone before. To go into the game company itself, it seems like really a fitting step.
N: Codex is also growing up. Obviously, you write and you play Codex. Is there a lot of you in her? Is her path mirroring yours right now? How much of that do you put the brakes on and say, “I don’t know if I want to share this much of myself in this?”
FD: I think Codex is definitely not me. She’s definitely a character I play. There’s certain aspects to her personality that maybe overlap a little bit, but I think that happens with every character you act. You’re supposed to tap into that real part of you that relates to the character and empathize with that character and work to really embody them. For Codex, I think the most similar thing that’s very personal to me this season are some of the themes about creativity and criticism and being able to deal with Internet feedback. Actually, that’s kind of a big theme this season in the character who is the creator of the game, Floyd, rather than Codex. I did infuse a lot of my personal experiences last year into this season, but it’s actually in his character versus Codex. Codex is there performing the thing that she does back, which is to heal and take care of people. I think that’s really interesting. Obviously, it’s all a comedy, but I’m definitely able to put myself as a writer a little bit into this season.
N: On your IMDB page, it’s saying one of your trademarks is “awkward, yet hyperactive personality.” In real life you don’t seem awkward, yet hyperactive. I’ve seen you be this genuine, nice person. I’ve always noticed you being a little bit reserved. Do you think that’s people inferring that because Codex is that way, you must be that way?
FD: Well, I didn’t put that on my IMDb. [LAUGHS] I think that might be because one of the roles that I’d done in the last couple years that a lot of people associate with me is Holly on Eureka. I did almost a season and a half. I would definitely describe Holly that way as awkward and very, almost aggressively excitable. But that’s not Codex. Definitely awkward is maybe something that kind of stands as a special quality in a lot of characters that I play. I think that’s actually not Codex, and kind of is the thing that sets Codex apart. She is actually very quiet and reserved. Me as a person: I can be similar or in between depending on the situation. I’m not a particularly social person when it comes to going out or hanging with groups of people. I’m much happier just kind of being in my house. It’s definitely layers. That’s why I really enjoy acting, is that you can kind of express some parts of yourself that you don’t normally do on a day-to-day basis. So being a little bit more aggressive or snarky or hyperactive: those are all things that are in me as a person that I don’t necessarily express them as myself.
N: Since we’re talking about incorrect information on IMDb pages: it seems every time Joss Whedon announces a new project, people just go through his old projects and say, “Oh, this person obviously is going to be this, and this person can be that.” Then, the character of Abigail Brand ended up on your IMDb page just because so many fans wanted to have conjecture. Was there ever a real conversation at any time about you playing that character?
FD: Uh, no. I think that was a very flattering fan-driven thing. I was never in situation where that was a reality. I would be honored to ever be part of a Marvel comic universe, obviously, because I’m a huge fan. But yeah, no. That’s a really nice IMDb line [LAUGHS] that should probably be taken off. If it’s still there…
N: You have tons of things going on in the works. Rock Jocks, that’s going through Tugg right now. People can request screenings. You’re worked with a lot of people that from the web series world on that film. Did that make the set more collaborative? Did it make it a lighter film to make?
FD: I was just an actor on that film, but I was very excited to work with a lot of people that I had worked with before. There, I met my co-producers Sheri Bryant, who is now one of the founders of Geek & Sundry with me, and my co-producer Kim Evey. That was kind of a cool project that really influenced a lot of what I do now, just meeting Sheri. Greg Aronowitz is our production designer who has worked with me on The Guild for many seasons. He was one of the producers and production designers on Dragon Age. We’ve worked together for years. He was one of the producers and production designers of that show, that movie. I had such a great time on that set. It was really inviting. I was working with a lot of crews I already knew. But it was a feature. It was very interesting to contrast as far as the set was bigger, and we were on stages for a week. It felt like I was still home because I was working with so many people I work with now. I’m really excited. The movie is really funny. It’s very profane. It’s definitely R-rated because there’s a lot of profanity. It’s extremely funny in that sort of really broad comedy way. I got to play a character I usually don’t play. She’s not the most likable character, but that was so much fun – I’m really glad I got to do that role.
N: You’re in that movie with one of my favorite people of all-time, because if you meet him, he’s the biggest sweetheart: Doug Jones.
FD: Oh, yes! I’ve had the privilege of working with Doug in many projects.
N: At what point did you guys meet? Did you guys cross paths on Buffy or did you guys meet later?
FD: I actually met Doug through another web series. I knew of his amazing work with prosthetics. I thought of him for one of the main characters in my Dragon Age web series. After that series, I actually felt guilty that he always gets to cover up his face in a lot of his parts. I was like, “I’m going to write you a role in The Guild Season 5.” He played a steampunk dandy in the convention season. Then, through Greg Aronowitz meeting him on those projects, he got involved with Rock Jocks. If you become a part of our web series family, you’re generally going to stay there as long as we can keep you there. It’s super fun. We love working with people we know. I’d rather cast a friend any day over just doing a general casting, because you just know want you’re going to get. It just makes the atmosphere just so much more relaxed and collaborative. I love Doug. I would love to work with him many times in the future, hopefully.
