Back on July 27th, 2007 Felicia Day saw her first episode of a web "sitcom" posted on the internet. Directed by Jane Selle Morgan and Greg Benson written by Felicia Day it followed the lives of an online guild "The Knights of Good", each webisode is 3–7 minutes long.
Day, who plays World of Warcraft in between acting roles in television shows and movies. Decided to take her gaming and make something productive from her experiences and wrote the series as a sitcom pilot. The series was written to appeal to an audience of massively multiplayer online role-playing game (MMORPG) fans.
After filming the first 3 episodes in two and a half days they ran out of money. After putting a donation link to Paypal the 4th and 5th episode were almost solely financed by donations.
On Monday November 24, 2008 Microsoft announced that they had signed an exclusive distribution deal with Guild creator Felicia Day. All 12 season 2 episodes of The Guild will premiere on the Xbox 360, Zune, and MSN with a four week delay for release on The Guild's official website.
The Microsoft releases will be free, but supported by Sprint advertisements and product placements. Notable is the fact that creator Felicia Day retains the IP rights to the series, with Microsoft paying an “unspecified” license fee upfront. Sometime in late February, when all episodes of season two have been released, Felicia and her team are free to sign a new nonexclusive distribution deal should they choose to do so.
So consider this wonderful adventure in entrepreneurship. They had an idea for a product, got it into a marketplace, found a way to secure some financing. Then later got advertising and licensing revenue.
Creation of business from nothing but an idea. Outstanding! I could see other entertainment venues following a similar avenue. It would be nice to see more of this kind of cowboy entertainment.
So watch an episode or two, see if you enjoy the show. If you do and want to support you can buy the DVD box set or download the new mp3 "Do you wanna date my Avatar" from itunes or Amazon.
Note: Joss Whedon credits The Guild as one of the inspirations for Dr. Horrible's Sing-Along Blog, which also starred Day.