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Your Shot: Nike ‘Winner Stays’



Ringan Ledwidge takes us behind the scenes of the big World Cup spot

Your Shot: Nike ‘Winner Stays’

We’re feeling a bit nostalgic at the LBB office this week. Nike’s superstar-packed World Cup ad has ‘jumpers-for-goalposts’ play park football built into its DNA. Even its title ‘Winner Stays’ is taken straight from the complex laws of the playground. The World Cup ad is a four-minute blockbuster that begins with a group of kids boisterously having a kick-about down the park. It all quickly escalates into the most over-the-top, All Stars match of all time. The Incredible Hulk even has a pop at playing goalkeeper. Rattling Stick director Ringan Ledwidge explains to LBB’s Addison Capper how he, Wieden+Kennedy Portland and The Mill brought boyhood dreams to screen.

LBB> What kind of brief were you initially presented with and what were your thoughts when you saw it? 

RL> The guys at W+K are great to work with. When they call to say they have a World Cup spot they want you to look at you can't help but be excited. The script obviously evolved throughout the job, but the thing that made me want to direct it in the first place was the simple truth of playing football with your mates and imagining that you're your favourite player and playing on the world stage. It’s very pure and is something anyone who loves football or loves to dream can relate to.

LBB> What kind of processes were involved in the pre-production of the film? 

RL> A lot of talking! On a job like this there are so many moving parts, so clear communication was crucial. Logistically it's a monster; just times everything you normally do by a hundred! Sally, my producer, and her team dealt with the endless permutations amazingly. Without them taking the pressure off me and allowing me to focus on the tone and energy of the spot I could've easily lost my way.

LBB> I love how the film escalates so dramatically - how did you go about achieving that and why was it the right direction for the film to take?

RL> It felt to me that the spot had to start in a very real, grounded place – something that was easy to connect with. Once the guys begin to use their imagination the sky’s the limit. It's like one-upmanship. I mean, if you’re going to imagine being your favourite football player, you may as well imagine playing in the biggest game in the world.

LBB> There's a real balance between the realism of the 'football down the park' situation and the 'over-the-top superstar fantasy' idea. How did you achieve that balance? 

RL> The heart and the realism of the film comes from the boys. Without a doubt the most crucial decisions made were that of the casting. I was lucky enough to get a group of young guys, barely any of whom had done anything before.  As well  as making every day a lot of fun, they poured their heart and souls into the job. Their enthusiasm was infectious. When the stars came to the set, the boys’ love of football resonated with them. They instantly got the tone and humour and embraced it.

LBB> There's a lot of post involved in the film – what was it like working with The Mill and how involved were you in post production?

RL> At the beginning of the job I was terrified by the amount of post involved. I generally tend to shy away from things that are so post heavy, but control, ever-changing player schedules and the scale that I wanted to achieve dictated that it was the way to go. I have a great relationship with The Mill and I've worked with Tom Bussell [Head of CG] and Barnes [Creative Director, Andrew Wood] on numerous occasions and I know I can trust them. As with everything on this job it was all about preparation and having a clear vision. Tom and Barnes are all about that and, along with the guys in the LA and London offices; they pulled something amazing out of the bag. I owe them all a big thank you. A huge shout out also goes to the DOP Ben Seresin. We shot in four different studios, had to transition from day to a night time stadium feel and get it to match, even though we were shooting out of sequence. No easy task. I have to say I don't think anyone else could have done that as well as he and his gaffer Dave Tyler did. 

LBB> How was the shoot as a whole? Did working with so many high profile footballers pose any problems at all? 

RL> The shoot was long, at times daunting, infuriating, stressful, but mostly fun – and that was key. No one was going to die. The important thing was to stay calm. Players would turn up when they'd turn up – and when they did we had to be ready. They were all great and got involved.

LBB> What were the key challenges during production and how did you overcome them? 

RL> The key challenge, outside of the obvious technical and logistical problems, was, as it is on many jobs nowadays, keeping hold of and protecting the original vision that got myself, the creatives and CDs excited about the project. This is often the hardest thing. On a job that stretches out over such a long period of time that can be wearing, particularly if you are often having to justify many creative decisions you know to be right. My feeling is that myself, the editor and the agency are paid for our opinions and are therefore duty bound to be the guardian of them, and to fight for them right ‘til the end. On the whole I think we fought a good fight.



