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Taking the Throne

by Erica Bauwens

Rowan grad doing special things on HBO’s Game of Thrones

Millions of Americans tune in to the hit HBO drama Game of Thrones, based on a series of books by New Jersey author George R.R. Martin. The show takes viewers to a world of dueling kingdoms, where deception and mystical monsters reign supreme.

It takes a lot of behind-the-scenes magic to create that alternate universe. And that’s where Adam Chazen comes in. As the visual effects coordinator of Game of Thrones, the Rowan University grad is responsible for the technical work that spawns some of the most exciting aspects of the show, including a family of infamous dragons that fans have come to love.

It’s paid off for the 27-year-old, who notched his second Emmy win last September for work on the show. We talked with Chazen about what it takes to create one of the most popular shows on television at such a young age.

The Job Description
I’m the visual effects coordinator, and I help manage and oversee the visual effects that are done on the show. That’s anything from painting out wires to making the dragons. So everything that isn’t real on the show is something that I work with.

Diving In
They hired us right when season one was about to air, and I hadn’t read the books so I didn’t know too much. But I watched season one and got really into it. I always tell people the biggest testament to the show is that I always enjoy watching the final outcome, even after all the work.

On Location
Mostly on this show I’ve been working in Northern Ireland and Iceland. We also shoot in Croatia, but I haven’t had the opportunity to go somewhere warm yet. As they say on the show, “Winter is Coming,” every day.

Fan Favorites
It’s a great feeling to work on something that’s really critically acclaimed. It really makes you appreciate the end product, and it makes the hard work so worth it.

Emmy No. 2
To at least just be nominated was fantastic. I was only 26 and to get nominated at such a young age was great, and then to win it was crazy. It’s a humongous blur: You’re getting all anxious when they announce the nominees and then you’ve won and you’re giving your speech and trying to take it all in. It’s not until after the award show was over that I really realized what happened.

Job Perks
Well obviously you’ve got to love the dragons. It’s always fun to see what you can do with them, and we have a really great team that handles our dragon work. It’s cool to see them start from rough blocking to appearing in final production.

Made for TV
Any time I ask someone who’s read the book if we’re doing OK, they say yes, but I always wonder if they’re just being nice to me. I haven’t had the chance to read the books yet—they’re huge. For the most part, people tell us that we’re doing well—and coming from a standpoint of putting those humongous books on TV, that’s a huge compliment.

Published (and copyrighted) in South Jersey Magazine, Volume 10, Issue 8 (November, 2013).
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