Forget the Golden Globes and the Oscar’s – this year’s awards season is all about who’s got Game. Nola Pictures’ Bruce Hurwit recently teamed up with longtime partner, Cartoon Network, to create “Training,” a clever spot starring Shaquille O’Neill and Nick Cannon for the Cartoon Network Hall of Game Awards. The fast-paced and off-the-cuff ad jumps from a delightfully left-field introduction to a slapstick training montage, allowing the two co-hosts show off their comedic chops with a madcap workout.
“I’m very lucky to have been involved with Cartoon Network since their beginning,” noted director Bruce Hurwit. Indeed, “Training” is just one of the spots produced by Nola for the Hall of Game Awards, following an earlier piece that introduced Nick Cannon as a surprise co-host. The Hall of Game Awards is a first-of-its-kind, sports award and entertainment event for kids where celebrities are honored with the coveted GAME trophy and this year’s campaign gleefully adopts that same self-referential and boffo tone.
Taking a direction more rooted in classic buddy comedy humor than the surreal and absurdist work of the 2012 campaign – which also featured Shaq – Hurwit worked closely with the actors to give “Training” an informal and easy feel. “We stuck pretty close to the script for the most part, but Shaq always brings new ideas to the table. He’s very aware of what goes into directing, which also makes him thoughtful of how things will cut together. There really isn’t much more you can ask for,” recalled Hurwit.
“The chemistry between Nick and Shaq is amazing,” continued Hurwit, “they’re longtime friends, so it added so much to the piece. They’re both so fun to work with that it barely feels like working, making for an enjoyable shoot.”
Client: Cartoon Network
Spot Titles: “Hall of Game Awards”
Air Date: February 11, 2013 at 7:00 p.m. (ET, PT) on Cartoon Network
Agency: Cartoon Network/The Creative Group
SVP, The Creative Group: Michael Ouweleen
VP, Design, The Creative Group: Jacob Escobedo
Creative Directive: Craig “Sven” Gordon
Writer Producer: Matt Peccini
Director of Broadcast Production, The Creative Group: Heather Reilly
Broadcast Designer, The Creative Group: Brian J. Smith
Director, Marketing: Rachel Parent
Brand Manager, Marketing: Lindsey Shuman
Sr. Publicist PR (NY): Shana Ungerson
VP, Talent Development (Burbank): Sharon Lieblein
Sr. Director, Brand Development (Burbank): Lee Blevins
VP Show Production, Cartoon Network (Burbank): Mark Costa
Hall of Game Executive Producer: Michael Dempsey (Dempsey Productions)
Hall of Game Executive Producer: Steve Mayer (IMG)
Production Co.: Nola Pictures
Director: Bruce Hurwit
EP: Charlie Curran
Head of Production: Cheryl Ward
Producer: Coni Lancaster
Editorial: Cartoon Network
Shoot Location: Orlando, Florida
About Nola Pictures:
Founded in 2005, NYC-based Nola Pictures is a full-service, multi media production company with affiliates in New Orleans, Sidney, Paris, Toronto, Vancouver and Santiago. Nola features a diverse roster of multi-dimensional directors and producers who have created award-winning content for their clients.
Nola offers turnkey creative and production solutions from shoot through editorial and post; including animation, design and visual effects. Nola’s mandate is to provide a supportive creative environment with production flexibility and efficiency for our artists and clients. The Nola team has contributed to projects for brands such as AT&T, Dell, Nissan, Budweiser, Lowe’s, Verizon, Nike, Givenchy, Samsung, Motorola, Pfizer, Proctor & Gamble, Clinique, McDonald’s, GM, Ford, VW, Toyota, Chrysler, American Express, Carolina Herrera, Time Warner, Viacom, ESPN, Remax, Johnson & Johnson and CBS, among others.