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The Guild Sponsored: Can I Believe It Now?

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Well, I’ve been bursting with the news for weeks, but it wasn’t finalized and I couldn’t talk about it, but now I’m unmuffled and shouting to the world: The Guild is sponsored and funded and will be released weekly for Season 2 starting tomorrow the 25th of November!  We’re partnered with Xbox and Microsoft and I’m so damned excited about it!  Woot!
After living and breathing this show for almost 2 years (if you count the time I thought up the concept and got around to writing it after I actually got myself to stop playing World of Warcraft, haha) we’re finally going to be able to fund the show and have someone help us publicize it and release it.  I’m so incredibly excited!  I would say I’m lucky, but I don’t think luck has much to do with it:  I think it’s more obstinance, more than a bit of blind faith and hippy-dippy “vibe” thing going on.  Oh well, whatever! :)

As you all know, I’ve been turning down deals for the show for over a year.  Many great opportunities have presented themselves, but none of them felt right to me.  There were several things I was looking for that weren’t to be found in the deals offered:  I wanted to retain ownership and control of the show, I wanted to have a partner that had a wide reach to our existing audience and potential audience who hadn’t seen us, who would get behind us in a big way with outreach, who would translate the videos for international viewers, and most importantly someone who KNEW THE SPACE.  A lot of companies want to get into web video, but only people who know the internet well will be able to get people to watch a show on the internet. At least for a while; at least that’s my opinion :).

Anyway, some people called me crazy for asking for these things, and I admit a few times I felt a little unsure, that I was dumb for walking away from working with this person or partnering with that company.  I felt bad for asking our actors to defer pay for a year, or for asking people to donate again for another season because we couldn’t release episodes fast enough to keep the story going.  But I love my characters and after a long summer-long search I wrote the script and we started filming Season 2 on DVD proceeds and hoped that something would come along early in the shooting or we’d have to go to Paypal again.  Kim Evey, my producing partner and I had our fingers crossed.  We had amazing people volunteer to come help us make the show, but any time you shoot it costs a lot, and I was just hoping for another washer/dryer commercial to come along, lol.

Well, the great personage at Xbox Live (Scott Nocas, a gem of a man) loves the show, and decided that we could be partners.  He came to us with amazing ideas, enthusiasm, and just incredible understanding of the show and the space.  You can always tell when someone actually likes the show, or has seen past episode 1 at least, lol.  Anyway, it turned out to be exactly what we were looking for in a mutual way, and we’re finally able to say we’re releasing Season 2, and we’re sponsored by Sprint.  We have a revamed Guild Site (LINK) with a nice player in the middle (Thank you David from Microsoft and Kirstin and Edgar for making that transition possible).  Check out Season 2 teaser and trailer on the site now.

It’s been an INSANE schedule the last two months. Three of my friends have had babies and I haven’t even gotten to visit them.  I haven’t called my grandma in over a month.  The director of this season, Sean Becker, has lived in my house for 3 days because we have so many episodes due.  I will be making another blog entry about this process later, but suffice it to say it’s been 0-90 to release episodes at this rate, but we have unbelievable crew who donated their time and made this season look FANTASTIC.  The episodes make me laugh so much and I really really hope you enjoy them.  Special thanks to our agent, George Ruiz who didn’t make us take the first deal that came along (or try to) and to my boyfriend who hasn’t seen me for a while because i’ve been buried in work.

To find the new episodes and watch them: They will be downloadable for free on Xbox Live Video Marketplace, streaming on MSN Video (internationally) and downloadable on the Zune Marketplace, all starting today for Season 1, and tomorrow, the 25th for episode 1 of Season 2. I can’t wait for you to see them, and I really hope you enjoy them, and thank you to each and every one of you who support the show.  I couldn’t ask for a better audience in the world :)

  • http://www.jamiechambers.net Jamie Chambers

    Felicia,

    So happy for you and excited for everyone involved with The Guild. I’ll be watching episodes on my 50-inch plasma via my X-Box, and can’t wait. Looks like you have plenty to be thankful for this year on Turkey Day, so take a moment to enjoy and savor the moment (and the pie … mmm pie).

