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Dragon*Con 2012: ‘The Guild’ Panel
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Dragon*Con 2012: The Guild panel

Every year at Dragon*Con, The Guild panel always ends up being my favorite of the convention. This panel always bring tons of laughs and is suprisingly informative. This year’s panel featured the entire Knights of Good cast: Felicia Day, Sandeep Parikh, Jeff Lewis, Amy Okuda, Robin Thorsen, and Vincent Caso and it was hilarious. The cast has great chemistry and good-naturedly ribbed each other and the audience through the entire event. Felicia Day moderated and immediately opened it up to a fan Q&A.

Felicia Day noted that The Guild: Season 6 just wrapped up shooting a day and a half ago and its release will come SOON. No specific release date or time-frame was specified. Also noteworthy was that Jeff Lewis’ baby makes a cameo appearance in the new season and he’s got another baby on the way. Congratulations from Geeks of Doom, Jeff!

The first question asked was if the cast was surprised by the popularity of the series. Sandeep Parikh said that he was surprised at first, but now it’s just cool to know that the series is constantly expanding its fan base.

The next question asked was if Felicia Day would be interested in managing a bigger budget project. Day noted that she loves the creative control that she has over The Guild, but that it’s becoming increasingly more difficult to produce the show on their limited budget with the growing cast and crew. She said that it would be nice to compensate them more or even work with a soundstage. Parikh jumped in to say, “Translation: we’d sell our souls for air conditioning.”

Another question asked was to Vincent Caso about his little sister, Tara Caso, who played Dena in The Guild. Vincent said that Tara is doing her own thing right now and couldn’t make the panel.

A fan asked the cast about their craziest fan interactions. Day said she was taken aback after being asked by three separate fans for her autograph on their skin – so they could get it tattooed. She said one fan in particular told her that he was doing it on a $500 bet. The fan later tweeted Felicia a picture of the new tattoo and revealed that his buddy refused to pay up. Parikh said that one fan at this convention wanted to take a picture with him lifting him up. After calling out the fan and making him stand up, the discussion went into a hysterical tangent about how the fan could’ve lifted Parikh by his taint. Amy Okuda revealed that she didn’t know what a taint was and hilarity ensued.

Day was asked how she chose which geeky archetypes to include as characters in The Guild. Day said that she was working with both Jeff Lewis and Sandeep Parikh at an improv theater and wanted to make characters for them. Most of the characters are an amalgam of different people that she’s met in life and in gaming. Tinkerballa was based on her old World of Warcraft guild master who was a mean, cute Asian girl. Clara was loosely based on a player from Puzzle Pirates who was a mom who always had her baby with her.

The best question asked, which also led to the most in-depth discussion, was what each cast member’s favorite season was. Robin Thorsen said that Season 5 was her favorite because of all the steampunk. The first Thorsen had ever heard of steampunk was at GenCon. Day said that Thorsen was so dazzled by the costumes and interested that she had to write it into the show. Caso also said that Season 5 was his favorite. He loved the scale of the convention scenes and enjoyed working extensively with the wide cast of guest stars. Okuda said her favorite season was the fifth as well. She loved the variety of costumes that she got to wear for her role as a cosplayer. She said it was like Halloween every day. Day liked Season 2 the best since the budget was increased from the first season and the cast really grew into their characters. Parikh said that Season 5 was awesome because his scene with Neil Gaiman was his favorite scene to film EVAR. He also noted that playing Zaboo in the new Season 6 was especially fun. Lewis enjoyed the second season because they visited his character’s house. He thought it was fun to explore his character in depth.

The next question asked was if the characters play any games online. Caso said that most of the cast made accounts and created a guild in World of Warcraft. Day said that she’s currently playing Secret World and Guild Wars 2. Parikh is playing Arkham Asylum, Mass Effect, and Infamous. Lewis said that he gets maybe ten minutes a day of free time, but he’ll sneak in a game of Madden on occasion.

The cast was asked how they are most like their Guild characters. Lewis said that he’s cheap and suggested many of the cheap ideas in the show. Parikh said that he hoped nothing but that he’s as energetic and “in the moment” as Zaboo. He also joked that knows Day’s menstrual cycle. Day said that she likes to take care of people. Okuda said, “Nothing.” Caso said that he has actually become Bladezz in his real life. Thorsen said that she shares Clara’s love of alcohol.

An unaware fan asked when she could expect The Guild to appear on Netflix. It’s already on there and available. Parikh plugged the DVD release for his series, Legend of Neil, which is now available on Amazon for preorder. Parikh created and directed this series which also stars Felicia Day and Tony Janning.

Finally, a fan asked if they had any advice on being a guild master. Lewis immediately went into character and answered, “Don’t listen to anybody.” Day said that he should set boundaries on what is acceptable and regaled a story of a guild that she was in. The guild master tactfully set boundaries on the language and topics that are inappropriate on voice chat. She said it made for a safe and enjoyable gaming environment.

The panel was a huge success and every fan left the room wiping the tears of laughter from their faces. If you’re a fan of The Guild and are anywhere within 500 miles of Atlanta during a Labor Day weekend, this panel alone is always worth the trip. Everything else at Dragon*Con is just icing on the cake.

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