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Ser_not_appearing_yet

My discussion with one of the producers

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[quote name='LordNedsHead' post='1631871' date='Dec 28 2008, 03.13']Even though the books are ginormous in scope, 12 episodes per season should be enough time to render a very faithful version of the story. There is a ton of descriptive dialogue and huge numbers of the cast of characters that can be omitted (or seen in the background and not named) to save expenses and whittle the tale down into 12 hours. In fact there should be more than enough time to get everything important in. LOTR only had about 3 hours per book. If the director gets bogged down in recounting every character mentioned in the book and becomes fond of dwelling on every flashback and dream sequence inthe book, then yeah, it could get too big. But there should be ample room to tell the full story focusing on the Starks, Lannisters, Greyjoys, Martells, Targaryeans, Baratheons, Arryns, Tyrells and the Watch. No need to get into the minutia of what drives Dacey Mormont and Osmund Kettleblack.
As to the budget, this may be the true reason the series doesn't get picked up. To do it justice HBO is gonna have to loosen up their pursestrings a bit. Fortunately there are no huge battle scenes until ACoK so HBO will have time to see how the series does through its first season on a smaller budget while allowing the creative-types the ability to tell the story without focusing on too many expensive SFX or wide screen crowd shots. I can only hope that they are able to blend in the sfx that do exist (especially the direwolves) to make them look realistic.
The black and white character comment is nonesense. Either your producer friend didn't take the time to read the books closely (or at all) or she simply doesn't get fantasy and shouldn't be involved with the project (my condolences to your inside eyes if the happens ;P). The main reason I became so engrossed in the series was the fact that all of the characters had moral strengths and weaknesses. From Brienne (as probably the most pure) all the was down to Gregor (most evil) no one is wholly black or white.
This franchise has a good core group of fans that can get the ball rolling for excitement. We're much more rabid for this series to see the light of day than say True Blood fans. Look at the success that relatively obscure set of books is having (its a great series and I'm currently reading all the books but it can't hold ASoIaF's jockstrap). Rome may have had a group of steady viewers that were into history. If this is an argument your friend is making you may want to tell her that ASoIAF is much more of an alternate historical novel than it is a fantasy piece. Its basically the War of the Roses with a sprinkling of the arcane for interest. Much as you could describe True Blood as a dramatic romance series with the occasional bite mark or telepathic insight, you can broaden ASoIaF's fanbase to history buffs if you market it correctly. GRRM has some kind of masters or doctorate in medieval studies so his sense of actual history is highly prevalent in the books.
The bottom line here is that anyone who has read the books and has watched other HBO series knows that there is simply no other brand/media marriage with the potential of a GoT/HBO pairing. It could truly be somehting special.[/quote]
Nice post. :smoking:

I should say the thought that she just doesnt get the genre has crossed my mind, but she seemed to enjoy the actual story. I have a suspicioun she was just trying to rile me because she knows im a fan ( :tantrum: ) or she could genuinely believe those things. You have to remember that a producer is going to be nervous about producing a show like this. If it fails, it could potentially destroy their careers. Its a huge risk to take really. Shes only really looking at whether its target audience will be big enough, eg: the military/political intrigue is great, but will it sell to a large enough audience? This is why the majority of shows getting made tend to be mushy, romance based. Its a tried and tested target audience which is very reliable.

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[quote name='Sernotapearinginthiseries' post='1632273' date='Dec 28 2008, 10.34']This is why the majority of shows getting made tend to be mushy, romance based.[/quote]
Like The Wire, The Sopranos, Rome, and Deadwood. I see your point.

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[quote name='Lord O' Bones' post='1632453' date='Dec 28 2008, 17.41']Like The Wire, The Sopranos, Rome, and Deadwood. I see your point.[/quote]

HBO is the exception to this rule, thank god.

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You know, the biggest obstacle I thought the books had was going to be time. Then the leaked script comes in at 60 script pages covering 95/807 book pages. Clearly that problem is eliminated.

4 stories at once that don't interact? Actually, NEWS of the actions in one place do make it to others, and directly influence either actions or emotions. Usually causing people to get angry and start yelling. Which makes good visual tv. "previously on" sections are going to be key, as they will be the tying of one section to another.

