The Guild In-Depth Interview with Director Sean Becker

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Over the last few years, the web has blossomed with streaming content. No longer is the television the only way to get your laughs or your drama, and their isn't any better example of the booming web TV market than the success of The Guild. Focused on the hi-jinx of an MMO playing troupe known as The Knights of Good, The Guild strives to softly parody the lives of MMO gamers, because everyone knows someone that acts just like Codex, Vork, or Bladezz.

While Ten Ton Hammer was at Comic-Con '09, we ran into Sean Becker, the director of The Guild, and asked him a number of questions regarding his work with the online series. Keep reading to get an in-depth look at what it's like to work on one of the most popular web series on the Internet!

Ten Ton Hammer: When did you get started working with The Guild?

Sean Becker: I wasn't a part of the show for Season One, and I was actually brought on board for Season Two because I knew the producer - Kim Evey - through the original director of The Guild, and he had other obligations. I knew him from other projects, and he got me in touch with Kim.

While I was familiar with the show, I hadn't seen all the episodes, so I went and watched all the episodes in one night and fell in love with it.

Ten Ton Hammer: It's very charming...

Sean: It is! I'm not even a gamer, and it's still really easy to understand what's going on. I'm more of a console gamer - I don't play MMOs or World of Warcraft - but even though I didn't get the really in-depth jokes, the characters and the writing still drew me to the show.

Ten Ton Hammer: How is Season Three different from the previous seasons?

Sean: Basically, we venture out a lot into the "real world." In Season Two we were starting to go out of the rooms and have the characters hang out, but in this season we do that even more.

I can't give you the really big details, but I can tell you that we introduce an entire rival guild in this season. They're named..."The Axis of Anarchy." The Knights of Good are now going to have to deal with the Axis of Anarchy, as you will all find out as the season rolls out.

Inside that guild will be five new members of the cast, of course led by Wil Wheaton's character Fawkes. The other members of the Axis are Valkyrie, Venom, Bruiser and Kwan.

Ten Ton Hammer: Are they like the eco-villains compared to Captain Planet's planeteers; kind of evil opposites?

Sean: Kind of, it's not like a sort of bizarro guild where everyone their polar opposites. In fact, every member of the rival guild has their own unique personalities just like the Knights of Good. Just like Clara and Bladezz, you're going to have Kwan and Valkyrie in the rival guild. Everyone has their own quirks.

Ten Ton Hammer: Did you do a lot of Web TV before you picked up the directorial reigns of The Guild?

Sean: Definitely. I started off doing short films, and I eventually got tired of the film festival scene. The online medium is much faster, because once you put something online - and it's good - it can be instantly seen by thousands.

I started with my buddy Payman Benz, and we put together a company called Awkward Pictures. From that we started up another show named "Comedy Gumbo" that is best described as a "live action Robot Chicken." It's great for people with short attention spans; everything is very quick.

Ten Ton Hammer: How would you describe the cast of The Guild? Are they the typical sort of actors you've worked with in the past? Or are they more interested in breaking the "Hollywood mold?"

Sean: While Wil is certainly a big name this season, everyone is very down to earth. When Felicia writes the script for these characters, she pens it with all of the actors in mind, even Wil's new character. A lot of the cast members were friends before we even became this popular, so this definitely has a more "family" sort of atmosphere than a lot of projects.

Ten Ton Hammer: What's it like working on another person's creative vision?

Sean: It's overwhelming and a relief at the same time. It's nice with The Guild to be able to show up on set and just worry about directing. When I do things for Awkward Pictures or Comedy Gumbo, we're the ones driving to the set and picking up lunch and that sort of thing. It's a very small crew and a very low budget, so everything is very tight.

The Guild is actually the first thing I've done that I didn't create and/or write for. It was actually really intimidating at first, because I'd never worked with someone else's material and Felicia is there on set, on top of everything else. But it ended up working out really well, because Felicia can consult with me on certain scenes where she had a different idea of things playing out.

By mid-way through Season Two, I felt comfortable enough to throw my own ideas into the mix and add to the story. Season Three was very comfortable, so we just picked up where we left off.

Ten Ton Hammer: Has The Guild helped you in any way?

Sean: It definitely has with the sheer exposure. The Guild and Comedy Gumbo has really sucked up all of my time lately, so I haven't been able to venture outside of those mediums lately. That said, the exposure has definitely, definitely helped.

Ten Ton Hammer: So have you started playing MMOs since you began work on The Guild?

Sean: I refuse to, because I know that they will take up *all* of my time. I won't even play Zelda, because I know that it will take up too much of my time. If I'd played MMOs, I probably wouldn't be directing The Guild right now.

I was a huge gamer in high school and college, especially the Japanese roleplaying games and those things were 70-80 hours a pop. The Final Fantasy series and Chrono Trigger were my all time favorites. I won't play anything any more; it's just too easy for me to get hooked.

Ten Ton Hammer: What's been your favorite memory from The Guild?

Sean: That's a tough question. I'm such a huge fan of the show that when Felicia gave me the script, I was really excited just to read it. Everyone has their moment this season, so that was a really, really nice thing to see.

Ten Ton Hammer: What do the fans have to look forward to in Season Three?

Sean: Definitely the rival guild, that's almost exciting enough in itself. [laughs] Other than that, I can't go into any story details.

If you thought Season Two was a step up, you'll think Season Three is insane.
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