In its first week, Team Unicorn’s “G33k & G4m3r Girls” (a.k.a. the “Geek and Gamer Girls Song”) has racked up a million views at Break.com. Their parody of Katy Perry’s “California Gurls” celebrates the fact that women can be into comic books, anime, manga, sci-fi, fantasy, tech, all kinds of gaming, and so many other nerdy delights.
Team Unicorn features Michele Boyd, Clare Grant, Milynn Sarley, and Rileah Vanderbilt, all of whom you might recognize from a variety of television and web series performances. Why the name Team Unicorn? Because, as with unicorns, some people don’t believe geek girls really exist. With special appearances by Seth Green (Robot Chicken, Austin Powers), Katee Sackhoff (Battlestar Galactica), and Stan “The Man” Lee, the video is “a love letter to the things geek girls cherish most” written, produced, and performed by geek girls.
The Guild, How I Met Your Mother,
Solo: The Series, Zimm: The Series
OFFICIAL PAGE: MicheleBoyd.com
Street Fighter High: The Musical
coming soon… MilynnSarley.com
Hatchet II, Brides of Horror, Saber,
Ultradome, James Gunn’s PG Porn
Robot Chicken, Ultradome, Saber
Masters of Horror, The Graves
OFFICIAL PAGE: ClareGrant.com
Team: Wow! It’s been pretty nuts! With anything web related I think you’re always hoping that whatever you put out there is going to go viral, but it’s always amazing to actually see it happen and take off. Most the week we’ve all just pretty much been glued to our computers making sure that every thing’s going smoothly. There’s always little hiccups and you want to make sure that you can get those fixed as soon as possible. I think it’s safe to say that we’re all happily exhausted since the launch!
AFC: How did this video come about? Why did you make it?
Team: Milynn and Michele were on the way back from the beach when “California Gurls” came on, and Milynn had the idea to do a parody about geeky girls! After listening to the song on repeat the entire way home and coming up with alternate lyrics, they got Rileah and Clare involved and everything snowballed from there! Tweaked lyrics, a sponsor and crazy scheduling with awesome cameos later, we had a video! First and foremost, we made the video for ourselves, because we had so much fun coming up with the idea. The fact that anyone else enjoys it as well is just icing on a very awesome cake!
AFC: How closely do the items in the video reflect your individual tastes? For example, when an issue of The Walking Dead floats up over your chest (how naked are you there?), is that a favorite comic or was that something random from the collection?
Team: Those American Beauty style shots were chosen as a parody of the commonly-used overhead shots you see in so many music videos, but we wanted it to be comedic as well. Nothing was random, for example The Walking Dead and Wonder Woman comics were chosen because Michele is a huge fan of both franchises. If you notice in the shots with Rileah, we used Hatchet (directed by her husband Adam Green) and Robot Chicken (created by Seth Green).
AFC: When someone walks into your home, what’s the nerdiest thing they’ll see that belongs to you – other than Clare’s husband Seth?
Clare: My entire house is covered in action figures, statues and pop art.
Rileah: My home in general is pretty nerdy. My laundry room is wallpapered with comic books and I own every ame-comi figurine out right now. Also pretty awesome is that my house is the home of Saber‘s Golden Droid trophy for “Audience Choice.”
Michele: Besides my current obsession with sci-fi shows, I think my bathroom with its flying monkey vinyl decals and the blown up maps from George R. R. Martin’s Song of Ice and Fire series qualifies as the geekiest room in the house. Oh, and possibly my Serenity lunchbox.
Milynn: It’s really hard to chose – the 6ft x 6ft chessboard with oversized pieces on my patio that I made, the portrait of my DNA hanging up, the backdrop for my show (youtube.com/thegamerchick) that is covered in comic books, the Thor, Darth, Vader and Boba Fett helms I wear when i’m gaming sometimes. The list goes on.
AFC: What’s your favorite nerdy or geeky thing to do?
Clare: While I play video games almost every day, I think the nerdiest thing I do is participate in a Magic: The Gathering group with friends. I’ve even played in tournaments.
Rileah: There are so many!! I really love video games. Right now I’m playing three: Final Fantasy XIII, Halo Reach, and WoW. I’m also really into vampires I love any shows, books, or comics having to do with them.
Michele: Sit in the comic book aisle of the local bookstore and read till someone kicks me out.
Milynn: Gaming. (I sometimes will game 14 hours a day! It’s a sickness.) I am constantly working on new cosplays. But the one thing I think i do that I think is unique is I read sci-fi/fantasy novels while working out at the gym.