The script, as leaked, has already shown an eye to keeping sfx costs down by minimizing actual contact between cgi critters and actors. This foresight should make it easy to keep spectacular castle/location effects also in the background, once again minimizing costs.

The scope is large? It's a lot of work? Heck, I did a scene breakdown using novel pages in less than a week. Further breaking it down and costing the scenes from the actual script should be child's play to any competent producer, and reducing costs is bread and butter.

Marketing? Heck I've seen half a dozen youtube promos that would do just fine with actual footage replacements. Tag phrases all over the place. "Winter is coming" "The things I do for love" "You know nothing, Jon Snow". Also, Violence, sex, and sfx do wonders for sales. Also, and this is a generational thing, a lot genres that have typically been regulated to "only the geeks like it" for people in their 30s and higher is much more accepted and popular to the under 25 crowd. I blame Harry Potter for that, but it really hit me this Christmas (in my extended family Christmas gathering, 7 of 8 girls under 21's noses were stuck in their Nintendo DS's. Teenage girls playing video games? With each other and not just because their boyfriends played? WTH? They only looked up when it was their turn for Mario Kart on the Wii. I was shocked.).

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[quote name='Lord O' Bones' post='1632453' date='Dec 28 2008, 22.41']Like The Wire, The Sopranos, Rome, and Deadwood. I see your point.[/quote]
Read majority. The shows you mention have had aspects of what i said anyway.

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[quote name='Brude' post='1630826' date='Dec 27 2008, 09.39']After some of my own experiences with TV network and studio development executives, I am not even remotely surprised by any of the shit I hear come out of their mouths. I think part of it is that they have to read so much material, all the time, and they always have to have an opinion on all of it that even if it is something they don't really have a good handle on, they can't (for the sake of their jobs) just say nothing. Their job is to have opinions on the material they read and if they don't do that, they aren't being the proper kind of filter for the upper level executives who make the final decisions on these matters. Even if it's a project they don't really have an opinion on, they have to act like they do have one. After a while, having opinions on stuff, even if you don't really have one, becomes second nature - a very knee jerk reaction. You get into a room with people asking what you think of something and you just start talking out your ass.[/quote]

[quote name='Sernotapearinginthiseries' post='1632273' date='Dec 29 2008, 07.34']If it fails, it could potentially destroy their careers. Its a huge risk to take really. Shes only really looking at whether its target audience will be big enough, eg: the military/political intrigue is great, but will it sell to a large enough audience? This is why the majority of shows getting made tend to be mushy, romance based. Its a tried and tested target audience which is very reliable.[/quote]

I've got the feeling that anyone who needs to voice an opinion to the bigwigs about whether to commit serious money to a project is going to have a default setting of "no". No one ever got fired for ditching a potentially good project (as long as it didn't get picked up and made into a wild success by someone else). But careers can take a serious nose-dive if they recommend a project and it ends up being a stinker in the eyes of the viewing public and the critics. I would even guess that positive recommendations on a project would normally come with a series of arse-covering caveats, unless the person really thought it was a sure-fire success.

I simply can't see a well done ASOIAF bombing with the critics. I can seeing it failing with the TV audience. When that sort of divergence happens producers don't lose their jobs or ruin their careers. Often the series gets canned after the first season and it ends up selling very well on DVD (who on this board won't be buying season 1 on DVD, if it is made, and it is made well?) which probably means the studio ends up making its money back or even turns a slight profit out of the whole venture. If season 1 DVD sales go particularly well, and it received critical acclaim, studios can decide to give season 2 a shot. Figure the audience will have expanded a little by virtue of people who never watched series 1 being forced to watch it on DVD by friends/family who are major fans.

So I wonder if this friend is thinking it could bomb with the critics, not merely fail to connect with the US viewers.

I also agree that in series 1 characters do mostly appear to be black and white. Even looking at Tyrion dispassionately: one may have some sympathy because he is victimised by his own family, but other than being a sharp-tongued wit he doesn't particularly come off as particularly gray. His greyness really comes in when he starts butting heads with Cersei as the (acting) Hand, in aCoK. While I agree with this producer friend's point about the apparent black and whiteness, I disagree that this will be a turn-off. Especially for the discerning audience, while there is the appearance of a simple good set of characters and evil set of characters, there is sufficient for those who have an alert eye and attentive ear to realise that there is something more to this than meets the eye. Perhaps what she is worried about is whether the complexity of characters is too subtle (either to be put into the screen effectively, or for a TV audience to pick up on).

