Felicia Day of Geek & Sundry on what’s next for the nerdosphere
Web-series pioneer and geek icon Felicia Day talks Comic Con culture, women in media and the harsh democracy that is the Internet.
Tue Oct 8 2013
Felicia Day’s road to success could only have been paved in the Internet age, when niche creators don’t necessarily have to go through a middleman to reach their fans. In short order, she’s gone from playing supporting roles on TV shows like Buffy the Vampire Slayer to being a Web-media mogul and geek icon. As a creative force, she’s a regular Swiss Army knife: writer, producer, actor, singer and expert in everything from online gaming to playing the violin.
RECOMMENDED: New York Comic Con guide
Day’s career kicked off in 2003 with a minor recurring role on Buffy the Vampire Slayer. A few years later, she wrote, produced and starred in The Guild, an online comedy about people who play a MMORPG (massively multiplayer online role-playing game); it wrapped earlier this year after six seasons, having helped turn the Web series into both a critically respected medium and a lucrative enterprise. After pioneering creator-produced digital content on the Internet, she launched Geek & Sundry in 2012, a YouTube channel and online production company that hosts almost 20 regular shows and many more vlogs. In between, she’s appeared in the likes of Web musical Dr. Horrible’s Sing-Along Blog and, most recently, CW drama Supernatural.
In anticipation of Day’s New York Comic Con panel about Geek & Sundry (Oct 11 12:15–1:15pm; 1A22), we chatted with her about the state of nerd culture, her favorite comics and shows, and why she’s no “geek girl.”
Click here for more with Felicia Day, plus a video primer on her inspirations and her body of work.
Time Out New York: Who are you looking forward to seeing this weekend?
Felicia Day: Well, I’m a big fan of a lot of the comic-book writers who attend: John Layman, who does Chew, and Brian Wood, who does some of my favorite books, among many others. I’m looking forward to catching up with and/or stalking the guy who does The Oatmeal, Matthew Inman.
Time Out New York: What’s your favorite thing about comic-convention culture? There was an entire season of The Guild where the gang went to a gaming con.
Felicia Day: I love conventions, because you can connect with other people in person who love the same thing as you do, which is an experience you really can’t have in a virtual world. It’s a safe place to express yourself no matter how small your fandom or how vigorous it is. Whether you want to go straight to huge cosplay or you just want to wear a button of your favorite obscure comic, you’re gonna be able to find someone else there to celebrate that love together. So it is kind of like a big party, which I really love.
Time Out New York: You’re doing a panel about Geek & Sundry. Do you think that kind of format is where television is heading?
Felicia Day: I think that we’re just going to have even more channels, and more avenues to be able to consume what we have. The digital platform allows storytellers to tell things in the way they want to versus the way that people have gotten comfortable doing on network TV, which has gotten so far from actually connectingr with people’s reality.
Time Out New York: Yeah, it seems like TV networks are trying to appeal to everyone at once, whereas with the Internet there’s an opportunity to get at people’s specific interests.
Felicia Day: Yeah, it’s not so homogenous. When you give people the opportunity to really home in on who they are and what they love, they’re going to want to congregate around things that speak to them more personally. I think the Internet is fragmenting in a good way, so that you can have more of a diversity of characters and subject matter. That’s what I love about something like Orange Is the New Black.
Time Out New York: A few months ago, you wrote a blog post about the lack of female representation in movies and on TV. Is that something you see getting better?
Felicia Day: I hope that it’s changing. I think that there is a new generation of women growing up who see the world differently than the way that women are being portrayed. And I think it’s because a certain generation of men are in charge of storytelling right now. What I hope is that more women will take that leap and go behind the camera, and be the driving creative force in new shows and new stories, so that you’re not always just the muse. For me, just the existence of Nora Ephron was very inspiring to me to even begin to write, because I saw an example ahead of me that it was possible. And I see potential in the digital world to do that, because you don’t have to appeal to the vanilla medium that we’ve become so accustomed to as a flavor in our entertainment.
Time Out New York: What are your thoughts on the whole geeks-are-cool-now phenomenon?
Felicia Day: I think that we may not have even seen the peak of it. I think that the Internet changed a lot, and the geeks owned the Internet. And now everyone owns the Internet. Everyone is able to express themselves the way they want to express themselves, and there’s a great equalization. What’s amazing and exciting about it is that it’s no longer [about ostracizating]: You can celebrate loving what it is that you love. The more it’s just accepted and unacknowledged, the better. That’s why I don’t necessarily call myself a “geek girl”; I try to avoid that, actually, because then you’re giving the default word, geek, to men. We’re all just geeks together.
Time Out New York: Speaking of comics, are there any current series that you’re really into?
Felicia Day: Well, I’m always a big fan of Morning Glories and Chew. Those are two that I always keep up with. Saga, I’m totally addicted to. Lazarus Rising by Greg Rucka just came out, and I’m really enjoying that as well. I don’t really tend to gravitate toward superhero comics—I don’t really have a particular hero that resonates with me that much, so I tend to do the more indie comics.
Time Out New York: You’ve said that The Guild is over as a Web series at this point. Any chance it will live on in some other medium?
Felicia Day: I’ve actually come around and I am thinking about doing some other things, but it definitely wouldn’t be in a Web-series format or probably even TV. I definitely might be doing something in the near future that will be, you know, fun.
Time Out New York: Any new shows in the offing?
Felicia Day: I am working on several things right now. Launching a whole company has been all-consuming, but my eye is definitely turning back to creating my next show. I’m taking my time with it, though, because I want it to mean as much as The Guild meant to me. So I’m taking the rest of the year to really home in on one or two projects. I love being a creator and telling stories that nobody else tells.
NEXT: Day on The Guild, Katharine Hepburn, Orange Is the New Black and her hilarious fake pizza commercial
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