The Guys Behind The Mavericks' Viral Videos Are About To Start Working With The Cowboys, Too.
Spend any time in Dallas at all and, chances are, Cash Sirois and Jason Seely's work has crossed your social media feed.
Since first joining forces as Dallas Mavericks employees almost five years ago, the duo has been behind exceedingly popular videos like Dirk Nowitzki's “Game Day” clip, The Ylvis parody “What the Mavs Say” and the soon to be ubiquitous and already hilarious, “Jose Can You Say?” — clips that give the Mavs a decided leg up over their local sports competition.
“Every team wants to put something on that screen,” Sirois says of his work, which actually shows up on Jumbotrons as frequently as Facebook because, well, that's why they're often commissioned in the first place. “At the end of the day, they want their fans to make some noise. But, if you do something and then write 'Make some noise, stand up and scream!' at the end of every single bit of video, that's like beating someone over the head.”
So Sirois and Seely try to stir those same emotions with a subtler touch. They attempt to make their audiences feel without really thinking about why.
“That's where a band gets you, that's where 12 Years a Slave gets you, that's where Morgan Freeman gets you,” Sirois says. “It's [figuring out], 'Who cares about what I'm doing right now?,' and hitting that mark.”
Of all the work Sirois and Seely have done, the piece that best exemplifies that audience familiarity is likely “The Ultimate Opportunity,” the star-studded video the pair hastily put together to inspire the Mavericks' 2011 NBA Finals run.
The video features some of Dallas sports' biggest winners (heroes including Roger Staubach, Troy Aikman and Nastia Liukin) and most tragic not-quite-winners (read: Ron Washington and Nolan Ryan).
“All of those people have been right there and either grasped it or let it get away,” Sirois says. “The message wasn't how great it is to win. The message was, 'What you have right now is the opportunity. Don't mess it up.' That speech was for fans, that speech was directly to the players, that speech was to coaches. The point was, that was something all-encompassing”
The video aired just before the third game of the Mavs' series with the Heat. By the time it was over, the whole arena — save for the Heat bench — was joined together in a common cause.
Even three years after the fact, watching that video still packs an emotional punch. As a package, it's a testament to the unique community and unity that sports can inspire — not to mention the quality of Sirois and Seely's work.
“I just got goosebumps again,” Sirois says after viewing the video on his laptop. “I haven't watched that in a long time.”
These days, though, Sirois and Seely have a new trick up their sleeve: After working out the formula for the Mavs, the pair realized they needed to branch out and bring their particular brand of storytelling to the world outside the friendly confines of the American Airlines Center.
“It's kind of like the Monkees, where they were manufactured,” Sirois says. “Then they started wanting to write their own music and grow and do their own thing. There comes a time when you want to go off on your own, and do the thing. This was our time.”
Sirois and Seely's own thing is The Well Creative Productions, the company the two established after leaving the Mavs in late 2013.
The Well still has the the trappings of a start-up — like operating out of Sirois' Uptown apartment and boasting no administrative staff save for a very friendly pair of dogs — but that's something that Seely says is intentional.
“The whole thing when this was just an idea was that we were going to do this thing like good barbecue — low and slow,” Seely says. “We're not going to be one of those start-up production companies that goes and buys a really neat space and puts the cart before the horse. We were talking to some people about doing this and doing that, but we said we were going to focus on the Mavs because that's going to carry us through the first stage, and we can build on that.”
That's right: What's made The Well's existence more a matter of thriving rather than fighting for survival is its retention of the Mavs as its first client.
“We were very supportive, the organization as a whole, and we wanted to be one of their first clients,” says Mavs Vice President of Marketing and Communications Paul Monroe of the decision to keep working with Sirois and Seely. And, for its part, The Well has returned the team's good faith by keeping its Mavs work a priority.
“Our goal was to make sure that the Mavs fans and the team didn't skip a beat,” Sirois says. “We wanted to make sure that they're getting the best of us.”
But, more than that, having the team on board has meant that The Well can focus on the quality of its work rather than having to chase clients simply to sustain itself.
“We're not out there trying to get whatever work we can just to feel like we're busy,” Seely says.
“Of course, it made it easier that we had a start-up and our first client was an NBA team,” Sirois adds. “It's frickin' unheard of. We've been able to find some cool partners that were open-minded and can think outside the box, and want to do things a little bit differently.”
Yes, The Well has been able to attract the type of clients that the company can best serve. So far, that's meant getting to work with the likes of Bryan Cranston for Chideo (an online video platform that connects fans and celebrities to raise money for charity) and, soon, partnering with the Dallas Cowboys to improve AT&T Stadium's in-game experience.
“It's fun, winning,” Sirois says. “When we have a little germ of an idea and it grows into something that all the sudden you see on CNN or ESPN, it's like, “Holy cow! That was us over a beer three weeks ago! And now Keith Olbermann is closing the show with it!'”
Actually, Olbermann recently did just that with the “Jose Can You Say” video.
And, while it's often Sirois' vision that facilitates those viral successes, they couldn't happen without Seely, whose editing makes them a reality.
“We speak the same creative language, if not the same technical language,” Seely says. “It works out well that way because he's able to dream as big as he wants without being limited by the technical aspects.”
The pair's teamwork — along with an occasional assist from Cash's brother and his Saturday afternoon KTCK 1310-AM The Ticket co-host Mike — allows for the robust creative process The Well thrives on.
“My favorite thing is when me, Mike and Cash go out and just start putting stuff together for, like, media day for the Cowboys, and we just spitball whatever,” Seely says. “Whether it gets done or whatever, it's just fun to brainstorm. We've come up with some cool stuff.”
They've come away with cool stuff, too, having won a pair of Emmys — both of which sit inconspicuously on a vinyl-clogged bookshelf in Sirois' living room — and the respect of people like the Mavs' Monroe.
“They produce great content for our game nights and give us a lot of ideas,” Monroe says. “We feel like they're an incubator company. We know we are going to get the best content out of Cash and Jason.”