Two days ago on Sunday, Felicia Day and the Geek and Sundry crew held a 12-hour “subscribathon” to promote their new channel (which launched yesterday) and to raise money for Best Friends Animal Society. They described the event as an “online convention,” complete with guests, panels, games, and lots of prizes. If you missed out, well…you missed out. It was a blast! I couldn’t be there for all 12 hours, but I tuned in long enough to catch most of the highlights, participate in 2 competitions, and hangout with the red-headed geek legend, Felicia Day (if only for a few minutes). The details are below!
The day began at 10am PST (1pm my time), which I missed out on. I tuned in at around 10:30, when Felicia Day and company began doing yoga under the instruction of fitness supermodel Alicia Marie. I was in and out of the room during the strechifying, so unfortunately I couldn’t participate. There were fans involved and, even though yoga can be difficult and isn’t for everyone, they put a genuine effort forth and seemed to enjoy themselves. This just goes to show how great geeks are.
I came back at sometime between 11:00 and 11:20, when a Twitter contest was taking place. Fans were asked to tweet their interesting jobs; those with the most interesting jobs would win a prize. I’m a student/blogger, so I didn’t even bother. Luckily, a good number of people seemed to have more fascinating jobs that I do.
Some entries were less believable than others — someone claimed to be training penguins to terraform mars, and someone else boasted their job as a dragon breeder. Unbelievable, but admittedly funny and clever. Still, there were some fans out there with legitimately interesting jobs.
There were some impressive employees such as a NASA World Wind worker and a biofuel fermentation process researcher. In the end, however, the winner was…slightly less amazing. He was a juggler who volunteered to scooped horse droppings at the circus. Hey, I’m not here to judge you man — whatever you want to do. I’m just saying I probably would have gone with the NASA guy. All the same, congratulations Mr. Juggles.
At 11:20 came an interview featuring Sword and Laser co-host, Tom Merritt. He explained that he and his co-host, Veronica Belmont, liked the name “Sword and Laser” because it sounds like the name of a pub — as good a reason as any, I guess. Merritt went on to elaborate on origin of the show. It started as an online book club and evolved into a podcast. Just when Belmont and Merritt were considering moving their show to video, Felicia Day approached them about doing a show on Geek and Sundry.
Felicia Day said that her reason for including Sword and Laser in her channel is to “create a social experience around book-reading.” This woman clearly has no shortage of inspiring words.
Sword and Laser premieres on Friday, April 13th — yep, Friday the 13th. Good luck to Ms. Belmont and Mr. Merritt; you just might need it.
There was some time left before the next event, so Felicia Day answer some questions from the Geek and Sundry IRC, which was heavily-populated with geeks during the show. Some things she shared:
- She thinks The Hunger Games was one of the best movies she has seen in recent years. She also thought the faked romance between Katniss and Peeta was not well-developed (I wholeheartedly agree)
- She will be at PAX East
- She doesn’t really read superhero comics…
- …but she does read indie comics
- She has spent 113 hours playing Skyrim (That dominates my play-time)
At 11:40, some J!NX owners and creators joined the hangout to giveaway some T-Shirts. Unfortunately, I was otherwise occupied during this time. I think I was eating — questionable priorities?
Before the next panel, Felicia Day introduced the next Twitter contest. This time the winner would be the fan with the most interesting pet. I only have a beagle which — even if he does have quite the personality — I was pretty sure put me out of the competition. My suspicions were confirmed when the winners were announced.
The first winner was the former owner of a flying squirrel named Katamari (the name itself is prize-worthy). He won a Yoda plushie. The other winner owned six chickens, which earned him a MegaGame-O-RamaCon shirt from The Guild.
Next up was the “The Art of Web Series” panel at 12:00pm (I’m not kidding when I mention these times, the hangout ran like clockwork). The panel included Kim Evey of The Guild and Dragon Age: Redemption, Tony Valenzuela of Black Box TV, Wilson Cleveland of Leap Year, and Tina Cesa Ward of Guards of Dagmar. Here is some information and tips on making a web series provided by panel:
- They can’t make long episodes
- Their locations are limited
- Pay attention to copyright and “make sure you own your show”
- Know who you’re making your show for
- Tell a story that you’re passionate about; don’t focus on what others are doing
- “Let your budget be your aesthetic”
After the panel was the next Twitter competition — most dangerous hobby. The winner was a geocacher. Geocaching is described as “a real-world outdoor treasure hunting game. Players try to locate hidden containers, called geocaches, using GPS-enabled devices and then share their experiences online.” I’ve never heard of it, but it sounds kind of interesting.
However, Felicia Day mirrored all of our confusion when she asked how this hobby was dangerous. Apparently, geocaches can be hidden in some dangerous/absurd places. The winner said he once found one hidden in a snake hole. Hats off to you, my friend; I won’t be sticking my hands near snakes any time soon. Still, I’m not sure Felicia Day was convinced it was win-worthy.
There was also a cliff-jumper who won another prize. I think we can agree that cliff-jumping is, in general, more dangerous than geocaching. That’s not to say geocaching isn’t cool — just not all that dangerous.
Now comes the highlight of the night: The Fan Art Contest, co-starring yours truly. We were tasked with drawing a Cheesybeards logo based on our perception of the name. I, of course, went with the most literal interpretation possible — a man with a beard made of cheese. He’s also a pirate, but that’s because Cheesybeards is a pirate-themed restaurant in The Guild.
Unfortunately, I didn’t win. I pleased to say, however, that the victor was a worthy one. She drew this excellent logo, featuring a cute little pirate mouse. While I didn’t win the main prize, Felicia Day said she would try to get me a signed poster (she saw that I collect gaming posters). I can’t wait to receive it — I’ll most likely be framing it. Of course, the opportunity to hang out with Felicia Day is a prize in itself.
