New Round of Major TV Drama Initiative Begins 2nd December 2017

Big Stories on the Small Screen is set to run a second major initiative to develop skills in quality long-form screen drama. The initiative brings together some of the most eminent screen storytellers from across the world to work with Irish screen professionals.

Big Stories on the Small Screen comprises a series of workshops and events over twelve months, beginning with a one-day conference on Saturday, December 2nd, 2017.

Briefing Day – Saturday, December 2nd, 2017
A major one-day conference at the Radisson Blu, Golden Lane, Dublin 2. The conference features a range of top international industry professionals, discussing their experience before an audience of one hundred writers, directors and producers, who may apply for tickets via Screen Training Ireland.

Speakers at the event include, Ronan Bennett, BAFTA-nominated screenwriter of the currently screening GUNPOWDER (BBC), as well as TV dramas TOP BOY (Channel 4), HIDDEN (BBC), 10 DAYS TO WAR (BBC), THE HAMBURG CELL (Channel 4), feature films including PUBLIC ENEMIES (Johnny Depp, Christian Bale), and an acclaimed novelist whose works include Zugzwang, Havoc, In Its Third Year and The Catastrophist; Malcolm Campbell, showrunner of ACKLEY BRIDGE (BBC), screenwriter, THE WHITE QUEEN (BBC), SHAMELESS (Channel 4) as well as feature film WHAT RICHARD DID; Ciaran Donnelly, award-winning producer-director of the upcoming KRYPTON (SyFi) as well as HARLEY AND THE DAVIDSONS (Discovery), VIKINGS (History Channel), TITANIC: BLOOD AND STEEL (Lionsgate) and THE TUDORS (Showtime); Neasa Hardiman, BAFTA-winning director of HAPPY VALLEY (BBC / Netflix), JESSICA JONES (Marvel / Netflix) and Z: THE BEGINNING OF EVERYTHING (Amazon); Lisa McGee, creator of DERRY GIRLS, LONDON IRISH (Channel 4), screenwriter with INDIAN SUMMERS, THE WHITE QUEEN, BEING HUMAN (BBC) and RAW (RTÉ); Katie Holly and Yvonne O’Donoghue, producers, STRIKING OUT (RTÉ); Declan Croghan, creator, LIFE OF CRIME, THE BODY FARM (ITV) and RIPPER STREET (BBC); Robert Quinn, director, ENDEAVOUR (ITV), ACKLEY BRIDGE (BBC) and NO OFFENCE (ITV); John Hayes, director, BANCROFT (ITV), VERA (ITV), HOME FIRES (BBC); Lisa Mulcahy, director, THE MOONSTONE, UNDERCLIFFE (BBC) and Red Rock (TV3); Gerard Barrett, writer/director, Smalltown (TV3) as well as feature films BRAIN ON FIRE, GLASSLAND and PILGRIM HILL.

Attendance at the event is limited. Interested applicants should apply for a place by Monday 20th November by clicking here Attendees at this event can consider applying to take part in the second module, a week-long, writers’ room workshop.

Week-Long Workshop – 21st May to 25th May 2018
Ten selected projects are hothoused in a writers’ room format, led by professional screenwriters David Isaacs (Mad Men, Frazier, The Simpsons) and Tom Abrams (Oscar-nominee, Professor of Screenwriting at USC). Subsequent to the workshop, participants continue to develop their projects in consultation with their tutors and collaborators via a secure online portal. In October, participants pitch their packaged long-form drama to invited production companies.

Applications to attend Module Two will be accepted from 3rd December 2017 via the Screen Training Ireland website.

Who Can Apply
Irish-resident Screenwriters, Creative Producers and Directors are invited to apply to Big Stories on the Small Screen. Teams or individuals may apply. Screenwriters must have experience in scripted drama, with a writing credit on at least one produced script, which has been staged theatrically or screened on television or in cinema. Novelists with one or more published works are also eligible. Directors must have experience in scripted drama, with a directing credit on at least one production of minimum 30 minutes’ duration, which has been screened on television or theatrically. Creative Producers must have a minimum of three years producing experience with a credit on at least one scripted production for film or television.

Big Stories on the Small Screen is funded by the Broadcasting Authority of Ireland and Screen Training Ireland. The initiative is supported by Irish broadcasters TV3 and TG4, as well as by professional industry bodies Screen Producers Ireland, the Screen Directors’ Guild of Ireland and Writers’ Guild of Ireland.

