Hi everyone. Like the title says, I directed this seasons GoT episodes, Oathbreaker and Book Of The Stranger (603 and 604). I've also directed episodes for series like, The Leftovers, The Americans, The Walking Dead and The Man in the High Castle.


EDIT: That's all the time I have tonight everyone. Sorry I couldn't get to all your questions. Perhaps I can do it again at some point I hope you enjoy the rest of the season, it's a great one.

Comments: 1268 • Responses: 40  • Date: 

marafiota812 karma

Hi Daniel, can you tell if the sword that Arthur Dayne sticks in the ground at the beggining of the Tower of Joy fight scene is DAWN?Thanks

DanSackheim900 karma

Yes it is.

dropthebassclef637 karma

Thank you so much for the comedic breaks! It truly does help cut into some of the melodrama.

My question: How much of the Tormund/Brienne dynamic was written into the script, and how much was your whim?

(Yes, I am shamelessly trolling for any hope that this ship might sail.)

DanSackheim849 karma

That was definitely written into the script, however we did play around a bit with it on set, tonally. I will say I was amazed by the reception that flirtation received on the internet. It was surprising certainly because Brienne's character has been driven largely by duty and honor, and we've never gotten to seen her as a sexual being. Torment, is... well he's a Wildling, so enough said there. It was a very unexpected development.

redninjamonkey542 karma

Hi, great work! Are you positive that is Shaggydog's head? Kinda small for a direwolf, if you ask me...

DanSackheim958 karma

Your right it does seem small. I had the same question, but I was assured by the creature maker that was responsible for crafting the head that it was the correct size. Good question.

TheGent316463 karma


Any idea why the decision was made to kill off Osha (Natalia Tena) so swiftly and suddenly after her reintroduction?

DanSackheim614 karma

I don't really know. That was Dan and David's decision. We never really discussed it. Sorry.

commonwealthva419 karma

Does Sansa know that Jon died?

DanSackheim622 karma

I assume she does.

hak091385 karma

Did you also bend the knee when Daenerys walked out the burning tent?

DanSackheim787 karma

Damn straight. Did you not see her walk out of a burning temple!?

Hergrim359 karma

Why did you chose to have Ser Arthur Dayne use two swords instead of Dawn, the greatsword he used in the books? From my understanding of medieval and early modern fencing manuals, two handed swords were considered the best weapons for dealing with multiple opponents, whereas dual wielding was more of a flashy way to fight a duel.

Did you try it with a two handed sword to begin with and it just didn't look good, or were there safety concerns over the energy behind the swing of a two handed sword?

DanSackheim1030 karma

We were looking for something that Arthur Dayne could do that would exhibit almost superhuman prowess. While we tried, we could not achieve that using one sword.

warhawk1856357 karma

Hey Daniel, thanks for your time! Who was the actor that most surprised you when directing your episodes? Also, who did you have the best time working with? Thanks!

Edit: grammar

DanSackheim887 karma

Lena Headey was the most surprising. She would routinely come to set with very specific ideas, some of them different from my take on the scene. She would say, just let me try it this way and if you don't like it I'll do it differently. At every turn her ideas were inspired and that's what ended up on screen. I had a ball working with Iain Glen

Chewhanluke343 karma

You directed what I, as well as many others, consider to be one of the most iconic scenes in Jon and Sansa's reunion. Between their meeting in the courtyard to their discussion by the fireplace, what were some things you wanted to nail down to give the audience those heartwarming moments? These are characters that have changed drastically from when we first met them, so I'm curious as to how you approached this.


DanSackheim493 karma

The characters had not seen each other for a number of years (six seasons) and so what we discussed was that it should seem almost dream like to them, and that there would be some tentativeness to their actions. It was about stringing along the anticipation of the reunion as long as possible to create the feeling of longing and so that the moment they hugged would feel earned and satisfying.

A_Gentlemen_Arrives233 karma

What advice would you give to young film makers hoping to break into TV directing?

And how do you feel the creative process is on TV in comparison to film?

DanSackheim438 karma

Oh man, this really deserves more time than I can devote to this question here. TV is a producers medium so you work to help fulfill the vision of the show runners. Film is a directors medium and is all about the Directors vision. This is not to say that you don't have some creative freedom as a TV director, but it's a different process. I don't know what to offer as to how to break into TV. Everyone has their own path. Do good work. If you have talent and passion it will be recognized. Good luck.

BoxOfNothing228 karma

Hi Daniel, thanks for doing this.

I wanted to ask if there's anyone on set who tends to stay in character between scenes or does everyone just start chatting normally as soon as you shout cut? I find it hard to imagine, as nice as he is in real life, Kit Harington stop brooding about between shots.

Also I hear Conleth Hill is hilarious on set and makes people break constantly, as the director does it make you laugh too or is it at all annoying?


DanSackheim387 karma

I would say as a rule, most of the actors break character after the camera cuts. Sophie Turner, for example is a real cutup. Conleth and Peter Dinklage love to take the piss out of each other. They cast are very close, and while they work very hard, they like to try and keep the atmosphere on set light.

