A Williams Life: Frank Doelger
In this episode of A Williams Life, host Gordon Earle (’75) talks with classmate Frank Doelger, a multiple Emmy Award-winning television producer, whose credits include HBO’s Game of Thrones, Rome, and John Adams, among many other successful productions. Frank begins by talking about Williams and the professors who had an early influence on his career path. He then discusses his time as a graduate student at Oxford, where a chance encounter led to his becoming a theater producer. Afterwards, the conversation turns to how Frank broke into the TV business, initially as a script reader for network television. During the remainder of the episode, Frank details his role as an executive producer on Game of Thrones, one of the most successful television series in history, and other HBO hit productions. Lastly, we hear about Frank’s latest project, The Swarm, produced by his new, Berlin-based production company, and the Winter Study class he taught at Williams this past winter.
Frank reviews VFX shots for The Swarm in the editing room in Berlin in 2022. © hannesjung
On set in Rome, Frank revises the dialogue for a scene the production team is about to shoot during production of The Swarm in 2021. © fabiolovino
Video clips from John Adams and Rome
Click on the text or images below to watch the clips.
Rome: Julius Caesar leads a triumphal procession through Rome. The idea of painting Caesar's face a striking red came from an enterprising member of the makeup department, whose research suggested that as a follower of Jupiter, Caesar may have worn red at this pivotal moment as a way to honor the god. It became the most displayed of all images from the HBO production.
A clip from Conspiracy is not provided here, but is discussed by Frank in the podcast and was a film he screened during his Winter Study course at Williams. It can be watched on HBO and is a 2001 British/American made-for-television film that dramatizes the 1942 Wannsee Conference. Based on the only surviving copy of the conference minutes, the film delves into the psychology of Nazi officials involved in the "Final Solution of the Jewish Question" during World War II.
On the podcast, Frank also discusses his role as an executive producer on Game of Thrones, a fantasy drama television series that ran for eight seasons (2011-19). The show was adapted from A Song of Ice and Fire, a series of novels by George R. R. Martin. Widely considered among the most successful and acclaimed TV shows of all time, it received 59 Primetime Emmy Awards, including three for Outstanding Drama Series. All 73 episodes are currently available to stream on HBO Max.