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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! πŸ™‚ )Β  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.Β  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 πŸ˜€ 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 πŸ™‚ 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!” πŸ™‚ 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.

  • len

    Some say when art speaks for itself, don’t interrupt. I say ‘rave on’. Thanks for the comments.

    As for Eureka, my wife and I think they jumped the shark this season. So I can’t wait to see what they/you do with your character. One thing is sure, hiring you will drive up the ratings.

    With everything else going on in the world these days, it’s nice to have The Guild for pure fun. πŸ™‚ πŸ™‚ πŸ™‚

  • I absolutely freaking LOVE that painting of Codex & Fawkes. I want it as downloadable wallpaper for my desktop. πŸ˜€ I was so excited that Fawkes was coming back this season, and I have to say, I haven’t been disappointed. Wil Wheaton does an amazing job with that character. I can’t wait to see how that storyline unfolds.

    Keep up the good work!

  • Dani

    Great blog as always!
    I think the episodes keep getting better and we’re only in episode 5 and this is my favorite season already!

    Codex working at Cheesybeards is just hilarious! And btw, all the extra stuff (website, twitter, phone number…) are great! We at guild chat and twitter are having tons of fun with it!

    Can’t wait to see more! I’m especially curious about Zaboo’s Mom returning… I’m scared to think what she’s up to! haha Also, Viji should totally start going to cons! Like if she goes to SDCC 2011, I’d love to meet her!!

    Anyway… hope it all goes well with the rest of Eureka shoot! I started to watch so I can catch up before your episodes are aired… and I’m loving it! I’m in S02E11 already! Great show! And I may or may not have a fan crush on Colin now… =P

  • Soma

    i love the progression of Vork’s character through
    the seasons. Jeff’s portrayal is hilarious and spot-on.

    <3 [as usual]

    -s

  • I’m new to writing, so it’s great to read your thought process behind some of the choices you make.

    Thanks for taking the time to write this post up for us!

  • Is it me, or does Cheesybeard’s sound both silly (funny silly) and a little dirty?

  • Anabel

    THANK YOU MS DAY.

    I just discovered the guild last week, its brilliant, the cast its hilarious, the writing is clever and funny. English is not my even my second language and i don’t play RPG games but I enjoy it anyway.

    Can’t wait for next week episode is it tuesday already?

  • Abolutely brilliant! Each episode gets better and better. I will confess to snorting stuff at Fawkes’s monkey sex line. It wasn’t just the words, it was his delivery. As for Sandeep’s “push the button”, pure genius πŸ™‚

    Felicia, I honestly don’t know how you do it.

  • er…when I said snorting stuff, I meant through my nose…wait, that’s no better…er, I mean because I was laughing and stuff, you know with my drink. Never mind.

  • carlos

    Im feeling kinda sorry for Codex (especially after reading the comics too). Season 3 ended apparently well for her ( being pivotal in the Guilds victory) only to fall in the hands of an epicurean douchebag at the last sec. Youve thrown castrating psychoanalists at her, had her exboyfriend and his father turning gay, making her think she emitted weird pheromones , had her physically assaulted at her own home by the mother of a friend, had her abused and cheated (in more ways than one) by her boyfriend, lose a possible love interest to Clara (none other, it couldnt have been Tink, it had to be Clara, whos married and with kids) , have made her computer(the object she probable most cares about) explode not once but two times and counting up, you have made her unemployed and turned that classy, innocent, well-meaning girl into a fart-throwing taco flavourer.
    Now i see it clear..Codex is really Delicia Fay and youve given her a lot of reasons to be angry with you. Jokes apart, please put something nice in the script for her. I laugh a lot with her misfortunes, but im starting to feel guilty about it.

  • carlos

    Made a longer comment but it got deleted (too long i think) Resuming it, please put something nice in Codex way for once. I laugh a lot at her misfortunes but im starting to feel guilty for it. Thanks and keep up the good work.

  • ff2017

    “I’ve been practicing classic Keynesian Economics and I’m only up to 27…!”

    Hahah, he must have a serious amount of debt owed to the Chinese guy back in Season 2 that muted the multiplier effect of the Keynesian stimulus.

