Perrysburg grad shares passion for film PDF Print E-mail
Written by ALEX ASPACHER Sentinel Staff Writer   
Saturday, 21 December 2013 09:51
Perrysburg High graduate Jeff Seibenick shared his experience in the film and television industry Friday afternoon with PHS drama students. (J.D. Pooley/Sentinel-Tribune)
PERRYSBURG - Christmas came early for drama students at Perrysburg High School.
Instead of their usual Friday class, teacher Rob Gentry's students listened intently as alumnus Jeff Seibenick shared how he's been able to make a career in film and television - with tales of his celebrity encounters mixed in.
Seibenick's message was straightforward - if a job like his is the only one you can picture yourself doing, then go for it. And don't give up.
To be successful in show business, you have to "literally know this is all that you can do for the rest of your life," he said.
"Because if it's not, there's 100 people lining up outside the door to do the job that you don't want to do."
Seibenick, a 1994 PHS graduate, attended the University of North Carolina School of the Arts, where he worked with a few people whose names may be a bit more recognizable, at least nationally.
Danny McBride, his college roommate, has gone on to appear in films such as "Tropic Thunder" and "Pineapple Express," the latter of which was directed by David Gordon Green, another North Carolina student.
Seibenick and McBride, with another classmate, director Jody Hill, made "The Foot Fist Way" in 2006. That film appeared at the Sundance Film Festival, and the group now works together on the popular HBO show "Eastbound and Down," which Seibenick edits. It's a job he said is frequently overlooked.
"For an actor, I can make them look really good or really bad. For a comedy, I can make the jokes really funny or really suck. For a drama, it's the difference between 'Are you crying, are you empathizing with this character?' or 'This is cheesy and bad. This is corny.'
"Everything you see on a movie that works, it's because the editor is really good."
Success didn't find him overnight. After moving to Los Angeles, Seibenick did a lot of jobs that were less than ideal. But it didn't matter, because he had his eyes on the prize and where he ultimately wanted to be. Eventually, making lunch runs for low pay gave way to better jobs.
"If you love what you do, then you're better than anybody in Los Angeles," he told students Friday. "The competition isn't as strong as you'd think."
Seibenick's resume has grown since his first film. His credits span television and popular movies, including the shows "Parks and Recreation" and "The Sarah Silverman Program."
After asking students to blurt out celebrity names to see who he's worked with or met at a party, those that elicited stories were more common than those he hadn't met.
Seibenick's progress since college can be traced back to Perrysburg, where he made his first film as a freshman, starring Gentry, who was his teacher then.
Gentry said he hoped today's students realized from Seibenick's talk that film and television jobs aren't pipe dreams, and to pursue them if that's where their true passions lie.
"The biggest thing I think is to see that someone from Perrysburg can do this for a living," Gentry said. "It's not just something you learn in a class, it's a real-world application. Plus the idea that he is a former student, he was in their seats and now this is what he's doing. This could be a reality for them."
Last Updated on Thursday, 26 December 2013 09:30

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