Theo Schear

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Theo Schear
Kauai005 copy.jpg
Schear in 2017
Theo Anthony Schear

(1991-10-11) October 11, 1991 (age 27)
ResidenceSan Francisco, California, USA
Other namesT. Anthony Schear, Destiny Robbins
Alma materUniversity of Michigan
OccupationMedia Specialist
Net worthUS$10,000 (est.) as of 2018
WebsiteOfficial website
Theo Schear Signature.png

Theo Anthony Schear (born October 11, 1991) is a filmmaker, photographer, writer, and emoji creator from Oakland, California, United States. His most circulated film is Open Letter, a found footage documentary about R&B singer Frank Ocean, which played at film festivals worldwide. Schear has produced several commercials starring his 6-year-old niece Eloise including a Brita commercial featuring NBA superstar Stephen Curry[1] and his work on The ReDream Project earned him the rare honor of a Mid-America Emmy for Program Promo - Single Spot or Campaign.[2] Schear received a BA in Screen Arts & Cultures from the University of Michigan and was a member of Detroit Public Television's prestigious National Documentary Unit, where he served as Media Producer for the Detroit Journalism Cooperative. He currently serves as Media Specialist for PhotoWings, a San Francisco-based non-profit dedicated to supporting photojournalism as a means of social change.

Early life[edit]

Schear was born at Summit Medical Center (now Alta Bates Summit Medical Center) and grew up off Fruitvale Avenue before moving to Crocker Highlands at the age of five. His father is an attorney who represents whistleblower doctors and his mother is a sculptor. Schear was involved in a variety of athletic and artistic activities from a young age and enjoyed a busy social life throughout his childhood.

3D scan of Theo Schear


Schear's mother Sigrid Herr moved from Germany to California in the 1980s to chase dreams of The Beach Boys and open-mindedness. His father Stephen Schear, who had a knack for stained glass, followed his sister from Ohio to The University of Michigan to the Bay Area. Stephen had daughters with two mothers at a young age, leading him to attend law school at Boalt School of Law. Schear's older half-sister Tierra Del Forte is a fashion designer who has worked for multiple ethically-inclined apparel companies. Her discontinued clothing line, Del Forte Denim, was featured in Vogue magazine and worn by Cameron Diaz. Her husband Jesse Simons is the National Program Director for The Sierra Club. Schear's younger half-sister Rio Govea, whose maternal family was closely involved with Cesar Chavez and the National Farm Workers Association, lived on a Buddhist retreat center for ten years before attending school for occupational therapy. His cousin Alan Berg initiated the concept of Double Fortified Salt, adding iron as well as iodine to common salt, with the aim of reducing iron deficiency anemia without requiring changes in dietary practices. Berg is credited with saving millions of lives through his work.


Schear on Olympic Media Stage. Rio de Janeiro, 2013

Schear attended Park Day School in Oakland until transferring to the Head-Royce School for 7th grade. Although Park Day School does not give out grades, Schear received high marks on academic assessment forms. During high-school, Schear attended an arts program at The Oxbow School in Napa, CA where he received rigorous training in painting and photography. Post-high-school, Schear attended the University of Michigan where he became acquainted with Pulitzer Prize-winning photojournalist and professor David C. Turnley. His final project in Turnley's class was a photo book about Stephanie Hunt, Mrs. United States 2007 ("the premier pageant for married women"). Schear worked closely with Turnley for several years, editing videos for his speaking engagements[3] and trailers for his documentaries.[4] It is widely understood that Turnley inspired Schear to pursue a career in visual storytelling, first as a photojournalist and later as a documentary filmmaker. As a freshman, Schear won a Fair Trade USA video contest with a film titled Outsourced.[5]

Schear spent a semester abroad in Rio de Janeiro studying Brazilian cinema and served as a PA for the local BBC office. As a student in Ann Arbor, Schear worked as a Video Producer for the James Duderstadt Media Library and as a Visual Effects Specialist for Giant Eel Productions, where he worked on music videos, commercials and short films. During his senior year, Schear was commissioned by fellow student and future Gizmodo Producer Zoe Stahl to direct a short film on redlining, which was awarded the TED Prize at TEDxUofM.[6] During his final semester, Schear and former partner Jordan Barse founded the Dicken Elementary Afterschool Filmmaking Program, in which he facilitated the production of Kids Are Better Than Adult Men (No Offense), a film written, directed, and acted out by 2nd-5th graders.