    Now go call your grandma! ;-)

    ** Jamie

  • http://www.cythusly.com Tyler

    Saw Sandeep’s twitter post last night and yours today – congrats! I hope I understand it right and that it’ll just be a change of venue, not a change to content or when it’s distributed. I know this is an amazing opportunity. Extremely excited for you guys!

  • http://team-preston.com Jeff Preston

    Hopefully this’ll make things a bit easier in the future. Allowing you to add more bodies so everyone isn’t wearing so many hats. I know you’ve been crazy busy, hopefully this’ll help things mellow out a bit.

    Congratulations BTW. This is awesome.

  • http://thewisdomofadistractedmind.blogspot.com/ Dan

    Awesome! No… Awesomer!

  • http://laura.moncur.org/ Laura Moncur

    I am subscribed to the first season podcast link in iTunes. Will that still work? You didn’t mention anything about iTunes, and there was a LOT of talk about Zune, so I’m wondering…

  • Kyle Johnson

    That’s great news, but I’m wondering if this means no more downloads from iTunes or availability on YouTube. That would be a shame, as those are the two ways I prefer to watch The Guild (the former if I’m on the elliptical and the latter on my TiVo).

  • Dani

    That’s beyond awesome!

    In a strange way, it makes us fans SO proud of you and the show!
    It’s so inspiring to see how much you worked to get this perfect sponsor, and that you fought to keep things the way you wanted.

    I have to say that I’m very glad that translations will be provided, and that everyone all over the world will be able to watch at the same time, for free, just like before.

    Thank you SO much for that.
    And again, congratulations! You truly deserve it!

  • Ferralangel

    Very excited for the Guild team, however, playing everyone’s favorite devil’s advocate, I have to ask the same question and more that Laura and Kyle asked.

    Given what the blog post says, is the guild no longer going to be available on iTunes or youtube? Cause if this is true, this is less the awesomer that Dan has elated and more the not so awesome for those of us who don’t have an Xbox or a Zune.

    Also, I don’t understand the decision to go with Microsoft given the wants and requirements of Guild Team regarding ownership, creative control, and such. Now granted, I am not privy to the actual text of the contract, but Microsoft has not been the model web or creative model, by any stretch.

    I hope this does not turn out to be a Faustian agreement.

  • John

    Awww…You’re welcome. On behalf of the audience, I mean. Heh.

    Beyond thanks and congratulations to you for making everything happen (which are important), I want to be the first-ish person to pat you on the back for knowing the nature of the partner you wanted for the project. I don’t know what Hollywood bigwigs might think, but to me, that says you understand your product and the direction it needs to grow.

    In a world where corporate mission statements are nebulous, useless things like “dominate the field” and jump at every and any partnership and lopsided joint venture that falls in their laps, yours has been a refreshingly responsible (not crazy) approach.

    As an aside, I loved the quick previews this morning. Aside to the aside, I suggest asserting that your gaming addiction was, in fact, “research.” That way, you’ve been working on “The Guild” for much longer. Makes for a more consistent narrative, y’know.

  • http://edgargarcia.com edgar

    I’m still unsettled from watching Sandeep practically eat your picture on that teaser…

    Grats again FD!

  • chris

    It’s great that you’ll get sponsorship; it sucks that it comes from the Evil Empire.

    At least I have an intel-based mac, so I’ll probably be able to use that oh so wonderful Silverlight software.

    MSN? Yeah, right.

  • http://feylamia.net/blog Feylamia

    Very happy for you, less happy for me as I’m not fond of MS and XBox live and I boycott them where I can. So no guild S2 for me then, unless you actually do put it on YouTube.
    In case anyone cares, the reason for this is the fact that the XBL Team seems to think that being gay is inappropriate and not family friendly. See http://gaygamer.net/2008/05/xbox_live_gaywood_drama_update.html for the whole story.