Further information about the initiative is available at: to apply click here


VR Storytelling with Colum Slevin of Oculus

Animation Skillnet with support from Animation Ireland, Screen Training Ireland and the Broadcasting Authority of Ireland are delighted to host a talk by Colum Slevin (Head of Experiences at Oculus VR) on VR Storytelling.

The talk will take place on Monday 6th November from 6.30pm-8pm in The Morrison Hotel, Ormond Quay Lower, Dublin.

Colum Slevin oversees the experiences group for the Oculus VR content team, helping a portfolio of third party developers making 360 video, narrative, and real-time experiences for Mobile VR and Rift. His early background in production for animated TV and features led him to Industrial Light + Magic, where he was Director of Computer Graphics, and later Vice President/Head of Studio Operations at Lucasfilm, where he was responsible for the animation division in California and Singapore. Colum joined Oculus in 2015 from Telltale Games, where he was Studio General Manager. He is obsessed with movies and, while he can never choose his favorite film, his current favorite quote is from Pulp Fiction: Mia asks “When in conversation, do you listen, or do you just wait to talk?” Vincent thinks about it and then responds, “I wait to talk, but I’m trying to listen.”

Registration here:

Please note that this talk is free but that places are limited and allocated on a first come first served basis.

MA in Scoring for Film & Visual Media Graduate Showcase and Networking Reception

Pulse College and Windmill Lane Studios are delighted to announce  Graduates of the MA in Scoring for Film & Visual Media will present a showcase of their work on Monday, 6th of November at Windmill Lane Studios.  Directors and producers are invited to attend a networking reception and meet graduate composers of the programme.

There will be a 30 minutes screening session with a presentation of the composers’ Graduation orchestral pieces consisting of original music scoring matched to well known film scenes.

The M.A. in Scoring for Film & Visual Media at Pulse College / Windmill Lane Studios is a one-year program that attracts the best young film composers from all over the world to Dublin. For the 2016/17 programme, successful student composers applicants came from the USA, South Africa, Germany, Australia, South Korea, India, Norway, Greece, Singapore, Puerto Rico, and Ireland.

Tutors for the programme include veteran Hollywood film composer Christopher Young (HELLRAISER, SPIDERMAN 3, COPYCAT, and THE SHIPPING NEWS); Irish conductor Derek Gleeson, and orchestrator Conrad Pope (HARRY POTTER, LORD OF THE RINGS, PIRATES OF THE CARIBBEAN) the orchestrator of choice for John Williams, Steven Spielberg, Hans Zimmer and Peter Jackson.

Other directors such as John Boorman and Jim Sheridan have lectured to the students on the special relationship that exists between the director and the film composer.

Throughout the year, composer’s record a series of sessions in Windmill of their own work, they perform a showcase of their own film compositions with a 110 piece orchestra in Sofia, Bulgaria. In addition composers participate in a month long placement in a recording studio in Hollywood, gaining valuable contacts and working as assistants on TV series and feature films.

Now in its fourth successful year, the Pulse College / Windmill Lane course is rated by AMPAS as one of the five top Film Music courses in the world.

If you are a director or producer wishing to attend this event please contact Pulse studios on 01 4784045 or email with the subject line “MA in Scoring for Film & Visual Media Showcase”.

Transatlantic Partners 2017

Rachel O’Kane, producer, Tilted Pictures, recently received a bursary to attend the Transatlantic Partners 2017.Read more about her experience on the programme. “Transatlantic Partners is an excellent training and networking programme for experienced film and TV producers from Europe, Canada and the US. Founded in 2009 by Jan Miller, TAP is the only programme that is dedicated to transatlantic co-production. Participants bring a project (either TV or Film) on the course and in the two workshops they get feedback on their projects and hands on training from resource trainers. Participants also get the opportunity to participate at the Atlantic Film Festival’s Strategic Partners, an international co-production market in Halifax.

“In spring 2017 I applied for Transatlantic Partners after meeting with Jan Miller, the course director. I thought the course looked excellent and knew some of the past participants and after meeting with Jan (a warm and charismatic woman) I knew I had to do it. Once I was selected I got in touch with Emer McAvin from Screen Training Ireland and made a bursary application. Luckily my application was successful and I was given support to do TAP.

“The first module was four days in Berlin from the 20th – 24th of June.  The first workshop was focused on financing in Europe, Canada and the US and case studies on TV and film co-productions. Every day the participants would introduce themselves, pitch their projects to the whole group and receive feedback from the TV/Film experts.

“I was very impressed from day one with TAP not only with the calibre of the team organising but the calibre of resources trainers, experts and most of all participants. The experience in the room was fantastic. When the pitches began I was blown away by the great stories.