Ann Arbor[edit]

In his final semester at the University of Michigan, Schear contributed to an independent theatrical production by Ellen Sachs and Jacob Axelrod titled Doing White Nights,[7] where he met future collaborators Gabriel Mizrahi Wilk and Peter Littlejohn. Wilk and Littlejohn would go on to form a band formerly known as Rooms, for which Schear played a major, although non-musical role. Schear lived with members of the band for several months and documented every public performance along with many hours of rehearsal and behind-the-scenes action. Schear and Littlejohn also produced a series of live music videos called Live in Peter's Attic.


The Ethanol Effect crew

Schear's first job after college was with the National Documentary Unit at Detroit Public Television. As a Media Producer, Schear was responsible for shooting, editing and producing short segments while managing Doc Unit media and archiving. Schear produced segments on a variety of subjects including Jim Johnson of Michigan's Department of Natural Resources, Alvin Ailey dancer Tsehaya Smith, and Juan Atkins, “the originator” of techno. Schear served as Associate Producer of The Ethanol Effect, an hour-long special examining the human, environmental and political costs of growing and refining corn for ethanol in America hosted by Scientific American editor David Biello. Schear also worked on external projects such as ReDream, which won a Mid-America Emmy for Best Program Promo - Single Spot or Campaign (Non-News).

Outside of the National Documentary Unit, Schear served as Director of Photography on various projects for Washington D.C.-based production company Spark Media and as Camera Assistant for Oscar-nominated cinematographer Eric Saarinen on the production of the PBS American Masters production, The Architect Who Saw The Future. Schear also returned to California for the product of Drive Green With Eloise, a web-exclusive promotional video for Ford, SunPower and The Sierra Club.


In 2015 Schear designed Screen, an iOS mobile app for movies featuring showtimes, trailers, watchlists and other movie info. Although Schear entered negotiations with Gathr, a "technology-based specialty theatrical distributor for documentaries and issues-oriented films", talks fizzled out quickly.

San Francisco[edit]

In the fall of 2016, Schear and his former partner Lauren Iverson moved back to the Bay Area and lived with his parents. During the first few months, Schear and Iverson produced a promotional video for Yuba City-based company Iverson Orthodontics.

A Wine & Bowties function

In early 2017, Schear began working as a Video Producer for PhotoWings, a non-profit promoting photography as a means for social change. As of May 2018, he has been elected employee-of-the-month a record-setting 14 times in a row. Schear also produces content for Oakland-based culture publication Wine & Bowties including subjects such as Syd,[8] Mannie Fresh, DJ Dodger Stadium[9] and Junglepussy (for whom he was technically a backup dancer[10]).[11] He is also the primary videographer for the Feels Festival series.

Schear contributes work to Ann-Arbor based creative groups including the Threads All Arts Festival team and Anya Klapischak's The Hosting. He has also produced short videos for the Gizmodo Media Group (formerly Gawker Media Group) websites such as Kotaku[12] and Deadspin,[13] and Juxtapoz art magazine.[14]

During a secret show at RS94109 headlined by Spanish experimental electronic composer Nicolas Jaar, Schear spontaneously collaborated with Jaar by casting his shadow onto the performer from the other side of the folding table.[15] In July 2017, Schear leaked a clip from an alternate music video for M.O.B. by Bay Area rapper Husalah.[16]

Schear spent two years living in a rent-controlled apartment in the Nob Hill neighborhood of San Francisco. Before moving to the first floor unit, Schear lived in second-floor 5-bedroom apartment with two housemates that are mortal enemies. There were frequent confrontations between the two, the last of which resulted in the other subtenant being taken to the hospital and the master tenant facing four felonies. During the year of 2017, the police visited the apartment 22 times. Schear is said to be creating a documentary about the unusual housing situation.

In 2018, Schear completed a music video for rapper Kool A.D. using a 3D scan of the artist conducted at NYU's Laguardia Studio in Manhattan. The video was eventually canceled due to allegations of sexual misconduct against the rapper. Schear was credited for Additional Camerawork for Picture Character, a documentary on emoji produced by Jennifer 8. Lee, which premiered at Tribeca Film Festival in 2019.

A still from the music video for KOOL A.D.'s "FREEDOM", directed by Theo Schear

In 2019, Schear began contributing to SFMOMA's Open Space, a "hybrid, interdisciplinary publishing platform for artists, writers, et al." He has run videography at Bandcamp's first physical record store and venue, which is located in Downtown Oakland.