What can top that, right? Believe it or not, the day got much better with the next panel. It was the novel-writer’s panel, “Creating Great Characters,” which started at 2:00. What made this panel so special was a certain panelist who played a certain magical character on a certain show that is very near and dear to my heart. I present to you, Amber Benson (a.k.a Tara Maclay from Buffy the Vampire Slayer)! Honestly, I didn’t know she was an author, but I’ll have to check out some of her work. Her newest book is called How to be Death. Amber Benson will be on TableTop sometime in the future.
Unfortunately, I was once again preoccupied during this panel. A couple of topics included how difficult it is to write a female anti-hero, and how there are no heros who are also mothers. I really wish I had been there for more. Luckily for all of us, the panel (as well as the rest of the subscribathon) should be up on YouTube soon enough. I’ll be sure to let you know when it’s up.
3:00 brought with it two very cool YouTubers, Ryan “NigaHiga” Higa and Kevin “KevJumba” Wu. I’m not very familiar with Ryan’s videos, but I can confirm that Kevin’s videos are absolutely hilarious. Be sure to take a look at both of their channels.
Both of them were there to talk about their new YouTube channel, the YOMYOMF (You Offend Me, You Offend My Family) Network. There is currently a YOMYOMF channel on YouTube, but I don’t think it belongs to them; don’t go there by accident.
Felicia Day asked the YouTubers what inspired them to make videos. Kevin said that the YouTube community made him want to get involved. Ryan explained that he never intended to start making videos for the public; he made his channel just to share videos with his family, but people started commenting on his videos and subscribing. Felicia Day explained their success well when she said that it is clear that their humor is very natural. They don’t put on a comical facade to impress their fans. Both YouTubers will be on Geek and Sundry at some point and Felicia Day will make appearances on their channels as well.
I had to pack and get ready to head back to my University’s campus at this point. Here’s what I missed:
3:30pm – Dark Horse Motion Comics Chat with Erik Bruhwiler, Animator and Producer
4:00pm – Cryptozoic Trading Cards Opening (CHARITY SPONSOR)
4:30pm – LIVE DANCE BREAK and Fan Dance competition to Public domain songs!
5:00pm – “Romance in Video Games” chat with Dragon Age creator David Gaider
5:30pm – “Indie Video Games: How To” with Bastion creator Greg Kasavin
I’ll definitely have to go back and watch the coverage of what I missed. I was bummed when I figured out I would have to miss the dance competition. D’oh well!
Before I left I had time to watch just one more guest interview. At 6:00, Matt Johnston, Senior Producer of PopCap Games, stopped in to talk about designing good casual games. I missed most of it, but one piece of advice he gave was to learn how everyone involved in game development does their job so that you can work well as a team and be respected among your peers.
After Johnston’s interview I had to head back to campus. Somehow I managed to only miss one event: A talk on e-sports with DayTV’s Sean Plott. I love me some e-sports. I’m especially fond of competitive Team Fortress 2. I hope and believe that e-sports will become a regular part of television programming someday, maybe starting with G4TV. That will be the day I start watching TV again.
Hardwick highlighted one particular show on the Nerdist Channel called All-Star Celebrity Bowling. It pits two geeky team of bowlers against each other. In the first episode, Team Nerdist takes on Team Machinima. A Geek and Sundry team will eventually be competing on the show. I can’t wait; you have to love all of these YouTube channel crossovers!
At 7:30, three NASA astronomers spoke about their jobs and projects. The astronomers, Carolyn Brinkworth, Robert Hurt, and Varoujan Gorjian, worth with the Spitzer Space Telescope. They gave a demonstration involving infrared light — pretty impressive stuff! Felicia Day seemed fascinated.
8:00 was assigned to screenwriter Josh Cagan. He came in to help with writing a crowdsourced screenplay. This involved the audience tweeting answers to requests such as “Give two adjectives to describe this character” and “Name a location/clue for the murder”. Yes, the screenplay involved murder. Unicorn murder, in fact. There are also flowers, a centaur, cops, and fantastical drugs — yes, drugs. I won’t go into detail — that way you will be able to enjoy it for yourself — but it’s hilariously ridiculous.
One of the final Twitter contests requested the person who has visited the most exotic place. The winner honeymooned in Alaska. The runner-up visited the Dominican Republic.
Easily the funniest part of the night was at 9:00, when the cast of The Guild (minus a couple of guildies) performed the crowdsourced screenplay. Believe me, you need to see it.
The second-to-last event of the night was another fan art competition for the grand prize package. This one required submissions through twitter. I submitted this entry at the last minute (literally), but didn’t receive so much as an honorable mention. C’est la vie.
The winning submission was some kind of unicorn doll; I’m not really sure what it was, honestly. I couldn’t really see it on the hangout stream and wasn’t fast enough to get a screenshot. My favorite submission was this cartoon, which might not make any sense unless you were at the hangout. There were pandas. Anyway, congratulations to the unicorn guy/gal. I hope you use your new TOR gear well.
The final event of the night was the announcement of how much money was raised for Best Friend’s Animal Society. By the end of the night, the Geek and Sundry Subscribathon raised over $10,000 for the charity. That’s some geek power!
The subscribathon ended at 10pm PST — 1am my time. I had class early the next day, but it was worth the future regret (is that a logical statement?). I look forward to the future of Geek and Sundry, and I hope to play a part in it.
Be sure to subscribe to Geek and Sundry; that was the whole point of this, after all. I’ve already seen all of the videos that have been released and I was not disappointed. You won’t be either. It’s not only geek TV, it’s hilarious. Don’t miss out on any more of the fun — subscribe!
You can view an album of all the screenshots I took during the event — some of which aren’t shown in this post — right here.