By Cat Taylor
Photo Credit: Helen Sloan
It's Friday morning and we are on the beach below Ballintoy Harbour. In the time that has passed since we filmed here last year, several meters of sand have been washed away from the tideline and the cove seems more intimate, perhaps fittingly for the scene about to take place between Stannis and Melisandre.
It's a crazy day, with two directors filming scenes for three separate episodes, with three different combinations of actors. In an attempt to make a turn, a huge tractor hauling a trailer full of gear has become stuck in the sand. Wheels spinning, it goes nowhere but further down. After a few attempts to maneuver, it becomes obvious that we have two choices. 1) Have VFX paint out the giant blue tractor from every frame or 2) Start carrying gear.
A convoy of crew begins humping the kit from the trailer to the far side of the beach, and just about every department is in on it: hair and make-up joins burly locations men as they lift, haul and drag weights, lights, ropes and sandbags (!) across the beach and out of shot.
Above us, the B camera unit is setting up the first shot, a wide high pan over the beach and out to the wind churned sea from someone’s garden patio, as one of the houses overlooking the bay hosts the perfect spot. Below, the extras are in place for rehearsal – already resigned to being battered by the waves all day, they stand in the water to the knee as they hold a boat in place. You can see the water seep up their dark uniforms as they wait patiently. Out of shot the water safety team waits, in full wetsuits, in case they are needed. Finally the tractor is free, and the greens team takes over, raking the tracks in the sand and clearing trailers full of seaweed. We are ready to begin.