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How We Created This Game of Thrones Themed Cover

Find out how Spotlight was able to create an extravagant Game of Thrones cover for the December issue of Bison Illustrated

We’ve been able to pull off some pretty crazy covers here at Spotlight. One of the craziest and most extravagant ideas we’ve ever executed is seen on the cover of December’s issue of Bison Illustrated. With the HBO hit show Game of Thrones in mind, we wanted to pose six North Dakota State student-athletes on and around the famous Iron Throne. 

How We Got There

It begins, as most of our magazines do, with a broad concept. Editor Nolan Schmidt had the vision for a Game of Thrones cover in mid-September. Knowing that frequent Spotlight collaborator J. Alan Paul had photographed the throne in the past, Schmidt proposed the idea to J. Alan Paul and others around Spotlight. In true J. Alan Paul fashion, he was ecstatic to do something crazy like this.

Both were told the idea was bold, but it was met with skepticism due to the difficult nature of the vision. That only motivated the Bison Illustrated team to get the image done. Over the course of the month of November, the team shot, edited and designed the cover you see now. 

The countless hours spent on this cover may never be truly documented accurately. Yet, however many hours were spent on creating the cover was redeemed thanks to the public reception of the cover. The cover image was widely engaged with on social media and was eye-catching on newsstands. 

Behind The Scenes Info

– Believe it or not, the Iron Throne featured in the image is a mini version of the famous throne. J. Alan Paul photographed the mini throne by itself, blew it up and photoshopped it in place of a chair.
– Each student-athlete on the cover was photographed separately and composited into the image together. Because athletes have differing schedules, there was not one specific time where all six could be in our studio. 
– The costumes were given to Spotlight on loan and many are fur coats or costumes intended for plays. Swords and other weaponry were purchased at a Halloween store in early November.
– The original headline for the cover was going to be “Winter Is Coming”. However, due to copyright laws, we were unable to use that phrasing as HBO owns all rights to “Winter Is Coming”. Yet, “Herd of the North” turned out to be equally fruitful in the end.

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Spotlight is Hiring

At Spotlight, we’re ambitious, hungry and always looking to grow. If that sounds like you, we have a couple positions to know about. Some of the perks of working full-time at Spotlight include…

  • Medical Insurance (50% employer paid for employee)
  • Dental and Vision Insurance (50% employer paid for employee)
  • Vision Savings Pass (discount program)
  • Life and Disability Insurance (100% employer paid for employee)
  • Employee Assistance Program
  • PTO
  • Volunteer Time Off
  • Paid Holidays
  • Matching Charitable Donations
  • 401K with employer match up to 3% (after one year of employment)
  • Half day Fridays in the summer

WordPress Developer

Spotlight is expanding and looking for an intelligent, creative and energetic team player with professional experience in WordPress website development. The work is challenging, fast-paced and always changing. The ideal candidate has strong analytical skills, unwavering commitment to quality, extensive knowledge of WordPress, collaborative work ethic and the ability to use standardized coding is required. The candidate must have a lot of experience working with WordPress and creating websites using WordPress.


This role will include maintaining and developing Spotlight’s technology products along with the needs of clients and responsible for implementing visual elements that users see and interact within a web application.


You will…
  • Work with Spotlight’s clients on developing new and engaging websites that fulfill their vision
  • Work on Spotlight’s websites and help ensure we have the best looking and dynamic website in the region

WordPress Developer and Videography Internships

Spotlight is expanding and looking for two intelligent, creative and energetic team players who are looking to grow. We’re looking for a WordPress Developer Intern and a Videography Intern. The work is challenging, fast-paced and always changing. See below for more information


WordPress Developer Internship Expectations
The ideal intern will work along with our web development team in creating websites with WordPress and they must have strong analytical skills, unwavering commitment to quality, extensive knowledge of WordPress, collaborative work ethic and the ability to use standardized coding is required.


Videography Internship Expectations
This intern will work with our videography team on helping edit footage, tear down and set up sets, assisting with backing up, importing and organizing files and generally assisting with any other duties. This intern must be open to constructive criticism, have an extreme passion for creating beautiful and effective videos and have a collaborative work ethic.