'The Guild' (not that one) Draws Viewers

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Production: “The Guild” (not as in Writers Guild… more like World of Warcraft guild) is the creation of Felicia Day, an actress who has had roles including Vi on “Buffy the Vampire Slayer. The Web sitcom about online gamers launched in July, and during the run of the first three episodes, a PayPal button on the show’s Web site, www.watchtheguild.com, garnered over $1,000 dollars in donations. That, plus a little ad revenue from the Jinx.com T-shirt company, generated enough money to finance two more episodes. The donations have continued to trickle in, ranging from 50 cents to $250 from fans of the show. So Day and her cohorts, including producer Kim Ebey and director Jane Selle Morgan keep on filming, spending their own money and calling in favors when necessary. The cost of each episode depends on the complexity of the shoot and the number of friends in the profession she can call on to help. The regular episodes are shot with a Panasonic DVX 100B camera, and lighting and sound equipment depends on the content.

Result: Episode 1 of “The Guild” has generated more than 1 million hits on YouTube. Together, the first five episodes have attracted more than 2.5 million views. Day also has experimented with posting “The Guild” on other sites, where results generally depend on whether the episode is featured on the video site’s home page. Day says she’s keeping her options open with regard to “The Guild,” and she has hired ICM agent George Ruiz to field proposals from producers. A run at TV is off the table for now because of her support for the writers’ strike, Day said. “The Guild’s” creative team is weighing whether to seek advertising sponsorship, independent financing, or a deal from a media company to keep producing the show.
-Greg Baumann

'The Guild,' a Web sitcom created by former "Buffy" actress Felicia Day, has attracted more than 2.5 million views on YouTube.