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Guild Episodes 3-5

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I am so sorry to be behind on my Guild episode commentary, the last several weeks has been a total whirlwind of travel, conventions, signings, and filming Eureka (another blog post on that soon enough! 🙂 )  Looks like I’m 3 episodes overdue! So without FURTHER ado, I’ll dive in!

EPISODE 3: Oversupportive’d

The painting of me and Wil Wheaton from this episode is 100% my favorite gag we’ve ever done.  I’m sure you saw my post to the picture in my Comicon blog entry, but nothing honors the painting like when Zaboo reveals it with such pride and gusto. @gregaranowitz, Production Designer wizard, artist and guy extraordinaire (see his blog Barnyard FX for lots of great entries on his artistic process!) is so talented, we are the luckiest web show in existence that we have such amazing people willing to work for so little because they love what they do and want to help us out. We will be arranging for a way to purchase this print in the near future, stay tuned! I just couldn’t stop giggling when we were watching the edits. I would always say “More painting! More painting!!”

One of the funnest parts for me of the WHOLE film making flow is the editing process. I don’t physically edit myself, but I love being involved in the creative decisions about editing and giving notes to make performance and comedy better. Editing is so incredibly powerful, it can make or break an episode. We are very lucky to have new editor Matt Smith editing most of our episodes this season, with @seanbecker doing a final director’s pass before we lock. Sean works closely with Matt to get a rough ready to show us, and then Kim Evey and I do notes on the cuts, 2 or 3 of them. It’s just amazing what small changes can do for the comedy of a scene. Sometimes I’ll say “the timing is off here on this line” to Sean, without knowing EXACTLY what’s off about it, and he’ll literally change 4 frames and take the joke from meh, to hilarious. You could take the EXACT same footage and with different editing make an actor look terrible and hideous, or make them look hilarious and gorgeous. The power is pretty stunning, and is something I didn’t appreciate before we started The Guild. As an actor on OTHER people’s projects, I am always aware that even if I give the best performance ever, it’s really out of my hands after the cameras stop rolling, and totally with the editor and director.

Anyhoo, back to Episode 3, my other favorite thing in the episode is Bladezz slapping that burger on the plate and the fries falling off. I have no idea how it evolved this way, but Ollie and Bladezz’ relationship is so bizarre it makes me laugh SO HARD. I mean, the kid can absolutely do no wrong in Ollie’s eyes, and Bladezz’ flagrant abuse of that fact amuses me to no end. Sean Becker really directed the actors well, and the whole dysfunctional triangle of Bladezz/Jeanette/Ollie has a great dynamic. Bladezz is really stealing the show in these eps, and kudos to @vincentcaso for really going the extra mile this season with his character, so fun!

EPISODE 4: Moving On

Oh episode 4. I did rewrite you a whole lot 😀 I have to say, Fawkes’ character definitely evolved a LOT in subsequent rewrites of this season. I gave myself a very hard task to not lose Fawkes’ dickishness, but still rationalize why Codex wouldn’t throw him to the curb immediately. Having Wil Wheaton as an actor definitely helped me out to make Fawkes charming even when he was being a jerk on the page, but still it was always a fine line with him, and I would be rewriting until the cameras rolled to refine and clarify Fawkes’ position. I think Wil really played that subtlety well here, and my favorite line of his is, “at Comicon last year I bedded the creator of ‘Circuitra; Robot Princess”. I actually wanted to write that comic as an Easter Egg, but time got away from me, ha.

Then we have the awesome twist of having Codex start working at Cheesybeards. Yay! In the first draft of the script I ONLY had Bladezz working at Cheesybeard’s, but about 40 pages in I realized: Wow, this is terrible, Bladezz needs a Guildie at the restaurant to have conflict with. Codex’s computer problems laid the path for her to fit in quite easily once I got the idea. And Frank Ashmore is just amazing as Ollie. Would you believe he is NOTHING LIKE THAT CHARACTER?! He’s totally refined and businesslike and debonair. Shows how versatile a trained actor can be. We auditioned a LOT of people, and only Frank brought that slightly insane tweak to the character that brings all the fun. His vigorous singing in the office is so committed, it was hard not to crack during the scene.

Side note: The Cheesybeard’s office set is actually built INSIDE A MAN’S HOUSE. Yes, like a nesting doll, the whole set fit in Greg Aranowitz’ living room. Ridiculous, but that’s how web video rolls 🙂 Thanks Greg!

EPISODE 5: Loot Envy

I love this webcam that opens episode 5 because Codex is kinda happy again. I have to say, the whole way Fawkes and her played out was very interesting to me as a writer, but hard to play as a character, because although I felt her actions were totally believable for her passive and non-confrontational character, ME, Felicia Day, was always like, “Just kick him in the face!” 🙂 Taking Codex on a this tangential path of “career-hood” was a fun break for the character, and having a new set and new pressures was just really fun to write. I love the dynamic of Bladezz being resentful and that corny thing with Ollie’s hook was a lark that Sean sent me in an edit one time that I was like, “KEEP IT!”

I particularly love this episode because it’s a CLASSIC Guild episode: Everyone continuous at their computers talking to each other. These episodes are so hard to set up, story-wise, to have everyone’s agenda working together, not feeling stagnate because it’s essentially 5 people talking into a computer. I mean, there are like 5 storylines going on here, but they weave back and forth so well because the previous 4 episodes set it up to happen. Wiggly comes back to play (and the bit with the babies was so wrong and great, those babies are PRO actors now, hit their mark EVERY TIME!) I just love Clara’s pouting, those lines were the funnest to write because she is so jealous and clueless at the same time. Pairing her and Tink up for the season was one of my primary goals, and the dynamic between Amy and Robin is just as fun as it was in my head before I started the season.

And lastly….Zaboo’s mom is back! Yikes! Again, this was a story point I started the season knowing I wanted to do, but the challenge was always using her character in a different way than in season 1. Viji brings a lot of new nuances this season, I’m excited for you to see the new episodes. And Zaboo’s line about “push the button!” was an improv by @sandeepparikh, so brilliant.

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