, 80 tweets, 24 min read
At 3PM David Benioff and D.B Weiss #DnD started a session at the #AustinFilmFestival, I am a little late, but will live tweet as soon as I get there. #GameOfThrones
Someone asked did they go on-line and David said yes. Dan literally said “we were geographically challenged” and the maps were helpful.
David is also saying that he went to fan casting pages and that is how they found Jason Mamoa.
Dan is saying that writers and source material end up in divorce and that there divorce was amicable - since they ran out of material.
They are describing their pitch and how nervous they were. They pitched to Carolyn Strauss who has a reputation of being a tough pitch. They were very nervous “because of how bad we wanted.”
David is describing the pre-meeting with GRRM who was questioning their bona fides and “we didn’t really have any.” We had never done TV and we didn’t have any. We don’t know why he trusted us with his life’s work.”
They talking about the pilot and their friends who they let watch their first attempt at a pilot. One of the people was Craig Mazin (wrote Chernobyl) Scott Frank and Ted Griffin. He acknowledged that the first pilot was basic writing mistakes.
They acknowledge that they have no idea why after such a dismal pilot why they went forward. “Everything we could make a mistake in, we did.” Script, casting, costume.

They think HBO went forward bc they had a lot of foreign pre-sales on the series.
Dan is saying that #GameofThrones was basically an expensive film school for he and Dave. For example, they had no idea how to work with costume designers, and it was a huge learning experience.
Two months before the pilot was to air, the episodes were averaging 39 minutes and HBO made then write and film 100 minutes of scenes to meet their contractual obligations. For example, they added a scene with Robert and Cersei - and realized that there was no scene with them.
The moderator is asking them about their comments acknowledging they didn’t understand the characters, and the extra minutes helped them understand the characters better. 😳
Dan is saying that he let the actors redefined the roles, esp Maisie and they began writing for the actors, it is like the actor moved into the “house” and redecorated. He said he learned about the characters from the actors.
The moderator asked why they chose to write all the episodes by themselves: “Because we didn’t know better.” David said HBO wanted them to hire other writers and they decided to have Bryan Cogman, their assistant, write four episodes.
Dan wanted to remove as many fantasy elements as possible bc “we didn’t just want to appeal to that type of fan.” They wanted to expand the fan base to people beyond the fantasy fan base to “mothers, NFL players”...
She is asking about the violence. David: “TBH we went too far with some of those.”

He comments on the jousting scene with the Mountain and how when they killed Sir Hugh, that it was in the scene too long. He compares it to Ozark’s Jason Bateman’s toenail being ripped out.
What did you learn from that? You made 30 feature films on 8 years, which is more than anyone out there than Woody Allen. She is asking about the Battle of the Bastards.
They used every season as a learning experience. The CGI of the dragons was particularly challenging. They said by season 4 that Miguel was doing night shoots they had decided no one would miss them if they backed away.

*battle of winterfell took 10 straight weeks
Why did the battles get better? “We kept our core crew together.”

They had same stunt teams, same people who did the blood scenes in S02 did the ones in S07. They get better and better as we did.
“The two of us and Miguel spent a lot of time together.” They talked with him about the shots always being from someone’s POV, so it didn’t feel like a video game.

S1 we wanted to have a battle but we ran out of money. (The extra 100 minutes.) Thus the drinking game scene.
When we pitched HBO, we promised them that we would downplay the fantasy elements. (Paraphrase)

She is challenging the fact of how the Night King and the White Walkers and how it played out.
They are expressing regret about putting the baby on the block of ice and him screaming. The mother was not happy bc Dan just kept talking about a close-up of the baby’s penis.

*They are very granular in details of shots, admitting losing sight of the big picture.
Were you listening to the feedback to your fans as things went along?

Dan: “We really did not.”

Dan doesn’t see the value of considering other people’s reactions.

Dave acknowledged that he googled the show and it upset him. Dan, no. @dndgoogling
Did you really sit down and try to boil the elements of the books down? Did you really try to understand it’s major elements.

No. We didn’t. The scope was too big. It was about the scenes we were trying to depict and the show was about power.
What was your process?

We just started writing. But as things went on we had to outline. Divvied up scripts. They didn’t work together in the same room. One took first half, the other the last half, then they would swap. They gave episodes to Bryan Cogman and David Hill.
Dab is saying how much they loved the books, but they had to make it their own. They have stressed several times about giving up 10 years of their life.

They reference David Chase and the Sopranos and how he said this was all such a blur.
Dan: “it was like a ten year drunk party.”
Q&A: how did you have a life - keep families going, etc.

We loved our Game of Thrines family. But it was very hard. Our kids and wives became best friends and it felt like a big family.
“It’s hard to complain about how hard we were working when you see a set painter,” Dan.
He is talking about how this being what he dreamed of since 8, and they never even dreamed this big.
Question about S8, Dan said that bc of the brutality, there was only a few people left. They felt like they knew who the characters were, and how they were going to end.
Someone wanted to see more of Ramsey get eaten by the dogs. The dogs were VFX. It looked to cartoonish.
How did you decide to do reveals?


Talk about choosing to kill Joffrey in E2 bc nothing ever happens.

Sansa and Arya killing LF. They mapped it out so you didn’t know what was going to happen.
Casting also dictated how and when they killed people.

Question about scouting locations. They are crediting the Location director in Belfast. Sorry, I didn’t catch name.
They asked about not including women and POC in the writers room.

They didn’t have a writers room and there was one woman who wrote a few scenes. They decided up front it was going to be the two of them. David Hill is of Asian descent.
He said that they wouldn’t hire writers unless they were willing to be part of the production team.

