Fans went wild as Felicia Day emerged from the wings, beaming at the enthusiastic turn-out. She waved and waved before curtsying to the right, then bowing to the left, and finishing with a little pirouette. “Thank you very much,” she said, “I’m so happy to be here. It’s been fantastic to meet so many people with accents, very exotic, even, from Wales! Those who are Welsh, the voice, it’s lovely. Very nice.”
Not long before her arrival, the panel host had been giving away freebies. At the mention of this, Felicia brought up her yet-to-be-released book, called You’re Never Weird On the Internet (Almost), due for release on August 11th, as she expressed how much she loves getting free books from publishers – free anything, in fact. “Even if you don’t know what it is, you want it. I’m allergic to all this stuff, give it to me!” Luckily, she’s come to the right place for free stuff, especially since fans tend to give her gifts at cons – she now has a storage unit to keep it all in, and she promised that she keeps everything.
This led to being asked what the most awkward gift is that she’s received. She replied, “Somebody gave me a little sculpture of myself made entirely of their hair.” The audience didn’t know whether to laugh or recoil, but mostly they laughed. “I did not keep that one,” Felicia added.
Questions opened up to the audience after that and tabletop games were brought up right away, much to Felicia’s excitement, as she expressed an addiction to them. “I love inviting people over to play, eating loads of pizza, and screaming at people when they get grease on my pieces. Wash your hands! Do not touch my pieces with your greasy, greasy, greasy hands! I’m weird that way,” she joked. “The only thing I would request is if there could be a tabletop focused on stealing things from people, because I love to steal things in video games. Pick-pocketing, opening people’s cabinets, taking their urns and chests of gold. So, killing people, stealing things, let’s have a board game focused on that.” Not a bad idea, who doesn’t love the satisfaction of stealing everything right from under a city guard’s nose in Skyrim?
Someone brought up a current show that Felicia features in and she may or may not have died in recently (spoilers!), which led to bringing up the long list of shows she’s been killed in, and continued to be a running joke throughout the panel. “Well, spoiler alert, I seem to be dead!” she said about the show in question. “I wanna say that I didn’t ask to be killed off, but I have been killed by the best of them. Joss Whedon’s killed me,” she said, “he also shot me in the kneecaps, I’ve been killed on so many shows, so apparently I’m very killable. I don’t know if I just look good as a corpse.” Despite her short life-expectancy, of the shows she has worked on, being in productions like Supernatural and Buffy the Vampire Slayer have meant the most to her because the fandom and the crew felt like family. The community around these shows have existed in a way that goes beyond the source material. “Being part of these long running shows means they come with a fandom, and it’s like being part of a family, which makes everything I do feel less like a job.”
A nervous young girl confessed that she saw Felicia in the street the other day, but she’d felt too scared to approach her. As she turned a notebook over and over in her hands, the girl asked if she could give Felicia fan art. “Yes, please do! Come on down!” Felicia cried. The young girl hurried down the aisle, jumped onto the stage and tore a picture from her notebook. “Oh my God, it’s beautiful! Did you do just draw my face?” Felicia asked. “It’s a beautiful picture of me, thank you! My drawings are like a five year old’s, I can’t tell you what it means to me when people who are artistically gifted give these things to me.”
Next was some insight into Felicia’s “first venture into geekdom” and how she grew to love the community she’s become such a prominent figure of. “I was homeschooled, I never went to school, and there’s a lot of funny stories in my book about not understanding how people work in the world, but because my parents were very science based and loved art, and science fiction and fantasy, they wanted me to do whatever I wanted in my life – they were always my influence. I had no idea that it wasn’t cool for girls to like video games, or read fan fiction, or write science fiction, or create dragons out of Lego, so I just embraced it from a young age because it was cool to me. Later in life, when I was exposed to other people, it wasn’t as easy for me to confidently say ‘I like these things’, like in Hollywood. Hollywood likes to – especially with women – shape you to be a certain way. So I had to learn to embrace what I love, rather than bend to what other people thought I should love.”
When asked for her favourite gag-reel moments on Supernatural, Felicia brought up a scene from season 10 where her character, Charlie Bradbury, has to down a shot. Apparently she’d never done a shot before that moment for fear of throwing the drink over her face. Pulling a melodramatic, ‘I’m badass’ face, she tried to show how seriously she’d approached actor Jensen Ackles (Dean Winchester). She grabbed the shot glass, threw it back…and threw the drink all over her face. But the camera was rolling! She had to keep going, even with liquid dripping down her chin and onto her leather. Felicia pulled her sinister face again, to emphasise how ridiculous the moment was. “Jensen is one of the best actors I’ve ever met,” she said, “he can turn it on and off – he’ll be in character like boom! In that moment, I’ve never seen him break before, but he was watching me and he’s like…” Here, Felicia made one of her eyes twitch madly, the corner of her mouth fighting not to smile, the other side of her face keeping up the stoic deadpan. “After they said cut, he threw up his hands – what the hell?!”
After that, she shared many stories about how she had learnt to deal with anxiety, especially as someone often in the public eye. Her main advice to people who struggle with it and who want to go into performing of any kind, was to put yourself out there as often as possible, because the only way it gets easier is to do it multiple times. To learn to do it for “your own enjoyment and the joy of giving what you have to other people”, since the main reason we suffer from things like stage fright “is because we’re worried what other people will think of us,” she explained.
Throughout the panel, she frequently emphasised how important she felt it was for people to follow through with their passion and to share it with the world. The internet has enabled us to connect in hundreds of ways, to share what we create, and to keep getting better at our passion. We’re more enabled than ever before to produce our own content. Don’t let self-doubt, or other people’s opinions of what you ‘should be doing’ steer you away from the path you feel is calling you. Her final statement on the panel came back to this point as she enthused, “The door is open for you to say what you want to say, in a way only you can say it. Let your flag fly, because whatever makes you happy is wonderful.”
Felicia expressed her thanks for the many questions and hopes to come back to MCM London Comic Con again. She’s dreading the shipping fee for all the free books she’s accumulated, however! Catch her on Sunday from 12:00 until 13:00 on the showroom floor for the chance to have a photo taken together. If you missed the panel, you can watch it for yourself on our YouTube channel, and don’t forget to check out the roundtable interview we had afterwards.