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[quote name='The Anti-Targ' post='1632804' date='Dec 29 2008, 05.46']I've got the feeling that anyone who needs to voice an opinion to the bigwigs about whether to commit serious money to a project is going to have a default setting of "no". No one ever got fired for ditching a potentially good project (as long as it didn't get picked up and made into a wild success by someone else). But careers can take a serious nose-dive if they recommend a project and it ends up being a stinker in the eyes of the viewing public and the critics. I would even guess that positive recommendations on a project would normally come with a series of arse-covering caveats, unless the person really thought it was a sure-fire success.[/quote]
This is very true, even lowly script readers are under tremendous pressure to simply say "no" to everything. If a script reader recommends a script to the executives who dislike it, they are risking their job. A story I've related on these boards before was about a husband and wife who worked as readers at different studios. She was having a baby soon, they had bills to pay, etc. One day the husband read something he thought was so good he was actually going to recommend it to the executives above him but before he would take that risk, he called his wife to talk it over with her. She begged him to simply recommend a PASS on the script, "think of our future, think of our baby," was basically what she said. So yeah, the system is set up to reject most everything.

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Brude, that explains an awful lot about why most Hollywood films are such crap. :/

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[quote name='Rinso' post='1630228' date='Dec 25 2008, 08.03']I'm baffled at her argument that the characters are black and white. You sure she talks about the same series?[/quote]
I had to wonder about this myself. How she sees them as black and white???

[quote name='Sernotapearinginthiseries' post='1630259' date='Dec 25 2008, 08.38']Well i really want her to produce it for purely selfish reasons, rofl.

The difference with lord of the rings is cost. Lotr movies were created by people who were huge fans of the book (and lotr has been a recognised classic novel for.. forevor), Soiaf is relatively unknown, and its current fanbase is certainly nothing like lotr was.

Not to mention soiaf is a totally different type of fantasy. Its not so family orientated.. its very different.[/quote]


So many great novels have been done as a mini series, and done very well, even before HBO, and Showtime. These novels were just too long to do justice to them on the big screen.

Such as:
Roots
Shogun

And that Australian big hit, that I can no longer remember the title of.
But it has been done, and successfully. They were long, true not 8 years long.

They were done very well, much better then a lot of big screen films we have all seen.

So, I truly think, if done right it will be fine. He does have a huge fan base wanting this to happen too.

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[quote name='Sernotapearinginthiseries' post='1630221' date='Dec 25 2008, 09.48']The question is (and i dont really post here much so i dunno if you people have already discussed this), can song of ice and fire really connect with a large enough audience? She argued that rome got the audience mostly due to the actual relevence of the historical characters, while soiaf (obviously) doesnt have this.[/quote]

I would say that first time viewers came to Rome because of the Historical significance but they stayed with it because of the great characters. Everyone know basically how the story was going to end, but people wanted to see how it got there. With the right advertising I can see a very large audience being brought in for the premier, and as long as the quality of the premier is on the same level as the books then those people will be hooked. Just like many readers who have Game of Thrones suggested to them but "don't like fantasty". They reach some point in the book where they can't imagine not finishing the story. For a large percentage that "seems" to be "The things I do for love". Those who do decide to tune in, who have not read the books will spend the next week telling there friends who did not watch it that they need to catch the replay before the next episode airs. [i]IF[/i] the execs can see a way to do it within a budget they can live with, and [i]IF[/i] they end product of the Pilot is of high enough quality that they want to order the series, and [i]IF[/i] there is a good advertising campaign for it to generate enough interest in people who have never heard of George Martin or A Song of Ice and Fire to get them to give the premier a chance. But stop to think about how many [i]IFS[/i] Dave and Dan have been able to overcome. They have found a way to bring it this far. They will find a way to write it to narrow the focus and scale enough to keep the "copper counters" happy, but maintain the integrity of the characterization, plot and them.

