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With her groundbreaking webseries The Guild, actress Felicia Day (Dr. Horrible’s Sing-Along Blog) challenged the perceptions of how one could create, finance and distribute a web-based TV series. Now, aided by a variety of geek-friendly shows, including TableTop, The Flog, Dark Horse Motion Comics and Sword & Laser, Day has set out to conquer the conventions of the web-based content with Geek & Sundry.
For the Geek & Sundry panel at Comic-Con International, Day and Wil Wheaton (Star Trek: The Next Generation) sat down with executive producer Kim Evey to discuss the recently launched YouTube channel.
The presentation began with the debut episode of Geek & Sundry’s latest show Written by a Kid, which takes stories told by children and turns them into digital shorts. The episode, titled “Scary Smash,” features the acting talents of Dave Foley (Kids in the Hall), Kate Micucci (Garfunkel and Oates) and Joss Whedon.
Director Daniel Strange (Between Two Ferns with Zach Galifianakis) was asked if it was intimidating to work with Whedon. “It wouldn’t have been too intimidating if he didn’t keep saying ‘Joss smash puny Dan!’” he joked.
TableTop features celebrity guests joining Wheaton each episode to play a variety of tabletop games. “It’s a board-gaming show that I wanted to make for the purposes of showing people that gamers are not antisocial weirdoes who can’t make eye contact,” he explained. “Gaming is a wonderful, social activity that is as fun with your friends as it is with your family.”
“Our goal is to spread the love about tabletop gaming,” Day added. “It really gets people together.”
A partnership between TableTop and Target was also announced. “For three months, Target stores are going to feature games that we have played on TableTop,” Day said. “We’re always looking to bridge the gap between independent and mainstream, and this is an amazing partnership that hopefully promotes and encourages people to game more.”
Next, Geek & Sundry executive producer Sheri Bryant took the stage to announce the channel’s latest additions: the interview show Frontiers of Geekage, the gaming-news show On the Table, and a spinoff of Day’s Vaginal Fantasy book club called Penile Code.
Bryant also announced that Dark Horse Motion Comics will return with an all-star anime cast featuring voices from Full Metal Alchemist, Cowboy Bebop, Naruto and Ben 10.
When fans were asked what types of shows they would be interested in seeing on the channel, Wheaton deadpanned, “I suggest Drinking Beer with Wil Wheaton.”
Day then announced what fans in attendance had been eagerly awaiting – that the sixth season of The Guild will join the Geek & Sundry lineup. With that, the remaining Guild cast members — Sandeep Parikh, Amy Okuda, Vincent Caso, Robin Thorsen and Jeff Lewis — joined the panel for a Q&A session, and Day revealed that Season 6 will focus on Codex’s work place and balancing that with the guild.
A fan asked if there would be any more Guild music videos, and Day teased, “It could be on the agenda for next season. I’m not going to tell you, but I kind of just told you. Spoiler alert!”
The cast was then asked if they had ever cosplayed in order to traverse the Comic-Con floor unnoticed. None of the panel had, but Wheaton had a story to tell: “On Thursday morning I was wearing a bowling shirt that said ‘Wesley Crusher’s Bowling Shirt’ and I went downstairs with my wife to have breakfast and a guy comes up to me and says ‘Are you cosplaying as Wil Wheat– Oh!’”
Given The Guild‘s humble beginnings, many on the panel reminisced about the budgetary constraints of the first season. “We were paid in bagels,” Parikh joked.
“I remember the camera man holding the boom with his right hand and controlling the camera with his left hand,” Lewis added before Day brought up the time Amy Okuda almost didn’t show for the table read. “I thought it was a TV pilot, booked it and then found out it was a YouTube video that I wasn’t getting paid for,” Okuda explained.
“This is not a movie studio, this is Felicia’s house,” Lewis quipped.
Parikh then shared his theory on what makes the show a success. “I think it’s a testament to having a specific vision, and when you have that vision in the form of an awesome script, you start to find the resources to make it happen,” he said.
A visibly moved Day tried to hug her co-star, but he pushed her away. “You smell like stale Cheerios,” Parikh said.
“To me, Geek & Sundry is about celebrating things that aren’t commonly celebrated,” Day said. “I think a geek is just somebody who is really passionate about something.”