Carpe 3Diem[edit]

In 2018, Schear was introduced as an artist-in-residence at The San Francisco Center for Spiritual Living. His residency surrounded the production of a series of portraits of the congregants, accompanied by Wikipedia pages that document the stories of their lives. The project, titled Carpe 3Diem, contests the subjective notion of Notability included in the Wikipedia guidelines[17][circular reference][18] and encourages the public to take control of their digital legacy. The presentation given on February 18, 2018 at 1PM included the unveiling of darkroom-printed photographs, congregant's Wikipedia pages, and various demos of emerging technologies. The project was included in the curriculum of a 2018 Virtual Installation class taught by Sara Ludy at School of Art Institute of Chicago.

Film Criticism[edit]

Often under the alias T. Anthony Schear, Schear has written and produced movie reviews and related content for Oakland-based collective REELYDOPE and the notorious Anti-Hollywood publication Film Threat. His reviews can be found on popular movie review aggregators Rotten Tomatoes and Metacritic. At Sundance Film Festival 2018, Schear attended with press credentials for the first time, conducting interviews with prominent personalities such as Lauren Greenfield, Phil Burgers and Caveh Zahedi. Schear filmed his entire interaction with Zahedi for a short film titled The Show About The Show About The Show, a reverent response to Zahedi's The Show About The Show.[19] Schear has also covered the Telluride Film Festival, San Francisco International Film Festival, Crossroads Film Festival, CAAMFest, and the Ann Arbor Film Festival, the oldest experimental film festival and fourth-oldest film festival in North America. In 2019, he was quoted in the Gold Derby Oscar predictions stating that The Favourite was “a work of art that embraces and embellishes all the joys of cinema while offering a more enjoyable and progressive revisionist history.“[20] He has been referred to as a "respected film critic" by Heel Kick! Director Danny Mac, and a former Los Angeles Times staffer has been quoted saying "you know more about movies than some of the critics I used to work with."


In 2018, Schear's proposal for a juice box emoji, co-authored by Unicode Consortium Emoji Subcommittee Vice Chair Jennifer 8. Lee was approved and set for release in 2019. The proposition was predicated on the fact that the emoji lexicon, which is used commonly by children, included eight representations of alcohol but no emoji for juice, which could have potentially lead to a global childhood virtual alcoholism epidemic.[21] Schear is also the author of an approved picket sign emoji.

One of six original renderings of the proposed juice box emoji designed by Aphee Messer


University of Michigan Intramural Basketball Champions

Schear was a co-captain of his high school tennis team, amounting to half of the #1 doubles duo with Evan Thomas known as "The Cream Team". On March 15, 2018, Schear hit a buzzer-beater three-pointer on a pass from Pomona Basketball standout Greg Wright to send his team to the playoffs of San Francisco's Sports4Good Pro Am League.[22] Schear was also part of the team that won the 2014 University of Michigan A League Intramural Basketball Championship (won by teammate Joey Fox's buzzer-beater three-pointer).[23] Schear's three consecutive fantasy football championships make him the winningest organization in Head-Royce 2010 Alumni League history, where he is widely recognized for his unorthodox "light years" approach to transactions, including swaps such as the pioneering conditional loaner trade including team name rights with Dr. Walter Arthur Gordon III, PhD.[24] Schear reportedly forced a redaction of the trade after admitting he was actually kind of distraught.

Recreationally, Schear's well-documented basketball format preference is full-court one-versus-one.[25]


Schear is the Founder, President and CEO of ACHIP Pac, a "guerrilla Super PAC dedicated to dismantling the nation's most vile "food" distributor.[26]

Personal life[edit]

Photograph of Tokyo by Alexander Aguiar, processed and scanned by Theo Schear

Schear is last known to have lived in the Nob Hill neighborhood of San Francisco enjoying a fruitful and saturated lifestyle, often attending cultural events after work and on the weekends. Schear's most frequent leisure activities are thought to be screenings of arthouse and experimental films (most commonly at The Roxie, SFMOMA and the UC Berkeley Art Museum and Pacific Film Archive), Golden State Warriors basketball games, and live music events. Schear has attended darkroom photography classes at Rayko Photo Center, and is believed to work out of a darkroom in his parents basement. It is rumored that Schear has processed negatives for senior Under Armour photographer Alexander Aguiar including his first ever roll of analog film, which holds images of Tom Brady holding the Lombardi Trophy on the Great Wall of China.[27] In January 2018, he won a UC Berkeley Art Museum and Pacific Film Archive raffle for a limited edition Barry McGee plate. While he is not a vegetarian, his favorite food is tofu and his favorite fruit is guava.

