In the fall of 2011, Google announced its plans to invest in partnerships with YouTube content creators to develop channels of original web video content. In April of 2012, Geek & Sundry, brainchild of web series superstars Felicia Day and Kim Evey, launched the first of many original shows aimed to “present the very best of indie geek culture with shows exploring comedy, gaming, comics, music and literature.” In five months, they are up to well over 19 million views.
I was lucky enough to be able to chat with Kim Evey on Sept. 9, 2012 about her Geek & Sundry experience, and what’s coming up for them. Kim got her start as a producer working on Felicia Day’s The Guild web series, which has surpassed over 150 million total views and recently wrapped its sixth season.
TechRepublic: Can you describe what your typical day at Geek & Sundry is like?
Kim Evey: It kind of goes in fits and starts depending on whether or not we’re in production. The way the shows fell out has been really nice. Basically Sheri Bryant helms TableTop, Felicia helms The Flog, I helm Written By a Kid, and Dark Horse Motion Comics and Sword & Laser are acquisitions, so with those we’re guiding and supervising but not responsible for the day-to-day production. When your show is shooting everyone else picks up the admin work. Though, when we were shooting The Guild in August, Felicia was of course acting, and Sheri had just had a baby, so in between setups I was coordinating various promotions, permissions, and contracts, and it was a big juggling act.
Right now we’re in post-production on The Guild Season 6, pre-production on a new show with Paul & Storm called Learning Town, developing a show called Frontiers of Geekage, and on top of that, we have two more acquisitions we’re putting things in place for. Meanwhile I’m also still tracking things for The Guild, and we’re at our six-month mark for the channel tomorrow so we’ve been reviewing internally and starting to turn an eye toward the future. It’s definitely a lot right now.
TechRepublic: I was going to ask how it’s been different adapting to the new work model of actually running a network with multiple shows as opposed to just The Guild. It sounds like you’re still overwhelmed, but there are just a lot more people around equally overwhelmed.
Kim Evey: Yes, that’s exactly it. Felicia and I used to have three or four jobs each, and now we have, like, seven jobs. Now, however, we do have staff, a marketing coordinator, and a social media strategist who are working together with Felicia, as well as a post-production supervisor doing the technicalities of the channel, tracking stats, and reports. Sheri is our new partner, and she is way more business savvy than I could ever hope to be. We have a freelance graphic designer also who does all the graphics for the shows. And we all have assistants, but we probably need like three more apiece!
With six shows there’s always so much going on. We’re always working on social media strategies for all our shows that will really engage the fans. We want to create a whole community for Geek & Sundry while promoting the individual shows and cross-collaborating. Everyone is doing a great job, and the exciting thing is that there is so much we can do to grow.
TechRepublic: I know choosing a favorite show is kind of like picking a favorite kid, but do you have a show you’ve worked on that you consider to be your favorite? Like, a secret favorite?
Kim Evey: We all have our babies, and my baby is Written By a Kid, created by my friends Will Bowles and Josh Flaum. Felicia and I went to them three years ago when we were looking at building new content for our downtime between The Guild seasons, so Written By a Kid is a long time in the making. It’s really personal to me because one of my favorite things as a producer (mainly because of the grassroots way I became a producer) is to give people opportunities to create things they might not normally get a chance to do. Our directors are a mix of people who work in TV, film, and YouTube. To be able to give each of them the opportunity to see how creative they can be is very fulfilling to me.
I’m now in preproduction on another baby of mine, Learning Town starring Paul & Storm, whom we’ve known for years. A few years ago I was like “Why don’t you guys have a web series?” and they were like “Well, we were thinking that same thing, PRODUCER.”
I seem to be the queen of really long gestation periods so when these shows become realities, it’s such a triumph. I think “I remember when this was just a twinkle in our eye!”
TechRepublic: What do you geek out about? Do you have any geeky obsessions?
Kim Evey: The one thing I collect is monkeys. Monkeys are kind of like bacon — suddenly they are a thing, but I’ve been collecting them for years. I was born in the year of the monkey, and so was my husband
I have three shows I geek out about: Doctor Who, Breaking Bad, and Project Runway. If I don’t get to watch them the day they air, I’m planning my schedule for the next time I get to watch them. Although, and I think this is not going to be a popular opinion, I’m not loving the Steven Moffat Doctor Who. I really miss Russell T. Davies at the helm.
Book-wise, I love John Scalzi; his book Old Man’s War is one of my favorite books I’ve ever read. And I’m currently reading Patrick Rothfuss’s The Name of The Wind, which is turning into one of my favorite books of all time as well. I’m getting exposed to all this cool stuff doing Geek & Sundry. I got to read all of the Dark Horse Comics that became part of our Motion Comics series. Umbrella Academy blew my mind. I just don’t have enough time to read. I do it to put myself to sleep at night. Literally I will read until I am nodding off. It’s a nice treat at the end of a workday, and it’s the only way I can make my brain stop thinking about work.
I wish I had time to geek out on video games. The one I’ve played obsessively is Plants vs. Zombies. It’s really fun. You have five rows of lawn, and you plant plants that kill them in various ways. It’s pretty great and so addictive. That and Dubble I can play obsessively for hours. Sadly those times are few and far between.
TechRepublic: I know you and Felicia have both really risen from obscurity to a certain level of clout and celebrity. Have you had any moments where you just went, “Dude. How did we get here?”
Kim Evey: I don’t know if there’s been one moment. I think maybe it was Season 5 of The Guild. I knew that going into Season 5 I’d have to figure out how to shoot a convention. So the fact that we ended up at a convention center with 120 extras and our own fake booth area in the back of an actual convention that looked fancier than the actual convention booths — that was when I was like “Wow, check this out. Aaaaaand IIIIIIIIII helped!”
It’s times like that when I realize what I long way we’ve come, because when I started all this I was an actor, and I didn’t work very often. So every time I was on a TV set, I was always scared s***less because there’s so much activity and you don’t know who’s who and there are so many people and you just don’t want to f*** up and it was always very nerve wracking on every level. Now I’m in charge of all those people, and we’re a real production now as opposed to a bunch of friends putting it together with tape and gum. Though, don’t get me wrong, there’s still a fair amount of tape and gum that pull these productions together, and we wouldn’t be here without all of our friends who continue to contribute their time and energy just because they believe in what we’re doing and they want to be a part of it.
And there’s still so much I don’t know because we’re still growing, and our budgets are still comparatively very low. This season I learned from the script supervisor that I’m supposed to give her a script before the shoot so she can be prepared. There was a point where I was like “Why didn’t this get done?” and she said “You’re supposed to give it to me and I’m supposed to do it.” I was like “Ooohhh!!” Everything was so small in the beginning. There were no prep days — it was like “Just come over to the house at 2:00.” But producing is a job where no matter how long you’ve been doing it, you’ll never stop learning, which is part of why I like it.
Thanks to Kim for being super sweet and awesome enough to chat with me on a Sunday! She’s truly one of the nicest people in the business, and I’m so happy to have had the chance to get to know her. You can follow Geek & Sundry on Twitter, Facebook, and Google+.
Related TechRepublic post: Felicia Day and friends geek out in new YouTube channel