TheGent316188 karma

Hi! Great work on the past two episodes!

My question is: Is Daenerys completely immune to fire in the show? Or was there blood magic involved due to the Khal sacrifice?

DanSackheim296 karma

She's completely immune to fire. Check out Episode 10 from season 1.

vaultboy1167 karma

Hello Daniel, thanks for doing an AMA. Is Jorah's recent ineffectiveness in combat due to his old age or the progression of his greyscale?

DanSackheim444 karma

Neither. He's very effective against a normal size opponent when he is armed. Last time he took on a Dothraki he had a sword. In this case is simply wasn't a fair fight.

Whoknew72161 karma

This is my first posting on any AMA so be gentle.

My question: Do you know whats happening throughout the entire season and work with the actors that way or do you just have your scripts and are in the dark about the rest of the episodes?

DanSackheim615 karma

All the directors were privy to what happens over the course of the season. We all got scripts so that we were conscious of the various character arcs and how they would play out. However, I can't talk about anything other than what's aired, or I will end up on the wall of faces.

Agastopia142 karma

What's it like working with all of those talented actors? Also, as a director do you fly out to each place individually or do you have some people go to one location while you're at another? If not there must be a ton of traveling haha.

DanSackheim233 karma

It's a real pleasure. They are all consummate professionals and ego never enters into the process. There is a ton of traveling. There are two crews working all the time and you bounce between them, and between different countries.

Gadgets222138 karma

Hello Daniel, I was just wondering how many times did you have to film film the fight scene with young Ned and Arthur Dayne? It wasn't a single shot so I was just wondering how many different choreographed scenes were shot for one fight scene ?

DanSackheim243 karma

There were numerous shots for this sequence, and it took the better part of three days to complete the scene.

Ruuso131 karma

Thanks for coming by to answer our questions. I loved both of the episodes you directed. My questions:

  • What was the most challenging scene to complete?
  • What was your favorite location to shoot a scene at?

DanSackheim229 karma

The fire inside the temple. Fire dictates that you move very slowly and carefully, so it was a painstaking process.

DanSackheim259 karma

Favorite location was probably the Zafra tower, in Spain where we shot the Tower of Joy scene.

milesrhoden119 karma

I've heard that Game of Thrones films most episodes at the same time. Does that make it take longer for you to finish your part as a director (compared to other TV shows)? And if so, does the overlapping production schedule mean that you get to collaborate with the other directors (Jack Bender, Mark Mylod, Jeremy Podeswa, and Miguel Sapochnik) throughout the process?

How does the whole experience compare to more traditional television?

DanSackheim198 karma

It's radically different from a traditional TV experience. The scope and scale of production is vastly greater and you have more resources at your disposal. The schedules are almost twice as long as a typical Cable TV show.

Yes, they do shoot all the episodes at one time, with two crews, so each director is up at bat at different times over the course of production. The result is that it takes approx six months to complete two episodes. I did get a chance to meet and collaborate with the other directors.

cowboysfan88117 karma

Which scenes were there most fun for you to shoot?

DanSackheim259 karma

Ramsay killig Osha, The Arya training Montage, the sword fight at the tower of Joy, the small council scenes.

dj248109 karma

How long do you get between when you get the script and when you start filming an episode of GoT? Does pre-production take place in Belfast mainly or does it depend on where you are shooting?

DanSackheim158 karma

In my case there was six weeks of prep. Some of the directors who did later episodes had less prep time. Yes, prep is based Belfast, however there are scouts to other countries (in my case Spain where I shot Tower of Joy and Vaes Dothrak) and that took up about a week of my prep.

zzelin95105 karma

Hi Dan, thanks for doing this.

What's the next project you're working on? Would you like to direct more GOT episodes if given the chance? Thanks!

DanSackheim290 karma

My next project is The Leftovers for HBO. I would of course be honored to direct another GOT, however it requires a six month commitment in the UK so it's all about timing.

Heda199 karma

Hey Dan, Welcome to Reddit. Congratulations on knocking your episodes out of the park!

I have two questions for you.

Can you share your favorite story from your time working in Game Of Thrones Land.

And what are David Benioff and DB Weiss like as bosses? And as creators of the show. (The cast seem to love them, are they secretly awful ;)?

Thanks again, and I hope to see you direct more of GOT in the future!

DanSackheim128 karma

Thanks so much. There are so many experiences in a six month period it's hard to nail it down to just one in a few moments. As for Dan and David, they are fantastic writers and producers. They oversee even the most minute detail of the series. While they have very strong opinions they are extremely collaborative and the work always triumphs over ego.

FireShots88 karma

How hard has it been to keep the sets secure from prying spoiler eyes?

DanSackheim157 karma

Security was pretty thorough Though there was one one occasion when we were in Spain, outside the Dothraki temple when some Paparazzi managed to get a vantage point on top of a hill, and those photos ended up in the press and generated a lot of speculation.

