… I’ve always been persistent and I think that’s the reason I’ve stayed in the media industry: I wanted it bad enough. I’ve never quit a job. I always stuck it out, no matter how hard it got.
I’m Production Coordinator here at MakeMatic. I make sure the production crew is happy in what they’re doing and have enough time to do it. If there are any problems, I help sort them out. Thankfully, they haven’t asked me to pull a rabbit out of a hat just yet. We have a lot of projects in production at any given time, and the effort and care that everyone puts in to make the best possible video is so impressive.
I was the stereotypical rebellious teenager. I did well academically but I had a problem with authority. I suppose that’s why, later in life, I became a self-starter, forming my own production company, Miss On Scene, producing wedding, music, promotional videos and more. I always had the drive and dedication to do my own thing.
I was born in Derry, got my first camera when I was 12 and started producing skit shows with my friends. I made people happy birthday videos too. I would shoot little bits with family and random people on the street and edit them into funny little pieces. That was the first proper production stuff I did and I just kept going. Media became my life.
I studied for a National Diploma in Media at North West Regional College and when I was 18, took a year out and spent six months teaching kids in Thailand. Then I completed a HND in Media Studies and Production at NWRC and the University of Ulster.
For my dissertation, I wrote about music in wildlife documentaries and how it is used to evoke emotion. I focussed on a scene in a David Attenborough film that shows a seal being attacked by killer whales. The music makes you feel sorry for the seal one moment, root for it the next, and finally see it as the villain when it attacks another animal. Music in film can be so powerful.
One of my first jobs was data wrangling and vision mixing live shows for UTV. I was on call for that – any time a helicopter went up, I clicked into gear. It was a really good learning experience and since then I’ve worked on all sorts of things, mostly commercials, shorts, features and TV series like Line of Duty and Game of Thrones.
That was such a big production. I was Assistant Director and it was my job to bring the cast to and from set, organise hundreds of extras, lots of megaphone stuff. I did stand in for some of the main character actors too, showing them where to stand, where to look, who to address within a three or four camera set up. Emilia Clarke, who plays Daenarys, curses like a sailor. She’s great fun.
Being honest, though, I prefer the smaller gigs. The thing I’m most proud of is Star Factory, a two-minute short that my best friend wrote for BBC’s Two Minute Masterpiece series. We had a budget of £1000 and put six months’ work into it. It was shot in the toilet of a Derry nightclub on steadicam, all in one shot, all perfectly choreographed with timings to music. I worked as production manager, first AD, I was involved in every stage of the process.
What’s shaped me most in life is being a self starter – getting up at 8am every day and working on my own projects, even when I wasn’t getting paid. I’ve always been persistent and I think that’s the reason I’ve stayed in the media industry: I wanted it bad enough. I’ve never quit a job. I always stuck it out, no matter how hard it got.