During our recent webcam chat (watch above), “Game of Thrones” director Miguel Sapochnik credits his work on last season’s “Hardhome,” which featured an intricate and complex battle sequence, with preparing him for the similarly action-heavy “Battle of the Bastards” this season. “You get used to the idea of working on that scale,” he explains, “so it doesn’t become as frightening of a concept.”
Sapochnik earned his first Emmy nomination for helming this episode, in which Jon Snow (Kit Harington) and Sansa Stark (Sophie Turner) face off against the villainous Ramsay Bolton (Iwan Rheon) for control of their kingdom, Winterfell. The episode was also cited for Writing (David Benioff and D.B. Weiss), and was submitted by Drama Supporting Actor nominee Harington.
Sapochnik, whose TV credits also include episodes of “Masters of Sex” and “House,” takes us through his creative process, revealing “an enormous amount of it for me is breaking it down in my mind so that I understand the story I’m telling.” This one-time storyboard artist finds that during the planning stage “you play around with images quite a lot in your head, and you come up with images that are long-lasting.” Then there’s a constant weeding-out to “get to the core of what the good ideas are.”
He readily admits that it’s easy for chaos to ensue on set “because we’re thinking in so many different tangental ideas.” To prevent this, he reveals, “what I try to do in prep is drum home, until it’s instinctive, the basic questions of what that story is about, who’s point-of-view it is, and what the purpose of the sequence is, so that it becomes a thing that I don’t really think about anymore because it’s going to be inherent in everything that I’m trying to do.”
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