Rio de Janeiro[edit]

While studying in Brazil for six months, Schear worked with Ives Cesar and Casa Branca Models such as Amanda Fenelon and Mari Saldanha. According to popular legend, Schear partied with Magnum photographer David Alan Harvey and attended bi-monthly ceremonies at Ceu Do Mar, an indigenous/Christian syncretic church located in the mountains of Rio de Janeiro. It is believed that these ceremonies involved the consumption of ayahuasca, a hallucinogenic blend of plants often referred to as “the spirit vine”. Although there is legal amnesty for the use of ayahuasca in religious contexts in Brazil and in Oregon, United States, the substance is considered a schedule 1 drug by the majority of the world's governing bodies. Schear has described the experience as “transformative”.

Costa Rica[edit]

During a vacation to Costa Rica in 2007, the Schears connected with a local family based in Nicoya, Guanacaste Province. The connection led Schear's father Stephen to return to the region on several occasions, eventually resulting in the construction of a house shared by the Schears and the Briceño family. Schear is thought to be a supporter of local futbol club Deportivo Saprissa, but has also been seen cheering for rival team Liga Deportiva Alajuelense.


Schear is a dedicated Volvo enthusiast and has owned four Volvos to date. In 2013, he traveled by train to Virginia to buy an automatic 1973 Volvo P1800 ES, one of only a couple thousand ever made. His devotion to the P1800 ES was inspired by his mother who talked to him about the P1800 ES, her dream car, at a young age. Schear was a member of the Bay Area Volvo Club and a contributor to Volvo magazine. According to an article he wrote about the journey to buy the P1800 ES, Schear purchased the vehicle from a convicted cocaine kingpin. The car broke down twice along the way, yet he managed to make it to his parents’ house in Oakland, CA by Thanksgiving day.[28]


As of May 2018, Schear is known to have seven tattoos. One of the first is a drawing by his niece Eloise on his upper left arm in the style of a Crayola crayon. The interpretation of the design is fluid, but the artist has described the tattoo as a whale with coral in a pink ocean and as a figurative representation of Schear himself. Another early tattoo was the smaller tattoo is a crescent moon on the left side of his rib cage. The moon symbol is believed to represent an affiliation with a cult, but reliable information about the nature of the cult has not been publicized. Later tattoos include a rendering of his mother's sculpture that has armature revealed, his father's motto in his own handwriting ("Paradise Now"), a sketch by his step-father Oscar Bernal, a Mexican painter, and a sketch by his cousin Eliza. His most recent tattoo is a cucoloris rumored to have a secret message within the design.

Art Collection[edit]

Dennis Wornick's School Bus

The Schear Collection includes early works by several of his most prodigious contemporaries. Most notable are a print by LaTurbo Avedon, a skateboard by Jeffrey Cheung, a Yun Sculpture by H.H. Dorje Chang Buddha III (the primordial Buddha[29]) and paintings from the studios of Dennis Wornick, Tyler Finnie, and Brem Finnie.


Schear as Gabrielle Martinez De Souza in "This Is Real Because I Say So"
Schear as Black Leather Jesus in Joel Rakowski's "Black Leather Jesus"

Schear has produced work under pseudonyms such as Destiny Robbins and Gabrielle Martinez De Souza, most notably a short film titled This Is Real Because I Say So. As Destiny Robbins, Schear guest starred in Destiny's Dancing Furniture by Los Angeles-based art duo Kids Kidz Bay. Schear has also played the role of Jesus Christ in Joel Rakowski's Black Leather Jesus. In the world of film criticism, Schear often goes by T. Anthony Schear.

