Thomas J. McLean is an AwardsLine contributor.
While television visual-effects producers are far from immune to the same market forces that recently have rocked the film world, the serial nature of TV and its inherent short deadlines allow facilities and effects artists to find a satisfying and stable niche. “The predictability of the television season helps us,” says Andrew Orloff, co-owner and visual-effects supervisor of Zoic Studios, whose clients include TNT’s Emmy-nominated Falling Skies and ABC’s Once Upon A Time. “We built our business model on serving a bunch of different markets, and we’ve done pretty well.”
With shows going from shooting to air in two or three weeks, effects need to be done extremely quickly and to a high standard. “It can be a blessing and a curse,” says Mat Beck, president of Entity FX, which works on Emmy nominee Game Of Thrones, as well as Vampire Diaries, Mike & Molly and The Following. “What is hard is, you have to get stuff done crazy quickly. The blessing is you’re in a disciplined environment, timewise, and you have to zero in on the best solution.” Read More »
The panel presentation for HBO‘s Game of Thrones kicked off with a tongue-in-cheek In Memoriam reel set to Boyz II Men’s “It’s So Hard to Say Goodbye To Yesterday,” remembering all the characters who were beheaded, stabbed or otherwise dispatched and teasing the series’ spring 2014 return. Cast members Peter Dinklage, Michelle Fairley, John Bradley, Kit Harington, Rose Leslie and Richard Madden, and author George R.R. Martin joined exec producers David Benioff and D.B. Weiss for the fan-centric event. Martin acknowledged his penchant for offing his characters, joking that it made for lots of new job opportunities for actors and actresses. Soon afterward, Jason Momoa, aka the dearly departed Khal Drogo, crashed the panel to give Emilia Clarke a kiss shouting, “I’m not dead yet!”
The show is nominated for 16 Emmy Awards, including one for Clarke’s turn as Daenerys Targaryen. She recalled getting the news early Thursday morning. “My alarm went off really early at 6 AM in the hotel even though I never set it,” she said. “I saw I was getting a missed call from HBO telling us about the amazing news, and it took three phone calls for them to tell me no, no, you [were nominated] as well.” Read More »
Taking the reins of a book series with a devoted following can be daunting for any producer. But for Game of Thrones executive producers D.B. Weiss and David Benioff, the solution to adapting George R.R. Martin’s fantasy bestsellers was to be diehard fans of the source material. Weiss and Benioff also enjoy a fruitful open dialogue with the author, who Weiss says “ultimately understands that we live and breathe this show. Our devotion to it is total. It’s like a cult.” Their ambition also shows in the scope of the HBO series, which Benioff reveals has a budget of “more than $5 million” an episode, making it among the most expensive epic series produced.
DEADLINE: Last time we spoke was when we first revealed you were doing Game Of Thrones for HBO.
D.B. WEISS: Yeah, and you remember that whole Sopranos and Middle Earth thing we first said to you, when you asked for a one-line description of what we wanted to do? Do you remember that line? That line has been haunting us for like 7 years. I always cringe when I hear it.
WEISS: It’s insulting to both Sopranos and Lord of the Rings. It’s one thing where you’re trying to sell, and you say, “My movie is Die Hard meets Above the Law.” Read More »
How’s this for an interesting defense? File-sharing site BitTorrent insists that a recent report that HBO’s Game Of Thrones broke records for illegal downloads on BitTorrent is false — because illegal downloading … Read More »
The lineup of TV dramas getting Emmy nominations and wins the past few years hasn’t changed much, but Deadline’s Pete Hammond has a few ideas to break voters out of their rut when it comes to picking a Best Drama. He breaks big for … Read More »
Thomas J. McLean is an AwardsLine contributor.
For sound editors and mixers, the broadening of TV’s audio palette into feature-film territory requires a lot of work and plenty of tricks to get shows to sound as good as they look on tight budgets and even tighter schedules. “I spend quite a bit of time trying to find the right people who can do feature-quality work but not take feature time,” says Tim Kimmel, supervising sound editor on HBO’s epic fantasy series Game Of Thrones. With 10 hourlong episodes to complete in about five months and a tight schedule on the production pipeline, work often continues until the last minute. “By the time we finish mixing the show, we’re still waiting on final visual effects, so we will end up going back into episodes that were basically completed,” Kimmel explains. Read More »
Subscription viewers weren’t the only ones who went nuts for HBO‘s Game Of Thrones season finale. According to TorrentFreak, over 1 million BitTorrent users downloaded Sunday’s … Read More »
Jon Snow and Ygritte are climbing the wall and they are picking up more viewers on Game Of Thrones. The 9 PM broadcast of the HBO fantasy drama Sunday pulled in 5.5 million viewers. With the Wildlings at the base of the wall that protects the Seven Kingdoms, that’s a new series high for Thrones for a fourth week in a row in its third season. The series drew 5.3 million viewers the week before. The show’s viewership across two plays on Sunday also hit a new gross audience nightly high with 6.8 million viewers.