Mayhaps another question for all of us to ponder is, "How could HBO get some one who knows nothing about the story or the author interesting in watching this show, using nothing more than conventional advertising?"

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[quote name='Sernotapearinginthiseries' post='1630221' date='Dec 25 2008, 08.48']I have been asked to keep the details of this quiet, but it turns out a good friend of mine 'may' be working as a producer for the pilot version of game of thrones. I talked to her last night about it (i was in total fanboy shock, as you can imagine) and i have to say she wasnt enthusiastic about it.

This is essentially what im able to disclose, we discussed other aspects too, but im not posting them since she requested i didnt.

Her main issues is that the series is just too big.. and if they cut it down shes worried the story wont hold up. The other major concern she seemed to have was that the characters were in general too black and white to get emotionally invested in (at least for an american audience: see lost, sopranos etc). Of course i was immediately like 'WTF? JAIME?? TYRION??? THE FRIGGIN HOUND???' But unfortunately it didnt seem to change her view, and she clearly knows far more about it than me.

Anyhow, the good news is its not her decision, and hbo may make the show simply because they have no other option(:D), but it did make me think about it all more deeply.

The question is (and i dont really post here much so i dunno if you people have already discussed this), can song of ice and fire really connect with a large enough audience? [b]She argued that rome got the audience mostly due to the actual relevence of the historical characters, while soiaf (obviously) doesnt have this.[/b][/quote]

The part I bolded is my biggest WTF about your friend's comments. Maybe most Americans knew that Julius Caesar was a Roman and he did some great things but I'd be shocked that outside of history buffs most people knew who any other character was when the series started. I think most people got into Rome because most people know that Rome was important way back when. Not because people wanted to see how they'd portray Pompey Magnus. Cleopatra or Octavian. ASOIF will work for the same reason. Everyone loved LoTR and if HBOs advertise it as continuing that tradition people will tune in initially to see what it's about then get involved in the story.

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Once someone sees the ending (the things I do for love), I cannot imagine anyone not being hooked...

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[quote name='Watcher' post='1633698' date='Dec 30 2008, 20.32']The part I bolded is my biggest WTF about your friend's comments. Maybe most Americans knew that Julius Caesar was a Roman and he did some great things but I'd be shocked that outside of history buffs most people knew who any other character was when the series started. I think most people got into Rome because most people know that Rome was important way back when. Not because people wanted to see how they'd portray Pompey Magnus. Cleopatra or Octavian. ASOIF will work for the same reason.[/quote]

Well, if American kids had got into reading Asterix and Obelix when they were first published the general population would have a much better knowledge of some of the actual historical figures in the time of JC. :P

I assume a lot of highschool kids would have done Shakespeare's JC at some point. Or is that more of a university level play? (I only ever did Macbeth at highschool.)

[quote name='Callum' post='1633815' date='Dec 30 2008, 23.33']Once someone sees the ending (the things I do for love), I cannot imagine anyone not being hooked...[/quote]

Not that it will help much, but I will certainly be encouraging a lot of people who never read the books to watch the series, when (he says with fingers crossed) series 1 begins here. Unfortunately The in-laws I have in the States I am not close enough to for me to convince them to watch, and some of them are most definitely not into this sot of show.

So good luck to you state-siders as all I can do it send positive vibes.

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[quote name='The Anti-Targ' post='1633839' date='Dec 30 2008, 05.48']I assume a lot of highschool kids would have done Shakespeare's JC at some point. Or is that more of a university level play? (I only ever did Macbeth at highschool.)

Not that it will help much, but I will certainly be encouraging a lot of people who never read the books to watch the series, when (he says with fingers crossed) series 1 begins here. Unfortunately The in-laws I have in the States I am not close enough to for me to convince them to watch, and some of them are most definitely not into this sot of show.

So good luck to you state-siders as all I can do it send positive vibes.[/quote]

I know that were I went to highschool in Oklahoma we studied JC as Sophomores.

Oklahoma will be covered, as far as external advertisement for the series. I know a small legion of fans who will be willing to go out and make noise for the show in OKC and Tulsa. It might not help much, but we will do our part.

