Interview with Sean Becker

Sean Becker is the co-founder of Awkward Pictures. His directing credits include The Guild, Team Unicorn, and The Jeff Lewis 5-Minute Comedy Hour. Sean has taken time out of his busy schedule to answer my questions about directing, cereal characters, and other topics.

Jeremy C. Shipp: First of all, can I have half of your sandwich?

Sean Becker: I don’t know who’s spreading this rumor that I have a sandwich on me at all times. It really needs to stop.

Jeremy: Easier said than done, Sean. In-N-Out or Chick-fil-A?

Sean: In Orange County there’s an area that has both in the same parking lot. That one.

Jeremy: Which do you enjoy most? Writing, directing, editing?

Sean: Directing. I’ve really enjoyed taking material that someone else has written and put my own spin on it. Recently I’ve actually been trying to get away from editing so I can get another editor to put an additional spin on it as well. Usually when I edit something I’ve directed, I’ll get to a point where I can’t tell if it’s good anymore because I’ve been so immersed in it so it’s been nice to step away and let someone else with fresh eyes work on it for a while. Then it’s easier to go back and know immediately what needs to be done, plus it gives the editor a chance to get creative and implement their own ideas, which adds to the overall collaboration and results in a better end product.

Jeremy: Torengos or Pringles?

Sean: Torengos! Why aren’t those made anymore? Does anyone even know what I am talking about?!

Jeremy: One thing I love about your work as a director is your sharp sense of comedic timing. Has this always come naturally to you?

Sean: I’ve always loved comedy and tend to learn from what makes me laugh and why. Regarding ‘The Guild’ I’ve been fortunate, because the timing already exists in Felicia’s scripts, I just have to make sure it’s executed properly.

Jeremy: If you were an action hero, what would your catch phrase be?

Sean: “Whoops!”

Jeremy: Can you tell us a little about your experience writing the Bladezz comic?

Sean: The Bladezz comic was a bucket list item for me. I love comic books and have been collecting them my entire life. Felicia and I both wanted this to be a loose, fun comic, that also played homage to a lot of superhero books. We both came up with the overall outline, then I wrote the first draft which Felicia then rewrote then we both did a final polish of the script. The cool part is that all artwork was sent to us for approval, so we continued to stay involved till the finished book. I really enjoyed the experience and hope I’ll be able to do it again soon.

Jeremy: If you could bring back any TV show for another season, which one would you pick?

Sean: Night Court.

Jeremy: What was your first film project about?

Sean: In college I did a mocumentary called ‘Dude, where’s my Scooter?’ It was a 30 second film, followed by a 14-minute making of video. It’s ridiculous. It’s also on youtube if anyone wants to see the reason why I decided to stop acting in my own projects.

Jeremy: What’s your doppelganger’s favorite kind of pie?

Sean: Sardine Pie. Trust me, it’s disgusting.

Jeremy: I’ll take your word for it. What were your favorite films as a kid? As an adult?

Sean: I’ve seen ‘Back to the Future’ more than any other movie. Whenever it’s on TV I have to watch it and still get really anxious towards the end, wondering if Marty’s gonna make it or not. I don’t know if that’s a sign of a great movie or a serious lack of long term memory. I didn’t really answer this question, but I will go on and on about my favorite movies, so I’m saving us all some time here.

Jeremy: Do you tend to feel worse when a lovable animal dies in a movie, or a human character?

Sean: Transformer.

Jeremy: If a mime falls in the forest, does he make a sound?

Sean: No, but it’s mildly entertaining and irritating at the same time.

Jeremy: Do you think online videos and web series will one day replace television?

Sean: To me that’s like saying, “Do you think TV will replace movies?”, to which my answer is no. I believe online video and webseries have the potential to be taken as seriously as TV, but will still exist as its own separate format. We’ve seen integration between the two (webseries that have gone to TV/TV available online/TV shows about online content/etc.) but I don’t view that as signs of a replacement.

Jeremy: Would you rather travel into the past or the future?

Sean: I would rather travel to the future so I can find out how many more changes were made to the ‘Star Wars’ trilogy before it officially became a reboot of the ‘Star Wars’ trilogy.

Jeremy: If all the cereal characters were fighting in a battle royale, who would win and why?

Sean: Sugar Bear would maul the shit out of everyone.

Jeremy: That he would. What advice would you give to people who want to create their own web series?

Sean: Be open to criticism. Show your webseries around to people whose opinions you respect and get feedback. Ultimately, it’s up to you to make any changes, but you’ll have the opportunity to do so while you still can instead of receiving that criticism after it’s already been released.

Jeremy: Your favorite moment so far as a director?

Sean: Directing Neil Gaiman during this season of ‘The Guild’. I was actually star struck when he arrived on set, but was able to keep it together until we finished shooting. After that I fanboyed out by talking to him about his work on Batman and Sandman. He was incredibly nice to everyone and did an excellent job acting in his scene with Zaboo (Sandeep Parikh).

Jeremy: What’s your ultimate kryptonite?

Sean: That in-n-out/chick-fil-a parking lot. Also a bullet.

Jeremy: What product would you most want to be a spokesperson for?

Sean: That in-n-out/chick-fil-a parking lot.

Jeremy: What can you tell us about your current projects?

Sean: As I’m writing this, I’m also putting the final touches on the season 5 finale of ‘The Guild’. I’m also working during the day as a consulting producer on a show for Fearnet, which is currently shooting until the end of October. I’m hoping after that, I’ll be able to spend the rest of 2011 on season 2 of ‘The Jeff Lewis 5-Minute Comedy Hour’, which has been funded through Kickstarter by fans of season 1.

Jeremy: What superpower would you want the least?

Sean: Whatever Aquaman does.

Thank you, Sean!

About the author: Jeremy C. Shipp is the Bram Stoker nominated author of Cursed, Sheep and Wolves, and Always Remember to Tip Your Ninja. Jeremy enjoys living in Southern California in a moderately haunted Victorian farmhouse called Rose Cottage. He lives there with his wife, Lisa, and a legion of yard gnomes. The gnomes like him. The clowns living in his attic – not so much. His twitter handle is @JeremyCShipp.

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