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If you’re like me, 10 hours of Game of Thrones per year is not nearly enough, which got me considering the following thought experiment: What if we could tune in to a channel that, 24 hours a day, 365 days a year, broadcast the Game of Thrones universe in a single continuous stream without any breaks, ad infinitum?

This production must maintain the existing show’s current depth and density of storytelling, as well as all current production values. The stories would necessarily diverge from the books and probably introduce many more characters and subplots.

I’m trying to grasp the sheer volume of work required to write, film, edit, post-produce and continuously distribute this fantastical fantasy project.

Given that this will never happen, would this production be physically possible? If so, what would the production look like in terms of budget, personnel and logistics?

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    I'm adding this as a comment, because it doesn't even begin to answer: Aside from the producing, what about the WATCHING? People would be turned off if they had to miss entire chunks because work and other real life got in the way, precluding seeing large chunks every day. Also with 24/7/365 production and airplay - no repeats allowing catch up. The only ones left to this watching endeavor are the unemployed or radical social disconnects. Not a win. – wbogacz Oct 5 '14 at 20:51
  • @wbogacz You're probably right, but the question is more about the production itself. How could the current process scale to fulfill these requirements? Coming from a behind-the-scenes background, I'm intrigued by the sheer enormity of what this endeavor would require - not the efficacy of the actual product. – typewriter Oct 5 '14 at 21:18
  • @wbogacz It somehow indirectly answers it, because as you said, such a show would simply just exist for the sake of its own and lack any kind of financial revenue, it would just be an enterprise in burning a large (LARGE!) pile of money. This alone makes it physically impossible at this scale in a monetarily driven world. – Napoleon Wilson Oct 5 '14 at 21:19
  • @NapoleonWilson it's not about economics of film and television, its about following the thought experiment - what WOULD it take to make this happen? The only constraint I've given is physics itself. Lets put a figure to that LARGE pile of money! – typewriter Oct 5 '14 at 21:25
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    "The downvoters are not thinking hard enough." - Or they fail to see any kind of sense in this thinking in the first place. And even being not a downvoter I have a hard time coming up with a reasonable sense this whole question is fulfilling (even though I could maybe find some potential for an interesting question buried deep under a pile of hypothetical rubble). But well, doesn't make it off-topic, maybe just useless (or bad for at least 5 people). – Napoleon Wilson Oct 6 '14 at 8:26
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There is no way this could be physically possible.

First of all, the sets are too detailed. You could only pull this off if the sets were pre-built and stood in place constantly, the show/movie had extremely simple sets or the sets were all pre-existing.

Then, the entire show/movie would need to be linear. You couldn't move characters/actors that quickly, so certain story-telling techniques could not be used.

Actors would have no time to learn their lines or cues, so you would need to storyboard around the clock and draw up cue cards as quickly as the writers pumped out dialogue, and there would be no opportunity for re-writes unless everyone was working a few weeks in advance.

I'm sure there are several other reasons, such as the actors wanting to live normal lives and unions prohibiting 24/7 working hours as well.

  • In theory, there are enough geographically separate storylines that you might have time for, e.g., setting up Arya's sets and those actors learning their lines while filming Sansa's scenes at the Eyrie. You'd have to drawn out the storylines in an almost "big brother after dark" level of tedium, though. – KutuluMike Oct 5 '14 at 23:21
  • Add more stories. Add more actors. Add more editors. It is possible. But what does it take? – typewriter Oct 6 '14 at 5:08
  • Have you ever worked as an actor, or with actors? Movies, theater/music video? – Johnny Bones Oct 6 '14 at 12:49
  • @JohnnyBones Yes, for sure! I just finished technical directing a ballet, and have worked with some really large music tours. Thats why I think this is an interesting thought experiment. I'm sad that the question got so much hate, its supposed to be fun to find a way to make it work. Oh well. – typewriter Oct 6 '14 at 17:44
  • You're right about locations, but for everything else, it could just be run like a soap opera. Big writing teams with many assistants and editors, huge support teams, tight rolling timetables, long exclusive contracts with actors, etc. Vastly expensive but also vastly lucrative. The problem is, there's a reason why soap operas always have fixed locations, permanent cordoned-off sets: you couldn't film a soap opera on location unless you own and permanently close off that location... GoT filmed in a painted chipboard studio set with soap-standard actors would not be the same... – user56reinstatemonica8 Oct 17 '16 at 11:30
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IT IS POSSIBLE.

Given: On average, an episode of GoT costs $6m to produce.
Given: Each episode lasts 1 hour.
Given: The largest crew size per episode is 583.

Hypothesis: Production of the series can scale linearly.

Analysis:

The show costs $6m per hour to produce. Therefore, an entire year of content would cost $24*365*6m to produce. Equivalently, $52,560,000,000 (Fifty-two-billion five-hundred-sixty-million. (Roughly the GDP of Kenya.)

