"It was complete freestyle balloon-twisting madness!": an interview with Sean Rogers

Intel Extreme Masters San Jose was balloon artist Sean Rogers’s first time at a big esports event - and it seems to have left quite an impression. Here we sit down chat with Sean about how he found his time at the SAP Center, what it was like making balloon sculptures for all those fans and his favorite parts of the event.

ESL: Hi again, Sean! So what was it like being at the SAP Center?
Sean Rogers: It was honestly unreal! So much energy, such a good vibe!

ESL: How did you prepare for the event once you were onsite and before the fans arrived?
Sean: Once we found parking and got our badges, Daniel “FuDD” Ravia and I went straight to work. First we built the backdrop logo wall and then by that time they were closing up for the evening, so we went back to the hotel room and built the two League of Legends characters - total build time was about 12 hours! What made it really fun is that was pretty much all freestyle for the character builds! We both decided on which characters we wanted to build at about 11pm, so it's really cool to see how they turned out on the fly! And by the way it was one of the hardest choices ever considering how many awesome champions there are to choose from!

ESL: How were the fans in San Jose?
Sean: The fans are the best part! They were so creative, so patient and were really inspiring. Their amazing attitudes and energy made us want to push our limits and imaginations to new heights and make their visions become reality with balloons!

ESL: How many sculptures do you think you made over the course of the weekend? Any idea about many balloons you used?
Sean: A bunch… lol. I think both of us made around four to five next-level balloons per hour! As for number of balloons - probably in the 1,500 to 2,500 range, excluding the wall, throughout the weekend! To be honest, it was hard to keep track of the balloon count! There were so many varying sizes of balloon used - I know my balloon bag was very, very light upon returning home!

ESL: What was your favorite balloon sculpture request at the event?
Sean: All of them! They were all unique, different and fun! I think I only had the same request a couple times during the whole weekend! It was just really fun letting people bring us a cell phone picture and then letting our skills and imagination run wild to create it for them! But, if I had to choose one, it would probably be the overall balloon backdrop display - it was really fun to design, build and watch people enjoy getting photos in front of all weekend!

ESL: Were there any particularly challenging requests?
Sean: Every picture that was brought to us was a challenge, with the exception of a few Yoshis here and there! It was complete freestyle balloon-twisting madness! There are so many different characters, skins and weapons there is no way to really practice for it, but it was really fun making it happen! But honestly, for some reason one of the easiest requests I had to do stumped me the most - kind of funny how that happens!

ESL: What was it like working with Daniel?
Sean: It was awesome! I feel like we made a great team and complement each other’s skills very well. We didn't have to dial it down or hold back - we were able to just push and feed off each other’s skills and imagination, which allowed us to take each build to the next level while still maintaining a good time per build, keeping the line flowing at a reasonable rate!

ESL: What was your favorite non-balloon-related moment from the event?
Sean: For me being, that it was my first event and also meeting a lot of the teams and crew that make this all happen was really cool for me! Throughout the whole weekend, everyone was awesome, super helpful and just fun to be around!

ESL: Did you end up backing a particular team at Intel Extreme Masters San Jose (and, if so, did they win?)?
Sean: To be honest, with my crazy busy schedule and just getting back from a competition in Belgium at the Millennium Jam right before this event, I didn't have much time to review the teams and pick a favorite, but I'm always pulling for Team Liquid with my man FuDD!

ESL: Intel Extreme Masters San Jose was your first time balloon twisting at a big esports event - do you think you want to twist at esports events again in future?
Sean: For sure! It would be a dream come true, like FuDD said, to be able be to put a next-level balloon team  together and be able to do mind-blowing balloon builds and photo opportunities for all the gaming events for ESL and Intel Extreme Masters! For me, it was one of the most creative, fun and challenging outlets I've had as a balloon artist and I can't wait to do it again! It was really fun to take my imagination and skills and see how far we could push them to make attendees’ visions come to life while never having made that balloon shape or sculpture before!

ESL: Thanks for the interview, Sean! Now that the event is over, are there any shoutouts you’d like to make?
Sean: No problem - thank you guys for doing the interview. It was a really fun experience and, as far as shoutouts go, first and foremost to my man Daniel Ravia for bringing me in and having faith in me to pull off some incredible balloon sculptures alongside him for the weekend! Also huge thanks to Joscha and Sascha for being so rad and helpful from the first moment we walked in the door! You guys rocked - can't wait to work more with you in the future!

Check out our pre-event interview with Sean here, and make sure you’re following Intel Extreme Masters on Facebook and Twitter for all the latest updates about the tournament series. In the meantime, you’d better be ready for Intel Extreme Masters Cologne!


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