Catching Up With Felicia Day
Since gracing the cover of Paste mPlayer Issue #15, Felicia Day has been up to a lot—including hosting the official 2012 IndieCade Awards Ceremony, which happened just last last week. Often referred to as the “Sundance of the game industry,” developers and fans from across the world gather to IndieCade’s festival and professional conference each year in Culver City.
Before she took the stage though, we got a chance to catch up with the actress, writer and
Paste: Is this your first time at IndieCade?
Felicia Day: I’ve actually attended IndieCade the last two years. I went and I tried out a bunch of games and I just walked around and I was just surprised. I just saw it in the paper and I was like “this sounds cool,” and the fact that there were so many people celebrating all these indie games that was just fabulous. It definitely made me go home and either follow the game to make sure that I got it when it released or bought games that were already on display that were for purchase. I just think it’s an awesome display of independent gaming.
Paste: Just to catch our readers up: it’s been around a year since we did our cover story on you. At the time you were enjoying the success of that current season of The Guild and the Dragon Age web series. Since then I know you’ve launched a new Youtube channel—but give us a brief overview of what the past year has been like for you.
Day: In the last year, I have launched a Youtube channel. It’s funded by Youtube and it’s called Geek and Sundry. It’s a collection of web series that all kind of fall under things that I like. So I do a weekly show that my friend Will Wheaton and I created called “Table Top”, which is a 30-minute board game show. Basically, he plays board games—a different game and different group of geeky friends to play with each week.
We have “Written by a Kid”, which is a really cute show where kids tell stories every week and a different director interprets that story. And we have a book club show called “Swords and Laser” and “Dark Horse Comics” does motion comics with us. We have a couple of other scripted shows — as well as Season 6 of The Guild. So while I would like to say that I was on vacation for a year, but it’s actually quite the opposite of that. I’ve actually been working harder than I’ve ever worked, but surprisingly I’m pretty happy because it’s everything I’ve always wanted to do: make a channel of cool things.
Paste: You’ve always been a writer/actor, but how has it been working on multiple shows and wearing so many different hats?
Day: I think that the creative part of all the logistics of producing all these shows has been really fun for me. I want to help other people make things and I want to help people get there stuff out there. So the idea that I could go to my friends and be like “Hey, pitch me a show, I’m going to try to find a spot for that thing you love,”—that’s just a huge privilege. I guess the other side of that coin is the immense amount of business “know-how” and logistical coordination it takes to run a company. That’s not something I have a background in—so thank goodness I have two partners who help me through that. But let me just tell you: during accounting and staff meetings I tend to go a little wiggy or just browse on the internet a lot more than if I was in a creative meeting, to be honest with you.
But the cool thing is is that it’s given us the chance to do a startup company and employ people to help us do the things. Literally it’s only been two women for four years, so it’s quite a relief. But at the same time managing people is almost as hard as doing it yourself — so it’s an interesting balance.
Paste: “Written By a Kid” strikes me as really cool because it seems to fit into a category outside the gaming and geek culture that the other shows fit into. It seems like the kind of thing that my parents would probably think is hilarious. Was that intentional in wanting to reach out a little bit?
Day: Yeah, I definitely wanted to broaden the appeal of the show. I wanted to have a bigger umbrella because a lot of people who love The Guild aren’t necessarily gamers, and being so intense game-heavy for so many years, I was kind of interested in stepping out of that, but not so far that I left my fans behind, so I do a little bit of a gaming component on my weekly show, The Flog. But yeah, you’re right, when we put all the shows together we wanted to create a voice that was unique—there’s a lot of gamey stuff out there and I didn’t want to do a show unless I know that it’s not something somebody else is doing and that’s kind of the definition of everything we do. We don’t have a lot of money still, and we have to be choosy, and I definitely want to make a community under ‘Geek and Sundry’ that people can enjoy videos under. It’s all about creating the community and sort of vibe of the content, which is important to me. So, next year, if we get picked up for another year of content, maybe we’ll add more gaming stuff, but hopefully people will find things that they hadn’t discovered before like a board game, or like a fantasy novel, and they’ll pick it up and they’ll be enriched by those videos, like just seeing the same thing over and over again.
Paste: The Flog, is your weekly personal show and it has a segment each episode where you go out and try something in the real world. So what’s the craziest or funnest thing that you’ve done so far on the show?
Day: I would say that the funnest thing is actually playing co-op games with my brother. We never got to have a console as kids so we are learning all these games that we wanted as kids that my mom wouldn’t let us have. And actually, we have a really good time playing co-op games together. That’s one of the funnest things. We did blacksmithing which was my first episode and it was my favorite because it was so dangerous, but I really felt like I was doing something. And the most terrifying and awful one, was a tie between trapeze and milking a goat. So, those were the two things that I would not do again.
Paste: For the fans though—you did it for the fans.
Day: Did it for the fans. Well, and you’re in the middle of it, you can’t bail. Like, I almost bailed. I was like, screw this trapeze bull.
Paste: Yikes. Lastly, Dragon Age 3 was recently announced. Can we expect another Dragon Age web series to coincide with the release of the game?
Day: You know, I don’t know if that would be something that’s on the table. Certainly doing the web series was kind of a learning curve—for me especially. It would just have to be something where we would have a really, really big budget. I think the Halo web series that is coming out is going to be super cool and they definitely had a budget to support building a world from scratch. I’m so proud of what we did, but as far as doing another web series, we haven’t really talked about it. Although Tallus is a character in the world though, so I can only at least hope that she’ll pop up somewhere.
You can watch the Season Six of The Guild right now over at the Geek and Sundry YouTube Channel, where new episodes are premiering each Tuesday.