  • OMGosh, Clara was hilarious in episode 5! She is my favorite, not you’re not awesome yourself Felicia, but I identify most with Clara’s character.

    Love your work.

  • Steve

    Every season has been so great, its like there’s always something new to rave about.

    I’m telling every single person I meet about the Guild. Even tonight, I met up with some people from college and their friends and I’m telling them to go watch the Guild.

    can’t wait to see what happens next!

  • Fitzwilliams

    “Push the button when I hit your arm” – funny,Β funny, funny. What a delightful and invigorating series. Absolutely love everything you all have done and deeply appreciate the hard work and effort to make it all happen!

  • Daley

    Yup! Good stuff.
    Only thing I was sad about was when “Game On” was going on, there were so many interviews and things where they talking about “Cawkes” and ruined the whole reveal and such. After that, I decided not to read anything or watch anything other than the series and you blog during the season cause that was a bummer!

  • Dan

    Hi Felicia,

    After being cast in a web show a few years ago, I discovered the wonderful world of web series and have been an avid follower of you and other pioneers in this burgeoning medium. I watched “The Guild” after seeing it featured on the 1st Annual Steamys website and have been a fan ever since. It is a fantastic and funny show, as well as an amazing success story for you and the rest of the cast and crew.

    Your point about editing is an excellent one. No matter how good the actors’ performances are, how tight the direction, how good the writing, or how alluring the photography is, scenes are made or broken in the editing room. The subtlest changes can have an enormous impact.

    On that note, I’m curious as to what the impetus was for bringing on a new editor for Season 4? I ask because I have noticed a slight difference in the way that some scenes flow this season. While the editing is by and large consistent with seasons 2 & 3, there are a few parts where the timing seems a little rushed. For example, in episode 4, after Fawkes says his line about Codex telling her guild about their night together, the scene immediately jump-cuts to Codex saying, “It kind of came up in conversation.” This is in contrast to the Season 4 Trailer where the same part of the scene had a beat during this interaction that allowed Fawkes’s “naughty monkey sex” description to sink in for Codex as well as the audience.* I think that the editing of that interaction in the trailer was more consistent with the editing in seasons 2 & 3. It really brought out the awkwardness of the situation for Codex and thus made the scene funnier, whereas in the actual episode, the editing made it seem like she just kind of dismissed or glossed over Fawkes’s very blunt remark. Having a beat there like there was in the trailer would give Codex and the audience time to react to that line, which makes the scene funnier, IMO. There are other examples as well, but for brevity’s sake, I won’t go into them here.

    This by no means implies that I don’t like this season. I think it’s hilarious as usual, and Matt Smith and Sean Becker are doing a great job. I would just encourage them to really take care to find ALL the moments in scenes where a beat, a pause, a wordless reaction shot, etc. would really bring out the comedic impact of your hilarious dialogue and the actors’ deliveries of it.

    Keep up the amazing work! I can’t wait to see how things turn out this season!

    Dan

    *Even though different footage/dialogue was used in the trailer than in the episode for this part of the scene, I think that the contrast between the two stems more from the editing rather than the footage/dialogue.

  • Holy cow, the new Doctor Who is also editing THE GUILD? He is one talented guy! XD

  • David R

    Hmm, Vork seems stunned by Zaboo’s mom. I’m very curious what will happen next.

  • Anytime Fawkes enters the screen space, I get the most ridiculous goofy grin. I love Wheaton’s charm, and I love how you never know what to expect when Fawkes is present. His and Codex’s interactions are my favorite.

    Felicia Day, your talents continue to amaze me. Thanks for the gem that is The Guild.

    I’m glad you have so many awesome friends willing to continue making it happen.

  • Hi Felicia,
    I was just wondering if you find it difficult to write 5 to 7 minute episodes. Or do you write out longer and just find good places to stop? You have an amazing ability to tell stories in the time limit of each episode.

  • Great blog. I love all these BTS insights (also am loving the KOTG Companion Casts – a fantastic idea – big thanks to you and Kenny for that).

