What’s it like working on an Irish film set?

Last week the long awaited film “The Secret Scripture” was released in cinemas nationwide. The film directed by Jim Sheridan, was an adaptation of the book by the same name, by Irish playwright and novelist Sebastian Barry.

Stack of books -Ak~i

Stack of books –Ak~i

The film focuses on Irishwoman, Rose McNulty, who was institutionalised for being too attractive to the men of her village, as an act of vengeance by the local priest Fr. Gaunt. During her somewhat 50 years in the Mental Hospital, Rose keeps a diary and writes about her life. It is only when she meets a young psychologist who shows interest in her diary, that she begins to have nostalgic flashbacks of her youth, which was filled with passion, infatuation and confusion.

Here at The Circular, though we would love to write an in-depth review on the film, we like to do things a little differently. As this was Jim Sheridan’s first movie shot in Ireland in 20 years, we decided to catch up with some of the crew on set to learn a little bit more about the filming process.

We caught up with budding film maker/director Ian Adams, who worked as “Trainee assistant director” and fashion and design guru Roisín Lawrence who worked as “Costume trainee” on the film.

Here’ what they had to say:

1. What was a typical day on set like for you?

Ian worked as "Trainee Assistant Directer" on The Secret Scripture

Ian worked as “Trainee Assistant Directer” on The Secret Scripture

Ian:

A typical day on set for me would involve making sure all actors were in hair and makeup, we had picture up on the monitors we had to follow. I also had to bring actors to set and off set and made sure all the crew knew what was happening that day. Jim liked to improvise and would sometimes just forget about the script or shot and do something different last minute

Róisín worked as "Costume Trainee"

Róisín worked as “Costume Trainee” and is a past-pupil of Griffith College

Róisín:

When we arrived on set we received a call sheet of the filming session informing us of running of the day. The sheet contained details and times for hair, costume, scene locations, actors required for each scene etc.  The filming day started as early as 5:30am for cast and crew. There was a bustling atmosphere all day as trailers were set up for hair, makeup and costumes; as well as directors and actors preparing for scenes.

When the cast had their hair, make up and costumes ready they moved onto the filming locations for filming. Each department needed to be on call for any costume changes, alterations, touch ups etc. when filming was finished for the day all equipment and costumes needed to be collected and organised.

2. What drew you to this career path?

Ian:

I have been making my own films since I was 7. I  have always been fascinated by bringing a simple idea in your head to life. Sometimes it can be hard to put things together on a small budget, but there’s always another way.

Róisín:

I believe that my passion for costume design stems from my love for movies and fairy tales. I’ve always loved to immerse myself through film into an alternate reality where anything is possible.  Animation and fashion have propelled me into pursuing a career in costume. My creations are inspired by the motivation that the costume brings the character to life.

3. What did you think about the costumes/shots in the film?

Ian:

I think the shots in the film were strong. They told a story and explained what was happening so it served its purpose. In my opinion, some shots could of been different but it was what it was.

Róisín:

The costumes in this film were beautiful and effectively transported the viewer back to the 1940’s. Fashion trends in Ireland. I have always admired 1940’s fashion and I think this film conveyed the era very well.

4. Do you have a specific highlight from your time on set?

A highlight for Ian was meeting director Jim Sheridan

A highlight for Ian was meeting director Jim Sheridan

Ian:

Probably sitting down and having lunch with Jim Sheridan and him giving me advice about directing. He is the most laid-back and down to earth person and that was a massive highlight for me to be casually working with him, talking about what I want to do.

Róisín had a personal connection to the film

Róisín had a personal connection to the film

Róisín:

I honestly loved every minute of it, it was an amazing experience. My favourite part was when I received the call sheet and realised that the movie was adapted from a novel written by an old friend’s father Sebastian Barry. I thought this was a weird coincidence.

5. Do you think it is difficult to get into the industry?

Ian:

Its basically about who you know in my opinion. Its all about networking and contacts. These days not many people care about what you have on paper. You will always start off as a trainee even if you have 3 or 4 years worth of college degrees in any part of the industry. If they are looking for someone and your free on this day, this time, willing to learn they will take you in.

Róisín:

In my opinion yes it is.  It’s all about whom you know and creating contacts within the industry.

6. Do you have any tips for someone interested in your line of work?

Ian:

Always be yourself. Don’t go around and try to be a completely different person. If your not sure about anything and you don’t know “where this is or how this works”,  just ask. Your starting off , your not suppose to know everything. Don’t pretend you do you will just look like an idiot, trust me I know. Some nasty things can be said at moments on sets at stressful times but you can’t take these things to heart. If someone doesn’t like you or you don’t get on with them, f**k them!  It’s work, not a get together. You’re learning, they will understand that.

Róisín:

It’s a tough industry to be in but if you are passionate, all the ups and downs are worth it. My advice would be follow the path you’re passionate about don’t settle. Also don’t be a sheep, you need to stand out! Always keep true to your design ethic that’s what gets you noticed.

The Secret Scripture (12A) is currently in all cinemas nationwide, a thrilling story of romance, nostalgia and despair, it is certainly one to watch.

If you are interested in learning a little bit more about Ian and Róisin, their twitter handles are below:

@IanAdams6

@roisinlawrence

Ian’s newest film “The Lads” is set to be released this year. It tells the story of three Irish “lads” who get themselves into a bit of a sticky situation with some dangerous people. This dark, comedic drama, though it was made on a very small budget of just €110,  is sure to surpass all expectations. We look forward to it!

Here is the Trailer: