polo store locator ‘Game of Thrones’ Season Three Set Visit

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“You’re wearing the wrong shoes” a member of the Dragon Unit production team politely informed me as I squelched through some Northern Irish puddles. Straight ahead in a puddle of his own stood Frank Doelger, the Hollywood super producer dressed in fisherman style rain gear equipped with John Lennon sunglasses and Crocodile Dundee head gear.

This wasn’t a remake of a muddy battle scene for ‘Braveheart’, but instead the set of one of the decade’s most hotly anticipated recurring series, ‘Game of Thrones’. Located way up the north of Co Antrim, season three of the HBO fantasy adventure is currently filming scenes at Shane’s Castle, the historical landmark which now lies in ruins, surrounded by 2,600 acres of greenland. Despite the torrential rain, ankle length mud and the odd location change, Dragon Unit had been tented up and ready to shout “Action!” from 6am.

On set in full costume, provided by Michele Clapton (Sense Sensibility), were stars of season two Gwendoline Christie and Nikolaj Coster Waldau, who play skilled warriors Brienne of Tarth and Jaime Lannister. Both characters’ season three plot lines continue on from season two, with the pair filming intense scenes for episode two at Shane’s Castle bridge yesterday. Executive producer Doelger said filming is usually 10 12 hours per day, with just one scene being filmed between five and 10 takes each time. Episodes one and two are being directed by Daniel Minahan.

Both Christie and Coster Waldau ploughed on through their four takes, with grass mounds, scattered leaves and ropes among their props. With a hair dryer on standby for Coster Waldau, not even an ever so slight wardrobe malfunction with his tarnished robe could dampen their spirits.

The location, Shane’s Castle, formerly Eden duff carrick, is a ruined castle from the 14th century. Its former proprietor was Baron William O’Neill, and a descendant of his, Shane MacBrien O’Neill, renamed it Shane’s Castle in the 18th century. Shane’s Castle was previously used for ‘Game of Thrones’ seasons one and two.

Doelger, the Emmy Award winning man behind the scenes, has worked as an executive producer on a variety of productions in Hollywood, from HBO TV series ‘Rome’, to Thaddeus O’Sullivan’s ‘Into the Storm’, starring Brendan Gleeson and Iain Glen. Commenting on filming at Shane’s Castle, Doelger said he prefers the combination of filming both on location and in the studio: “If you’re in the studio everyday it gets very claustrophobic and it’s not as much as a challenge. At the same time, if you’ve been in the rain and the wind and dealing with all those problems then going to the studios is great. The two new stages they’ve built for the Titanic Quarter are absolutely fantastic, they’ve really been a great, great benefit to us”.

The studio Doelger refers to is Belfast’s Paint Hall Studio, which has been the centre of action for the two previous ‘Game of Thrones’ seasons. It offers state of the art green screen facilities which were used extensively for water scenes for season two, and continues to be used for the more technical scenes of season three. The Titanic Quarter is the most recently built site at Paint Hall, which is set on an eight acre site, equipped with five workshops, a green room, and an electric al substation.

Doelger refers to the Irish crew as “terrific” to work with, and says “70 per cent of the people on the crew are local this season. I think Belfast really wanted us here, they did everything they could to make us feel welcome. In a lot of places where you film people are a little bit jaded, they’re not particularly welcoming, and you get a sense that they’re in it just for the money. I think here you really did get a sense that people wanted to build an industry and really wanted to make it work”.

A large part of enticing HBO to Northern Irish shores was down to Northern Ireland Screen and Head of Marketing Moyra Lock, who travelled to the US to meet with HBO chiefs in a bid to market the Northern Irish locations. Speaking earlier this year, Lock said Northern Ireland Screen “mounted extensive marketing campaigns to position Northern Ireland as a worldwide location for production.” The organisation then got Antrim born producer Mark Huffam on board, who invited Doelger himself over to Northern Ireland.

Doelger recalls: “I came here for the first time when I was invited by Mark Huffam, who was trying very hard, and was instrumental in getting the production here. He invited me early on in the conversations when HBO was deciding where to do the show. I think there were various cities being considered and he asked me to come take a look around and I was very impressed in what he did and what he had to show us. I think he found us a perfect match between material and city”.

Huffam went on to produce 10 episodes of season one, and obviously left a lasting effect on HBO and Doelger who returned to Northern Ireland two years in a row. Naomi Liston, key assistant locations manager to HOD Robert Boake, was in charge of sourcing Northern Irish locations once the production had gotten the green light to film there. Liston told IFTN sourcing the right locations can take hours of driving around the countryside until you find the exact spot. Reading the scripts is a big part of her job, and matching Northern Irish countryside to Riverlands, North of the Wall and South of the Wall can sometimes result in getting “lost down a lane”, or she may find “there’s a tumble down of what looks like medieval building or barn and you’ve got your location there”.

Liston continues: “It’s about knowing what’s out there. The estates, and all the estate owners are great, they’re so helpful, they love us, they keep asking us back and they get phone calls from friends from other estates and they phone us up and say ‘we’ve got this estate come and take photos’ so we come and take photos of them which is great”.

Doelger echoes this statement: “Because Belfast is not a place a lot of tourists came to, a lot of people in our crew either from the UK or United States, even if they’ve travelled, have not been here, so I think the fact that everybody came here and were very very impressed with the crew, how welcome they were made to feel. It’s changed their attitude towards the city. It’s been very good for us and I’m hoping it’s been very good for Belfast as well”.

Back on set, the Dragon Unit was carefully filming scenes for episode two of season three, by mounting a camera on a crane at the side of Shane Castle’s bridge to get a shot which went from the water of Lough Neagh right up to over the bridge where Brienne of Tarth and Jaime Lannister continued their scene. Production assistants were on hand to carefully place mounds of grass along the characters’ walk way, checking that each mound of grass was the same colour as the last to ensure continuity. Brown leaves were scattered along the path and walked on by production crew to give an autumn feel.

These scenes are due to be aired at the end of March/early April in 2013. Post production will be carried out by Yellow Moon in Co Down and a US based post production house in spring of 2013.

IFTN can exclusively confirm HBO does have plans to ask Armagh native Brian Kirk to return to the director’s seat for future seasons. Kirk directed three episodes of season one and his latest TV project, ‘Gilded Lilys’, is currently in post production. Doelger said: “Brian is not coming back on season three, he’s been busy on other projects, but actually all of our directors are always invited back depending on their schedule and our schedule. We hope to see him, he’s been very busy since he left us, I think the episodes he did got a lot of attention and were very helpful to him, so we hope he comes back.”

IFTN can also exclusively reveal season three will move production to Redhall Estate next week, a privately owned country house located in Carrickfergus in Antrim. Production will then move to the Quoile Pondage Nature Reserve in Downpatrick which is situated on either side of the River Quoile. The set designers are currently building a jetty for these scenes, which has been described as “quite tricky and hard going”, as a boat of light will be used for the scenes.

Previous Northern Ireland locations used include Audleys Tower in Castleward in Co Down, Tollymore Forest near Newcastle, and the Mourne Mountains. When production is complete on season three this November, all six counties of Northern Ireland will have featured in ‘Game of Thrones’ from seasons one to three. Production will move to Iceland after it wraps in Northern Ireland to take advantage of the authentic snowfall.

Doelger said production will begin on season four in April 2013, and he is hopeful HBO will return to Northern Irish shores again, despite the media giants requesting a financially friendlier location.

“Every year HBO ask us to examine all the various options out there because there are places with more generous tax credits [than Northern Ireland] and I think that as the show gets more expensive that pressure will mount. But if in fact the [UK] tax credit does pass, I think our future here will be assured,” said Doelger. Although he admitted to not knowing the official budget himself, he did say the show’s budget was “significant”. ‘Game of Thrones’ received funding from the Northern Ireland Screen Fund supported by Invest NI and part funded by the European Regional Development Fund.

Other regional links include newly announced cast member from Armagh, who joins returning cast members Aidan Gillen, Michelle Fairley and Jack Gleeson.
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polo store locator ‘Reluctant superstar’ Roberto Nelson strikes balance on court

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CORVALLIS Roberto Nelson weaved his way through Gill Coliseum Thursday night, across the court and down a stairwell, taking photos with students, accepting congratulations from fans and pressing flesh with referees on their way out of the building.

“Fifteen hundred points,” one of the refs said. “Nice going.”

It had been another good night for Nelson 24 points, eight rebounds and the game winning basket on a corkscrew move to the hoop with 24.9 seconds left in overtime that he was bound and determined to get off through a forest of Southern Cal defenders.