  • http://www.feliciaday.com Felicia

    Funny how the harshest critiques are on my own blog, but that’s fine :) I appreciate all you guys’ concerns and I understand your reservations with going with a big company, I had the same feelings. We are still on web series budgets, not rolling in dough believe me, but this is a huge deal for content makers, retaining copyright, and creative control even though it’s a huge corporation, who are mostly used to owning everything. The show will be on iTunes and YouTube AFTER the first 12 week release. It’s still free and streaming on MSN Video (avaialbe internationally), because it was important to me it be made free on all outlets, and they accommodated that.
    We have to pay for the show somehow, and getting paid and still owning the show was the goal and we accomplished that. You can watch it streaming on watchtheguild.com 4 weeks after Xbox and MSN Video and Zune marketplace. Some compromises had to be made, but I am really happy with the partnership and can’t wait for you to see the videos, whenever you watch them.

  • Geoff

    As an fellow ex-addict and fan of the show. Wow and congratulations.

  • korkster

    Congratulations, Felicia! I’m VERY excited for Season 2, and I’m sure it’ll have me ROTFLOL… sorry, felt “Weird Al”-ish there. :)

    Wise to wait. Tomorrow’s going to be AWESOME!

  • Ferralangel

    Did my previous comment get moderated out?

  • http://www.kozaru.net Michael

    Congratulations on the great deal with XBL/Microsoft. It’s a great way to get everything out there.
    Looking forward to season 2 :)

  • http://worldofhiglet.blogspot.com/ worldofhiglet

    I think that some people will be a bit ‘erm’ about The Guild being sponsored by Microsoft because various quarters have done a good job in making them out to be the Big Bad. And Microsoft themselves haven’t always helped their own case in this respect.

    That said – CONGRATULATIONS! I feel very proud of you all! Anyone who huffs over your choice of sponsor has not been paying attention to the fight you have had to get a deal that works in the way you need it to work. This will bring The Guild to a whole population who have never seen anything like it. You are breaking new ground and you should be very proud of that.

    I hope you get the chance to enjoy this week. You have worked so hard for this you deserve to enjoy it. Oh, and speak to you soon :)

  • http://linh.wordpress.com Linh

    Disappointed in it being xbox/MSN video only. I just noticed that. But congrats on the big partner, and thus funding so you guys can keep this rolling. This almost advocates me getting an xbox… ha.

  • Ben Cuzza

    Gday Felicia! I’m one of the Aussie fans you met at PAX (think button scarf and the birthday video for my friend JJ) and this sounds like awesome news! Will the Video Marketplace version be available in other regions, such as maybe Australia? We tend to get screwed over when it comes to cool video content on Xbox Live and this would be great to push into our region. I’ve spoken with people at Xbox Live before and their reasoning behind the lack of content in Australia is due to the license holders of the content won’t allow it to be broadcast on that medium. But since you are the license holder of your awesome content, you should be able to say to Xbox Live “Push it to that region minions!” and fans in Australia will be able to get it in all of its Live-y glory!

    Please?

  • Stefan

    Well, congratulations on the deal! It seems that with a ‘little’ bit of patience you got excactly what you want.

    To all of those criticizing MS:
    Jepp, there rise to power wasn’t the nicest thing a company has ever done; however most of it is pretty much past. Lately, they do try to make better – they even got several Open Source Experts and are trying to work with the Open Source Community. Granted, not everything’s perfect – but they’re working on it.
    And personally, right now I’d rather be using MS than Google. At least everyone knows that with MS you have to be a bit cautios; Google mostly has this extremely good reputation, which is incredibly wrong considering *no one* exactly knows what the hell they are going to do with all the data available at there hands; and while they seem to belong to “no one” here, they do try to get more and more…

  • Scott

    Congrats on getting a deal where you keep your IP. Hopefully this means there will be Guild seasons for years.

    I just started watching Season 1 again on MSN. You have been bleep’d. For some reason Tink’s sailor like talk seems so much worse when they bleep it.

