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5 Questions With…The Guild‘s Kim Evey

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If it’s Sunday, it must be another round of “Five Questions With…”! Today we focus on the multi-talented Kim Evey, who rose up from the L.A. comedy scene to create and star in the exceedingly awesome Gorgeous Tiny Chicken Machine Show. Oh and she produces The Guild, that web series you might have heard about once or twice. Below, she preaches the virtues of niche-oriented content, and admits to an “inappropriate” love for the Gregory Brothers.

1. What’s the one big issue/law/attitude/restriction that you think is holding back the industry?

For web series in particular I would like to see people stop thinking in terms of old media models for driving viewership. Old media would have tried to change the pilot episode of The Guild to increase the show’s marketing appeal to whatever demographic it deemed the most likely for success (probably 18-34 year old male gamers). New media is the opposite — it’s niche marketing that allows instant access to people who build their own communities based on common interests, often regardless of demographics rather than because of them.

It’s hard to find a television show that is enjoyed by 13-year-old boys and 40-year-old women alike, but new media lets us cultivate a fan base with the wackiest demographic spread imaginable. Old media would probably have scoffed at the individual numbers each of these groups pull in. The web on the other hand sees these smaller groups as part of a bigger picture. A lot of new media production companies folded over the last couple of years because they took a sort of throw-it-at-the-wall-and-see-what-sticks mentality that was too broad for the internet. Their sites offered a random selection of “web series” but failed to support their series creators in driving targeted marketing campaigns. Conversely, I think a lot of creators assumed that they didn’t have to do anything for their shows because saw marketing as the job of the production companies.

2. What industry buzzword do you never want to hear again?

I just Wiki-ed “buzzword” to make sure I understood the question. I thought a buzzword was just a word that catches on and then becomes overused. By that definition, most of the terms that people have come up with to try and describe Twitter users just make me cringe — Tweeple, Twittizens, Twitterverse. Does everything in our culture have to get Brangelina’d?

Wikipedia defines a buzzword as something “used imprecisely among non-specialists with the primary goal of impressing the listeners with the speaker’s use of an obscure term rather than technical communication per se.” Using that definition, I could go a long, long time without hearing the word “transparency” ever again.

3. If someone gave you 50 million to invest in a company in this space, which one would it be? (Mentioning your own doesn’t count.)

I’d love to bring relevant shows to obscure but specific markets that are hungry for content but don’t really have any. I’d invest in a production company that uses a sliding-scale basis to develop projects that speak to very specific niche audiences, created by people from those communities who know their subject matter inside and out.

4. What was the last video (that you weren’t personally involved with) that you liked enough to spread to others?

I recently watched so many great videos thanks to the Streamy Awards nomination and voting process that it’s hard to call one out. But I was so thrilled that Jeremy Redleaf’s Odd Jobs got nominated and then won Best New Web Series. It was also my first exposure to Auto-Tune The News (yes, I’ve been living under a rock) and now I’m in love with all of them in a kind of inappropriate way.

5. WILD-CARD: You’ve produced content for a major site (Gorgeous Tiny Chicken Machine Show for Crackle) and independently (The Guild, with sponsorship from Microsoft and Sprint). What are the advantages to working directly with sponsors as opposed to distributors, and is it an approach you’d recommend for web series newbies?

Well, Microsoft is kind of both our sponsor and distributor, though Sprint has been our official sponsor for the last two seasons. The difference is that Felicia owns The Guild and I don’t own Gorgeous Tiny. Because of this, Felicia gets creative notes from me — her producer — and a few other select people whose opinions she values and trusts. We make all of our own casting choices and we set the parameters for brand integration during the season. We get to decide how the show gets marketed, what merchandise gets made and where it gets sold. We decide what conventions we will appear at and we run our own social networking sites. Our biggest fans have become our hardest working foot-soldiers, re-tweeting and re-posting our news.

However, my advice to web series newbies is always to make what you want to make and don’t worry about turning a profit — at least not at first. It took about a year and a half from the time that we decided to make The Guild to the time when we were making our deal with Microsoft. Making content takes guts. Making money takes patience.

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