The following is an interview with Steve Sievers, co-creator of the web series-turned-comic book series, Supa Pirate Booty Hunt. In this interview, Fanbase Press Editor-in-Chief Barbra Dillon chats with Sievers about the premise of the project, the process of adapting the animated series into the sequential art medium, his other work through various multimedia platforms, and more!
Barbra Dillon, Fanbase Press Editor-in-Chief: You are a creator of many talents, having been a web series and comic book creator, as well as an animator, producer, and voice actor on projects like Supa Pirate Booty Hunt. How do you balance your workload, and do you find that you enjoy staying busy?
Steve Sievers: It’s hard to balance it, especially now being a proud dad of a 3-year-old daughter. The thing is that a lot of work you do doesn’t see the light of day. Like a lot of the behind-the-scenes stuff. Like trying to get distribution, events, funding, getting new guests for our comic book, etc. Unless it all comes together, people don’t know all the hard work you put into it. I will say it is worth it when it does come through. Yes, I enjoy staying busy. When I am not busy, I feel like having a mental breakdown.
BD: For our readers who may be unfamiliar, can you tell us about the animated web series, Supa Pirate Booty Hunt, and how the project came to be?
SS: Supa Pirate Booty Hunt is the award-winning animated web series and comic book series. It follows the adventures of Captain Zack Stevers and Daniel the Turtle as they search for what else…BOOTY! It’s rock ‘n roll on the high seas! It original started back in 2004 as a skit on my internet college radio show. I did voices of this whacky pirate & turtle on it. I just remember in my script writing class my professor told me to combine things I love and am passionate about. As a kid I loved pirates but I think it’s funny because it’s not like pirates are a PG thing for kids. Thought it would be fun to put a rated ARRRG spin on pirate cartoons. Turtles are my favorite animals, I had a turtle farm growing up that nursed injured box turtles back to heath and back into the wild. I have a pond today with 9 turtles in it. I love superheroes and music is a big passion of mine. I played drums in bands in high school & college. So combining pirates, turtles, music, & superheroes all into one, Supa Pirate Booty Hunt was born. I later turned it into my master thesis project. After graduating college, I moved to Los Angeles where I teamed up with talented artist & animator Dahveed Kolodny-Nagy from Smorgasbord Productions. We took our time working on the story bible then start creating short, animated web episodes. Then, we promoted everywhere we could at conventions, film festivals, networking events, art shows, etc. You name it, we were there.
BD: After its success as a web series, you developed the story and characters for the comic book medium. What were the most challenging (and rewarding) aspects of bringing the project to comic book form?
SS: All our hard work promoting the series, it caught the eye of the charity, Music Saves Lives. This non-profit promotes the importance of blood donation through the power of music & entertainment. Over the past 10 years, the charity has collected over a million half units of blood throughout North America. They originally hired us to make this animated PSA episode teaming Captain Zack Stevers and Daniel the Turtle with a different musician or celebrity. We had a booth at a free comic book day festival and I was like it would be cool if we had a comic book version of our animated PSA. Our first episode, Nurse Boobies Please, guest starred the band 3OH!3. They were heading Vans Warped Tour that summer with Music Saves Lives having a booth everyday in North America. We turned our animation into a comic book that also had an original two-story Supa Pirate Booty Hunt. It was a challenge turning a five-minute version of our animation in a couple pages of a comic book, especially in a quick turnaround to get it done and printed before the tour started. We later did an animated PSA episode, Metal in My Shell ,that guest starred Dave Muscatine of Megadeth & VJ Full Metal Jackie. It was funded by Kickstarter and later turned into a free comic book like our other one. This comic book also featured a second story called Shell Shocked that guest starred voice-over legend Tom Kenny (voice of SpongeBob SquarePants, Ice King in Adventure Time, & hundreds of iconic characters). I really enjoy holding the comic book. Something about holding it in your hands and seeing your characters on it is pretty epic. The comic books were distributed on Vans Warped Tour, San Diego Comic-Con, and at blood banks all around the country. Each comic book is free and contains an entertaining, but also life-saving, message in it.
BD: In addition to your aforementioned talents, you also run your own respective production companies, Smorgasbord Productions, Bionic Buzz, and Level 27 Media. What can you tell us about your work with these companies?
SS: I call myself a multi-media turtle. You kinda have to be a multi-talented person in this day and age. For Smorgasbord Productions, I am a producer and animator (www.SmorgasbordProductions.com). Recently, we did an animated music video for this band, Sunflower Dead ,for their single, “It’s Time To Get Weird.” The song guest starred Jonathan Davis from KoRn; he was the center character in the music video. It was a big deal for me since I am huge KoRn fan. The band was nice enough to let us put Supa Pirate Booty Hunt into the background of some of the scenes. Bionic Buzz is a company I am CEO & President of Media (www.BionicBuzz.com). We cover’s people’s passions in life and also put on our own events. Level 27 Media is my wife’s and my company (www.level27media.com). We are your one-stop creative shop. We provide printing of all kind, graphic design, web design, & video production. My wife is an extremely talented graphic artist, and I handle the video side of the business.
BD: What is the most difficult aspect of running your own business, and do you find differences between working for studios and networks versus working for yourself?
SS: I would say the most difficult aspect is the funding for projects comes and goes when you’re an indie studio; however, you have creative control versus being at a network.
BD: As Supa Pirate Booty Hunt continues, are there any exciting updates or plans that you would like to share with our readers?
SS: Speaking of my love for music, I was inspired by VH1’s Behind the Music and created my own film, Supa Pirate Booty Hunt: The Making of an Animated Series. Instead of musicians talking about their songs and journey, why not have animators talk about their episodes and journey. We even have some never-before-seen footage in the film. It is available to rent or own now on Vimeo and will be coming to other platforms like Amazon & Amazon Prime.
BD: Are there any other projects on which you are working that you are able to share with our readers?
SS: I’ve been working on a couple short film scripts; however, like you asked in the first question, it can be hard juggling so many projects, or I like to say, juggling passions. I’m also planning on a bunch of events for Bionic Buzz that we’ll be hosting later this year and next. We looking into new platforms for our Supa Pirate Booty Hunt film. We are trying to release a new Supa Pirate Booty Hunt / Music Saves Lives comic book next year along with a new animated episode. Follow my journey at www.twitter.com/SteveSievers.
BD: Lastly, what would you like to tell fans who want to learn more about your work?
SS: Follow your passion.