|DF INTERVIEW: FELICIA DAY
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Interview - Felicia Day (actress, writer, director)
By Beth Delaney
Felicia Day is the creator of the award winning web series, The Guild. The Guild revolves around her character Codex who spends all of her time in an online fantasy game with a group of other players. It’s from Codex’s video blog that the audience gets a personal narration of her life. After her therapist dumps her for not wanting to give up gaming, Codex and the guild members try meeting in person. There’s comedic drama over clashing personalities, the guild bank, and an internet crush taken too far. The show is so well-received by the gaming community that even Kotaku.com and WOW Insider have featured it back when Episode 1 was launched.
The Guild has won the 2007 YouTube Award for Best Series and the Greenlight Award for Best Original Production at the South by Southwest (SXSW) festival. Felicia can also be seen online in the latest Joss Whedon project, Doctor Horrible’s Sing-a-long blog as soon as it’s released.Beth Delaney: What sort of reactions do you face from people who are shocked to hear that you have, in fact, spent a lot of time gaming?
Felicia Day: I get a lot of skeptical looks. It’s pretty funny. Girls gaming are a weird concept to the average person, even though I saw a survey yesterday that said 70% of people played video games last year. But, there are so many stereotypes out there. People don’t understand that gaming culture is a thriving, diverse community.
BD: With RPGs, there's the opportunity for players to create characters of opposite gender. Since the players of the guild use voice chat, it would be hard to conceal but was their character gender vs. their real gender ever a consideration? FD: Yes, I know a lot of guys who played girl characters, and they are always the quietest people in the guild voice chat :) I played around with having a character like that, but 6 to start with was already a lot to juggle. Maybe later!
BD: Since The Guild is about gaming does that mean fans can expect to see you at different conventions? Does your Flog have a calendar of events for such things?
FD: We have just started doing things like that. We are definitely going to Comicon San Diego and to PAX in August. I’m just finding out about this stuff, so we’re exploring and taking people’s feedback on where we should show up! (And if we have the money to fly out.)
BD: Not only have you created this juggernaut of a web series but you’ve also been seen in national commercials (as the hot and vengeful Cheetos girl and the suspicious cell phone girlfriend) and an episode of Monk which itself has won tons of awards. To top it off, you were Vi, a slayer on Buffy the Vampire Slayer, a true geek favorite. As an actress and writer what’s your batting average for landing parts? Have you had to face rejections or are you truly Comedy’s Golden Child?
FD: I have to say I’m regularly a solid second choice. My batting average is okay, but I don’t audition a lot because I’m not the “standard” Hollywood girl. I get close to a lot of great things, and for some reason or another, someone else gets it. I’m not a fantastic auditioner, I have a strong panic reaction, so sometimes I can blame it on myself, other times it’s just not being what they want for the part. The main part of an acting career is being rejected on a regular basis. It’s tough to not take it personally, because it IS essentially YOU they’re rejecting, whether it’s your looks or ethnicity or ability or hair. I do have to say that I get a lot of great parts that I have fun with, and I’m able to make a good living, so I can’t complain. And, being rejected spurred me to make The Guild, so I can only thank people for not choosing me.
BD: You’ve entered the big leagues of geek fandom now by being cast in another Joss Whedon project. What can you share about Doctor Horrible?
FD: I can say the music is about as addictive as World of Warcraft. To be involved in this project is a dream come true, I am so privileged to be working with actors of the caliber of Neil [Patrick Harris] and Nathan [Fillion], they are inspiring and intimidating and hilarious all at once! And the story runs the gamut of emotions: It is a true epic. The writers, Joss, his brothers Zack and Jed and Jed’s fiancé Maurissa, are SO TALENTED! I’m excited because, as a scripted web creator, we haven’t gotten any mainstream respect for our work, and having Joss do his thing on the internet will legitimize the media format, and to do something as experimental as a musical…the man is the most talented person on the planet.
BD: You admitted in a previous interview that you’ll be scantily clad in a Comedy Central show. Is that another online series or is it for television broadcast? What else can you tell us about that appearance?
FD: Yes, that’s a role in Sandeep Parikh’s (who plays Zaboo in The Guild) webisode for Comedy Central. The deal was, we’d write each other parts in our series. Unfortunately, I gave him a series regular, and he gave me one episode, haha! To be fair, he actually paid me for my work, which I haven’t been able to reciprocate because we have no budget. AND he said I might come back (I BETTER!) I play a fairy and it’s SO FUNNY and the CGI work is breathtaking, especially for a webisode. It should be out in May/June! Check my blog for details!
BD: What other geek aspects to your personality are there? Do you read comic books? Get excited about movies? Have a crush on William Shatner?
