Getting to Know Glee’s Joaquin Sedillo

Between seasons four and five, Sedillo oversaw Glee’s switch between film and digital. “I like the history of film. There’s a thickness to the image…a certain amount of layers. But switching to digital wasn’t that big of a deal. I was confident in change.”

Sedillo still shoots the same way on digital as he did on film, with the same tools, and lights faces the same ways. “It’s painting within the frame.”

Between his two highest profile television jobs, there were very different looks between Veronica Mars and Glee. Veronica Mars was a “colorful noir” and it taught him not be afraid of color. The goal is to make everyone look pretty but put an interesting light in the background. One place he’s able to really bring that into for Glee, is in the auditorium scenes. Ryan Murphy gives color suggestions for various shots or scenes or performances, one or two words with suggestions which he then uses to build the colors, like using red for Girl on Fire.

Veronica Mars “made me not afraid to use wide lenses on people’s close ups. On Veronica Mars, the environment was used as character. For Glee, a lot of the time I’m using the wide lens for comedic value. I love they have such vastly different looks.” He feels very fortunate to have so much varied work in his career because that means he never gets bored.

“Every show I work on has a complete different look. One of the things I love about Glee is that I’ve been given freedom, even with notes. Ryan’s imagination has such a wide scope that he has room to let us play.”

There’s also variety in the show itself, such as the difference between At the Ballet and Rhythm Nation. “New York and McKinley looked completely different.”

And on the subject of Veronica Mars – Rob Thomas, Dan Etheridge and Kristen Bell are still very good friends and Sedillo was so happy and proud they were able to make the recent fan-funded movie. Unfortunately he had to pass on working on the film, which was heartbreaking. “If they made another movie, not matter what I was doing, I would say yes,” he says now. He’s glad to happened though, because it meant so much to the fans and equally as much to the cast and crew.

Now Glee is entering its final season, with more transitions as the show moves from New York back to Ohio. Sedillo is “sticking with the same aesthetic, and adding some nuances.”

The transition back to Lima hasn’t been that difficult visually. “But I think what has made it a challenge is that we are now spending so much time where it started knowing our time is limited. None of us know how the show is going to end. Not even the actors. There’s a certain amount of sadness and bristling because no one wants to talk about.” Cast and crew sometimes speculate how the show will wrap up. “When somebody comes up with a concept that is emotional and moving, no one wants to talk about it. We don’t want it to end.”

“We’re more than halfway through the season and some of us are freaking out.”

Sedillo considers himself very lucky working on Glee.

“It’s a true family. It’s a team effort.” Working 65 hours a week on average can lead to fatigued actors and crew, who maybe aren’t feeling all that cooperative by the last few takes. But everyone picks up the slack if someone is having a hard day, particularly when the seasons start to wind down and the hours worked creeps up towards three thousand hours. “There’s a big give and take,” Sedillo says. When the actors can see crew members – including himself – are having a hard day, they’ll make an extra effort to ease things along.

“Chord [Overstreet] will look over and see I’m having a hard time and go – okay buddy I see you’re having a bad day and he makes a joke so I’ll laugh. It makes you feel good about what you do.”

“We all have the same goal,” he says. “We make up for each other’s short comings of the day.”

Over the past few seasons, Sedillo has made himself very available on Twitter to the passionate and opinionated Glee fandom. Some days aren’t easy – a lack of information or perhaps only a sliver of a script spoiler can send the fandom spiraling…right into Joaquin’s lap!

Sedillo says, “It’s an incredibly savvy fandom – which has some challenges.” While incredibly grateful for the fans and his followers on Twitters, “some days I am roasted over the coals and that makes it hard to continue.”

In his job as DP, Sedillo isn’t allowed to share spoilers. He does try to bring the fans into the excitement of the show however. He loves to share any tidbits he can or bring excitement in the fan base. “When I tweet a photo about a red combination lock, they can feel like they’re with us. It’s like I’m picking up the phone and saying ‘we’re in the hallway at McKinley’ and hanging up.”

“I get their passion. Sometimes I don’t get the logic but I get the passion. If the five percent bad comes with the ninety-five percent of good, I’m okay with that.”

What will get you blocked? “Disrespectful or cursing or meanness – you get blocked. Twitter is my home. If you’re disrespectful in my home, you get shown to the door.”

Without giving anything away, Sedillo wants fans to know one thing. “There have been some storylines that have been announced by Fox and a lot of assumptions made that are not correct assumptions. A very small amount of fans are expressing themselves in a way that can be very selfish. And disheartening. The overall lesson from Glee is whoever you are is okay as long as you are respectful, you show grace and you are kind to everyone no matter what. And when fans are demanding and angry, it’s disheartening because they haven’t gotten the message of Glee.”

“The people who watch the show and take the good with the bad, take what they wanted with what they didn’t and take some sort of lesson and grace from it” – that’s who they make the show for.

Sedillo is not a fan of spoilers! “What’s the point of watching a show if you know what’s going to happen? People get worked up for six months for something that is three minutes of a forty-four minute episode, and it’s not in the context they imagined.”

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