  • Ben Cuzza

    Yay! Seems there was already someone out there who likes Aussies. Just got hold of Season 2 Episode 1 on Xbox Live Marketplace in HD! Awesome work and congratulations again Felicia :)

    (No sign of Season 1 on Marketplace though, just Season 2 so far)

  • http://dailyrj.blogspot.com/ Robert-Jon

    Hey Felicia,

    As an aspiring director I’m so thankfull for what people like Joss and you are doing in the entertainment industry. You just showed it is possible to create a show where money is a means to support great creativity, as opposed to creativity being a means to generate money.

    I love and am very perfectionistic about everything I create, and I’d hate to have to sell the ownership of it just to be able to fund it. You’re creating a new environment for professional creativity and you’re paving the way for all people like me.

    You’ve got guts lady. Keep up the good work.
    Love, Robert-Jon (@Eckie)

  • http://www.superdawg.com alex reager

    Congrats Felicia. If people don’t like your mega-billion dollar sponsor, fuck em. It cant hurt to have Microsoft’s clout behind your show.

    My question is, are you going to feature Microsoft product placement in your show, ala Wayne’s World? “Not now Vork, I need to find my MicroSoft Zune player, I know I had it in my purse a minute ago…”

    You rule Felicia–keep it up!!!

  • Ferralangel

    When did asking questions become such a giant no no or harsh critiques? I’m sorry some of us don’t swear fealty to the giant Microsoft who is perpetually in litigation regarding various infractions concerning its partners and users. Yes how irrational of us to ask questions.

    Although I do love comments like: “If people don’t like your mega-billion dollar sponsor, fuck em. It cant hurt to have Microsoft’s clout behind your show.” had I known these mental giants had complete faith in Microsoft I would have never tried to have an original thought.

    I don’t think anyone here is not happy for Felicia and her Guild team, some of us just want know what changes to the show are in the pipe or are going to be coming down the pipe.

  • http://www.superdawg.com alex reager

    Ferralangel–You are jumping to lots of conclusions. What are you so angry about?

    You end your last post with, “I don’t think anyone here is not happy for Felicia and her Guild team, some of us just want know what changes to the show are in the pipe or are going to be coming down the pipe.” You claim to just be innocently curious about changes to the show but the only question you asked was whether or not the show would still be on youtube and itunes. However, you also said, “Also, I don’t understand the decision to go with Microsoft given the wants and requirements of Guild Team regarding ownership, creative control, and such.” It’s a shame that YOU don’t understand her decision to choose this sponsor. (Maybe next time Felicia should consult with you prior to signing.) Not only that but if you read the post you’d know, they are getting ownership and creative control. Exactly what they were looking for.

    When did anyone in here say they have “complete faith in microsoft”? I said it can’t hurt to have their clout behind the show. Do you disagree? Or do you just have another sarcastic remark? Maybe you can think of additional clever names to call me. “Mental giant” is a winner! (btw, clever name calling is the sign of a truly enlightened thinker, so way to go.)

    Further, why would you jump to the conclusion that I or anyone in here “swear fealty to the giant Microsoft.” Frankly, fuck you for making that assumption. I guess you have a chip on your shoulder about Microsoft and are just reading what you want to read.

    The main point I was making with the, “if they don’t like it, fuck em” comment (that you took very personally) was, I am happy Felicia has a sponsor with deep pockets and to tell Felicia not to dwell on negative opinions…even if they come from fans on her blog. And before you feign innocence again, how does mentioning, MS is “perpetually in litigation regarding various infractions concerning its partners and users.” help anything? What possible benefit could come from making that statement? You’re the guy that tells a new car owner they just bought the most unsafe, least fuel efficient car on the market. Great fan.

    (and I’m done by the way, no more responses)

  • Matt

    Congrats Felicia and all those involved with The Guild! It was a long time coming…u r pro!

    Btw, I just heard your interview on NPR. When I heard “The Guild” and “Felicia Day”, I had to pay a little more attention. It was great! Our Felicia’s all grows up!

