Take the 2-minute tour ×
Movies & TV Stack Exchange is a question and answer site for movie and tv enthusiasts. It's 100% free, no registration required.

A total of 9 directors have been used to direct the Game of Thrones TV series till date.

I was left wondering as to why use so many directors for a single plot story! Wouldn't their individual styles and approach to the story contaminate each other? And how would actors react to being directed in a different manner, each episode?!

Is there any reference and justification to the studios decision regarding this?

PS Here is a list of the directors.

share|improve this question
6  
I don't think it's unusual, because then one doesn't have to wait for a director to finish an episode before starting (pre-)production on the next. Other serialized shows also used multiple directors: see Lost had 13, Heroes had 15 and 24 had 19. –  Oliver_C Jan 16 '13 at 11:04
    
Exactly! On one hand there are series directed by a single director and on the other, series which have myriad directors. Why? Maybe the question here sounds localized(pertinent to a specific series). I am open to edit it to broaden its scope. –  KeyBrd Basher Jan 16 '13 at 13:02
1  
AFAIK only sitcoms/half-hour shows use mostly one director. Using several directors seems to be standard for one-hour shows because it saves time to have more than one episode in production at once (that includes pre- and post production and the actual shooting). Sitcoms usually require less time to produce (simpler sets, less visual effects, less stunts,...), so they can 'afford' to wait for one director to complete an episode. –  Oliver_C Jan 16 '13 at 15:46
    
@Oliver_C: Your comment that it saves time makes sense But what about the different flavors that each director will introduce in their episode?! Every director has his/her own individual style right? –  KeyBrd Basher Jan 17 '13 at 10:26
    
'@KeyBrd Basher - I was thinking about writing an answer, but it would have been a general explanation and not specific to Game of Thrones. –  Oliver_C Jan 17 '13 at 12:45

5 Answers 5

up vote 14 down vote accepted

From Wikipedia:

Some [TV-] shows have a small stable of directors, but also usually rely on outside directors.

Given the time constraints of broadcasting, a single show might have two or three episodes in pre-production, one or two episodes in principal photography, and a few more in various stages of post-production.

The task of directing is complex enough that a single director can usually not work on more than one episode or show at a time, hence the need for multiple directors.


Television vs Film Directing:

Film directors usually have most of the creative control, but in television this control tends to be more in the hands of the producer.

Although this is not always the case, the television director can be thought of more as someone who molds the show into the package requested by the producer, as opposed to someone who stamps their own feel on the production.

The Showrunner is usually the person responsible for a TV series.


TV's showrunners outrank directors:

For film directors, it's all about control. Realizing it will be their vision that appears on the bigscreen, and knowing they'll be judged on whether the film is successful or not, helmers fight for final cut, casting choices and answer to no one -- except, possibly, the visiting studio suit or producer -- while ruling on the set.

With episodic television, however, directors walk a fine line between their own creative muse and the expectations of the showrunners.


From an interview with Jeannot Szwarc, who has directed episodes for several TV shows (Supernatural, Bones, Grey's Anatomy, Fringe, Smallville, Heroes,...):

Now being a director who travels from show to show can be difficult. Always fitting in. Always having to adapt to new styles. Do you have a philosophy that helps you?

  • Well, yes. The philosophy is that you are a guest wherever you go. You want to preserve your style and sensibilities, but you must also fit into the style of the show and into the group. ...

    First thing is to try to make the show the best it can be within the parameters that are established. Try to improve the script as best you can. And to try to convince everyone to see it your way.

share|improve this answer
    
+1 for Showrunner and the interview. –  KeyBrd Basher Jan 18 '13 at 5:20

I think the best answer was given here by Oliver_c: Why do British sitcoms have so many fewer episodes than American ones?

American television is a producer's medium.

share|improve this answer

Firstly, TV episodes aren't always shot in sequence, so having multiple directors share the responsibility makes things run smoother. Even in movies, a director doesn't always direct each and every scene. There are usually a few assistant directors who film less pivotal scenes.

Also, the role of a TV episode director isn't as encompassing as a movie director. TV directors usually have less leeway in the medium where producers have more power. It's the job of the producers (and writers) to keep the whole series as homogeneous as possible.

share|improve this answer

This is routine in one-hour high quality television series, and is not unique to Game of Thrones. Season One of GoT is 10 episodes long - almost 10 hours of finished material, and typically they want to have a new season every year. It would be logistically difficult for one person to manage this in the same way as a movie director does.

If you compare this to the context of a movie with 1.5 to 3 hours of finished material, it is a significant increase in the amount of footage that must be planned for, shot and edited. Even movies have second-unit directors who shoot in parallel to the named director of the movie. Andy Sirkis was the second-unit director on The Hobbit for example.

As other answers have said, it is the job of the overall creative team - producers and writers to map out a season of episodes, and the directors have less power and direct as required by the creative team as a whole. Often a there is a 'headline' director, who helps set the look and style of the season, e.g. Alan Ball wrote and directed the season opener and finale of Six Feet Under and True Blood, Martin Scorsese directed the pilot of Boardwalk Empire - a great advertisement for the series as a whole.

share|improve this answer

Although Game of Thrones does not have an excessively high number of directors for a series of its type, it would also be impossible for it to have another model due to the nature of its storytelling and location shooting. With such an expansive storyline, following many characters in vastly different locations, shooting often happens on multiple continents at the same time. Locations have included Malta, Croatia, Iceland, Ireland and Morocco. It's less of a problem for the actors because most of their storylines are confined to one location (Jon Snow is not spending a lot of time in Morocco). It would be highly difficult for one director to do it all though.

share|improve this answer

Your Answer

 
discard

By posting your answer, you agree to the privacy policy and terms of service.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.