It was enough to propel the Beavers to a 76 75 victory after the Trojans’ Pe’Shon Howard missed the back end of a two shot opportunity at the free throw line with .9 of a second left in the extra session.

Ironic, because it was Howard’s first miss after seven straight makes at the line on a night when USC was 19 for 21, Oregon State 20 for 35 at the stripe.

The Beavers had 16 turnovers eight in the final seven minutes of regulation and the overtime. They made only 4 of 12 3 point attempts and shot a mediocre .419, well below their .473 season average. They led for only four minutes, 25 seconds of regulation play.

Yet they came away with victory over an SC team (10 11 overall, 1 7 in Pac 12 play) that beat California and lost to Stanford in overtime last week.

It wouldn’t have happened without Nelson, the lifeblood of Oregon State’s program who is the runaway scoring leader in the Pac 12 both overall (22.3) and in conference contests (23.6) despite the constant presence of double teams and “stoppers” guarding him for opponents.

As the official duly noted, Nelson is a member of Oregon State’s exclusive 1,500 point club, which now numbers six. Green into fourth.

The 6 4, 200 pound senior is ahead of such names as Dave Gambee, Mark Radford, Scott Haskin, Brent Barry, Ray Blume, Jared Cunningham and Freddie Boyd on the school career scoring list. Only all time greats Gary Payton, Steve Johnson and Mel Counts are unreachable.

“It’s very humbling for me,” Nelson said as he paused outside OSU’s basketball locker room. “As a competitor, you want to put your name up there with the great players.

“But I always give it to my team. If it wasn’t for the unselfish teammates I have, those guys who push me to this, I wouldn’t be on that list. If that list could say ‘Roberto and team,’ I’d like that.”

Sounds corny, but I think the young man coach Craig Robinson refers to as “almost a reluctant superstar” means it.

He seems to have a genuine affinity for his teammates and a love and respect for Robinson, who landed perhaps the best blue chip recruit of his six years at Oregon State in that first 2009 class.

Nelson was a boyhood phenom and a standout, along with ex OSU teammate Joe Burton, on the Team California group that was ranked No. 1 on the national AAU circuit. Nelson was a focal point in the fine book, “Play Their Hearts Out,” written over the course of an eight year study by Sports Illustrated’s George Dohrmann.

“Love that book, man,
polo store locator 'Reluctant superstar' Roberto Nelson strikes balance on court
” Nelson said. “If I flip through the pages, I can go back to those moments. It was extremely fun. I was a kid going from sixth grade on a team that didn’t play in the big time, in front of a thousand fans, in front of college coaches, to the No. 1 team in the country, playing against the best players, playing for a big organization, getting free shoes. Sports Illustrated documented how he received 2,161 pieces of recruiting mail but not so much as a postcard from Oregon State.

After narrowing his choices to UCLA, Ohio State, Florida and Washington, Nelson picked Oregon State because of “this guy right here, Coach Robinson,” he said with a nod.

“He’s a man of high character,” Nelson said. “I met a lot of really good people in the recruiting process. But the character that (former assistant coach David) Grace and Coach Robinson displayed. They were interested in me for not only basketball but who I was as a person and what I liked to do. Those are the things that go far with a kid. For a coach to care more than about what can he give me for my future, that says a lot about who he is.”

Robinson has served as a father figure and mentor for Nelson, especially so in recent years due to the incarceration of his father, Bruce, at the California Institute for Men in Chino, Calif.

“Roberto is a terrific kid,” Robinson said. “We have a great relationship, which is why he has the freedom he has on my team. He has earned that. To be such a good player and such a quality kid has been a real treat for me as a coach.

“We have a team full of guys like that because of guys like Roberto. He’s talking to the (prospects) on recruiting trips. They want to be with a guy like that. He’s a very warm kid to be so good. Sometimes I need him to get on the guys, and that’s not really his thing. He’s more of a nurturer.”

Nelson’s college basketball experience hasn’t been all wine and roses. He sat out a year and seven games before finally gaining his eligibility in December 2010, the result of academic eligibility stemming from on line classes he took in his school that were California accredited only.

Nelson wasn’t even a starter until his junior year in 2012 13, shooting below 39 percent his first two seasons. Last year, he averaged 17.8 points overall and a Pac 12 best 19.1 in conference games, becoming the first Beaver to do so since Payton in 1989 90.