N: You just did some voice work for Guild Wars 2. You’ve done Dragon Age, where they actually created an expansion around you. When somebody approaches you with a game project, does it have to be a game you would play? Do you view it as a script just like any other project?
FD: I definitely have tried to choose games that I love over other games. I’m very choosy with games. I actually turn down a lot of jobs in voiceover acting because I just don’t want to be who’s in every game. People would get tired of me. I’m actually very choosy. I only choose the characters that I really feel like I either haven’t done before, or it’s a game that I’m really passionate about and I would love to work with those people, or it’s a title I would play obsessively, usually. That has kind of been the benchmark. Working with BioWare was a dream come true because I’m such a huge fan of those games. I’m a huge MMO player. I love the fact that Guild Wars 2 is not WoW, because I love WoW 2. They kind of did a lot of things that were different from the traditional MMO. That’s why being part of that title was such a thrill to be able to be in another, different kind of MMO. I always am very choosy. I don’t do every single one that’s offered to me. Usually, I have to like the game, or it has to be a kind of game that I really love.
N: You just hosted the IndieCade Awards. Do you actively seek out new indie games to play, or did they contact you because you’re kind of an “ambassador for video game goodwill in Hollywood”? We can make that your official title right now.
FD: Do I get a crown? If I get a crown, I might be interested. They actually approached me. I actually visited IndieCade for several years in a row. I’m a huge fan of indie games. In particular, I have a weekly show that I do called The Flog. I’m always looking for small developers and publishers and creators to help get the word out on. I definitely am bombarded on a daily basis with people trying to get me to share their games or their Kickstarters or IndieAGoGo indie game projects. I’m very honored that I can be help any kind of indie game get off the ground. I love being able to put a highlight on them in my weekly show. I just love playing them. Sometimes, it’s very hard if you don’t have a lot of time to play one of these triple-A titles. You’ve got to have several hours to get in to those. They’re so deep and complex. They’ve taken so many years to make. Sometimes, you just want to sit down for an hour and play a game that leaves you satisfied in a really casual way. That’s why, as a busy person, sometimes those indie games can be more satisfying than playing a big epic game sometimes. That’s why I have a particular interest in that as well. I have many, many friends who create games on that level. I love being that person that can help a little bit with a Tweet or something.
N: Dragon Age 3 got announced by BioWare. Have they talked to you at all about more Dragon Age web series goodness?
FD: Um, no. I don’t really know what the future of that would be. The web series was awesome. It was a situation where we did a lot on our budget. I love the fact that Tallis is still in the canon. I can only cross fingers that somehow she might show up again. As far as the web series itself going, they don’t have any plans right now to do that anymore.
N: If you could go through video game history and pick one character that hasn’t been brought to life, and voice it or star as that character, who that would be?
FD: Oh, wow. The Longest Journey is one of my favorite games because I love that character of April. The lead girl is a redheaded college student. She was always someone I projected myself into. I loved her so much. I don’t know. Maybe that one? It’s kind of hard. A lot of the games I played as a kid, there weren’t as many girl as guy characters. If I could live one of those great adventure games, that would be super fun.
N: What do you have coming down the pipe?
FD: The Guild Season 6 has just started really. We’re into our third episode. We have eight more episodes to go, or nine more episodes. We’re really excited because halfway through the season, we do go inside the game. Some of these really awesome shots inside the game, I think, people are really going to enjoy. We have a couple really cool guests that are coming up as well. The arc of the season kind of goes to crazy town. I’m really excited for people to see that. We do have a couple of other shows we’re launching on the network. We have a table-top gaming news show called On The Table we’re launching, as well as Space Janitors, which is a show we’re re-launching. It’s very funny. They’re also in production on a show called Learning Town, which stars Paul & Storm, who are a really nerdy singing duo. They’re popular in underground geek culture. We’re working on that. Hopefully, we get to make another year of content. Right now, we’re just feeling out what we want to add to the network and what kind of shows we could do. Personally, I’m definitely looking to do other acting. It’s always a constant juggle to put on the acting hat, the writer hat and the producer hat. Thank goodness: from now until the end of the year, I’m kind of figuring out what those next projects are.
N: And finally, what’s your favorite skill been so far to learn for The Flog?
FD: Oh, my gosh. I really loved driving that bulldozer. For sheer enjoyment factor, I could’ve done that absolutely all day. I’m not even exaggerating. It was kind of like a video game, because there were so many joysticks that you had to operate it. Really, it could be its own video game. I have to say that was my favorite.
Tune in to The Guild Season 6 on Geek and Sundry on YouTube and go to Tugg.com to request a screening of Rock Jocks. You can also see her on the Geek and Sundry episode of Chris Hardwick’s All Star Celebrity Bowling on the Nerdist Channel.