Elsewhere in the cable universe, AMC’s Mad Men didn’t break any records this week but it was up a bit over its April 28 episode. The period drama had 2.4 million viewers on Sunday, with 1.103 million in the adults 18-49 demo. That’s a 3% gain in viewers and 6% in the demo compared with the week before. Mad Men returned for its sixth season April 7 with its second-most-watched episode ever with 3.4 million viewers. Read More »
The first three months of 2013 were mixed for the entertainment giant. Time Warner says this morning that it generated net income of $720M, +23.9% vs last year’s Q1, on revenues of $6.93B, -0.6%. That missed the consensus analyst forecast of $7.12B. But adjusted earnings at 82 cents a share were well ahead of predictions for 74 cents. At the cable networks, including HBO, revenues were up 3% to $3.7B with operating income +11% to $1.3B. The company says that a 1% decline in ad sales ($12M) and 4% drop in content revenues ($11M) took some of the edge off of subscription revenues which were +5% ($115M). Ad growth at Turner‘s U.S. entertainment networks “was more than offset by declines at its news networks, due to lower demand” as well as the closing of channels in India and Turkey last year. Film and TV entertainment saw operating income grow 23% to $263M even though revenues fell 4% to $2.7B. Time Warner attributes the decline to “lower theatrical performance and a decline in television licensing revenues” — adding that it was offset by higher home video sales for The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey and Argo. Meanwhile the magazine publishing unit, which the company plans to spin off, generated a $9M operating loss (vs last year’s $5M loss) on revenues of $737M, -5%. Read More »
Game Of Thrones Breaks BitTorrent Piracy Record
Game Of Thrones debuted Sunday on HBO and began Monday night on the UK’s Sky Atlantic. The series hit a high with its third season premiere in the U.S., averaging 4.4M viewers, up … Read More »
On the heels of its big Season 3 premiere on Sunday, HBO‘s hit fantasy series Game Of Thrones has been renewed for a fourth season. Based on the bestselling fantasy book series by George … Read More »
EXCLUSIVE: CAA has signed actress Sophie Turner, who plays Sansa Stark on HBO’s Game Of Thrones. That series returns to the air this weekend. Her character, spurned by the inbred King Joffrey (who had her father … Read More »
UPDATE, 11:11 AM: Talk about putting the cart before the throne. Turns out Game Of Thrones executive producer David Benioff misspoke when he said Tuesday that creator George R.R. Martin would make a cameo in Season 3 of the hit HBO series. The network says filming is completed for the season, which debuts March 31, and Martin isn’t in it. What Benioff meant to say, the network confirmed to me today, was that plans are in place for the author of the books on which the series is based to appear in a Season 4. Sounds like things must be pretty far along on getting a fourth season in gear if they are working out such small details. Of course, that assumes HBO is picking up the hit series for another cycle, something it has not done yet — though if you were a gambling person, I’d say you wouldn’t lose if you bet your kingdom on it.
PREVIOUSLY, TUESDAY PM: Game Of Thrones creator George R. R. Martin will be making an onscreen appearance in the upcoming season of HBO’s flagship series, executive producer David Benioff revealed tonight. “You will see him”, he told Deadline, though he would not say what role Martin would play. Season 3 of the hit epic fantasy drama premieres March 31. Benioff was appearing with the author of the sprawling book series and co-executive producer of the TV show Tuesday at the “Evening With Game Of Thrones”, put on by the Academy of Television Arts & Sciences at the Chinese Theatre in Hollywood. As fans of the show know, Martin, who recently inked a two-year overall deal with the pay cable network to develop new projects, actually had a cameo in the Game Of Thrones pilot. “90% of the pilot was re-shot and George’s cameo ended up on the cutting room floor”, admitted Weiss to the sold out crowd. In a spoiler-free event, Martin did let one plot twist or twists slip out: “There’ll be a few people on the throne before it’s over”, he said when asked who would end up victorious as king on the series. Benioff and fellow exec producer D.B. Weiss joked that “George has told us.” With HBO execs in the audience, Benioff also said that no order for Season 4 has been made. The crowd groaned in obvious displeasure.
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