This season, Nelson has burst out with the kind of consistent brilliance that makes him the early leader to be voted the Pac 12 player of the year. He has scored 20 plus points in six straight games and 12 times overall, and has scored at least 16 points in every game except the one from which he was booted in the first half for a flagrant foul.

Nelson has grown in nearly every way since he set foot on the OSU campus in 2009.

“Before I came here, I wasn’t a student,” he said. “I wasn’t somebody who went to class, who cared about getting good grades. Meeting a man like Coach Rob, who took himself from somewhere to being extremely successful through school and with his intelligence it has opened my eyes.

“We talk about stuff all the time. It’s stuff maybe (coaches and players from) other programs don’t talk about. We talk about life. About how much money it’s going to take to raise a family. Stuff you don’t get to talk about with a lot of people. It’s great to have a coach like that, who prepares you for not only basketball but for life.”
polo store locator 'Reluctant superstar' Roberto Nelson strikes balance on court

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There is a long list of reasons that back up the notion first year Sherwood High School softball coach Ashley Barber Strunk has stepped into the most enviable coaching position in Montgomery County. The 2002 Richard Montgomery graduate after all inherited a two time defending Class 4A state championship program on a 42 game winning streak that returns six starters, including the county best pitcher in Towson University recruit Meggie Dejter.

It is, however, just as easy prove that the member of Lock Haven University 2006 NCAA Division II national championship team undertaking marks the start of a journey few would dare embark on.

Barber Strunk has to fill the shoes of a well respected 17 year coach who took the Sherwood program to new heights, putting her in prime position to feel the brunt of any slip in the Warriors dominance. While Sherwood former junior varsity coach admitted that concept isn lost on her, any remnants of anxiety are overshadowed by the excitement that surrounds the opportunity to put her spin on a program ripe with athletes just as passionate about, and dedicated to, softball as she is.

coach] Pat [Flanagan] was here for so long, at this point it about establishing my lines, Barber Strunk said. was worried at first that [the team] might be like, aren we doing things this way, or aren we doing things that way. I feel like I doing things the right way. is, according to Dejter.

Given Sherwood recent results it hard to imagine the Warriors need to change much, but Barber Strunk made it perfectly clear on the first day of practice this spring that she would not settle for a team set on cruise control, that there no room in the Sandy Spring program for complacency, Dejter said. Barber Strunk approach she said she implements many of the drills and conditioning she did in college is different than the traditional style Sherwood is used to, but Dejter said the change has helped to keep the Warriors on their toes.

They might actually need to be on guard defensively more so this season than in recent years. Despite returning the majority of its high scoring lineup, Sherwood did lose two of its most powerful hitters. While the Warriors are still more than capable of producing runs, the scoring differential might not be as much as it has been, Dejter said. Sherwood did win its 43rd consecutive game with Saturday 12 0 season opening victory against Thomas S. Wootton.

think [the changes are] good because we don want to get too comfortable and overconfident with what we have, it good to get a new view point, Dejter said. did just play in college a couple years ago and won a national championship so she has so much she able to teach us. It good because she does kind of knock us down a level. She really does push us. She been where we are and even better.

A catcher turned outfielder, Barber Strunk brought in her cousin, former Our Lady of Good Counsel ace pitcher Kim Bartlett, who primarily played third base at Methodist University, as an assistant coach. Between the two, they provide expertise in all areas of the diamond.

Student athletes can be defiant in the face of change, but Barber Strunk credibility and experience makes it difficult for the Warriors not to trust in everything she does, Dejter said. Perhaps even more important, the right handed hurler added, is the open channel of coach athlete communication Barber Strunk encourages. Her youth also helps her relatability, Dejter said.

you skeptical all you have to do is talk to her and she explains it fully, Dejter said. doesn try to hide anything, she knows exactly what she talking about. She explains everything and how it going to help us, I think it really good to have that openness.

Barber Strunk said her love for softball grew with the unity of her college team and that is a very important aspect of the game she aims to convey at Sherwood. The team has already come together in support of her efforts early, she and Dejter agreed. It no secret that all eyes are on Barber Strunk and the substantially sized shoes she has to fill. But the Warriors have rallied around someone who has already earned their respect.

think in the beginning she was a lot more nervous than now and especially the returning players, we definitely stepped in and were like, whatever you need from us, we here, we your team and we want to support you fully, Dejter said. really made this a team thing. She got such a passion for the game which everyone can see and it puts it on us, we want to impress her and we want to make her feel good about what she doing.
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