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Variety the spice of life for Producer Adrian Devane
21 Oct 2015 : Seán Brosnan
Adrian Devane
With two projects going out this Autumn/Winter – Reality Bites documentary ‘Rapid Response’ airing on November 25th on RTÉ2 and ‘Nurses’ beginning airing at the end of this month – we talk to one of the most versatile men in the industry at the minute, Adrian Devane of 2000 AD Productions.

Here, Devane – whose previous credits include unit manager on Mel Gibson’s ‘Apocalypto’, Producer of 'The Roaring Twenties' RTE sitcom, second A.D on ‘Sacrifice’, third A.D on 'Property Of The State' as well as Executive producing animation series ‘BB agus Bella’– talks to IFTN on why he takes a variety of different roles on projects and his hopes for the future of the Irish industry.

IFTN: You have two projects going out this Autumn/Winter and you worked on different roles on both projects – producing ‘Rapid Response’ and serving as the Production Manager on ‘Nurses’….

Adrian Devane: ‘Well ‘Rapid Response’ airs as part of the Reality Bites series on November 25th. It’s about the rapid response doctors who basically bring A&E to the roadside. They attend accidents and all sorts of incidents – it doesn’t matter if they are at a function or asleep in bed – they just have to get into their car and go to the accident site and provide care before the patient can go to the hospital. Basically, they are doctors but they do this voluntarily.’

‘Nurses’ is a fly on the wall doc directed by Katie Lincoln (Darndale, The Shelbourne), filmed over the course of a year of the lives of 4th year nursing students where we follow them going from the colleges to the wards and various other services.’

A quick look over your filmography reveals a lot of eclectic projects – as well as a lot of differing roles within those projects – is variety the spice of life for you in this business or do you have a set plan of where you want to end up?

‘Funnily enough, I see so many crew members in Ireland getting into every area of film – hair, make-up, directing, writing – but I don’t think there are enough young producers out there taking on shorts and documentaries, getting submissions in for Storyland projects and ultimately getting their foot in the door in the industry. You just have to get stuck in there.’

‘I learned my craft by attending some fantastic courses at the Galway Film Centre which was a great learning experience but I first got a feel for the industry by being an extra on a Roger Corman film. I only got paid 30 pounds for that gig but the experience of it was invaluable as I spent my time talking to different crew members and really getting a feel for the industry.’

‘I got my start with Edwina Forkin at Zanzibar Films in the late 90’s – working on shorts, music videos and things like that. I worked as a Production Assistant on ‘Ballykissangel’ for a while before working with Ardmore Studios for eight years – working on lots of productions back to back like ‘Reign Of Fire’, ‘King Arthur’ and ‘Veronice Guerin’. I then went to work on Mel Gibson’s ‘Apocalypto’ through working with Ned Dowd but in between all this I was working on a lot of Irish independent features too so I was cutting my teeth on both sides of the industry.’

‘I have gone back and forth from being producer, assistant director, unit manager, production manager and different things. But ultimately all those jobs are all about getting things done so I have learned so much.’

So, it just a case of you attaching yourself to the best projects possible then or do you just notice one thing leading to another?

‘One thing really leads to another. When you do a good job, you will be asked back for another job and when you do a bad job – you probably won’t be asked back [laughs]. So, it’s really gratifying for me to be able to say that one thing has led to another. Not only are you only as good as your last job but you are also only as good as the experience you bring to the table.’

As someone who sees in the industry from a variety of different angles – what are your thoughts on the recent budget changes to Section 481?

‘I think the government’s decision to increase the cap to 70m Euro on Section 481 projects is a good step to make the country more competitive but I'm disappointed that the Irish Film Board didn't get a funding increase for once, in order to help them deliver the support they need to film-makers and hope they can employ a new Film Commissioner as soon as possible to try steer productions our way that seem to be going elsewhere.’

‘Things are getting very busy in this country – all over the country (Devane is also a founding member of Screen West, a website set up to promote shooting in the West of Ireland). Unfortunately, we also don’t have enough studio space to cope with this influx so hopefully the government and the powers that be fund the development of more infrastructure so we can level the playing field with competing countries.’

Where do you see yourself in five years – do you see yourself ultimately settling into any role?

‘No matter what you do in this industry – I think you would find it very hard to plan five years ahead [laughs]. My hope is that bigger productions come to Ireland and create more work for crew members which is of course also a huge benefit to indigenous productions too. I just want to keep getting submissions and ideas in to RTÉ, BAI and all the different schemes – the objective is entertainment and reaching an audience when you’re talking about television. In terms of film, it’s a little harder to get a slice of the pie – it’s extremely competitive. It’s really hard to get a feature film in this country owing to the Irish Film Board’s budget and there being a lot of filmmakers leaving college every year fighting for funding.’

In this industry, you have dreams and ambitions but you also have reality [laughs]. Whether it’s television or film, the objective is to bring compelling stories to light and you fight hard to get those stories out there.’

Other than funding then, what do you think can be done to improve the film and television industry here in Ireland?

‘I think it’s very important that more help is needed for writers and that we produce better script in a nation of storyteller and that the audience is key. We need more courses for writers, more roundtable discussions, more development. It’s like my toy business (Bábóg Baby). I make toys and content because I have customers who want them. I market it well. I know my market, I have now a huge customer base all over the world who want our next thing. That's the way it should be for Irish films.’

‘Better distribution and marketing is also key, a few posters on buses, bus stops and newspapers is not enough to win over an audience. A whole seminar and course could be done on marketing films that Irish films in general just don't get the deserved sell despite large amounts of money spent on their campaigns.’

‘With my production company – 2000AD Productions – we welcome screenwriters to submit work into us and we will also get back to you with feedback to help writers develop and hone their craft.’

What are you working on at the moment and what Irish film or television shows are you most looking forward to over the next year?

‘I am really looking forward to two films in the next six months ‘Brooklyn’ and ‘The Secret Scripture’. For next year, I can't wait for 'Property Of The State' and the movie version of ‘Damo and Ivor’ once it gets made. I think the writers of that, Andy and Jules are great comedic talents. Comedy is my main interest with a serious love for Curb Your Enthusiasm, Alan Partridge, Ricky Gervais and Pat Short. And if I could retire after making a top comedy I would be happy. I think people need to laugh more in cinemas and at home watching their media. It's better than any medicine. Aside from that, I am currently working on getting a few proposals in so fingers crossed. Regarding television, I plan on getting back into animation (Devane worked on ‘BB agus Bella’ in 2013) based on pre-school books that my wife wrote so I am working away on developing that.

For more information on Adrian Devane, visit 2000adproductions.com.

‘BB agus Bella’ will be released to DVD next week – for more information visit www.babogbaby.com.




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