Hi I’m Marc Jobst , director on Netflix’s THE WITCHER. Ask me anything about directing.

  1. Well, it was one of the most exciting and complex battles I've shot - so many elements, so many mages on the battlefield, so many extras, and shot over multiple different locations in Hungary and Poland. And mostly in apocalyptic weather! There was unseasonal torrential rain most of the time that meant the cast and crew were slopping around in 5 inches of mud most of the time. I had many sequences planned that i simply couldn't shoot because the ground was too wet and dangerous under foot. And adding to all that Fringilla had despatched the Mist Mage to fog everywhere up. That meant we had to try to keep a consistent level of smoke throughout the scenes, which was tricky in the wind, noisy because the fog machines were so huge, and complex with light because when the sun did break through it created a powerful back light that the fog amplified. So the challenges were EVERYWHERE!

  2. Very little. We were clear that we wanted the show to work for all fantasy fans - not just Witcher fans. I approach directing all dramas the same way - what's the story, what are the stakes, who do I care for and why should I care for them? And that's how I approached this. I was interested in how the lore affected character and relationship and how that then impacted the story. That way I can ground the film in character, which is what really excites me - whether in a contemporary drama like TIN STAR, or a fantasy like THE WITCHER. I think we continue to love stories, and return to them again and again, because they teach us how to be human.

  3. 1 . When you have an epic battle like that to shoot you have to be very methodical. Prep is everything. There are so many different elements to a scene like that: action, which needs rehearsal time, stunt doubles, prosthetics, makeup, storyboards, half swords, rubber weapons etc; special effects, for the smoke, flames, explosions, blod rigs etc; vfx coordination, so we know we're shooting things the right way for them to enhance, the right size green/blue screens, interactive props that the vfx can expand etc etc.

  4. The 8th episode was truly amazing (my fav), when Yennefer is wounded/exhausted in the battle in the episode and her posture starts to echo young Yennefer especially in the silhouette - was it done like that on purpose? It is an incredible detail and great acting by Anya Chalotra.

  5. Thank you for your kinds words. And thank you for noticing! I wish I could say I directed her that way but I didn't. What happened is that as we were rehearsing it we noticed it. I think that's what happens when you work with really great actors like Anya. They embody the part and, subconsciously, resonant moments like that become serendipitous.

  6. first of all, kudos on the finale. I absolutely loved seeing a different kind of battle done completely with magic.

  7. Thank you. Making it a magic battle sequence was what was interesting to me. What that means - visually and in story terms.

  8. Daredevil and The Punisher are my two favorite series ever, I want to thank you for those. I also loved the Witcher series, especially how it all ties together in the finale.

  9. Hello my friend. Lovely to have you with us. Just hang around and chip in if you have anything you'd like to say or ask

  10. Just wanted to drop by and say you did a great job, hoping you get to direct another episode or more in future seasons, your work on the marvel shows and hannibal was fantastic as well

  11. Thanks for your probing questions and perceptive insights into The Witcher. Such a pleasure to connect with you all.

  12. marc what's your favourite kind of whale (I will accept answers of both toothed and baleen orders but not dolphins)

  13. Gosh. Quite a random question! Dont know enough about them to give an answer. I know you said dolphins dont count but I did once make a documentary about people with depression swimming with dolphins and when I went in to the sea at the end of the recording, this beautiful tonne of "whale" rolled onto its back, lifted me onto its tummy and swam with me away from the boat into the north sea. I was both terrified and elated!

  14. Love your Marvel directing. Was a huge fan of the Netflix shows. What gets you in the right mindspace to direct? I know I need to chug like two cups of coffee before I can even leave my house!

  15. Hey, thank you for doing this AmA. My question is about Ogrodzieniec Castle where a big part of the episode Much More was shot. It was by far my favorite set from season 1. What is it like shooting in such a historic setting? Are there restrictions? Does the beauty of the setting influence the way your shooting a scene?

  16. Dear Marc, Do you think you’ll ever shoot from the monster’s perspective? Just asking because often in the books, the monsters are more “human” than the humans screaming for its blood.

  17. Interesting. Changing PoV like that always needs to be earned and justified for story purposes. I guess if a monster becomes an active participant in a storyline and not just a creature to be killed, then its possible.

  18. Musician here - do you have any knowledge of what the soundtrack will be like prior to shooting, or any collaboration with the composer? I’ve always been curious if the music is a final element to be added in post-production/editing, or if it impacts the creative process for directors and actors too!