  • http://www.superdawg.com alex reager

    Felicia, can we please put an edit button on this page– my last post came off WAY harsher than expected. Ferralangel is a nice guy and I feel like a total ass for writing that tirade. (I even dropped a second F-bomb, which is way out of character for me)

    And to top it off, your mom is probably reading this, damn. Sorry Mrs. Day, Felicia’s fans are really nice folks, just got carried away.

  • Mondo

    Great episode!

    Who knew Codex would get all chest heavey over a T-1 connection? Can’t wait to see what’s next.

    As for the sponsor thing..thats your own business. I mean I love that you care what your fans think but hey, you gotta pay the mortgage too, right?

    Btw, Clara’s kids coming thru the gate reminded me of the imp cave in MC …so good job on that..)

    Also Btw I saw your interview on G4 and it made me wonder something. You always talk about playing Ultima growing up but I’ve never heard you say if you played UO? Well? Did ya? Huh?

  • Ziv

    Mazal Tov :)
    Really happy for you, cant wait to see it…

  • James

    Hi Felicia,

    Excellent work on the new series. You can definitely see significant increases in quality with both picture and sound.

    Can’t wait for the next instalment, codex should definitely hold out for at least a T2 connection. It reminded me of an old X-files episode with a guy in a remote trailer with a T4 connection, I don’t think he was an online though.

  • http://pgholyfield.com/maah P.G. Holyfield

    Congratulations, Felicia!!

  • http://www.esglabs.com/ Parody

    Ooo…double cliffhanger!

    Congrats on the sponsorship; being free on the XBox sounds like a good thing to me. The only part I don’t like is the videos not appearing on watchtheguild.com right away, but at least we can still see it for free at the same time as the console folks.

    I can’t wait for more Season 2! :)

    Mike Miller

  • http://www.feliciaday.com Felicia

    lol I <3 all of you. And I love having discussions. Everyone can feel how they feel and it’s ok, I understand where everyone is coming from. Lots of people feel strongly about things and I respect that! :) I did the best thing for my show, I know that, and am sad if it inconveniences some of my most loyal fans. So, can’t have everything! :)

    I think this blog needs…a post about a trashy fantasy cover. YEAH!!

  • http://www.feliciaday.com Felicia

    Alex: Yes, editing your posts as an option would be good, I smell a blog redesign over Xmas holidays. Wanna pimp this place out a bit!

  • http://www.walloftext.info Brent

    Felicia, I’m very excited about season 2 and can’t wait to see all the new episodes. Congratulations on the season two deal with Microsoft and Sprint! I hope even bigger things are in store for you and The Guild in the future.

    I have a write up on this on my gaming blog if you are interested:
    http://www.walloftext.info/2008/11/felicia-day-forges-new-ground-in.html

  • http://edgargarcia.com edgar

    Ok… who suggested Felicia change her personal blog… How can I be lazy if I keep having stuff to do!?!?!

    jk FD, jk…

    Its what I’m here for!

  • http://www.superdawg.com alex reager

    Sorry Ed!

    The problem with no edit button is that I’d have to think before I type. I’m usually quite eloquent when flame-spraying bloggers. But in this case, at the time, it seemed well deserved. Then blog-remorse set in…

    (btw Felicia, I encourage you to use the phrase “flame-sprayed” in an upcoming episode. It has such a nice ring to it. For example, “they were expecting the judge to show mercy but he really flame-sprayed the defendant.” Maybe not as slick as Hin-Jew but what is?)

  • http://nexus.caerleon.us Brian S

    Congrats! Great timing with this and a holiday about giving thanks. Happy Thanksgiving!

  • Thomas

    Hmm, I have no problems with sponsoring but with the video player. Is there a way to get the player on the left side of the screen?

  • Ziv

    Just watched the first episode. Wow…
    Its like for the first time the visual part is equal to the writing.
    It’s seems a lot more profesional, like you shot a real tv show rather than a youtube video. Even the cartoonish credits seems a whole lot better now.
    Guess the guild is moving up :)
    Great job F

  • Big Al

    Ya done, good kid… ya done good.