“Although most of my experience is with film I chose to bring a TV series called GROSSE ISLE onto TAP. It was a project that a writer called Ger Gleeson had pitched to me.  It is a very organic co-production with Canada as it is set around a real-life quarantine island off the coast of Canada called Grosse Isle.  TV is a different beast and I learnt a lot in the first workshop.

“The second three-day workshop was in Halifax in Canada. There was two days of meetings at the international co-production market Strategic Partners.

“This workshop focused on sales, distribution and project packaging and there were amazing case studies given by industry experts. Participants pitched funding opportunities when co-producing with their country. In Strategic Partners (SP) there were scheduled meetings, buzz sessions and panel discussions. I had great meetings at SP and I am progressing a number of projects as a result of those meetings. Also I am progressing projects with some of the participants on TAP. I’m excited by the prospect of working with these great producers and look forward to seeing the wonderful stories that they go on to tell on the big and small screen. I highly recommend TAP to Irish producers who are working in TV and Film and want to co-produce with Europe, Canada and the US and I am very grateful to Screen Training Ireland for the support they gave me to do TAP.”

Photo: TAP Programme Participants 2017

Digital Production Mentoring Fund

Screen Training Ireland and Animation Skillnet are launching an international Mentoring Fund for VFX, Animation and other forms of digital production.  This initiative will offer professionals at all levels and in all digital disciplines an opportunity to avail of mentoring supports or to engage a mentor at key stages in their professional development.

The mentor or mentoring arrangement can be local or international and the mentoring can take a number of forms, from a defined number of consultations/calls over a certain period, to international work placement, to shadowing or face-to-face career clinics.

Mentoring can work in different ways, depending on the upskilling requirements, structure, and focus.  Applicants may consider:

  • Business Mentoring (emerging or mid-career producers/business owners): A number of meetings/consultations over a defined period with an animation/VFX business leader.
  • Creative Mentoring: Different mentoring interventions based on mentee needs and mentor availability, e.g. consultation; portfolio/showreel evaluation and feedback; shadowing; international work placement.
  • Technical mentoring: Focused mentoring to enhance specific technical skills, e.g. shadowing; international work placement; one-to-one tuition.

Ireland has a wealth of digital production talent operating at the very highest levels of the industry locally and internationally.  The Irish talent diaspora is well-positioned and hugely committed to supporting the continued growth of the Irish audiovisual industry through bespoke talent development initiatives such as this.  Screen Training Ireland and Animation Skillnet can access an extensive professional network in order to identify suitable mentors, but applicants are also encouraged to identify or suggest their own mentors.

Scott Pritchard, Compositing Supervisor with ILM London, said: ‘This mentoring scheme is a superb opportunity to assist Irish trainees with a passion for visual effects, and guide them through the first steps in their careers. I’m looking forward to passing on knowledge I’ve gained over 15 years in the industry to help the next generation of Irish visual effects artists.’

Stephen Fagan, Managing Director, Treehouse Republic said: ‘The Animation and VFX industry is maturing in Ireland and with that, the requirement for both business and creative focused individuals to become leaders in their field has increased.   The growth of our industry will heavily rely on schemes such as this. The fostering and nurturing of talent through an organised mentoring programme is a major step towards the long term growth of the animation and VFX industry in Ireland.  Strategically developing our leaders through mentoring ensures that the knowledge and experience we have gained will serve as stepping stones to those coming behind us, solidifying Ireland as a center of excellence in the years to come.’

An initial pilot fund will be open from October 2017 to December 2017, with further funding rounds throughout 2018.  Full details about the fund and application process will be available on the Screen Training Ireland and Animation Skillnet websites in the coming weeks.

Image: THE BREADWINNER, Cartoon Saloon.

VFX and Animation Graduate Trainees and Host Studios Announced

Screen Training Ireland and Animation Skillnet are delighted to announce the host studios and trainees for the 2017/18 VFX and Animation Traineeship Programme. To coincide with the launch of the programme, top speakers from the Animation and VFX industry converged in Dublin for the two-day symposium last weekend.