  19. How did you get the gig and how was the process of working on episodes another director had already worked on at one point? What were you asked to do/not to do compared to Alik Sakharov's take on the material?

  20. I have worked extensively with Netflix. We have a very strong, trusting relationship. The film business is built on trust because it is complex, demanding and expensive. If you find people you like working with, that you can trust, that allow you to express yourself and be bolder, then you want to nurture it. That's why I got the gig.

  21. YES! It's an amazing amazing show. But I'm sure Bryan is on to new and brilliant projects. He is a unique and brilliant showrunner

  22. Hello! You mention that you are behind Renfri and Blaviken story. I am wondering, why does his lesser evil decision feel kind of forced on Geralt? As far as I remember, Geralt had a dream/vision, went to the town where he was "welcomed" by Renfri's men. They are ready to fight, weapons and threats on the table. After a little dialogue, they are at each others throats. While the fight choreography in this part is amazing, I feel like Geralt's decision was forced. He was ambushed by Renfri's men, fought them and then Renfri comes saying he made a decision. Why do I feel she kind of made the decision for him?

  23. I guess Renfri always hoped that Geralt might choose to come with her in her fight with Stregebor, but he didn't. So from her point of view, he did choose.

  24. Hi Marc, awesome work especially on the Blaviken storyline! The fight with Renfri is one of my all time favourites!

  25. Thank you so much. It is always a team effort and I am massively in debt to all the incredible people who enabled my ideas

  26. Hi Mark , thanks for doing this ! I really enjoyed the finale , the battle looked great , the final moments were beautifully done and it left me really looking forward to next season! I thought the performances from all the actors were especially outstanding this episode.

  27. How difficult was it to cast for the show? It seems like every actor was born to play their parts on the show since everyone just goes so hard at their roles (especially characters like Dandelion, Geralt, and Yennefer). Also what were some major challenges of shooting the show? Every scene seems so beautiful and high budget so I can't imagine all the work that went into making it look that way. Also thanks for all the obvious love, care, and detail that you put into this show to make it come to life. I'm sure I wasn't the only one who was a little worried when this was first announced due to some of the low quality adaptations that Netflix has put out before so I have to so I was so surprised at how perfectly adapted this was

  28. I want to ask you something not as a director but more like a experienced person in this industry - Do you think that increasing Witcher's budget by 20 mln can make noticeable difference?

  29. Just wanted to say Hannibal was incredible along with black sails! I am still surprised for how graphic Hannibal was it got a spot on network television! We need more shows like both of those! Thanks and keep up the awesome work! The Witcher was an incredible first season as well and hope you come back for season 2!

  30. How did you end up becoming a director? Was it a childhood dream? And what are your next projects?

  31. From whenever I can remember I loved stories. But my dad was a cattle breeder and I didn't feel like that was something I could really do. So I studied Agriculture at Newcastle University. I went there because I knew the Royal Shakespeare Co did 3 month residencies in the city and trained the students whilst they were there. After working on ranches in Africa and North America I teamed up with some students at Newcastle to form a theatre company - Three Monkeys Theatre Co. That took off and we toured for four years. I then did a one man show at the Edinburgh Festival that transferred to London and ran for 18 months or so. I moved into TV documentaries, radio comedy, features and drama before writing my own live action film that set me on the road. Eclectic hey?!

  32. Good actors need and welcome direction. It means they can stop watching themselves because they know someone is watching for them.

  33. How fitting did you find the locations given by Hungary, and could you work with them well?

  34. I loved them all. As the series expands there will no doubt be the need for more locations to continue building this extraordinary world

  35. I think you're best asking Lauren that question as I am not a screenwriter. Best thing is to have a script to show agents. Good writers are always in demand. Keep at it pal - and good luck

  36. Depends on the day of course. If it's a location day I get up earlier as there's usually longer travel time. I always start the day with a half hour stretch easing out tensions from the day before. I get picked up and driven to set. I like to be alone in the car as it's an important time to focus my mind, look through camera plans, think through every shot and reread the scenes. I often visits the actors in their trailers at the top of the day to see how they are and whether they need to talk anything through. Shoot days are 12 hours with lunch, or 10 hours as a continuous day shooting. On the drive home I look at dailies from the previous day, then do my prep for the next day. Whenever poss it's great to have a drink with the team so its not all work!