    For the kind of distribution and ownership retention you wanted, you could not have done better. Some people would have had a problem with any deal you made, regrdless of who it was because naturally some consessions would have to made for distributer/sponsor. A DEAL is a two way street.

    Exclusivity was your main bargaining chip and the fact that you got it down to 4 weeks, I think is awesome. iTunes or MySpace would have been no better and pissed off just as many people.

    And let me tell you, for those that can get access to the Xbox Live feed… Wow! Go to a friends house if you have to. Or make a new friend ASAP. The vid quality is amazing. It would have put you all in the poor house to pay for the bandwidth to do that yourself. You’d have had to do spots for every appliance in the warehouse to pay for that!

    I think you served your show well and your fans too. Here is the bottom line. People can watch the show for free online or Xbox. You don’t have to wait at all unless you choose to. You retained ownership and creative control, which you have said was your main focus in every interview I’ve seen. I really can’t see the negatives here. The only people impacted negatively are those who have a complete hatered and distrust of Microsoft and all associated with them. But as we all know, “Only Sith deal in absolutes..”

    Good on Ya’ Felicia Day!

  • http://www.youtube.com/fatalpolitics Pointy

    V. late to the party, but wanted to express how I’m feeling fan pride that you:

    1. Took a stand for the right reasons and the right deal that keeps the creative reins in the hands of the right person.
    2. Kept things open and democratic by making sure everyone could see The Guild free. (Nice combination of total individual control and total communal access to enjoyment!)
    3. Got an awesome platform (or three) to reach more people who will learn how to be more selective media viewers and thereby open doors for other Day-like creators.
    4. Taught Microsoft that it doesn’t have to own absolutely everything and, in your case, can’t.
    5. Set such an awesome example for us other web video makers.

    I tried to post this link on another thread, but it vanished into nothingness, so here it is again:

    Irving Berlin held onto his copyrights and licenses:

    http://www.nytimes.com/2008/11/30/theater/30gree.html?partner=permalink&exprod=permalink

    May your games be merry and light
    And may all your solstices be bright!

  • Paul Spadaccini

    I appear to be alone in being pleased it’ll be on Live.

  • http://www.desperateworkingmomma.com cat

    Totally late to the shindig, GOSH.

    That being said, WELL DONE, Felicia Day and Friends! I’m SO thankful that people like you and Joss Whedon are totally shaking up the entertainment industry. And I am super excited to watch Season 2! (No, I haven’t yet… I’m saving it up for a Season 2 Marathon. Because I’m weird that way, okay?! No patience. Honestly. Like, none. At ALL. It’s a hardship.)

  • http://www.facebook.com ScottInDC

    Felicia,
    The naysayers aside, your decision to partner with Microsoft (and accept Sprint as your sponsor) was a VERY savvy decision – XBOX Live had your show featured on their splash screen which has resulted in a large increase in viewership…and your show truly deserved it (you’ve managed to capture on some of the awkwardness that initially made The Office so imminently watchable while highlighting the MMO subculture with honesty and good humor). I can’t stress enough how happy I am to see you getting the notoriety you so richly deserve for all your hard work.

    Now – as far as trashy fantasy covers..here’s one I found on Amazon that still has me laughing: http://www.amazon.com/gp/reader/0345495934/ref=sib_dp_pt#reader-link

    It’s an interesting hazy picture of some mysterious bare-chested guy (who should clearly be on he cover of a beach romance novel) holding a crown of thorns. Great stuff….as seedy as it is ambiguous.

    All the best…and thank you for all your hard work – we really do appreciate it.
    Scott In DC

  • http://www.deltapaintball.com Scott Flagg

    Amazing work, I saw a link on this from Xbox in my email and I’m not very accustomed to clicking strange links but this looked somewhat interesting. I watched a few episodes and got some good laughs out of it and soon my sisters boyfriend both started watching.

    Excellent work on the show, very creative, good acting and very comical. You and everyone on the show have some real talent you don’t see everyday and I look forward to seeing future episodes.

    -Scott

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