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Felicia Day Talks the New Season of Her Hit Web Series 'The Guild' and the Hazards of Being a 'Girl Gamer'

By Robert Echevarria | Indiewire October 2, 2012 at 8:56AM

If you get on the internet for anything other than email, you would be hard-pressed not have heard of Felicia Day. An actress seen on shows such as "Eureka," "Supernatural" and "House," Day is the multifaceted creator, writer, producer and star [as Guild Priestess Codex] of the smash-hit web series, "The Guild." Achieving longterm success in an online medium known for its short attention span is no small feat, but "The Guild," which is centered around the lives of a group of gamers involved in an MMORPG, is moving into its sixth season, which premieres on Day's YouTube channel Geek & Sundry on October 2nd. This level of success is no surprise when you look at the stats -- "The Guild" has garnered over 69 million views and several awards, and has launched a handfull of music videos that have Day’s fangirls and -boys bubbling in a hormonal tizzy, which is ironic, because “sexy” isn’t a word that Day would use to describe herself.
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Felicia Day in 'The Guild'
Felicia Day in 'The Guild'

If you get on the internet for anything other than email, you would be hard-pressed not have heard of Felicia Day. An actress seen on shows such as "Eureka," "Supernatural" and "House," Day is the multifaceted creator, writer, producer and star [as Guild Priestess Codex] of the smash-hit web series, "The Guild." Achieving longterm success in an online medium known for its short attention span is no small feat, but "The Guild," which is centered around the lives of a group of gamers involved in an MMORPG, is moving into its sixth season, which premieres on Day's YouTube channel Geek & Sundry on October 2nd. This level of success is no surprise when you look at the stats -- "The Guild" has garnered over 69 million views and several awards, and has launched a handfull of music videos that have Day’s fangirls and -boys bubbling in a hormonal tizzy, which is ironic, because “sexy” isn’t a word that Day would use to describe herself.

"The Guild" is going into its sixth season, which is a great accomplishment considering the often ephemeral nature of the web.

A lot of work has gone into making the show, and for the first two years the show was funded by its fans through PayPal donations. And we have so many great and wonderful fans watching and supporting "The Guild," plus subscribing to Geek & Sundry -- without them, well...

The Guild 2

It’s a great partnership you have with your fans. Do you have any season six details to share?

I can definitely say that Codex goes into a new world. She starts working at "The Game," as you saw from season five’s cliffhanger, and everything takes off from there, including Vork’s [played by Jeff Lewis] new relationship. And we might even go into "The Game" a little bit.

Even though "The Guild" is your baby, do you feel its popularity has typecast you as the “hot geeky girl”?

I definitely don’t think I’m ever thought of as “the hot girl.” I’d certainly say the quirky, shy girl is something I’ve been lucky to put on the forefront of everyone’s minds. I created "The Guild" because nobody was offering me the roles I thought I could do best at in Hollywood.

It’s kind of ironic that people are offering me a lot of roles based on Codex, who I created for myself on "The Guild." It’s led to a lot of awesome opportunities. On "Eureka," they wrote the role of Holly for me, which I played for two seasons. She’s a much smarter and more outgoing version of Codex. I was able to play more of the dry hacker type on WB’s "Supernatural."

Typecasting is something I have to be careful with, since I play myself on Geek & Sundry so much on my weekly show "The Flog." That’s why I did "Dragon Age: Redemption" last year, so I could do something a little more dramatic and hard-edged.

The Guild 3

In the past, you mentioned wanting to do a historical romance film.

[Laughing] I’m resigned to the fact that the corseted history of America is not as exciting as that of Britain. I’m not British, and they very rarely hire Americans to play Brits; it’s usually the other way around.

And now?

I would love to play a girl with some kind of extreme powers. That would be fun. I’d also like to do a sitcom. I think that kind of live performance, in front of an audience, would be a fun challenge.

Gender inequity is also an empirical fact. Would you have had the same journey had you been born male?

It’s a delicate question and I don’t have a 100% answer for you. There is definitely a way in which women are raised to be less proactive, less business-oriented, and less willing to jump into creative no man’s land. I think media has more of an influence on how we perceive gender identity than anything else. We see this with all the princess stuff and the roles that are written for female teens.

At the same time, I was homeschooled and raised outside of those ideas. Contemporary role models weren’t something I was exposed to as much, so I had less interest. I watched a lot of black-and-white movies, read detective novels and gamed with my brother. I think that not being raised in the traditional environment contributed to my perspective, but there were many years when I just sat on the sidelines and was very passive. I wish I had gotten it together earlier, so I could be even farther. It’s a question of exploring the boundaries of who you are and what you’re interested in, in order to find that thing you’ll do no matter what.

"In the past year, I’ve gotten more hate speech and hostility towards my being a girl gamer than I ever have in the five-year history of 'The Guild'"

Like how you worked on "The Guild" for two years without financial backing?

Exactly. I’ll work 20 hours in a day and not think about it, because it doesn’t seem like work me. What I do now is what I love, which is what everyone should think about doing, whether male or female. I think certain aspects of my being a female may have been advantageous, but it’s interesting that in the past year, I’ve gotten more hate speech and hostility towards my being a girl gamer than I ever have in the five-year history of "The Guild," which is puzzling to me. It might be a tipping point of women empowering themselves in the world of gaming, which results in a backlash. I’ve never put myself as a “girl gamer,” but rather a person who plays games who also happens to be a girl. But it’s a troubling thing that it’s cool to be chauvinistic and misogynistic. It’s a sad trend that I see.

Where are you seeing that trend taking place?

I see it taking place on the internet a lot, especially with younger gamers writing YouTube comments. I recently had a couple of videos that invited the wrath of those guys. That sort of devaluation, based solely on my gender, that they decided to do was hurtful to me, because it’s been the opposite of what I have experienced in my career until then. There must have been some sort of catalyst. I think it’s not knowing about the show.

In the internet world, five years is a very long time. And if you stumble across one of my videos without knowing the full context -- I write everything, produce, act... I run a company. If someone superficially looks at one video, then they are judging based off of that, where maybe I’m wearing the outfit in my music video, "Do You Want to Date My Avatar." At the same time, I’ve weathered and heard just about everything, and if I think it’s hurtful, what if it’s another girl who just has one video? There’s this disdain for the idea of a "girl gamer," which has emerged in the last year, which is odd.

This article is related to: Television, TV Interviews, Interviews, Felicia Day, The Guild, YouTube, web series






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