Assuming the crew would scale linearly (a non-optimal scenario), we need 583*24*365 crew members to make it happen. (5,107,080 people : roughly, the population of Finland).

Now, the fun part: WRITING. Game of Thrones has produced 4 seasons (40 hours), which have covered roughly four books totaling around 2500 pages. Therefore, the writing equates to 62.5 written pages per viewing hour.

That means, per year we need 62.5*24*365 pages written per year. (547,500 pages).

Jack Kerouac is the fastest writer I have heard about. He wrote “On the Road” in 3 weeks. On the Road is 320 pages. Ergo writing velocity of 15.2 pages per day. At that rate, we need to hire 36,000 ‘Jack Kerouacs’ per year to maintain the status quo. Most writers (ahem George RR Martin) aren’t so prolific.

BUT, this is all assuming that the production scales linearly. It would not. One one hand, the scaling of this production would yield savings: (Second-unit directors could piggy-back location shoots. ) On the other hand, the scaling of this production would necessitate an exponentially larger support/operational workforce.

So, off-hand I will posit C= pow(n, 1.01) factor in regard to the linear model. (C=FINAL cost, n= empirically modeled cost.) [Guesstimating.]) Therefore, by my calculation, to produce a continuous Game of Thrones show would take approximately:

$55B per year to produce EMPLOYING OVER 6 MILLION PEOPLE

Which is DAMN CLOSE to the exact GDP and population of New Zealand.

No wonder they keep filming down there!

  • Interesting calculations (whose actual sense I'm not going to question here for now). Just some minor points: You likely don't need a different crew of 500 people every hour, if anything does clearly not scale linearly, it's the per-episode crew. Likewise am I not sure you can equate book pages (in a format similar to the existing ASoIaF books) to script pages one-to-one, seeing that for the new 24-hour show you would not need the book beforehand but only the script. – Napoleon Wilson Oct 6 '14 at 8:23
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    The crew number is whack. You definitely wouldn't use a crew member once and get rid of him, and most crew members are accustomed to working several hours. – Johnny Bones Oct 6 '14 at 12:42
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    @JohnnyBones you're probably right, you could probably save crew totals by using them more. But, in my scenario, the crew wouldn't work any harder than they do today. Your assumption is that you would require the crew to work more days/hours than they currently do. Probably a reasonable assumption. – typewriter Oct 6 '14 at 18:05
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    @typewriter I still doubt that even currently they use an entirely different crew for each and every single episode. – Napoleon Wilson Oct 10 '14 at 14:53
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It is impossible to make a 24/365 GoT, each hour of show takes several hours of production. The fourth season shooting lasted 136 days for 10 episodes.

http://winteriscoming.net/2013/11/21/thats-a-wrap-season-4-filming-is-complete/

  • I disagree. It is not impossible. But it would require some finite amount of resources. Does the workforce expand linearly? Geometrically? Come on. – typewriter Oct 6 '14 at 5:07
  • I doubt you will find enough skilled workforce to make it happen, likely it will be a new show with a lower quality. And this numbers are only for shooting. If it were linear, the same crew will be able to shot only 26 episodes in a year. So it will be impossible to have a coherent storyline when you can use the same actors for more than 26 hours. – S182 Oct 6 '14 at 15:41
  • *correction it should say: "So it will be impossible to have a coherent storyline when you can't use the same actors for more than 26 hours" – S182 Oct 6 '14 at 15:47
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Extending @typewriter's excellent answer: behind the GoT, there is a creative crew: book authors, different designers, etc. The show mirrors their views and explanation of that Universe.

To make a continuous show, also their work had to be multiplied. They couldn't create so many stage in the same time, even if they would have to produce more content, it would be visible in the show (both in its quality [probably wouldn't have a positive effect], and in its style [they would have to think on a lot of new things, which would obviously differ from the current ones, just as the 4th season was a "little bit" different as the first]).

The only possible way to do that would be to hire around 1000 similar crew. Their task would be to be similarly creative as the original, while they have to follow the creation of the original as close as possible.

It is simply impossible:

  1. Most probably the show had the possibility to hire the creative people best (or close to the best) in their field. You simply can't hire 1000 times so many people, it doesn't matter how many money you have for the task. They don't exist.
  2. The show produced by different people, will be unavoidable different, even if they are hired to follow the line of the original crew, and even if they would do this with their best will. Compare, for example, the Deep Space 9 to the Voyager in the Star Trek. They were created partially by the same crew, they followed the same line and concepts, despite that the shows are... somehow different. Experts of the film production can explain, exactly how, and even we simple mortals can talk about this a lot, but probably nearly none of us would think they look exactly the same.

Thus, even if you had the $50billion/year as calculated in @typewriter's answer, even if you would have much more for the task, unfortunately you would get only a lot of different-looking, chaotic parallel stories.

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