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August 3, 2011
How Felicia Day is Making It Her Way
Felicia Day is profiled by David M Ewalt for Forbes
. Ms. Day may be known to some readers for her roles on syndicated TV shows such as House, M.D.
or Buffy the Vampire Slayer
. But she's also well-known for her Web video production, The Guild
, now starting its fifth season. She's another of the new breed of creators
, and she seems to be doing well at it.
Ewalt's column recaps how Day took her own personal gaming obsession and turned it into a low-budget original series show that quickly became an online hit. Picking up sponsorships from big names (Sprint and Microsoft) led to the series not needing to rely on the still-shaky Web advertising business model, and has allowed her to expand the business side of things. Day's company now has deals with iTunes, Hulu, and Netflix and is about to launch a new series in conjunction with Electronic Arts based on EA's popular Dragon Age franchise.
This new series will also represent the first time Day is giving up control of the intellectual property - in a sense she's participating in a shared universe of EA's making. So far this appears to be a win-win deal: Day is an avid fan of EA's Bioware game products and was eager to do the show, and EA has to this point kept a mostly hands-off approach.
As with any of these individuals' stories I'm not sure this could be the blueprint for anyone else's success. Day brings a unique combination of talent and obsession - her promo music video for The Guild ("Do you wanna date my avatar?") played off both her personal good looks and the well-established male sexist tradition of creating anatomically unrealistic female avatars in gaming. Because she was poking fun at herself as well as her fans it helped cement her insider cred in a way that would be hard for someone else to duplicate. Similarly, Day has successfully made a transition from crowdfunded to corporate- and merchandise-funded production, a form of the patron model that many creators dream of but that comes with its own set of perils.
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