12 April 2024 The Irish Film & Television Network
Linda Bhreathnach discusses new Crew Call Podcast shedding light on lesser-explored careers in Film & TV
29 Mar 2022 : Nathan Griffin
The Crew Call Podcast
The Galway Film Centre recently launched the Crew Call Podcast, a limited series of in-depth interviews with creatives working in lesser-explored areas of the Film & TV industry.

Hosted by Galway actress and filmmaker Linda Bhreathnach, the objective of the Crew Call podcast is to highlight career options outside of the more familiar roles within the industry. Featuring interviews with successful creatives in their field, the podcast puts the spotlight on Irish talent and share unique insights into how to get into each particular field, the career journey of its guests, and the skills needed to succeed, as they give the listeners professional tips and advice.

The limited series features guests including Mary Pike (Draftsperson, Set Designer and Modelmaker), Peadar Cox (Irish language script translator and dialect coach), Linda Gannon Foster (Hair Designer), Steve Lynch (Composer), Eimear O’Grady (Stunts Coordinator), and Barry Conroy (Gaffer). Click here to listen to all six episodes on Spotify.

We spoke with host Linda Bhreathnach to find out more about the new podcast series, which is produced by the Galway Film Centre and supported by The Broadcasting Authority of Ireland and WRAP (The Western Region Audiovisual Producers Fund).

IFTN: Where did the idea to do this format come from?

Linda: “Eibh and Kenny from the Galway film centre came up with the idea as they felt that there were many areas within film and TV, which were underrepresented, so to speak, in the public sphere - lesser known fields such as stunt work or gaffer work.”

“The team hoped that it will help people see that there is a broad array of work available within the film and TV world, and perhaps this will help inspire people from the west (and all over Ireland) to get involved in film and know that there could be interesting and fulfilling work there for them.”

“Perhaps a person after listening might consider being a dialect coach or working as a hair designer depending on their interests. The show aims to illuminate that there is something for everyone within the world of film and TV. The hope is that the podcast will help inspire people to think outside the box in terms of a career in film and TV.”

IFTN: Why did you want to be involved?

Linda: “I wanted to be involved because I am always impressed and inspired by the work that Eibh, Kenny, and the Galway film centre do within the community to support those in the field and those hoping to enter the field.”

“Also, I am just totally madly passionate about this artform - film, TV, anything that involves story! And I think that this artform is such a powerful way to communicate stories, to connect people, and to help people connect with part of themselves, and even simply just as a way for people to escape the everyday experience, that’s important too. People used to meet at one another houses, or around camp fires historically and tell stories, people would get lost in those stories, of course that day has largely gone now, but we still need the stories as much as humanity ever did, it’s a vital part of who we are as a species! It’s integral to who we are, so anything that helps inspire and facilitate people in getting involved so that they can be part of the modern day story telling process is a good thing.”

“I also feel passionate about it also as a member of the Gaeltacht community in the west, as our culture is in such threat of extinction as each day we become more and more globalised, so it’s important that communities in the west, as well as all regional communities somehow find ways of not just creating employment so that people can still remain in their native community but also so that they have the opportunity to share their unique stories. Their unique talents that are rooted in a sense of place and in their unique way of seeing the world, and that this uniqueness is incorporated into our modern ways of story-making, so that we have a diversity of people involved in making film, so that we have a diversity of perspectives, voices, and ways of doing things and so that people such as those of us in the west, who live further away from big cities aren’t excluded from this.”

“I think that’s important, and a combination of all those things meant that I was delighted to be involved, and also of course the guests that Eibh lined up were all so interesting and inspiring so of course I thought it would be really fascinating to talk to them all! And sure, like many of us in this industry I could just talk about this stuff all day long, so it was just such a delight to be involved and to be invited to take part in the process as it was genuinely so interesting and fun really!”

Can you give us a flavour of what audiences can expect?

Linda: “This show gives crew members within varying fields the space and opportunity to talk about their work, to share their experience with regards to getting started in the industry-where it all began, how they moved from one job to the next, how they went from just getting into the industry to then turning pro.”

