Dave Seger is a good friend of mine who runs viral video mecca Channel 101, works for the Sarah Silverman program, and runs a very successful monthly home-made funny movie screening night out of his apartment. All in all, Dave has a pretty amazing job.
MANOLITH: What’s the manliest thing about your job?
DAVE SEGER: I can work without a shirt on, I guess? You know, like a gardener or a pool boy. Except I’m in my dark apartment drinking tea and I am only without a shirt because I just got out of bed. I wake up, roll out of bed, sit at my computer, and I’m editing my next project. I guess the manliest thing is that I’m my own boss. I’m a collaborator to other companies, not an employee. I don’t answer to anyone or get anyone coffee. I make deals on the phone with web company money managers. I tell them what’s what. That can be manly. But really I’m editing videos of cute kittens. I’m pacing in my apartment telling them what’s what about my cute kitten video (ultrakawaii.com). Coordinating and producing makes me feel cool and organized. It makes me feel adult, maybe not manly. My dad was a Detroit City Firefighter and I make videos of Sarah Silverman talking about smoking pot and making poop jokes.
Best advice you’ve learned from working your job?
I learn to say yes to a lot of things. Pile it on, work ridiculously long hours, because you never know when there won’t be anymore work. I’ve learned that to get paid to do something you love you gotta do it for free a lot and for a lot of different people. My first freelance jobs all came from doing stuff for free for awhile. You earn appreciation and respect. Maybe it’s the wrong way to go, but now I get lots of freelance work from my five friends I did free work for. That’s not the best advice. The best advice I can give as general advice to the world, that I learned from working my job, is that there is no pressure to take anything too seriously. Take care, take some time, but have a good time with it. You gotta balance “caring a whole lot” with “not giving a fuck.” Equal parts.
If you had to be doing anything else, what would it be?
Nothing. Maybe making more money, maybe spending more time hanging out. I love all the work, though. I’m at the right rung on the ladder for this point in my life. If I could do anything else it’d be the same stuff for more money and less of my time. I wanna break into real TV sometime – to have whole weeks to spend away from the pressure of deadlines. If someone said “You can’t edit or produce anymore” I think I’d cry. I think I’d try to act or something. Do set decoration. Be somewhere still close to creating videos. Or write comic books.
Worst day on the job?
The worst days are the days following when you go “I set my own schedule, I don’t need to do this yet” and then procrastinate and procrastinate and then have to stay away for thirty hours editing against a deadline to get the work done. When you wake up hungover and then need to finish editing a video and New York is calling and wondering where the video is, and you have to say some lie like your internet is down and you’re rushing to get it done, that’s pretty bad.
Last but not least, how’d you get the job?
Internet networking. The pet podcast I do was because I used to make videos for a website called Filmfights that was started by this dude in Milwaukee named Justin Johnson. He had this video competition site and we would submit and chat on the forums. We met a few times and he started working for this company in New York (Next New Networks) while I moved to LA. He hooked me up with the job when I said “I wanna make a podcast, anything I’m broke” and he had me produce a pilot for this idea they had and now I’ve been doing it for over a year. The Sarah Silverman thing was because of Channel101.com. I used to submit to Channel101.com from Michigan, so when I moved to LA I met everybody I’d been annoying online and started helping out at the screenings. I became in charge of the show. Meanwhile, Rob Schrab and Dan Harmon created the Sarah Silverman Program, so when Schrab needed an assistant, I took the job because I like hanging out with funny people and I knew Rob wouldn’t be a dick to me. And I just kinda weaseled my way into being in charge of their web stuff because I always helped Rob make his own web podcasts for his comic book. I was like “I wanna make the Sarah Silverman web videos. I have lots of ideas I promise.” I guess it also helps to be good. I’m real good at making quick silly videos for little to no money.
(Photo By: Ian Broyle)