Safety First on Set

Photo Credit: Helen Sloan

Photo Credit: Helen Sloan

Day 61: Today we are shooting at our faithful brothel. Set discussions involve how many "naughties" should be arrayed across a couch versus how many on the floor. And whether we shouldn't see some period-appropriate prophylactics on hand (in a manner of speaking). Namely, sheep bladders or sheepskin sheaths. Sadly, our props department doesn't keep any of those in stock. Seriously… we asked.

The Dragon Has Four Heads

James Tea from the Greens Dept. Photo Credit: Helen Sloan

James Tea from the Greens Dept. Photo Credit: Helen Sloan

Day 47: Dragons are ornery creatures. Some days, no matter how hard you coax them, they just continue to not exist. On those days, our props department calls down fire and blood with a four-headed blowtorch. Like today. Did our Brian McGraw – a stand-by chargehand prop in the Dragon Unit – ever look down at the bones and earth he was scorching and silently roar, imagining his protective suit as scales and the fuel rig on his back as wings?

Probably not. He was busy enough trying not to cook his legs. Or anything else down there.

 

Scorpions on Set

Photo Credit: Helen Sloan

Photo Credit: Helen Sloan

By Laura Heather Mac, Guest Blogger

Day 15: Who knew scorpions could be stubborn little critters? Not me and not the other hundred crew members who stood patiently holding our breaths as, take after take, our little scorpion actor refused to go in the right direction.

Eager to get the shot, crew were called in to change the sand contours to manipulate the scorpions’ path.

Our director also suggested we put “no scorpions” signs up along the route. Just in case.

FYI: No scorpions were harmed in the making. We can’t say the same for our cast... 

See a scorpion in action with the series creators.

Sabotaged by the Sea

PHOTO CREDIT: HELEN SLOAN

PHOTO CREDIT: HELEN SLOAN

Day 52: Today we film in beautiful Murlough Bay. We're shooting on a rock-strewn beach. The jagged coast of Scotland beckons 11 miles in the distance, across a blue sea. Everything is set for a gorgeous day on GoT...

Yet, as the saying goes, time and tide wait for no man. On the North Coast in autumn, not only don't they wait, they rush in like dry land is going out of style.

In the morning we have more beach than we knew what to do with. We set up on the beach between two mammoth stones, one large enough to host a miniature cave. As the hours pass, the waves advance up the shore and don't retreat, swallowing more of our set with every take. By the afternoon, we occupy only one final yard of beach. The two mammoth stones now wade in the bay, mocking our earlier hubris.

After a particularly bold wave almost makes off with a skiff, we urge our director to pull a Canute and order the tides to stop. We are half-joking, but he is considering the half that's not.

Maybe we were being too harsh on the sea. Maybe the sea just wanted a spoiler...

Animals Abound in a GOT Marketplace

Photo Credit: Helen Sloan

Photo Credit: Helen Sloan

Day 42: Here on GoT, we believe the details make the world. Could we have an exotic market without pounds of turmeric, paprika, and other colorful spices? Yes. But then we'd just have goats, snakes, and a lemur.

Besides, nothing relaxes the crew like a selfie with the lemur. A relaxation they sorely need after a day spent wondering about the orange snake wrapped around its handler's neck, and why it keeps staring at them...

Acting Aboard an Armada

Photo Credit: Helen Sloan

Photo Credit: Helen Sloan

Day 29: "If you fall in the water, the life jacket will automatically inflate. If it doesn't, pull the cord on your chest. If it still doesn't inflate, sink quietly so you don't ruin the take."

Such is the sage wisdom offered to us by our marine squad as we shoot a water sequence this week.

It seemed so easy on the page: a solitary boat on the water. But as we all know, pesky reality too often intrudes on fantasy. One boat became an armada: a boat with our heroes aboard, lashed to a primary camera boat; a second camera boat trying to keep up; a third boat for sound and VFX; a fastboat for props; a fastboat for marine rescue, just in case.

As for the water, who knew that landlocked lakes could unleash 4-foot swells? A couple of times we had to cut camera thanks to waves, lest the "Hero Boat" become hero-less.

But our cast bravely persevered. While the rest of us hung onto our seats (or cameras, or boom mics), they nailed their lines and acted like it was a balmy day on calm seas. A brilliant performance that most viewers will never realize.

Perhaps the cast were emboldened because, in our show, drowning would be a cleaner death than most...