  37. Absolutely loved the fight scene in the pilot. That was the moment that drew me in. Especially when Geralt stabbed the first guy and cut him in half instead of pulling out his sword. It’s really the first scene we get to see Geralt show off his fighting skills and it does not disappoint. He makes it look effortless and all the special effects seem realistic. It’s not overly gory or disgusting. Just an amazing first fight scene. You’ve done an excellent job and hope to see you direct more episodes in the future!

  38. Loved the show btw. After seeing reviews and audience response; is there anything you would have done differently and if so, what would you like to change moving forward?

  39. hello! I wanted to ask how long the process takes for adding in all of the different special effects after you wrap on filming, and exactly how many liberties you are given on dictating what those effects are. Like if you picture it a certain way in your head, how difficult is it to transfer that idea into the final product that you put out? I feel like all of the projects you have been involved in named above have some amazing special effects.

  40. Hi and thank you for your work! What made you portray Vilgefortz as more of a swordsman than a mage? And, if hopefully the show will get to this point in story, how will you portray him as an absolutely dominant fighter in that fight under a certain tower? (i am trying not to spoil anything) What I am trying to say, he was shown as a rather mediocre fighter, while later in the story he may have to easily overwhelm even more powerful opponents than in this season. Or will it be shown as his personal improvement over the years? Thanks in advance, and sorry for poor English.

  41. I know this is a Witcher thread but I just came to fangirl about Black Sails, it's one of my favorite TV shows, what was your experience at working at that?

  42. What is it about your fight scene (Geralt v Renfri) that makes it so visually distinct from the others we've scene on the show? What do you do differently?

  43. What's your thoughts on how the critics reviewed it negatively but the general public absolutely love it?

  44. Holy crap, Hannibal and Black Sails are two of the most eye-pleasing shows I've ever seen; no wonder Witcher looks so good!

  45. Hello Marc, thank you so much for participating in this AMA and for you and your team for being so active in the community, it’s truly a special thing for someone in this fandom to experience!

  46. Is there anything new you learned while directing The Witcher that you didn’t know before? From the perspective of a director.

  47. Is it hard keeping the story of an episode together in your head when you're shooting scenes given that you don't always shoot them in the order they'll appear in the finished product?

  48. I don’t have any questions, I just wanna thank you for The Witcher, Daredevil and Luke Cage. These shows are incredibly well directed and have some of my favorite action scenes!

  49. Hi Marc, got two things to ask. One is what everyone wants to know on twitter, would it be possible for you to get a hold of Netflix to see if they will release a Soundtrack? And two, was it difficult to find a location to shoot season one?

  50. When directing, do you film linearly on the episode timeline or do you jump around with scenes, is it easy for you to keep the big picture together in your head if you jump around filming?

  51. What is the hardest part you have ever directed? As in weather working against you, complexity or other struggles.

  52. I made a film in Poland in -26C. That was tough! Especailly for the cast who were in period costumes. Feet. ALways spend money on great shoes because when your feet get numb you cant feel them and thats when frostbite sets in.

  53. Hi Marc! I hope I’m not too late! I just finished my first >0$ budget short film and aim to become a director of your similar caliber. How did you come to directing Netflix shows and what advice would you give us beginning filmmakers? Thanks!

  54. Congratulations! Thats v exciting to have finished a short. They are brilliant way to learn the craft of directing.

  55. Just here to toss my coin to your work on The Witcher, I don't jest saying the episode 1 sword fights were the best I have ever seen, and the finale magic fight was absolutely spectacular. Thank you!

  56. Did you or anyone else in the crew expect "Toss A Coin To Your Witcher" to become so a sensation practically over night?

  57. How can you keep track of everything you need to for a scene to go well? It seems like so much goes into staging and executing a shot and like there’s more to think through than is possible.

  58. The battle of sodden hill was the most epic and creative battle that I have ever witnessed in any media. Amazing work.

  59. I read the fight before Geralt fought Renfri was reshot. What did the fight look like before? Why did it need to be changed?

  60. Thank you for an interesting episode to watch! I loved watching how it was visualized and I loved the attention brought to the book story heroes like Coral, but as a Witcher story fan I had a little controversial feeling on 2 things:

  61. If the mages just needed to hold Sodden simply until Foltest and his armies arrived and the fortress was in the mountains with a drawbridge why not just burn the drawbridge?