(Vanessa wrote the Shape of Water.)
She ended up leaving the show to write that. Q re: how do you pitch a show this big and they said it was basically a con job to HBO and how big it would get bc they bet on the HBO execs not reading 5000 pages of ASOIAF.

The pitch was impossible to pitch the whole story.
They decided to pitch the pilot, and not the series, in a way that was understandable to folks they were pitching. Then they did a vague overview of the series, with not a lot of details.

“There was no good way to summarize the story. So we didn’t.”
There was a question re: kit Harrington that wa unintelligible and neither of them answered. They kept referring to the other one. End of Thread.
Update: First, thanks for all the love and appreciation, and the validation, Fam! Truthfully typing kept me from screaming. Also, thanks for ignoring my spelling grammar, etc., I was typing fast.

And as far as the thread -
My mentions have exploded, and @TheMarySue is reporting. I will respond to everyone as I can.

Also, I’m adding answers to folks questions and feedback others may not see bc RTs.

Many of your comments in replies and rtweets express dismay and anger on their comment about removal or downplaying of the fantasy elements. This article gives context to thoughts about fantasy in 2008 when they were pitching HBO.

Dan was more vocal on the issue of fantasy fans. Here’s an article where he comments he hadnt liked that genre since he was 12.
This is my impression of how they demeaned fantasy fans.

Many of you voiced your incredulity and disappointment, like @SoBanked .

They also made comments about their approach to genre and how the series was “only a few steps away from Monty Python.” Please someone explain that?!

But this Vanity Fair article reiterates these comments.

Lots of comments on how their treatment of the fantasy elements throughout the series contributed to the Finale’s failure particularly Bran/3ER. Here’s one from @wintersdracarys

This humorous tweet sums up their thought process on trying to appeal to a broader audience.

My read was that they think of fantasy fans as intelligent, but geeks and nerds. Not “manly.”
An overwhelming number of responses were both about the flagrant white privilege during the interview and their being approved for HBO to do the series.

Like this one from @the_strix.

This echoes the frustration of many of the writers in the room.

Here’s my comments on the vibe. I also responded that people were generally polite yet uncomfortable. D&D even commented re: the politeness of the attendee (woman who spoke soft and had an accent) who asked the tough Q about Kit. (They didn’t answer Q.)

Some participants have public profiles and attendees should be visble on austinfilmfestival.com - if you don’t know, this should give you an idea of the number and diversity of writers who have stories that never get told, and not bc of the quality.
Writers typically ask panelists about:
Writing process
Character dev
Network/studio involvement and Notes
Finding Success

Comments to this align with those. A lot of folks were outraged with the writers room, or lack thereof.
Most comments about having a writers room, and how that intertwines with misogyny and privilege, like @entoncesallora.

Here was my comment on another thread.

Obviously, the impact of no, errr, limited diversity on the women and POC characters.

Some picked up on HBO asking them to hire more experienced writers and D&D’s arrogance in making it about them. This, all day this.👇🏼

Preach! If anything comes from Benioff and Weiss wallowing in their privilege at #AFF26 while openly mocking @HBO, @GRRMspeaking, #fantasyfans, dismissing other writers, maybe we collectively ask #HollywoodOpenTheDoor and #hollywoodPayUp. @GameOfThrones

My further clarification of Benioff and Weiss’ comments about writers below. Alson, they said Vanees helped write a couple of *episodes,* not *scenes* before she left to do “The Shape of Water.”

And so this from @annatarsgif leads to their writing process.

Sorry this is long, but folks had a lot of questions. Some comments on their writing process are 🎯 🔥. Start with this from @NLights37 as a premise.

To clarify, Benioff said several times, we started on Page One. That’s writers speak for a screenplay begins on a blank page. Except they didn’t just have a blank page. They had George’s work. Did they read it?
Showrunners are typically tasked with writing a show bible or at least outlining the episodes and season(s)- even when adapting original material - convene a writers room, use source material to understand characters, their arcs, analyze underlying themes, symbolism... D&D:
But I guess the #HBOFilmSchool did not include those lessons. Obviously, so many folks particularly mad about the infuriating film school comment.

PS I can attest it was not self-deprecating more like, the weather is really nice today.

To clarify “the baby’s penis” comments, @BittrScrptReadr asked if they were debating a shot list on set (yes, and that happened a lot) and @MerrillBarr made a sane assumption that is was fake ice (it was not). My explanation in the thread.

Also to clarify time. The session was after the awards luncheon and started lat. It was to end at 4:15but the mod said they could go a little longer. The next 3 questions were the toughest (writers room, pitching and the unknown Kit Harrington ?), then she ended the session.
The answer to @uberverbosity question about their concern for fans is timing. As they were beginning (preparing to pitch GRRM to the pilot), they indicated the fan sites were helpful. I am not sure when Dan told Dave to quit looking, but it was after S1.
Some folks have proffered the way they knew about L+R=J is the boards. I hope someone asks them that question one day.
Also a lot of questions regarding their description of pitching to GRRM. They said it was a long lunch (probably with drinks). They conned HBO, why not George? George didn’t go with them to the pitch.
This article from @thisisinsider reiterates the responses Benioff and Weiss made at #AFF26, couched in kinder terms. Except for Tom McCarthy, the director of the original pilot.

Tom‘s comments underscore Benioff and Weiss’ assertion that they started with a Page One approach without analyzing themes, etc. The article also talks about GRRM’s involvement, as well as Carolyn Strauss, the GoT EP who formerly worked at @HBO. #SavedByAWoman
Thank you, @esquire and @SYFYWIRE! Thank you so much for confirming my reports.

As some of you probably realize or have read, several folks have called my integrity into question, which I expected, but nevertheless, is upsetting.

Please share this. ❤️

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