    I think my favorite part of the season so far is Bladezz madly shaking pepper on Codex in an effort to “look busy” for the boss. So insanely random (why is he even carrying a pepper shaker?!) Plus, I love pepper and shake it on food with similar zeal; now, I’ll always think of The Guild when I do.

    So how many times has Sandeep improv’d a brilliant closing line? You can pretty much just end each script with “and Sandeep says something funny. FADE OUT.” I’m really jealous, ’cause I spend so much time trying to write closing zingers, Do you rent him out?

    BTW, you walked right past me on Robson Street yesterday. Next time stop and say “Hi” why don’t ya? πŸ˜€

  • len

    Count it in 5/4 alternating 2 and 3 and it drags but 3 and 2 is perfect. 7/4 is too jazzy but hey, who knows. Monkey sex swings to the offbeat and the downbeat.

    Dada dada dat dat dum dum dum

    πŸ™‚

  • Kirsten

    I love love love that painting!! I actually bought the print at SDCC but I haven’t put it up yet (I’m waiting until I move in like a week.)

    Fawkes + Codex scenes just make my day!

    Ugh. I’m just such a Fangirl! XD

  • Harm W

    It’s really nice to see how all the guildies are inexorably grouping in pairs. That worked marvelously from the beginning (first Codex-Zaboo and then the superb Zaboo-Vork-combination). It’s remarkable that these completely different characters combine so well when being together: personally I find the guildie-combinations one of the strongest finds in the series, maybe even stronger than the Codex-Fawkes combination…

    Although, of course, there are many, many fantastic things in the series that compete for the title of best part in the series… Actually I think the first 40 seconds of each episode are still my favourite part (and especially always the last seconds of that, brilliant!). There is only one thing I wonder about: did the editing of those video blogs change? There seems to be many more cuts in there now (which, personally, I find a pity).

    The series has only one bad side and that’s a serious one, for which I think you really should put in a disclaimer: I don’t know if more people have it, but when I watch, I always get the feeling that I am doing something wrong by having a job and a ‘life’… It always gives me the idea, I should get jobless a.s.a.p. (even though the characters all seem to be getting jobs now) and develop a gaming addiction: it seems that you get to meet much more interesting people and get into much more remarkable situations than in normal life…

    Well, actually I just started typing a short message about how I love the series, but it has gotten a bit out of hand. Sorry, got carried away. Will stop this rant and go and buy WoW and start playing immediately… hopefully The Guild is not giving a wrong impression of how nice the other game addicts will be… πŸ˜‰

  • Harm W

    Oops, sorry, that was just a keyboard error. It was supposed to be a colon… πŸ˜‰

  • carlos

    This is either a very subtle and deep review im unable to appreciate or spam.

  • Rachel

    I’m loving this season sooooo much! I esp. love the Fawkes/Codex dynamic. All the characters are hilarious.

  • Colleen

    I wrote a little fanfic for The Guild involving Codex and Fawkes.

    Warning – it’s a little hot and twisted πŸ˜›

    http://colleenkentucky.livejournal.com/

  • Luvsbitch

    This is crappy spam that is starting to show up all over the internet. I had hoped that good sites like this would not be subjected to it. Hey remember that spammer that blew his brains out? All the others should follow that example.

  • Luvsbitch

    Okay, I don’t know why that comment went to it’s own space at the end rather than nest below the spammers comment.

  • jenyfur83

    I just wanted to let you know that you’re my hero because you’re the only person I’ve seen use “kick him/her/them/etc in the face”. I use it all the time, and usually everyone is put off by it. It’s super awesome to see someone as, well, super awesome as yourself use it. w00t! ^_^

  • Brian

    Codex Spotting in

  • mlb2233
  • skuilanb

    My boyfriend introduced me to this show and well…i Love it.
    All the characters are funny and their individual personalities and issues are endearing and addicting to watch.That being said i really hope there’s more Fawkes and Codex action. He brought out a whole nother side to her personality and id love to see what would happen to her,him, and the guild if he became a more permanent figure in her life.

  • Ben Ward

    “at Comicon last year I bedded the creator of β€˜Circuitra; Robot Princess”

    If I work develop this does that mean Wil will travel through time to “bed” me?

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