Julia Frey not returning for full season

Julia Frey, visual effects producer for the Game of Thrones pilot, has announced on her blog that she will not be returning for the full season.

I bid a fond farewell to Shane’s Castle (where this photo was taken) and Belfast in general as I am no longer with The Project. I handed in some final docs today and while there may be some additional follow up, that’s basically it. This was not a surprise and while some of my fan/friends felt confident that I would be back to the UK, alas, that was my excellent poker face at work again. Chances were slim that I would continue on.

Winter Is Coming: Julia first came to the attention of the Thrones fan community when she posted some location photos of Belfast and Morocco on her blog. Since then she has become a great friend to this site (providing us with a wonderful interview) and to many of the fans of the show. I will certainly miss following her Twitter and trying to extrapolate where and what the show would be filming that day. And of course, the show will miss her experience, expertise and hard work on and off the set. I just hope they can find a suitable replacement. Thanks for all your hard work Julia! Good luck in all your future endeavors!


  • Well, it's sad to see Julia go. She really got involved with the fans in a great way.

    Shane's Castle, huh? I don't think we knew that any filming had already gone on there. We knew it was to be used, but nothing yet. I guess it was used for more of Winterfel? My guess had been the greenhouse there (which is still intact) might be used as the Winterfell greenhouse.

  • Sad news.
    But I knew somehow that story with Julia would not last long.

    Thank you for everything Lady Frey !

    • If I had to guess it's because she's based in L.A. and the show shoots in N. Ireland and I don't think she wants to basically move to N.I. for the next however many years to focus largely on this one show. It might be they only ever meant to have her for the pilot to kind of set things in order and make sure things were at a certain quality level; make sure they got someone local or hungry enough to move there and who is good enough to continue on in that capacity for the rest of the series.

      I don't know, of course, but that would make sense to me.

      • That makes a lot of sense, should have thought of that myself.

        Good thing Brude's around to make good posts :V

  • Good luck Julia, it is sad to see you no longer involved with Game of Thrones. I have been reading your blog since October, and have truly enjoyed your contributions and outlook on life. You will be missed.

  • If I had to guess, I would say she left because she felt the budget wouldn't cut it for the amount of visual effects she was required to produce.

    If there is one job on a set that feels the most effected by a tight budget, it's hers.

    I'm not saying the budget is incredibly low, but I can imagine it's not fun spending most of a year working on a project where you constantly feel held back.

    • Actually I didn't get that at all. In fact I don't think it was her decision. I think this was HBO's decision. By the way, the budget is just fine for the show they are producing.

    • I do not think so.
      I think the most of the pilot (without Ehle and possibly Tamzin) we will see on screen.

      But actually, I do not get one other thing: Was it really necessary to use such a strong crew only for pilot?
      It seems to me (and the last brief news from irish press tell me that I am maybe right) that someone knew in advance that if the series would go, the majority of the crew would be irish or at least from the UK.
      So why did they hire only for pilot, people like Julia or Stromberg if it was pretty clear that the chance for their future engagement was slim?
      I mean, where is the catch?

      I am pretty ignorant, in the movie industry, but, I wish to know.

      • I guess they wanted a really good crew for the pilot, in the hopes of getting HBO to greenlight the series?

        • This makes sense, but I kind of can't resist to feel that once you change too much of the cast & crew, the production you sold by producing a cool pilot is not the production you end up to deliver…

          I don't know anything about filmmaking in the first place, but it is surely a team effort. Change too much of it, and the spirit is very likely to change with it. Hope we get a chance to see the pilot someday…

      • I think the reason they did it this way is so they have someone they trust come in and establish a standard for the series. The work Julia (and possibly Stromberg) did on the pilot can now be continued by a local crew member.

        The good news is they still have Gemma Jackson overseeing the whole thing. So I still expect high quality throughout.

  • It's a real pity that she won't be around as she seemed very approachable and easy to get on with and I too enjoyed her blogs.

    It was nice of her to say that she had a great night in McHughs. Unfortunately I had to leave early so I missed her that night. I did see her on set the next day in her famous outdoor gear but I didn't have an opportunity to speak with her.

    She will be missed.

  • I'm sad to see Julia go… but she seemed to know from the start that this wasn't a lasting engagement.
    Well, the experience she contributed to the pilot will certainly not be lost, re-shoot or not.
    Good luck in your next project Julia!

    The day they met at McHugh's… What was our speculation about the scenes being shot that day? I remember we didn't know where they were shooting… and I think the next day was Cairncastle.

    • The day after McHughs was the sparring scene at Castleward. Julia was there all day. There were alot of green screens set up above behind and above the sets so I imagine backdrops (mountains etc) were going to be added digitally and Julia was overseeing that amongst other things. She seemed to be having great banter with the other crew. I was loitering just behind her at one point as she and George were watching rushes of the crypt scenes.

  • Indeed Nymeria, I was asking myself on that matter, too.
    It was for certain something around the Winterfell (fake snow).

    Probably some of Bran s climbing, I guess.

    And the next day was the castle Ward, I think, because Rimshot was there as an extra.

  • Julia's a great sport, and very engaging. Tragically, she's also as tight as a clam when it comes to me trying to get any sort of scoop on inside information; the woman's very good at keeping mum on whatever her current project is. I'm confident she'll do well wherever she decides to go next.

    Good luck with the writing, Julia! (It is now your solemn duty to provide us with a Fun With Safety Graphics coffee table book.)

  • Long time lurker, first time commenter…

    Thank you all for very the very kind thoughts for my work and future projects. I loved being a teeny tiny part of this giant thing called GoT.

    Back to lurking…