Jadziyah82 karma

Hi, thanks for doing this! Everyone is asking about GoT, but I'd like to hear more about The Man In The High Castle! Can you tell us more about what it was like working on that, and any information for the show's future?

DanSackheim104 karma

It's a terrific show, and I had a blast doing it. Very smart people involved. It's challenging to shoot a show that takes place in San Franscisco and New York circa 1963, but is shot in 2016 Vancouver Canada. That said, the production designer and costume designer are brilliant. I can't tell you where the new season is going, but it's exciting and well worth waiting for.

ShaggyTraveler80 karma

Hey, thanks for doing this! What can you tell us about the off-screen relationships between the actors? And what is a funny story from behind the scenes? Thanks again!

DanSackheim149 karma

They are all pretty close, but given the number of storylines, many of them have not worked together. It's a very collegial group of people.

amarin149267 karma

Hi! Thanks so much for the AMA!

About how long does it take to shoot one scene of dialogue? How long does it take to shoot large-scale battle scenes?

DanSackheim148 karma

There is no one answer to this question. It's dependent on the length and complexity of the scene, day versus night, interior versus exterior and the number of characters involved. That said an average GOT dialogue scene would take about 8 hours to shoot. I didn't have any battle scenes. I had a sword fight that was quite involved and took 3 days.

DeadQthulhu65 karma

Hi Daniel! Thanks for taking the time.

Thrones question, I'm afraid. By process of elimination, you must have been at the wheel for the Castle Black landslide (mentioned by cast and crew in published interviews)... Did that cause any particular issues for you (e.g. editing, time pressure) or opportunities due to the break in filming?

Also, what's your favourite group of background actors in GoT, and why is it the Night's Watch?

Thanks! And don't get stuck in the mud!

DanSackheim103 karma

Yes, I was there during the landslide... It did delay the companies ability to complete the work while the engineers determined it the set was safe to shoot on, so yes, some of my work was half completed and then finished months later. I believe the Jon / Sansa reunion was one of these scenes.

and YES the Night's Watch are awesome!

Clarkey716358 karma

Hey Daniel! Big fan of the last two episodes!

Wanted to ask about the preparation of the TOJ sword fight! How long did it take to choreograph? Who was the mastermind behind how the fight plays out? And did it evolve over time (was it always a dual wielding Dayne? Or was that thrown out and you guys ran with it?)

Thanks for your time!

DanSackheim105 karma

It took about three months. It went through numerous iterations as we searched for something dynamic and different from other sword fights the show had done. I don't now if there was one person we just kept throwing around ideas. I showed the producers and stunt coordinator a Bruce Lee video (not sure of it's authenticity) with him playing to men at ping pong, and Lee using a pair nunchucks. It was jaw dropping and that kind of led to the idea of two swords.

archhunt48 karma

Hi Daniel! I have a question about the Tower of Joy fight scene in the last GoT episode (it was amazing by the way!).

Did you consider having Ned and his men wear armor?

DanSackheim70 karma

It was discussed and I was informed by Dan and David that they would not have worn armor into battle. They were coming form having two years of war. The men who did wear armor were the Kings Guard.

two_off42 karma

How did you get chosen to direct the episodes? Did you have a choice for which episodes in the season were given to you?

DanSackheim114 karma

I was recommend to Dan and David by Michelle MacLaren, who directed some truly impressive episodes of GOT. I met with them and we hit it off. They pretty much tell you which ones they want you to direct, but I feel like I hit the jackpot with the episodes I landed.

FredSlacks40 karma

Hey there! Thanks for doing this, My Question is what is it like filming scenes with Ramsay, He is quite the character and I was wondering what the general process is like for you and Iwan Rheon in making Ramsay be Ramsay?

DanSackheim109 karma

As with most of these characters, the actors are really nothing like them. He's a very thoughtful and intuitive actors. The scene in Ep 4 was actually quite complicated by virtue of the choreography, with Osha (Natalia) on his lap, and her reaching for the knife, and the blood gag. He was infinitely accommodating and patient. He certainly knows his character, and can slip into that skin with relative ease.

zzelin9537 karma

Why do you think the "Pink Letter" theory got so popular? Would you change anything knowing what you know now about that scene? Thanks!!

DanSackheim105 karma

My understanding of the theory is that the letter was not written by Ramsay, correct? I went on record with Tech Insider that it was written by Ramsay. No idea why this theory has gained traction.

hell0missmiller15 karma

What scene was your favorite scene to film in episode 3 and 4?

DanSackheim32 karma

The Sword Fight in episode 3, which took months of preparation. In Episode 4 I'd have to say the burning of the temple.

Audio_Bricklayer6 karma

Hi Daniel, your work is fantastic. Have you had the chance to interact with Max Richter on The Leftovers? If so, what is that collaboration like?

DanSackheim13 karma

As a director on an episodic series you generally don't interact with the composer. I know Max's work and think he's super talented, but I haven't had the pleasure.

VOB164 karma

Hi Daniel. I think you did a great job directing episodes 3 and 4.

What was it like working with Iwan Rheon?

DanSackheim11 karma