IN JOBS FROM AROUND THE WEB:
"The Guild," featuring actress Felicia Day, was originally a rejected television pilot.
Felicia Day turned it into a multi-million dollar internet project that partnered with Microsoft.
When I was working at YoungCuts the other day, YoungCuts' festival director Michael Ryan told me the inspirational story of how the successful web series, "The Guild" was created.
I found this speech on Tumblr by incomprehensiblelentils, which explains the impressive tale of how Day turned a network rejected concept into an Internet win:
My Felicia Day Speech
“The question isn’t who is going to let me; it’s who is going to stop me.” - Ayn Rand
As we approach the fourth anniversary of [the] groundbreaking web series The Guild, I would like to take a few minutes to honor [a] creative, savvy, brilliant woman, who taught me and so many others that it is possible to sidestep the norm and become successful if you believe in your creation and your vision. [Felicia Day] is my hero because she knew that she had the power to make something unique and she didn’t let anyone stand in her way.
[...] Coming off of a two-year addiction to the online role-playing game "World of Warcraft", Felicia applied the old adage “write what you know” and wrote a half-hour comedy pilot entitled The Guild. The show is [...] a love letter to the gaming community and a celebration of the Internet’s capacity to bring people [...] together through common interests. Felicia wanted to [...] paint [gamers like herself] in a more positive light than how they are usually shown in mainstream media, [by] allowing them to be the heroes of their story. She also wanted to draw attention to the fact that it wasn't just [men] who play RPGs; half of the core cast [of The Guild] are women, and [Day] allows them to be just as engaging and funny as the male characters.
Unfortunately, few understood what [Day] was trying to do; [her pilot] was rejected dozens of times and [she was] told that it was funny but “too niche” for television. In some cases, she was even turned away because studio heads didn’t believe a woman had written The Guild.
However, Felicia believed in her show; she knew that if she could find a way to put it out there, the right audience would find it. She turned to her friend Kim Evey, who had had success on YouTube with her own series of videos, and together they began to work on turning The Guild into a self-funded web series.
Serialized web video [were] mostly untapped media at the time, but Felicia was undaunted and worked tirelessly, posting links to her videos on gaming blogs and emailing friends in the gaming and acting community and urging them to watch her show and spread the word. A small but devoted fanbase cropped up, even donating funds when Felicia’s were tapped out so the show could continue production.
Meanwhile, Felicia’s efforts didn’t go unnoticed by bigger names in the business either. Joss Whedon, creator of cult television shows such as Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Firefly, had been inspired by her web series to create one of his own, and he approached her [to star] in it. Dr. Horrible’s Sing-Along Blog was an instant success, catapulting Felicia to new levels of internet fame and alerting studio executives to the idea that everyday people could create content without needing their aid.
Of course, Felicia already knew that was possible; she had become known as one of the “pioneers” of web video by this point and was beginning to receive attention from multiple corporations who had an interest in purchasing rights to The Guild. She politely declined them all, however, in the interests of maintaining creative integrity and control of her show. She knew that if she accepted one of these offers, executives would take over her show and change it into something completely different – and she couldn’t accept that idea.
Eventually, her determination paid off; the show was picked up by Microsoft with the deal that it would be distributed for free in a variety of online venues while still giving Felicia complete creative control. She is my hero because she’s not concerned with the financial benefits she can reap from The Guild; she just wants to tell a story about everyday people, people like me and you.
This desire for creative integrity is a theme that runs through Felicia’s entire career. Aside from producing, writing and starring in The Guild, she has also been heavily involved in the business of web video as a whole, as one of the few female members of the board of the International Academy of Web Television. Her influence has helped web video to become a legitimate media format in the last few years. During her keynote interview at South By Southwest Interactive 2011, a high-end music and film conference, she commented, “There’s a certain psychology and humanity to the Internet that people don’t understand.” Rather than writing the Internet off as a waste of time, she [recognized] that it is a legitimate place to conduct business and that careers can be made because of it. [Felicia Day] is my hero because she understands that new technologies should be embraced and utilized to their fullest potential, rather than feared or ignored.
Note to self: send e-mail to Felicia Day and join the International Academy of Web Television.
As determined as Day,