“The Break, presented by The General” wrapped season one as one of the best-performing and most covered G League partnered content series of all time. Following projected first-round picks and up-and-comers from across the league, we captured the attention of viewers across the nation — but that didn’t come without its challenges. In this exclusive interview, we discuss the relationships the production team built throughout the season, what it was like working with The General’s long standing brand ambassador Shaquille O’Neal, and the thrill of capturing memorable moments across the nation. Check out the conversation below and be sure to give all of the previous episodes of “The Break, presented by The General” a watch here.
Q: Taylor, we’re now at the end of the season and eight episodes have gone live. What were some of your favorite moments from filming the series?
Taylor Sharp: That’s tough, we’ve had so many of them. This being the first season, we had a lot of moments that kind of felt like favorites. One that comes to mind given how big of a stage it was at the Slam Dunk Contest at NBA All-Star Weekend in Salt Lake City. Watching Mac McClung win it all was just amazing. I remember looking at my production partner Holland in shock when we realized the perfect story was unfolding right in front of us. In working with Mac’s family as well, you could feel the gravity of the moment in real-time and how special that was for them.
Q: It seems like stories similar to Mac’s can be found all across the G League. Was that part of the strategy when deciding to follow these players?
Taylor Sharp: Absolutely. The G League is full of amazing stories behind both the player and the game. The families, coaches and support staff that make up every single player, their journey and their quest to achieve their dreams are always so robust, dynamic and full. For us to get to explore not only the basketball goals and the on-court narratives of these players but to also get to understand where they come from, who their family is and what they’re like off the court was great. I think Mac McClung, Norris Cole and Scoot Henderson each had so much to offer in that regard.
Q: At this point, you’ve spent nearly four months with these players and their families — are you planning on keeping in touch with them?
Taylor Sharp: Absolutely. I think when you spend this much time with someone and their family, you really get to know them and you can’t help but root for them going forward and want to keep up with them. We had a lot of time with Mac’s family early on in the season, so being able to keep up with them as Mac had his highs and lows was great. Same with Scoot and his family — he has a long career ahead of him and I can’t wait until I’m in the same place as them again. I really feel like I’m a true fan of all three of the players after the time spent with them this season. I’m really looking forward to the times when I brush shoulders with them again or can cheer them on from afar.
Q: When you’re filming three players all in different parts of the country, there can be some obstacles. What were some of the biggest challenges throughout the docuseries?
Taylor Sharp: One of the challenges of following three players throughout a season is that you simply can’t be in two places at once. And, when things can happen in real time, we have to be ready to capture that. It was a fun challenge to do so this season and we give all the credit to the G League staff for making it so easy for us to work with them.
Q: How do you find a balance between taking a more behind-the-scenes approach — not trying to get in the way of anything — but also capturing some of those big moments?
Taylor Sharp: I mean, we want to be there for these special moments, but we don’t want our being there to make these moments any less special or to alter what they look like for these players, their families or teammates. We tried to be very vérité in our approach. We had a very small crew and worked to make our presence minimal. I think that was part of the trust that we built with all of the players that we worked with. Oftentimes, though, the magic is just being in the room and capturing it and not getting in the way. So a lot of credit goes to the access that was given to us, which allowed for us to authentically capture these big moments.
Q: This is the final episode of “The Break, presented by The General.” Are you able to share what might be next for you and the team?
Taylor Sharp: It may be the last episode, but I’m quite excited for people to be able to watch the series in its entirety — from start to finish. They’ve seen each one episodically, but I think it’s going to be rewarding for viewers to be able to watch it all at once. We’re super excited about how the series went this season, and I think if we’re able to do that again next season, I’m already thinking about who those players could be. As this season ends, the next season kind of immediately starts because already we are thinking about who’s going to be playing and who might have the most compelling storylines that could be worthy of following in a similar capacity.
Q: What’s been the general reaction from audiences this season?
Taylor Sharp: When you’re releasing episodes digitally, it’s always rewarding when someone talks to you about it in person. There have been moments this season when we were in an NBA arena at a G League game filming and someone was like, “What are you filming for?” And we’re like, oh, we’re doing something on Scoot or Mac. And then we realize in conversation that they’ve been watching all along. Whether it was fans or other people who work in basketball or media in some capacity, there have been many baseline on-the-court conversations before a game. So that was always encouraging when people came up to us in real life and either said they were watching the docuseries or we’d look over their shoulder a few minutes later and they were on the G League YouTube looking it up.
Q: Any big lessons or takeaways you’ve learned from the filming, editing, and directing process of all of this?
Taylor Sharp: I think this entire season was just a testament to choosing players whose stories meshed together well, and who offer a variety of possibilities. To sit back and watch the seasons of the three players we chose unfold in an even bigger way than we could have imagined was just amazing. Hats off to Norris, Mac and Scoot for being so accommodating of our crew and for letting us tell their stories. We can’t wait to watch their success moving forward.
Episode 8 of “The Break, presented by The General,” can be viewed below. All episodes of the eight-part docuseries can be found on the G League’s YouTube channel.