Creative Directors Alberto Ponte / Ryan O’Rourke
Interactive Director Dan Viens
Copywriter Jeff Salomonsson
Art Director Sezay Altinok
Agency Producer Endy Hedman
Production Assistant Julie Gursha
Agency Executive Producer Matt Hunnicutt 
Head of Production Ben Grylewicz
Account Team Karrelle Dixon / Alyssa Ramsey / Ricardo Hieber
Business Affairs Laura Caldwell
Executive Creative Directors Mark Fitzloff / Susan Hoffman / Joe Staples

Production Company  Rattling Stick
Director  Ringan Ledwidge
Executive Producer Jen Barrons
Head of production Joe Biggins
Line Producer Sally Humphries
Director of Photography Ben Seresin

Editorial Company  Work
Editor  Rich Orrick
Post Producer  Sari Resnick
Assistant Editor  Eleanor McNaughtan

VFX Company The Mill
VFX Personnel Senior Executive Producer: Sue Troyan
Executive Producer: Gemma Humprhies
Executive Color Producer: LaRue Anderson
Producer: Christina Thompson 
Color Producer: Natalie Westerfield
Project Lead/Creative Director: Tom Bussell
Production Coordinator: Benjamin Sposato and Clare Melia
Shoot Supervisor: Tom Bussell, Austen Humphries and Andrew Wood
Lead Senior 2D Artist: John Shirley
Colonel Muster/CD: Andrew (Barnsley) Wood
Colorist: Adam Scott
Design: Kyle Moore and Greg Park

2D Artists: Grant Connor, Peter Hodsman, Siro Valente, Jonathan Westley, Zoe Cassey, Frank Hanna, Gary Driver, Joseph Tang, Tim Davies, Adam Labert, Brad Scott, Olivia O’Neil, Patrick Heinen, Patrick Munoz, Eleanor Risdon, Ben Smith, Daniel Thursesson, Jake Maymudes, Martin Karlsson, Cameron Smither, Gianluca Di Marco, Andy Godwin, Zoe Cassey-Hayes, Paul Downes, Georgina Ford, Scott Wilson  

3D Artists: Tom Raynor, Adam Droy, Adam Darrah, Phillip Maddock, Edward Hicks, Paul Donnellan, Charlotte Akehurst, Arthur Larsen, Sergio Xisto, Rebecca Ferguson, Tom Graham, Mathew Fuller, Anthony Northman, Jake Flint, Hartwell Durfor, Danny Yoon, Michael O’Donoghue, Marta Carbonell, Fabrice Le Nezet, Margaux Huneau, Vasilis Pazionis, Lucy Luong, Jake Flint, Anthony Northman, Andy Wheater, 

Hulk VFX Company Luma Pictures
Luma Pictures Personnel Executive Supervisor: Payam Shohadai
VFX Supervisor: Vince Cirelli
Senior VFX Producer: Steven Swanson
Commercial Executive Producer: Vicki Mayer
VFX Producer: Michael Perdew
Animation Supervisor: Raphael Pimentel
CG Supervisor: Richard Sutherland
CG Supervisor: Pavel Pranevsky
Digital FX Supervisor: Justin Johnson
Design Supervisor: Loic Zimmerman
Look Development Lead: Jared Simeth
Character TD Supervisor: Thana Siripopungul
Senior FX TD: John Cassella
Lead Digital Coordinator: Catherine Hughes
Technical Coordinator: Daniel Kepler
Model / Texture: Dulshan Keragala / Cosmin Hrincu/ Safari Sosebee / Oded Raz
Animator: Alon Helman / Marcos Romero
Lighter / Compositor: Satoshi Harada / James Waterson / Alex Cancado / Joey Sila / Joe Censoplano

Roto / Paint Supervisor: Glenn Morris
Lead Roto / Paint: Jessica Bakke
Roto / Paint: Cameron Sorgi / Marcel Caue Martins / Prin Nimmannitya / Garrett Wycoff

Sound Company  Formosa Group
Sound Designer  Julian Slater
Sound Producer Branwen Prestwood Smith
Song (if applicable) “Miss Alissa” Eagles of Death Metal

Mix Company  Lime Studios
Mixer  Rohan Young / Loren Silber
Producer  Susie Boyajan

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Genres: Storytelling, People, In-camera effects, Visual VFX, Action

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Rattling Stick, Wed, 30 Apr 2014 16:09:52 GMT