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[quote name='Sernotapearinginthiseries' post='1630234' date='Dec 25 2008, 11.10']Personally.. i have no idea. Shes read the first two books, i know that. I think she means in relation to other successful series, ie: lost and sopranos where you get a small group of characters with massive focus on each one. It does take a long while for characters such as jaime to develop, and i suppose the worry is by the time they do start to develop will the show still hold people's interest? Anyway ive never been involved with tv or directing etc so i didnt really argue. (this was to rinso^)

Mike- i like that:P Next time i see her im saying 'every character is grey!' She says the entire series could last something like 8 years, [b]and she finds the whole prospect of it all totally exhausting.

[/b][/quote]

I don't blame her in that. For someone to be tied to a huge project for what potentially could be a huge amount of time IS exhausting. You'd have to be totally dedicated to getting it right AND have an unending supply of energy. No reason, though, she has to follow it through personally from beginning to end. And, after all, she wouldn't be dealing with people as compelling as the characters we've all come to love/hate/admire/??? - she'd be dealing with [i]actors[/i] :/ and worse! :P

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I hate to say this but I wonder if the delayed release date of ADWD has anything to do with HBO's reluctance to sign onto this project. If for whatever reason GRRM were unable to finish the series on their timeline, they'd be pretty screwed--although I guess they could always cancel it before that anyway.

They might feel more comfortable with a property that has a closed storyline already. Depending on how long it takes GRRM to wrap it up (and you have to admit that a lot of people have lost faith in his ability to do so--it doesn't look good) this project could take up to a decade, and then you have to factor in the ages of the child actors, etc... It's logistically challenging even without GRRM's delays. Hollywood's going to get dragged down in the economic recession too, and there are simply cheaper projects out there with more guaranteed returns for the fiscally savvy executive. HBO is bound to lose subscribers as the recession worsens.

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HBO hasn't shown any reluctance. They greenlit the pilot.

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[quote name='Sernotapearinginthiseries' post='1630234' date='Dec 26 2008, 05.10']It does take a long while for characters such as jaime to develop, and i suppose the worry is by the time they do start to develop will the show still hold people's interest? Anyway ive never been involved with tv or directing etc so i didnt really argue. (this was to rinso^)

Mike- i like that:P Next time i see her im saying 'every character is grey!' She says the entire series could last something like 8 years, and she finds the whole prospect of it all totally exhausting.[/quote]

OK so 2 points:

Black and White personalities: Hello! Legend o'da Seekah is way more B&W. OK it ain't HBO and is not relying on the HBO audience for success, but still as far as general audience appeal goes if LotS gets the go ahead for at least 1 full season then you can't argue lack of character complexity to put the kibosh on a fantasy series.

Too many seasons to get through the whole (book) series: Again Hello! LotS. This has more books to the entire series than aSoIaF is intended to have. Besides there is no need at this early stage to commit long term to converting all the books into TV, in order to green light an entire season 1.

I hate to mention LotS in the same post as aSoIaF, but in truth when contemplating the pros and cons of making aSoIaF into a TV series LotS has all the same cons to it, and a few more besides, and lacks many of the pros working in favour of aSoIaF. I suppose it must have some pros that aSoIaF lacks, otherwise it would never have made it as far as a complete season 1, probably a more simplistic and linear storyline is a significant pro for TV purposes, but still this producer friend hasn't cited story complexity as a reason not to produce the series. So I am rather scratching my head over the reasons not to make the series put forward so far :dunno:

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[quote name='Smoldering Hound' post='1632578' date='Dec 29 2008, 02.47']You know, the biggest obstacle I thought the books had was going to be time. Then the leaked script comes in at 60 script pages covering 95/807 book pages. Clearly that problem is eliminated.[/quote]

For AGoT. I'm wondering what they are going to do when they get to ASoS, short of asking HBO for an extra 3-4 episodes to fit everything in.

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[quote name='Werthead' post='1635452' date='Jan 1 2009, 13.30']For AGoT. I'm wondering what they are going to do when they get to ASoS, short of asking HBO for an extra 3-4 episodes to fit everything in.[/quote]
They could delay some of it for season 4. Depending on what they decide to do with aDwD and aFfC (i.e. 1 or 2 seasons). Not sure what they could delay since its a great climax but since the next book begins straight after aSoS, they have flexibility.

Still. Not a current concern. :)

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