  62. Was there, related to the depiction of Sodden Hill battle, some historical/movie battle which "helped" or gave you ideas for episode 8?

  63. The dragon part felt almost like a side quest that did not add much to the arc. What was the reason to add that specific story?

  64. Marc directed the Blaviken scenes and episode 8, he didn't write that episode. So it'd be worth opting for a different question :)

  65. It was always going to be as we did it. Curiously with all the visual drama of Yennefer's chaos being unleashed, seeing Geralt and Ciri finally meet had a similar epic feel but the scale came from their emotions not from action.

  66. He wasn’t originally, not in that sense. It was Henry who wanted and chased the role and when he and Lauren Schmidt Hissrich, the showrunner, eventually sat down for the first time, she told him it was too early to say anything as there were no finished scripts yet and they hadn’t begun casting yet. 206 other actors came in who were interested in playing Geralt, but Lauren couldn’t get Henry’s vision for the character out of her head so they invited him to audition and the rest is history.

  67. Hello Mark! As a director, how much say do you have in casting choices? And what is your position on the more controversial picks like Mimi Ndiweni as Fringillia? Thanks!

  68. Hey Marc! Thanks for doing the AMA. I wanna ask how much time and what did it take to do the one main shot of the Blaviken fights. It flowed so well.

  69. What was the reasoning for revealing Vilgefortz’s betrayal earlier than the books do? Did he intentionally throw his fight with Cahir?

  70. Hi Marc, Did you have to withdraw/withhold any creative decisions for the battle of Sodden due to budgetary constraints?

  71. It felt to me as though the acting in the series varies wildly from exceptional (triss was amazing as was her arc), to almost b movie in some instances. Is that something you'd agree with?

  72. I don’t wholly disagree about the occasional B movie feel, but for me Triss’ arc was the worst of the lot! Goes to show ya that people can watch the same thing and get something completely different from it. I like the theme of consistency in your question.

  73. Hey Marc! I love your work. I had two quick questions. Did you have any previous attachment to Witcher with the books or games that made you more interested in being involved? Who was the best actor to work with too? I’m sure you can’t answer the latter haha! Keep up the great work.

  74. Huge fan from Black sail and the Witcher. How was it going from a show based on pirate lore based to a show based in fantasy?

  75. Not counting only the Witcher, what was your favourite episode ever to direct? And can you reveal what your next directing job will be?

  76. Hello Marc. I always wondered how directors are being chosen for specific episodes on tv shows. Producers give script to couple people and directos decide if they want to do it or to one specific person at a time? It`s especially intriguing since you wrote that not only you directed one full episode but also specific scenes in different ones so I guess the whole process must be quite complicated for both sides.

  77. In the opening episode, what was your inspiration to have two long scenes were the camera is fixed on two characters calmly and dryly recite exposition, rather than the more common directorial device of showing action?

  78. When the show deviates slightly from the books how do you guys make those decisions? How close to the source material do you think a this show (or others) should be referenced?

  79. Was it a conscious choice to make all the time jumps and put so many things out of order? I honestly found it confusing... it could be improved tremendously by a simple "Aretuza, year xxx" or "Blaviken, year xxx" on the screen when the tme jump happened. It took me a few episodes to realize they were even a thing.

  80. Hey Marc! Really loved your work on the show & I'd love to see more in future. Which of the scenes you shot would you say you're most pleased with?

  81. Thank you Marc for giving us opportunity! I love the diverse cast, especially in a fantasy series as it really takes me out of my own perceptions and biases from the world I live in. Sadly, a lot of viewers don't share the same sentiment.

  82. I thought the show was very enjoyable. I quibble about a few adaptation choices, but I still loved it.

  83. Hey Marc, generic 17 year old Film / TV lover here. I have absolutely no idea where to start, but I really, REALLY want to start acting / directing. I take Media Studies as a subject for A-Level, but after that, I don't know where to go... What should I do to persue either of these things? Also, what do you look for in actors that make them stand out?

  84. Had you heard about the series before directing? If so were you excited and if not what do you think of it now that you've worked on it? Pardon the double question.

  85. Bit late, but thank you for all your brilliant work on Witcher, Daredevil and my favourite show Black Sails. What were your favourite moments on the set of Black Sails and The Witcher? How can someone with little to no experience in filmmaking get into the industry as a writer/director?

  86. What's your story? How did you end up falling into directing and how did you find your way into directing the Witcher?

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