HBO Writers and Stars Tell Fun Backstories of Their Shows, Set to Original Animation

Amusing, artful project from W+K New York

HBO is all about storytelling. And now, with help from Wieden + Kennedy New York and a group of animation houses, the network is telling some of the stories behind the stories of its popular shows.

The project, called "Backstories," just launched. It features three videos—one narrated by David Benioff and D.B. Weiss, the showrunners of Game of Thrones; another by Alec Berg, co-creator of Barry; and a third by Yvonne Orji, who stars as Molly on Insecure.

Each were asked to tell a fun behind-the-scenes story about their show.

Benioff and Weiss tell a bizarre, mildly horrifying story about Benioff playing Jason Momoa (who plays Khal Drogo on the show) at the slap game. Berg talks about crashing acting classes to learn about the underbelly of the L.A. acting scene; and Orji describes meeting the real-life Molly, on whom her character was based.

See the films below. They were animated by Truba Animation, Titmouse and Six Point Harness, respectively. 

'The Slap Game'

Voiced by: David Benioff and D.B. Weiss of Game of Thrones
Animators: Ivan Dixon and Greg Sharp

'Acting Class'

Voiced by: Alec Berg of HBO's Barry
Animators: Christy Karacas and Simon Wilches

'Becoming Molly' 

Voiced by: Yvonne Orji of HBO's Insecure
Animators: Carl Jones and Brian Ash 

The approach is a familiar one. Among other campaigns, Google, BBH and California Sunday magazine did a series four years ago called "California Inspires Me," featuring the Cliff-notes life stories of famous California residents set to animation (including this one voiced by Jack Black). 

There's a reason it's a popular concept. Using animation allows for amusing exaggerations to seep into the telling—the hallmark of any good story, this time made visual. 

The films will run on the HBO network, social channels, and be part of HBO's sponsorship at Tribeca Film Festival. HBO plans to make more videos in the series in future. 


HBO: "Backstories"

Client: HBO
Project Name: Backstories

Agency: W+K New York
Executive Creative Director: Karl Lieberman
Creative Directors: Jaclyn Crowley, Sean McLaughlin 
Copywriter: Matt Mulvey
Art Director: Lawrence Melili
Head Of Integrated Production: Nick Setounski
Senior Art Producer: Ali Berk
Account Director: Samantha Wagner 
Account Supervisor: Lee Ford, Jasmine Cogdell
Brand Strategist: Brian Ritter
Project Manager: Lauren Aiello, Julie Knight
Business Affairs Manager: Michael Moronez
Director Of Public Relations: Theresa Collins

Animation - "Game Of Thrones": Truba Animation
Co-Directors and Animators: Greg Sharp, Ivan Dixon, Nina Knezevic
Sound + Music: Skillbard

Animation - "Barry": Titmouse
Directors: Christy Karacas 
Co Director: Simón Wilches-Castro
Art Director: Christy Karacas 
Executive Producers: Chris Prynoski, Ben Kalina
Associate Producer: Brendan O'connor

Animation - "Insecure": Six Point Harness
Executive Producers: Carl Jones and Brian Ash
Coordinating Producer: Patty Jausoro
Supervising Director: Greg Franklin
Director: Chris Toms
Supervising Producer: Vera Hourani
Line Producer: Marshell Golde

Production: Joint
Editor: Charlie Porter
Post Producer: Brian Schimpf

Sound: Heard City
Sound Design/Mix: Philip Loeb 
Executive Producer: Sasha Awn

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Tim Nudd
Tim Nudd was editor in chief of the Clio Awards and editor of Muse by Clio from 2018 to 2023.

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