In Part 1 of this chapter from the yet-unpublished “From Cheetos to Stripper Bus: The Ultimate Fan Guide to how Felicia Day build The Guild Level By Level”, we followed the preparations The Guild and fans made for Comic Con and the amazing happenings of the first days.
In Part 2, we saw the build up to The Guild Panel including the extraordinary transport provided by Microsoft.
And now – The Main Event!
The Panel had started and Twitter fell silent, the eye of the storm was upon the Left-Behind Guildies and unease started to creep in. What was going on all those miles away in San Diego?
The first the Left-Behind Guildies knew about anything was when @theguild tweeted:
There was music, there was Felicia singing, there was THE GUILD CAST IN THEIR AVATAR COSTUMES!?! At the panel the whole room exploded with gasps and cheers and disbelief – how had they kept this quiet?!?
Brian Kameoka, tweeting as @theguild started to describe the scene to the Left-Behinders …
…quickly followed by…
That was it – Twitter nearly exploded with the re-tweets amid the speculation and pure joy at the idea that there was a music video from The Guild! This must be the second video Felicia had hinted at when the SDCC schedule was published back in July – but there had been absolutely no indication that it was going to be an entirely new thing altogether. A. Music. Video! Everything then unfolded in parallel timelines:
For the Left-Behind Guildies, desperate for more information on what was happening time telescoped between one tweet and the next, punctuated with frantic re-tweeting and the checking of @ messages.
For the CCGuildies time surged forward in a blur of excitement. After the music video “Do You Wanna Date My Avatar” finished the cast burst forth – in full Avatar costume including weaponry! The crowd went wild (again) as they took in the sight of the familiar faces dressed in their MMO attire. When the room settled, Felicia talked about the weapons and the costumes, and thanked Jed Whedon and Maurissa for their work on the video.
Then Sean Becker appeared. After a night of drinking and stalking, Mr Becker introduced all the people who have helped make The Guild a success like Greg Benson, Michele Boyd and Tara Caso. Then Kim announced a “sneak pReak” (a slip of the tongue by Kim that was then mimicked by everyone else) of Season 3 – which was, in fact the whole of episode 1 that Sean had been feverishly editing in between being fired and doing videos with other people.
The Left-Behind Guildies were now again left hanging because no one wanted to spoil the episode, while the CCGuildies basked in the glory of Episode 1…
OMG WTF! @wilw is going to be in Season 3!!!!!
Again Twitter exploded at the news. As soon as I read @theguild’s tweet I shouted out (it may or may not be have been “K’Plah!” – or “Qapla’” – depending on how orthodox you are). Wil Wheaton! On The Guild!
Felicia and Wil were friends from their Acme Theatre days but again – no one outside The Guild cast and crew had ANY IDEA that he was joining the cast for Season 3.
Kim then announced: “We really wanted Wil to be here with us…… so he is!!” And Wil Wheaton stepped out and joined the cast at the panel…
Wil had tweeted the day before (and basically LIED to Twitter – the shame…):
By this time Twitter was groaning at the seams and it was hard to keep up with all the information swirling around. And it just didn’t stop! Felicia told everyone how much she had had to impress on Wil that he couldn’t tweet about what he was doing. And if that wasn’t enough surprises, Felicia then asked Scott Allie, the editor of the Buffy Season 8 comics at Dark Horse, to come forward. Scott announced that there is going to be a new series of comics for The Guild.
All this information was passed onto the Left-Behind via @theguild. Wowser!
Then it was Q&A time with the audience. The whole cast doing their best to answer as fully as possible. Brian as @theguild kept the tweets rolling, even when Twitter was buckling under the strain:
The questions ranged from asking about another music video, to why Felicia had written such diverse characters – then there was another big surprise. Jeff Lewis was planning to marry his real-life wife in-game. Both Jeff and his wife played WoW and Felicia was to officiate a ceremony online, but Jeff had to level-up first.
And all the while, Joss Whedon was sitting in the front row, smiling, laughing and basking in the sight of one of his friends enjoying the success that she had worked so hard to achieve.
And then, sadly, it was all over and the cast headed off for their next signing duty.