AFC: Your video’s getting some of the same comments we saw during G4TV’s Next Woman of the Web competition: “They’re not geeks, they’re not really gamers.” Why do some people refuse to believe women can be geeky too, especially pretty girls?
Team: This is definitely an issue that we’re tackling right now. Video or no video, it’s always been an uphill battle to get people to take any geek girls seriously in this world. It’s maddening being asked to prove our geek creds when the same is never asked of guys. We’re actually surprised that this is still even an issue. Perhaps it’s because we’ve all been comfortable in this world for so long and have met so many other girl geeks out there that it’s kind of shocking to believe that there are still people who refuse to believe we’re real.
AFC: At San Diego Comic-Con this year, Kristin Rielly (Geek Girls Network) got Kari Byron (MythBusters), Bonnie Burton (“Star Wars Shout Outs in G33k & G4m3r Girls Music Video”), and others to do a “Geek Girls Exist” panel there. Right before the convention, a number of us got into heated discussions with some guys who just didn’t get why geek girls needed to assert their sheer existence.
Team: It’s a tricky situation. If a girl states her preferences for games, comics, etc., there is usually some backlash that it can’t possibly be so, whereas a guy almost never gets questioned. So it seems like there is more unnecessary pressure on females to “prove” themselves as geeks, which is ridiculous. We don’t want “female” branded games or geekery, or to be known as “female geeks” we just want to be accepted and unquestioned in the geek community as legitimate geeks without having to defend our genuine love for the same things that boys love. Our song is called “Geek & Gamer Girls” only because we are parodying Katy Perry’s “California Gurls”, but it was never our intention to isolate girls from the geek and gamer communities.
AFC: Were you “in the closet” as a nerdy girl growing up?
Clare: Everyone knew I was a gamer growing up. I have been a subscriber to Nintendo Power since the very first issue. And I was that kid in class that had a stack of fantasy books on her desk to read. The only thing I was ever in the closet about was my love of Magic: The Gathering, and by college, I had even come out of the closet for that.
Rileah: I’ve always really been a nerdy girl. I lived in the middle of nowhere most of my life so I relied a lot on books and movies as entertainment. When I was 9, I successfully finished the (Lord of the Rings) trilogy and from there moved on to other fantasy series. I would run home from school everyday to make sure I didn’t miss Star Trek: TNG. I loved Star Wars, Xena, Hercules, anything that was genre really spoke to me. In high school it was tough. I went to a small school…I mean really small. (I only had 28 kids in my graduating class!) It was definitely a balance to be “cool” and still be into geeky things. I was the cheer leading captain but was reading David Eddings, The Belgariad and The Malloreon on the side. Every once in a while I would “geek” out about something publicly. I found out really quickly that that wasn’t okay because it was outside of the “conformed” little box everyone was putting themselves in.
Michele: I was mostly a fantasy book geek until video games came along; I was that girl with the book under her desk for all of middle school. First it was young adult like L. J. Smith, then a summer spent memorizing how to write in runes courtesy of The Hobbit. I was also obsessed with mythology, particularly Greek/Roman and Arthurian. Even in college, the video game world was so dominated by males that I stayed with my little text-based MUD Avalon until discovering World of Warcraft.
Milynn: I’ve always been a geek. Since I was a kid there has always been something a little different about me. My family was pretty cool about it and alway encouraged me to be who I was. I was so huge into anime growing up, I would go to the local blockbuster regularly and rent every single anime they had and then move onto the next one. I have done this with at least 10 Blockbusters! I would buy manga in Japanese and was trying to teach myself Japanese just so I could read them. And video games – I have been gaming since I was 4 and not a year has gone by since then when at least one new game or system was on my Christmas list.
AFC: Are there hazards or hassles that come with being a geeky girl? I know some girls who hide their gender in WoW or on Xbox Live because they don’t want people to pester them or mock them for stepping on the boys’ turf.
Team: It’s been a boy’s world for so long that a lot of girls get singled when they play online. It’s understandable that some girls want to disguise their gender so they can play without distraction. On the other hand, some girls, including us, like to wear it loud and proud despite the hassle.
AFC: And why do some of them try to pit women against each other? I saw someone tweet “CAT FIGHT” over people making comparisons between “Geek & Gamer Girls” and “Comic-Con Girls” when there really was no fight going on at all, not at that particular moment, and the videos are clearly different.