The Graduate Traineeship Programme is targeted at developing industry-focused skills in a workplace setting, supported by award-winning studios such as Brown Bag Films, Cartoon Saloon, Piranha Bar, Boulder Media and Windmill Lane VFX among others. The programme involves a mix of on-the-job training/mentoring as well as additional specialist training/mentoring delivered through Animation Skillnet and Screen Training Ireland. Read More

Participating studios and trainees for the 2017/18 Graduate Traineeship Programme are:

Boulder Media (Trainee: Louise McCague); Outer Limits (Trainee: Oran Desmond); Immersive VR Education (Trainee: Kirsty O’Donnell); Gingerbread Animation (Trainee: Siobhán McDonald); HMH (Trainee: Mark Crosbie); Piranha Bar (Trainee: Laura Boland); Jam Media (Trainees: Richard Chen & Lea Linnea Korkko); Cartoon Saloon (Trainee: Eoghan Fearon); Windmill Lane VFX (Trainee: Niall Mooney); Brown Bag Films (Trainee: Patrick Onofrei); Screen Scene VFX (Trainee: Daniel McGuire).

The two-day symposium included presentations and talks from top Irish and international animation and VFX practitioners, including, Rob Andrews, CG Supervisor, Cinesite (INCENDIARY, SWEENY TODD, HARRY POTTER AND THE ORDER OF THE PHEONIX, SUNSHINE); Brian Coldrick, Illustrator & Concept Artist (DOCTOR WHO, RED DWARF, ZAPPED); Scott Pritchard, Compositing Supervisor (STAR WARS: THE FORCE AWAKENS, AVENGERS: AGE OF ULTRON, INCEPTION); Sanna Myllykangas, Story Artist, Rovio & Aardman Animations; Eran Dinur, VFX Supervisor (IRON MAN, STAR TREK, TRANSFORMERS: REVENGE OF THE FALLEN, SALT); Damien O’Connor, Director, Brown Bag Films (ANGELA’S CHRISTMAS); Fred Burdy, CG Supervisor,  Brown Bag Films (ANGELA’S CHRISTMAS); Elaina Scott (AVENGERS: AGE OF ULTRON, THE HUNGER GAMES, HUGO); Annie-Award nominated and Eisner-Award nominated graphic novelist Sydney Padua (THE LION KING, THE JUNGLE BOOK, THE IRON GIANT); Richard Smitheman, Visual Development Artist (ROCK DOG, ENCHANTED, THE PRINCE OF EGYPT).

Gareth Lee, Manager of Animation Skillnet, said: ‘It’s great to be launching the third iteration of the highly successful VFX and Animation Graduate Traineeship Programme. The Traineeship Programme has provided on-the-job training for the participants and played a significant role in addressing skills gaps in Ireland over the last few years.’

Sorcha Loughnane, Training Executive, Screen Training Ireland said: ‘The VFX and Animation Graduate Traineeship is testament to a strong industry engagement with practical work-based learning.  The programme is a great example of industry-led training delivering successful outcomes, as evidenced by ongoing employment for past participants.’

Photo: ANGELA’S CHRISTMAS, Brown Bag Films.

Animation & VFX Symposium Schedule

SCHEDULE: Friday 20th of October – The Morrison Hotel, Ormond Quay Lower, Dublin 1. 

9.15am – Welcome

9.30am – Rob Andrews (CG Supervisor at Cinesite) – Finding Your Feet in Visual Effects

10.30am – Brian Coldrick (Concept Artist/Illustrator) – Character Design – Limitation and Innovation

11.30am – Break

11.45am – Richard Smitheman (Director – London School of Figure Drawing) – Gesture, Figure Drawing & Design Language for Animation

13.15pm – Lunch

14.15pm – Scott Pritchard (Compositing Supervisor at ILM) – Case Study: Rogue One – A Star Wars Story

15.15pm – Sanna Myllykangas (Story Artist at Aardman Animation) – The Art of Storyboarding

16.15pm – Break

16.30pm – Damien O’Connor (Director at Brown Bag Films) and Fred Burdy (CG Supervisor at Brown Bag Films) – Making A Scene – How Creative and Tech Can Work Together

 17.30pm – Ends

Saturday 21st of October 

9.15am – Welcome

9.30am – Elaina Scott (Lead Animator at Encore) – Previs Fundamentals for Film and Television

11.30am – Break

11.45am – Eran Dinur (VFX Supervisor) – The Life of a VFX Supervisor: tackling challenges on set and in the studio.

13.15pm – Lunch

14.15pm – Sydney Padua (Senior Character Animator at MPC) – Animal Anatomy and Mechanics from the Animator’s Perspective

15.15pm – Break

16.30pm – Barbara Slade (Writer/Producer) – It’s All about Story

17.30pm – Ends​

Photo: ANGELA’S CHRISTMAS, Brown Bag Films. 


