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August 21 2009

"We beat the establishment and it fills me with glee". Felicia Day talks to BBC News about the success of (Do You Wanna Date My) Avatar.

They compre the track with Ace Of Base's, All that She Wants. I remember enjoying Ace of Base during my teens, wonder what happened to that.

Anyhoo, great article, and I like how they credited Jed.
Who keeps socks in a closet? I guess Jed does. I wonder if they were hanging up on a pants hanger or folded over a regular hanger or just laying on a shelf all casual.

I blame all weird thoughts on my brain.
This is an amazing story and should be plastered everywhere.
I never actually watch BBC News, but I want them to do a fluff segment about it tonight. It'd be so awesome. They done something on Avatar yesterday which was okay.
Nice one BBC - the more media coverage, the better. The video also got a brief mention in The Guardian in the G2 section yesterday.
The way to make money in today's economy is to think differently. The gatekeepers of traditional media venues are always turning down cool ideas. Forget them. They're old, they're stodgy, and they're losing their relevance. Felicia Day and her production company are proving the most important qualities you need to succeed in the new internet media are perseverance and imagination.

Keep going forward, Felicia! You and your Guildies rock!
Surprising none of the U-S major news channels have taken notice, maybe because they're too busy calling each other names over health care. Having a fluff story about the Guild's video would be a relief.
Or the major media conglomerates that own the US news channels don't want to publicise the fact that artists can make and distribute their own content and bypass the conglomerates....
Well, yeah..
Still, I'll bet MTV would love to air Felicia's video. I'm still hoping.
Besides, on the Guild's channel on YouTube, there's a clip from a TV station in Portland plugging the video
It made a news show here in Portland earlier this week. (Mentioned it in another thread. Not a national news channel, obviously, but still.)
Wait, MTV shows videos?
Naww, MTV doesn't show videos. Next you'll be saying that Ben is Glory or something equally inane...
I'm more excited that it's on Ceefax than the BBC news website I think! Ceefax only has space for 13 entertainment stories! (page 509 at the moment.)

Poor Ceefax. I will miss you.

ETA: I took a photo!

[ edited by RachVG on 2009-08-21 19:51 ]
Hell, MTV2 doesn't even show music videos anymore...

(Okay, possibly in the middle of the night; but still, I was disappointed that even the spinoffs of the "music video" channels had dropped music videos by the time I had a cable package which carried them....)

But, yes, way to go, Felicia!
Hee, I love the old/new media mix of the story being on Ceefax. That's extra special.
One of the few advantages of getting off work at 4am is that I get real, honest-to-goodness music videos on both MTV and VH1. 'Stonishing, innit? I'd love it if I switched channels and saw The Guild on my TV. :)
Here's the thing, guys. I love this song; I've been watching it nonstop for the past few days, downloaded the video and mp3 off itunes. It's fabulous. Inspired me to watch the entire guild series again. I'm excited for Season 3. I like Felicia Day.

So when I say this, know that it doesn't come from a hater.

But I think they're overblowing this whole "independent internet artist tops itunes" angle in the press. Not that she was a huge name or anything, but Felicia wasn't technically nobody when the guild hit and she became internet-popular. She had the Whedon link, and as you know since you are one, Whedonites are very loyal and very loving of anything Whedon or Whedon-adjacent. We will consume when they tell us to consume; hell, my bank account is Joss Whedon's b**ch. So it's not like just you or I made this web series and it skyrocketed to the top; she did have a tiny bit of a leg up and a very large fanbase she was lucky enough to be able to tap into. Again, pure love for the video and the show, and more power to them for being an independent group that beat out the huge record companies. But lets stop painting it as David and Goliath, okay? It's more like David, who knew some people that knew alot more people who were really invested in giant slaying.
I've always thought 'the guild' was dreadfully.... uninspired. But this song (even though the video looks very low budget *g*) is very catchy. Auto tune for the win :)
I think I engage a similar line of reasoning when people start saying "Internet-monetizing works! Look at Dr. Horrible! In Rainbows! Ghosts I-IV!", CarpeNoctem, because people tend to underestimate the value of a built-in fanbase in getting such things off the ground. (Basically, I'm sad for all the small, unknown bands, producers, artists out there because they certainly can't succeed the way Established Stars That Wanna Mess With The System do, yet it somehow seems like people now are expecting them to do...)

However, I don't know the post-S7-days well enough to judge whether Felicia is a David or more than that. Either way, I'm happy for her.
Felicia wasn't no one, but let's not understate it either. Vi wasn't all that significant of a part. When The Guild was first posted here, we could have ignored it, and most did. It's because it was good that more and more people kept watching. It's not like Whedon fans are her entire fanbase, heck we're probably the minority. The Guild is a success because of all the work they put in and the quality of the product. She became a bigger name in the Whedonverse (Dr. Horrible, Dollhouse) as a result of The Guild, not the other way around. I think the claims are fair.
Regarding the David and Goliath analogy, isn't he sort of a case of knowing somebody who knows somebody anyway? (That first somebody being Samuel, second somebody being God?)

That said, I think it's still a pretty major accomplishment that they hit the top of iTunes. I'm given to understand that it's pretty difficult to even get listed in the first place--Or is it just the bands I like don't bother?-- and the cost of being affiliated with a label and/or distribution company and yada yada yada.

