Hicks co-founded the Toronto editing house Panic & Bob with Andy Ames and David Baxter in 1996 and now runs School, a new shop featuring the budding talents of his former company, where he remains a partner. Among Hicks' U.S. patrons is DDB/Chicago, for which he cut a round of Budweiser spots directed by Kuntz & Maguire. That includes the truth-laden Super Bowl "Cards" commercial, in which he used quick cuts to illustrate a woman's agonizing search for the perfect card for her boyfriend - while the guy grabs one at random for her when he's at the checkout counter buying beer. He also cut the directing duo's bizarre Eggo spot, for Leo Burnett/Toronto, in which silence proved a gut-busting foil to the one-way chatter of a man having breakfast with his stuffed animal family. "It's the timing of the pauses that I absolutely love," he reveals. "Hanging on silence is what made that spot to me. If you filled that gap, then it wouldn't be funny. I enjoy getting the point across in the most entertaining way, in the funniest, most believable way."
Don't be mistaken - cracking jokes is serious business. "I feel like I'm almost more an advertiser now than I am a filmmaker in a way," he says. "If the core idea doesn't get through, then I'm not doing my job."