Up to now, Web video, for the most part, has essentially fallen into the category of voyeurism — the “look what I just did” syndrome on YouTube and other personal video sites is prevalent. However, there are some wonderful independent film projects, Web shows, and other episodic content to be found on the Internet if you look hard enough. One such gem is the Web-sitcom The Guild, produced by and starring Felicia Day.
The Guild is an episodic Web-show about the adventures of a misfit group of MMORPG players, both inside their game world and out here in the “real world.” As an accomplished (she might even allow addicted) game player, Ms. Day’s scripts reveal an intimate understanding of the MMORPG psyche. These insights give The Guild depth, breadth, and make it pretty darn funny too. Members of Technologia appreciate the keen sense of humor.
Season two of the The Guild started this week and can be viewed exclusively on MSN Video and on Xbox Live. This is important to note for all you budding Web video producers. Because of the success of season one, The Guild has been able to secure significant financial backing from the likes of Microsoft and Sprint. This means the creative people involved are actually getting paid to produce their show instead of volunteering to do it.
Years from now, we will be able to hold up the example of The Guild as one of the first Web-based sitcom shows to make it as a successful form of episodic content. I foresee this type of distribution growing as the lines between television and the Web blur. More and more, content will be content, and the delivery method will be controlled by the consumer. Prime time will be anytime and success won’t be measured by Nielsen Families and broadcast network ratings, but by the ability to reach a specific audience.