Plus they're competing against massive stars with their companies behind them. There are those terrible Black Eyed Peas songs that are everywhere (Boom Boom Pow I'm practically okay with but I Got a Feeling is one which makes with the nausea.) Considering how this is a video/song that's somewhat more of a promo clip in the first place, I'm impressed. They probably aren't gonna shill out money to get press releases and advertising around plus I'm given to understand they were giving this away for free in the XBox marketplace.
The Guild and Date my Avatar also got a nice little write-up in both the web and print edition of the Wall Street Journal. Awesomesauce!

Also, does anyone else find it a tad annoying the way the BBC refered to it as a "cult" webseries. If The Guild is a cult webseries, then which are the mainstream webseries?
^Meh. I always find myself in "cults." Note to self: watch out for kool-aid.

@hacksaway: Perhaps. I don't know, I wasn't at the inception of the Guild's popularity. But you gotta think that part of it would have come from something like someone posting a link on here saying "Hey look! Remember that potential slayer with the hats? She's got a web series!" You know that's how it works on this site. And then thats a significant portion of pushy people who would see how great the guild is and push it onto their friends. And then, after Dr. Horrible last year, I'm sure The Guild's viewership would have also dramatically increased. (If I'm wrong let me know)

@orangewaxlion: I, uh, know nothing about the bible except common references. I am a godless person. So, maybe?

Anyway, I'm not trying to put down their success. I think it's amazing and it is pretty surprising for something that's not part of the mainstream to top the charts. It's just their painting it as a little group from nowhere when that's not quite accurate.
Just having it posted here doesn't/didn't make it an immediate success. Not everyone looks at every link. It can get you a foot in the door, but you have to do the rest. As for any growth after Dr. Horrible...would that have even existed if it weren't for The Guild? Joss credits Felicia for their making it for the web. Any bump she got from that still goes back to her own doing. I love how loyal Whedon fans are and I do like the idea that we helped a bit, but that association is not enough to take away the indie label. It did start as a little group, it's just grown a lot since its beginning and the credit for that shouldn't go to Joss or anyone else. I know you're not trying to put them down, I just feel compelled to defend them when this comes up.
In my own anecdotal experience, the success of The Guild has more to do with it being on the XBox than any other factor, drawing in people who have never even heard of Buffy let alone Joss Whedon.

For one example, my 12 year old's friend started watching The Guild when it turned up in the video marketplace and, because it was free, took a chance on it and loved it.
Makes sense that the X-Box availability has expanded their audience but

When The Guild was first posted here, we could have ignored it, and most did. It's because it was good that more and more people kept watching.

hits the nail on the head to me. I checked it out from a link on here but I went back, bought DVDs etc. because it's good (IMO). Connections in the business and a known face (even if you're only known to a niche audience) are a big help in getting your stuff out there but it's all for naught if your stuff doesn't then connect with an audience.

And that said, my impression is that Felicia loved working with Joss and was a big fan of his but wasn't exactly in the "Whedon posse" before they met on the picket line during the strike. She created, wrote and part financed The Guild off her own bat and it did well enough that they finished out season 1 on donations from fans. Not sure how much more indie you can get.

On the other hand, something like Dr Horrible was able to be made profitably in large part because a lot of talent, expertise and facilities from mainstream film and TV were available for free or at "mates rates". When you have relatively high-profile, professional creators making an indie project using everything they have available to them then the line is going to blur but in The Guild and Date My Avatar's case I think that line is fairly well defined.
I keep being reminded of the 1990's progressive rock song Virtual Reality (MP3 excerpt) by Magellan, which shares a slight thematic overlap with (Do You Wanna Date My) Avatar.
I'm certainly no expert on the media business but I think it is interesting how it has changed.
I'm, you know, a middle-aged guy. I of course remember hearing about how 'the kids' are getting music as computer files on Napster or whatever. I remember when MTV showed music videos. Heck, I remember when they were like 'Theres this new thing called a music video'. I remember when they were all like 'Theres this new thing called cablevision', back when you pretty much had three television networks to choose from in the U.S.
The progression seems to have been increasing fragmentation of what is a more or less finite market. In the 1970s, you had three television networks and top 40 radio. If you did not live in a large city your options were very limited. As video cassettes and cable began to penetrate the market, the networks were less often the only game in town. This fragmentation accelerated with the proliferation of cable (and/or satellite) channels. But it seems that the market was still more or less the same size because at least in the U.S. the population has not suddenly exploded or anything.
Once the internet came on and began to be widespread the fragmentation accelerated greatly as even people far outside of cities could access more or less anything if they could find it.
The thing is, there are still television networks. If anything they seem to have fused into larger conglomerates of various previously smaller entertainment companies. So it seems that the entertainment industrys' response to increasing market fragmentation has been to lump themselves into steadily larger companies in an attempt to capture more market share. I am not sure this is a sustainable way of doing business in the long run. These enormous companies presumably need enormous hit shows, hit records and hit movies. I speculate that an enormous hit is increasingly more difficult to achieve in an ever more subdivided market.
Still, I suppose that on a cultural level people want smash hits as part of the shared experience. People want things to talk about. Most of my real-life friends, for example, have not watched Buffy, which I feel is to their detriment but I do not want to be 'that guy'. :) So I postulate that there will be a place for nationwide hit programs and hit songs but that this will not be the only story.

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