FD: I do not read comic books, although with all the graphic novels being made of my fave Fantasy books (Like Robin Hobb, etc.) I’m thinking of delving in. I’m a fantasy nut, I’ve read every fantasy book written, I swear. I also play D&D. And I would say I’m more of a Picard girl. That accent…ooh!
BD: According the magic eight ball called IMDB, you’ll be playing a character this year in Dear Me written by David Hirschman and Steven Weiss-Smith and directed by Michael Feifer. The show is a about a blogger whose coworkes begin to do crazy things just to get mentioned in the blog. Will this be a new series on USA Network or a movie?
FD: It’s an indie movie and it’s really funny! Sarah Thompson is the lead, and she’s so engaging and cute, and the lead actor is particularly yummy. I play a character I usually don’t play: The sexy one! It was a really fun experience.
BD: Dear Me stars Sarah Thompson. The two of you have a Joss Whedon connection. She appeared in several Angel episodes as Eve. Did you know each other before Dear Me because of this?
No, we didn’t. Strangely enough. I didn’t really watch Angel so that came out in conversation on the set. Joss has an amazing ability at casting (as well as everything else). His choices always are the more interesting way to go with a character, more intelligent than average.
BD: IMDB also reports that you’re in the upcoming movie Prairie Fever, a western by Steven H. Berman. What made you choose a role departing from comedy? When and where can it be seen?
FD: Well, as an actor I’m not that fancy, so don’t really “choose” my roles. I audition and either get them or not. But doing drama was fun and unnerving at the same time. I’d much rather be making myself an object of ridicule than being serious, I think it’s a defense mechanism, ha ha. The DVD will be available April 8th I believe in stores and at Blockbuster, it was just on TV on the Ion Channel. Working with Kevin Sorbo was the highlight; he’s a hunky first-class guy.
BD: For all of your internet profiles there’s some basic information that’s hard to find. What are your favorites: TV show? Movie? Music? Mac or PC?
FD: TV show has to be Friends and Seinfeld and Monty Python’s Flying Circus and The Office. Oh, and Project Runway, can’t miss that. Movie: Babe, and Bringing Up Baby. Music: Mostly Brit stuff like Artic Monkeys, The Clientele, The Editors, but I love cheesy 80’s stuff like Pointer Sisters too. Mac AND PC, love my MacPro laptop. I have a Wii and JUST got an Xbox 360 from my brother, so I’ve got it all covered, after never having a Nintendo as a kid. Take that, Mom!
BD: Do you still make time to play the violin or fit music into your life?
FD: Well, sadly no. My former college prof. contacted me (Through FACEBOOK!) and wanted to know if I kept it up. I really would like to make time for it, but without practicing regularly, the skill level is pretty horrendous. It’s hard to remember how good you were, and settle for being a fraction of that. On a positive note though, I totally own at Guitar Hero, which I just picked up and am doing Hard level instantly. 20 years of training=owning people’s faces.
BD: According to your Flog you routinely run checks on your name through a search tool. What’s the most alarming thing you’ve ever uncovered about yourself?
FD: I had someone try to sell a photo that I sent to an internet boyfriend when I was like 14. It wasn’t risqué or anything, but I was wearing the butt-ugliest outfit ever. Yellow leather coat with fringe. That made me sit up and think: Wow, those poor famous people, they’ll never be able to dodge anything in their past.
BD: You were nominated in 2007 for Sexiest Geek at Wired. Can fans expect to see photo shoots in the future for the likes of Maxim, FHM, or Stuff or perhaps as one of G4TV’s Women of the Web?
FD: Oh whoah. I dunno if I’d want to pose like that. What are those pictures for anyway? Not to get respect, or get people to be interested in what you have to say in the written article. Also, I don’t think I have it in me to be that hot or anorexic. I don’t have the self-discipline.
Be sure to subscribe to the RSS of The Guild, or join us on MySpace or Facebook for instant updates on new posts. And come by my blog if you want to get in touch with me! (MySpace messaging me is a lost cause, sadly to say. That interface makes me want to barf!)
Felicia on the web (she’s obsessed with the web so here’s just some of the links):
· The “Flog” Felicia’s Blog - http://feliciaday.net/blog/
· Felicia’s Myspace – http://www.myspace.com/201198
· The Felicia Aggregator - http://friendfeed.com/felicia
· Felicia’s Facebook - http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=747535978
· The Guild – http://www.watchtheguild.com
Felicia, thank you for taking the time to connect to with the Dynamic Forces community! We anxiously await future episodes of The Guild and can’t wait to see your upcoming projects. Best of luck!
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