Team: Humans in general enjoy controversy, which is why we don’t have CNN: Daily Happy News. People are going to believe what they want to believe, no matter what, and we can’t change that. “California Gurls” is so catchy and upbeat, it’s no surprise it became one of the most parodied songs of this year, particularly (for whatever reason) along the topic of geek culture. We had our lyrics pretty much finished before Comic-Con, but due to scheduling conflicts and our desire to put out the best representation of our idea, we couldn’t shoot until the end of August. It’s unfortunate that people associated with “Comic-Con Girls” feel the need to accuse us of plagiarism when anyone looking at both of our videos can tell it’s just not the case. If anything, we avoided watching the parodies that were already out there in an effort to keep our own video as original as possible. We are thrilled that there are so many creative people out there putting out videos about what they love and I’m pretty sure the Internet is big enough to hold all of us.
AFC: Between the two videos, I think the only time they match up and use the same unique word (one not used by Perry) is on “saber” for “sicle” but some of you already have a history with that word. For those who don’t know: What was Saber?
Team: Saber is the first project that Danger Maiden Productions released. We (Rileah and Clare) are both huge Star Wars fans and wanted to come up with something to do with that universe and the idea for Saber was born. We went to Adam Green to write and direct the mock commercial for us. It’s a parody (we like parodies) of Axe deodorant (Saber deodorant), where an average guy is fought over in a bar by two hot girls with lightsabers. Saber was a huge hit on the web and won two awards at the Star Wars Fan Film Awards hosted by atom.com: “Best Action” and “Audience Choice”. Taking home two Golden Droid trophies sculpted by Jon Berg was the greatest night of our lives.
AFC: And looking ahead, what’s next in your futures?
Clare: Hopefully Team Unicorn will have a follow up project. I am currently attached to a horror film that begins shooting in October, and Rileah and I are starring in a web series for Adam Green and Atom.com that starts shooting this fall as well. Hopefully we will all get positive attention from our video and will book endless jobs as a result.
Rileah: As a member of Team Unicorn, I can safely say that we have a couple other things in the works right now:) As for me, I have a movie Hatchet 2, directed by Adam Green coming out in theaters on October 1st. I’m also producing a fun horror/camp/comedy web series for Atom.com that Clare Grant and I are also starring in. Hopefully, that will be out for everyone sometime around the beginning of the year.
Michele: I know all of us are still actively pursuing more traditional careers in television and film. I also have about 3 different webseries in production right now (The Guild, Zimm: The Series and Solo: The Series) that I’m so psyched to be a part of.
Milynn: I just finished Street Fighter High School and have several other new projects in the works. I’m weird and superstitious though, so I don’t want to say more until they are completed.
Michele: Team Unicorn is a great outlet for us as friends to create and produce projects that we find fun. I’m sure this video won’t be the last you hear of us!
AFC: Where can your fans see you? Will I see any of you at New York Comic-Con?
Clare: Unless a job comes up that I would have to shoot during that weekend, I will definitely be at New York Comic-Con. I never miss it!!
Rileah: Unfortunately my October is so busy at this point that I’m probably not going to make it out for NYCC. Fans can check out Saber (if they haven’t already), Ultradome, and Frozen to see more of my work. As far as appearances go, I usually update my Facebook fan page and twitter with all that info.
Michele: Due to shooting conflicts with Solo, I can’t make NYCC this year. (Curses!!) But I love conventions and I absolutely will be making the rounds at as many as possible! I know for a fact I’ll be at the upcoming BlizzCon in October! In the meantime or if you want to keep up with me, you can always check out my various social media outlets.
Milynn: I am still up in the air about NYCC. It depends if a project I am up for is shooting then or not. I will definitely be at Blizzcon (unless for some reason work forces me to do otherwise). Always on YouTube. You can also catch me on EATV as I am a host for the gaming company as well.
Some of the many geek girl related posts:
* Interview: Why Seth Green Loves Geek and Gamer Girls
* Geek Girls Conquer San Diego Comic-Con 2010 – Do We Ever!
* Comic-Con Panel Video: Where Are the Action Chicks?
* Comic-Con Panel: Best Superheroine Movie? No, the ONLY Theatrical Superheroine Movie
* Wired Interview: ‘Action Chick’ Looks at Comic-Con’s Geek Girls
* “Comic-Con Girls” Makes Busy Gamer Happy
* Action Flick Chick is the PoP Fangirl of the Month!
* How Do Fan Convention Experiences Differ for Women and Men?
* Girls’ Guide to Comic-Con – L. A. Times Article by Geek Girls United
- The Action Chick Comic – Resident Evil: Afterlife’s Zombzilla Alternate Ending
- Coming Attraction: Tarantula (Danny Trejo, Erin Cummings)