How to get started in Film Production: Interview with Tim Meaney
The Irish film scene offers much to inspire students interested in a career in production. What is difficult is knowing how to break into it. Tim Meaney, a Galway based comedic writer, has advice to offer for those desiring to work behind the scenes in film. He is involved in stand up comedy, hosting events, short films and is also studying film production in Galway Community College. I asked Tim about his various activities in the Irish Film scene and the how’s and why’s behind his involvement.
His work centres on film and the web. His online presence is slowly building up on YouTube as part of a trio with Cillian Henehan and Jonathan Folan who make videos under the name of ‘Polluted Horse’.
Tim advocates studying something such as Film Production which gives the broad knowledge of film-making needed to crack into the business. It also presents opportunities to meet other film makers, leading to experience and knowledge of other ways to work. “Besides studying in college, the best way to get involved is to jump into any work that passes you by in the film scene. You can learn so much from diving into it and hearing different opinions and film styles.”
His work as a comedian has involved hosting a fundraising event for “The Galway City She Devils Roller Derby Team,” which ended up being a three hour stint on stage. His willingness to work hard is evident just with that example, but what is also impressive, is the story behind ‘Polluted Horse’s’ foundation. Tim, along with Cillian and Jonathan, were frustrated with not being able to find work in film and so decided to create their own, providing valuable learning experience which they could not have gained otherwise.
Self-doubt is undoubtedly the plague of anyone attempting to work in the area. Tim is not deterred: “It’s worth trying if you feel this is what you want to truly do.” However, he is well aware of the struggles as a newcomer in the Irish film scene citing one of the biggest difficulties as just wondering where to begin. Whether that be a course in writing, acting or production, it is important to frequent local film screenings and just start at whatever comes your way.
There are perks in this career choice also of course, “I like the enjoyment of conversing with many people. Volunteering at the Junior Galway Film Fleadh allowed me to meet so many other film workers and led to doing stand up with other small comedians from Dublin, Limerick and Cork. I enjoy the Irish industry film scene because as a newcomer you feel like you can learn so much from simply talking to others and hearing their own work.”
I asked Tim whether it was harder to get started or to keep going, he responded,
“If this is what you really want then to keep going isn’t hard but getting started by building up courage to me is the hardest part as I had a line of work nicely secured in forestry work but I turned it down just to pursue my true interest and joy in comedy and film. Now that I am in it keeping going is my only option and I am happy with that as I don’t plan on turning back. One of the first things I learned in this line of work is that there is a lot of socialising involved to get to know people and you need confidence in yourself so that others can have confidence in you to know that you can get the work done.”
Tim is keen to point out the need in the Irish film industry to advertise more Irish films over bigger international films such as multi-million American blockbusters. More recognition needs to be given to the plethora of excellent quality Irish films being produced but unduly neglected.
He also recommends being prepared to fulfil undesirable tasks, “When I am filmmaking I don’t usually have a routine except to always plan ahead with raingear and anything else I might need because filmmaking for me now could involve doing any job from acting to directing. When I was second assistant director for Frankie Moran in a James Delaney short my main jobs were noticing continuity and holding the cup full of fake phlegm.”
The preparations for the largest project Tim has taken on are in full swing at the moment. On the 10th of February in the Cellar Bar, Galway, there will be an open auditions event. The aim is to help upcoming actors find more work. They will be filmed as they act out a monologue of their own choosing. Galway film makers are invited to watch and have the choice to ask actors to perform in their work. Tim is involved in the organisation of the venue, poster design, contact information and is also on the audition panel with Dayle Kennedy and Jonathan Folan.
He is also in the midst of work on Polluted Horse videos and a film which he hopes to enter in the 2016 Galway Fleadh. In the meantime, you’re likely to find Tim on Shop Street, Galway where is making a Vox Pop. So, don’t be surprised if someone springs questions on you such as “Freddo with or without the caramel?” It’s simply a film student working his way up in the industry.
Tim offers this advice for those interested in becoming involved in the Irish Film scene: “Be sociable. Talk to people in the business, learn their names and make sure they learn your name as making contacts and making friends in the work has both helped me achieved more and made it more enjoyable.”
For anyone looking to get involved in Film Production in Ireland or to learn more about it, this is a great website: http://www.iftn.ie/production/
Meaney, Tim. E-mail interview. 12 Jan. 2015.