OG Thunder[edit]

In 2017, Schear resurrected the Golden State Warriors retired mascot Thunder, appearing in public as “OG Thunder”, the geriatric equivalent. OG Thunder's return was first reported by notable sports gossip writer Terez Owens.[30] [31]


Toronto International Student Film Festival 2013 Master Directors Profile: Theo Schear
Year Title Client / Distribution Credit
2016 Go Water With Eloise Brita Water Filters / NBC, NBA TV Producer
2016 The Ethanol Effect[32] PBS World Associate Producer
2016 Scattering CJ Spark Media Director of Photography
2015 Drive Green With Eloise Ford / SunPower / The Sierra Club Director
2015 What's To Love? University of Michigan Residential College Director
2015 PBS American Masters: The Architect Who Saw The Future Peter Rosen / Eric Saarinen Camera Assistant
2014 Redlined'' Boundaries, Tensions, Integrations, Venice, CA (2014)
Cinetopia International Film Festival (2014)[33]
TEDx : University of Michigan (2014)
2013 Selfie Windsor International Film Festival (2013) Director
2012 Open Letter Comcast Xfinity ON DEMAND Greater Boston Region

Toronto Student Film Festival (2013)
Frameline37: San Francisco International LGBT Film Festival (2013)[34]
Boston LGBT Film Festival (2013)
Queer Lisboa Film Festival (2013)[35]
Tampa International Gay & Lesbian Film Festival (2013)
Czech QFF MEZIPATRA (2013)[36]
Reeling31: The Chicago LGBT International Film Festival (2013)

2011 Theo Lakeshorts International Film Festival (2011) Director


Year Film Festival Category
2013 Open Letter Toronto Student Film Festival Best Documentary
2013 Open Letter Tampa International Gay & Lesbian Film Festival Best Of The Fest
2014 Redlined TEDxUofM TED Prize

Music videos[edit]

Still from Coitus Interruptus
Song Artist Year
FREEDOM Kool A.D. (Cancelled due to allegations against the musician)
Overloaded LIL KIDS 2013
Coitus Interruptus LIL KIDS 2012
World So Cold Dubb 20 2011


  1. ^ "Go Water With Eloise".
  2. ^ "The ReDream Project".
  3. ^ "For Madiba With Love".
  4. ^ "Shenandoah".
  5. ^ "Fair Trade Contest".
  6. ^ "TEDxUofM TED Prize".
  7. ^ "Doing White Nights".
  8. ^ "W&B NYE".
  9. ^ "W&B DJDS".
  10. ^ "Junglepussy Backup Dancer".
  11. ^ "W&B Junglepussy".
  12. ^ Stahl, Zoe. "Then And Now: Talking To Retired Pro Gamers About The Rise Of Esports". Kotaku.
  13. ^ Keyser, Hannah. "A Warriors Consultant Explains How High Fives Help Win Basketball Games". Deadspin.
  14. ^ Benson, Eben. "Juxtapoz Presents: Maja Ruznic and Joshua Hagler in Roswell, New Mexico". Juxtapoz.
  15. ^ "Instagram Post".
  16. ^ "MOB Instagram".
  17. ^ "Wikipedia Notability Guidelines".
  18. ^ Schear, Theo. "Carpe 3Diem Full Presentation". Carpe 3Diem.
  19. ^ "The Show About The Show".
  20. ^ Giliberti, Luca. "Why 'The Favourite' should be the favorite to win the Best Picture Oscar". Gold Derby.
  21. ^ Lee, Jennifer 8. "Proposal For Juice Emoji" (PDF). Unicode Consortium.
  22. ^ "Sports4Good".
  23. ^ "IM Basketball Highlights".
  24. ^ Offerson, Jack. "Jack Offerson and Taliban Sympathizers Execute Innovative Conditional Loaner Trade After Committee Near-Universally Approves Unprecedented, Unfair Swap Including Team Name Rights, Causing Speculation of Collusion Between Taliban and 3-Time Head-Royce Fantasy Football Champion Theo Anthony Schear".
  25. ^ Schear, Theo. "The Case for Full Court 1v1". Medium.
  26. ^ "ACHIP PAC".
  27. ^ Aguiar, Alexander. "Alexander Aguiar Instagram". Instagram.
  28. ^ "Volvo Magazine".
  29. ^ U.S., Congress. "H. RES. 1423" (PDF). The United States Government.
  30. ^ "TO1".
  31. ^ "TO2".
  32. ^ "The Ethanol Effect".
  33. ^ "Cinetopia Contest Finalists".
  34. ^ "Open Letter Frameline37 Profile".
  35. ^ "Open Letter Queer Lisboa Profile".
  36. ^ "Open Letter Mezipatra Profile".

External links[edit]