Towards a ‘lean’ Production Model (Game of Thrones version)

Fascinating article in Variety about Jeffrey Katzenberg’s new venture: New TV.

Made-for-mobile content rarely exceeds a cost of $5,000-$10,000 per minute; Katzenberg wants to spend as much as $125,000 per minute.

It’s been on my mind because Katzenberg is going to provide the financial incentive to answer the question: “what does the ‘lean’ version of Game of Thrones look like?”

Interestingly, the recent season of Game of Thrones is the perfect story for ‘New TV.’ The story is highly segmented, spending only ten or fifteen minutes on each storyline. What I propose below is an attempt to define a ‘lean’ production model for New TV’s first Game of Thrones-like show:

  1. Year-round viewing experience. The lean Game of Thrones will deliver year-round. I imagine that the audience will receive approximately 2 or 3 scenes each week, each scene being between 2 – 5 minutes. Note: this is roughly the same amount of content as ten 50 minute episodes deliver in a traditional season.
  2. Each scene will focus on one character’s point-of-view. In the ‘lean’ Game of Thrones each scene will focus on one character; which is roughly what GoT is like already. And if you read the books you know that each chapter focuses on one character’s point-of-view.
  3. Unrivaled production quality. There should be no difference between HBO’s Game of Thrones and a ‘lean’ version of the same show. The quality of the actors, sets, and VFX should be equal.
  4. Vertical framing. To establish itself as a distinct medium, New TV is going to have to embrace vertical framing. Conforming to film’s horizontal framing, only reinforces the idea that New TV is a subordinate format.

This is just the start of a ‘lean’ production model for two reasons. Firstly, continually releasing short scenes that are both self-contained and part of a larger narrative, functions as a sort of iteration. Or as close to iteration as any storytelling medium will allow. Secondly, a year-round production model will require a complete rethink of how projects are budgeted, scheduled, and financed. Processes that have gone unchallenged for an extremely long time.

Next week I’ll propose a ‘lean’ version of the Real Housewives!

Published by lowbudgetfun

Seasoned Television Producer specializing in Post Production. Team builder. GTD enthusiast. Lifelong learner.

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