CANNES, FRANCE -- Tip to the producers of industry panel discussions entitled the “Power of Story:” try sticking with a single narrative. That’s not what happened with Time Warner’s session at the Lions festival here this morning, and you could see the normally articulate moderator, writer and columnist Frank Rich, struggling to make two disparate storylines -- the creators of HBO’s “Veep” and “Game Of Thrones” -- explaining their creative process.
Rich worked hard to draw analogies and comparisons between the two shows, but it was difficult to see the connection between one set inside the Washington Beltway community and another set in a world of fantasy kingdoms. Other than the fact that both are “powerful narratives that people can’t stop watching.”
As a result, most of the conversation focused more on fanboy insights than the kind of creative insights that ad industry insiders might learn from.
Rich asked how the creators of each show -- “Veep’s” Armando Iannucci and “Game Of Thrones’” David Benioff and D.B. Weiss -- made their casting choices or offered behind-the-scenes anecdotes, like how a “Thrones” actor, after chugging liters of fake ale during multiple takes of a scene, left the set and vomited.
The chief insight about casting came from “Thrones” Benioff: “We get luck and cast these wonderful people.”
One of the more interesting discussions centered on the source of the creators’ creative inspiration. Interestingly, they said it is an inherently subjective process.
Iannucci said he tells his writers: “Write what makes you laugh, not what you think will make someone else laugh, because that will get your best stuff.”
“We just write something we’d like to see when we’re sitting on the couch watching it at home,” explained “Thrones’” Weiss.
The story creators were in unison when it came to the subject of user-generated storylines: the inevitable comments and social discussions that become part of the conversation surrounding hit TV shows. Interestingly, each of them said they effectively ignore it.“People are just telling you what shit you are,” Iannucci said, adding: “And nobody wants to go in the shit room.”