“Guests share some of the highs and the lows. They also share fun and fascinating anecdotes, from Tom Holland needing help from hair designer Linda Gannon to get his hair just right for his spider man audition, which he recorded in Connemara whilst on a shoot, to stunt woman Eimear O’Grady telling us what it feels like to be set completely on fire from head to toe for a shoot, or jumping from a building, or sword fighting, or working underwater.

“From modelmaker and set designer Mary Pike telling us what it’s like to design a spaceship for Star Wars or making 3D models for the Hobbit, to dialect coach Peadar Cox telling us about coaching actors in the Irish language who actually don’t speak any Irish. From gaffer Barry Conroy telling us about wiring an entire warehouse so that they can light a set,  to composer Steve Lynch telling us about how to score anything from a horror movie to a polish water advert all from his studio in the west of Ireland. It’s a truly fascinating look into the worlds of successful crew people working within the world of film and TV. The show is all about giving the guest the space and time to talk about their work, including tips for those hoping to break into their world.”

IFTN: Peadar Cox is one of your guest on the pod. I recall Hugo Weaving and James Frecheville singing his praises about how important he was to them as actors they worked on Black ’47, which gives a little insight into the importance of these lesser-explored roles in the industry?

Linda: “Peadar was so interesting to speak with, in many ways, the way he described his work was like the description of an artform mixed with science and skill. He seems to have a real reverence for the actor and a reverence for the alchemy that occurs between everyone on set. There was a sense when talking to him that he understood how to communicate with actors when he is coaching them in a way that facilitates them to bring their full selves to the role rather than limiting them within some type of lingually defined prerequisite or intimidating them with the language.”

“From speaking with Peadar, I got the sense that he supports actors in feeling comfortable with the Irish language so that they can bring their full selves to their roles. He told us wonderful stories about how he first learned Irish himself and how this has helped him understand what the process is like for others, he told beautiful stories about staying in Connemara to learn Irish and bringing his notebook and writing down everything that was said. Of course I am totally biased and loved hearing about Connemara as it’s where I hail from, but I truly believe this will be a fascinating episode for anyone, just hearing about Peadar’s process - how he can support actors who don’t have any Irish to get to the point where they can walk confidently onto set and say more than a cúpla focail is really wonderful.”

IFTN: I always enjoy speaking with crew from disciplines I’m less familiar with. It must have been great fun speaking with your guests about their specialties?

Linda: “Yes, it really was fun, I became totally lost in the conversations, I tried to speak very little during the interviews, as we really wanted to just give the guests space to share their experience, so it’s really focused on them, their thoughts, their experiences. It’s such a lovely way to listen to someone, I think, where you just keep going deeper into their world, asking more and more about them and letting them to lead the conversation, it was really like going down the rabbit hole into each guests’ respective world.”

“It was so incredible as each guest had something unique to offer, each field had its own sort of mix between art and skill, each field almost had its own philosophy as well, a philosophy towards the work: how it should happen and why it matters. Oh and each guest just exuded this air of true professionalism, like a devotion to doing things right, that was palpable - this real sense of pride identifiable with everyone, pride and professionalism in their work, very admirable. And it was just so fun hearing about some of the incredible things these Irish crew members have done, from the swashbuckling stunt woman Eimear O’Grady body doubling for Eva Green and jumping off of cranes, to art designer Mary Pike telling us about the creation of a the magical world of Avatar and Narnia. It was truly such a wonderful experience, totally fascinating to explore all of the guests’ worlds.”

IFTN: There really are so many great opportunities in the industry right now. What is the main thing that you want audiences to take away from the show?

Linda: “We hope that audiences will be inspired by the show, that they will feel that there may be a niche within the industry for them, that it doesn’t have to always be the well-known areas, such as producing, directing or acting that people can find a place for themselves to share their unique skills in so many different areas. The hope is that it will inspire people to explore some of the lesser known areas within the industry, so that it may open new doors for people, that it may help those who want to break into the industry see that it is diverse and broad and that there can be something for everyone, and that it is possible to succeed in this business in Ireland and one can be based in the west and still work nationally and globally. I hope that audiences also take away the knowledge that there is a bold new world of film and TV happening in Ireland and that perhaps within it there could be a place for them.”

Click here to listen to all six episodes on Spotify.

IFTA Q&A Series: Damien Lynch on Sound Design
IFTA Q&A Series: Declan Lawn and Adam Patterson on Writing
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