As the excitement gave way to stunned acceptance, Brian summed up the Left-Behind Guildies experience:
The press were quick off the mark to declare The Guild Panel as one of the highlights of SDCC. Tubefilter.com was first with “The Guild’ Adds Wil Wheaton, Rocks Comic-Con”.
The End of the Beginning
For the cast and crew, though, The Guild Panel was not the end of it. They still had signings to go to, and other panels to attend. Sandeep did the Legend of Neil Panel with Tony Jannings and Felicia to a packed audience. Felicia joined Joss Whedon and Eliza Dushku in the Dollhouse Panel which was showing her (at that time) unaired, episode and there were many more signings and meetings and…the show went on for The Guild cast, crew and fans.
Newteevee.com summed up the experience and feelings of The Guild Panel:
“Room 5AB was packed, with fans coming up with T-shirts and fan art for the panel, thanking everyone involved with the show for making it happen. It was a reminder of what can make Comic-Con magical — creators and cast interacting with their fans on an intimate level. Lotta love in that room.”
But beyond the press coverage, the tweets and the blog posts, something else had happened. The Guild cast and crew had come to Comic Con and had received the attention and adulation usually reserved for TV shows or films. People were turned away from the Panel and they had unleashed a barrage of awesome surprises on their fans. They had spent time signing and talking to them, hanging with them at a special party laid on for The Guild by Xbox Live. There were no tantrums (though plenty of tiaras in the ‘Avatar’ video) and the CCGuildies met up in real life and then pitched in – helping out behind The Guild booth and making the Con an unforgettable experience.
For those fans not able to attend SDCC, there was also the excitement of being able to participate from a distance. The community so lovingly tended by Ms. Day could follow, comment on and thrill to the happenings in San Diego in real-time.
To paraphrase Milton (to my English Literature teacher I offer my most humble apology):
Is queenly: thousands at her bidding speed,
And post o’er land and ocean without rest;
They also serve who only sit and surf. And Twitter.”
(Mangled from the sonnet by John Milton, ‘On His Blindness’)
In the end, it is all about the people. The people who create The Guild, and the people who support the people who create The Guild. The fans, online and in person, played their part by following and participating and including each other. The cast and crew played their part by providing the focus of the community and a reason to be together. In a year The Guild had gone from being self-funded to the first independent webseries funded and distributed via the Xbox Live/Zune network. The new season was only a few weeks away and they were about to unleash their first professionally produced music video to the world at large. This was their Homecoming, their Queen was Felicia Day and they went to the Prom in a Stripper Bus.
A few days after SDCC, Felicia managed to find some time to blog about her experiences at the Con. She ended the post with this:
“Anyway, lots to look forward to in the coming month, a few convention appearances, season premiere, music video debut, gah! I want to sleep now! Thank you to every person who stopped by and got a DVD or picture to support the show, it means so much to me to hear how ppl enjoy our work and how it helps inspire them to do their own creative stuff like web series or art or music. Meeting fans is what gets us through all the hard work during the year behind a computers screen, so thank you!”
By the end of the Panel I knew one thing. I wanted to see the music video. I HAD to see it, now. If only I could get one of the Xbox codes that had been given out at The Guild Booth so I could view it before it was on general release. If only there was a way…
Sadly, that’s the end of this chapter. I hope you enjoyed it. The rest of the book is all mapped out and other chapters are written. One way or another, it will be published before next year’s Comic Con. If you want to know more, drop me a line at firstname.lastname@example.org.
WorldofHiglet is the online persona of writer Mary R. Higgins, a born-again geek reclaiming her heritage bit by bit. A youth filled with sci-fi, horror and adventure in TV, films, computer games and books was crushed by years of office grind. Buffy brought her back into the fold after years of denial. Discovering Firefly sealed the deal. Now she geeks fulltime on her blog ‘the last geek bus home’ . Her first novel ‘Turning left at Albuquerque” is complete and she has just launched HigletFilms.com, a new webvideo entertainment site serving new, original videos every Monday.
Related articles by Zemanta
- WorldofHiglet: Behind the Scenes of The Guild S4 – Higlet reports! (worldofhiglet.blogspot.com)
- The Guild: Season Three (cinemablend.com)
- Interview: Greg Benson Part 3 (pinkraygun.com)