I will freely admit that, before receiving The Guild: The Official Companion from Titan Books to review, I had never even heard of the web show. Asking around, I see that I am not the only person who has not heard of it, but maybe we are in the minority.
Head over to YouTube and you will see that The Guild web series received anywhere from 400,000 t0 over 1 million views PER EPISODE. Yeah, it was not only one of the first big successful Internet web series, but was also the inspiration for Joss Whedon’s Dr. Horrible’s Sing-a-Long Blog, which everyone has heard of.
And, honestly, everyone needs to know about The Guild as well.
The web series was created by Felicia Day in 2007. Before this, Day had a role on the TV series like Buffy the Vampire Slayer (as Vi). She also had small roles on a ton of other popular television shows but wanted to do something special, something that was hers. She joined up with Kim Evey, who served as the co-producer, and set out to create The Guild.
The Guild is set up around a group of people who play online MMO games (such as Worlds of Warcraft). Much of the early shows contrasts the fact that they live in their game world and think they know each other but then shows how strange it is when they first meet and then how they are different – or very similar – to the characters they portray in the game.
Honestly, that is just scratching the surface and you need to watch it to get the full effect of what The Guild is really about.
This book is set up in a manner where Day, as well as her co-stars and crew members, tell the story in an almost narrative. If you read the Saturday Night Live biography Live From New York, it is set up in a similar style, but basically it comes down to seeing a person’s name and then they talk about something. Then you get another person’s name and they give their thoughts about it.
That makes this book not only an easy read, but a very entertaining one. Of course, Day gets the most time to talk here because she was the creator, star and writer of all the episodes, but she does not dominate the conversation.
Everyone gets a chance to share in the joy of telling the story of The Guild, including special guest star Wil Wheaton, who starred in season three as the leader of an antagonistic guild. The fact that Wheaton was in the show as a major character should tell you how successful the show became.
Yes, Felicia Day was a “name” before The Guild, but she started this as a startup and used what money she could scrounge up to make it. Then, she found an audience which caused Microsoft to offer them a deal to finance the show. They then ended up with names like Neil Gaiman, Nathan Fillion, Stan Lee, Kevin Sorbo and many more to offer to cameo in the series.
What this book tells is a true success story, of how Felicia Day found something she thought could work, took the chance on putting it out there for people to see, and ended up with a winning show on her hands. This is – honestly – something anyone who dreams of creating web content should read. It is very uplifting.
The book is also FULL of photos from The Guild, many behind the scenes shots. There is also interviews with people like Jed Whedon (Joss’ brother who show runs Marvel’s Agents of SHIELD) who helped with the music videos, as well as a look at their convention experiences and how they pulled off the convention season.
The Guild: The Official Companion is a great read for anyone who loves the show and is a book that will make anyone who hasn’t seen it want to check it out. This book is highly recommended.
Check out the three music videos by The Guild, produced by Jed Wheadon.