New Speakers Added to Animation & VFX Symposium

Screen Training Ireland, and Animation Skillnet are delighted to announce some exciting new additions to the VFX and Animation Symposium. The symposium will take place in the Morrison Hotel Dublin on Friday 20th and Saturday 21st of October.

Eran Dinur is an Emmy award winning VFX supervisor and author of the book The Filmmaker’s Guide to Visual Effects. Eran worked at ILM Singapore and Framestore NY on films such as IRON MAN, STAR TREK, TRANSFORMERS: REVENGE OF THE FALLEN, SALT and CLASH OF THE TITANS. Since 2011 Eran has been leading Brainstorm Digital’s team as senior VFX supervisor on films and TV series such as THE WOLF OF WALL STREET, BOARDWALD EMPIRE, THE LOST CITY OF Z, TRIPLE NINE, CAFÉ SOCIETY, PAPILLION and WONDER WHEEL. He also teaches VFX at the School of Visual Arts. Eran is the recipient of two VES awards and a prime-time Emmy award for his work on Boardwalk Empire.
Based on his experiences as VFX supervisor on the set and in the studio, Eran wrote The Filmmaker’s Guide to Visual Effects (Routledge/Focal) to help directors, producers, editors, cinematographers and film students gain a deeper understanding of the process of visual effects, and discover the full potential of VFX as an essential filmmaking tool in any genre.

Rob Andrews is CG Supervisor with Cinesite.  Rob has almost twenty years’ experience, having previously worked at MPC and Double Negative.  Rob has amassed an extensive number of film CG Supervisor credits including INCENDIARY, SWEENY TODD, HARRY POTTER AND THE ORDER OF THE PHEONIX, and SUNSHINE. Rob’s production credits include GHOSTBUSTERS, DEEPWATER HORIZON, and ROBIN HOOD ORIGINS.

Barbara Slade began her screenwriting career in London when her first show “Brown Bear’s Wedding” sold to the Disney Channel, and was nominated for five Emmy awards including ‘Best Writer’. Barbara has continued writing and developing children’s series for Nickelodeon, Disney, ABC and Fox. She has received numerous awards including a ‘Humanitas’ for one of her episodes of RUGRATS. Her credits include ANGELINA BALLERINA, ROTTEN RALPH, and COMIN ATCHA!

Other speakers already announced include Scott Pritchard of ILM, illustrator Brian Coldrick, storyboard artist Sanna Myllykangas, Damien O’Connor and Fred Burdy of Brown Bag Films, animator Sydney Padua, art director Richard Smitheman and previs artist Elaina Scott.

The full schedule for the Symposium will be released next Monday the 16th of October.

If you are interested in attending this event, please register at Animation Skillnet here

The VFX and Animation Symposium is supported by Screen Training Ireland, Animation Skillnet, the Irish Film Board, the Broadcasting Authority of Ireland, and the Industrial Development Authority.

Image: AN ODE TO LOVE, courtesy of Brown Bag Films

IMRO Music for Screen Report 2017

An Irish Academy Masterclass with Cinematographer Seamus McGarvey

We are delighted to announce our support of the Irish Film & Television Academy members masterclass with multi Award-winning Irish cinematographer Seamus McGarvey. The masterclass takes place in the Light House Cinema, Smithfield, Dublin on Sunday the 22nd of October.

Seamus has been awarded five IFTAs for Best Cinematography, most recently, on Tom Ford’s NOCTURNAL ANIMALS earlier this year.

The Irish Academy will have the pleasure of officially presenting Seamus with his IFTA Award during the Masterclass.

Seamus has been twice nominated for American Academy Awards, for ATONEMENT (2007) and ANNA KARENINA (2012), both of which were directed by Joe Wright. He has also worked with Joe Wright on various commercials including Chanel.  Seamus has received nominations from BAFTA in 2016 for his work on Tom Ford’s NOCTURNAL ANIMALS and also for his work on TV drama BLACK MIRROR.

Seamus will give a two hour Masterclass on Saturday 22nd October at the Light House Cinema. The Masterclass, which is open primarily to the Camera department, will explore the work of an incredibly talented cinematographer and areas that will be covered include: working with the director; determining camera, format and shooting style, working with the VFX team; how the process has changed in the last 15 years, and where the craft of Cinematography is going. Samples of Seamus’ work will be screen and discussed including the famous five minute Dunkirk take (including the brilliant steadicam work by Peter Robertson) in ATONEMENT.

Born in Armagh in Northern Ireland, Seamus McGarvey began his career as a stills photographer, quickly progressing to cinematography by shooting short films and documentaries. His early work swiftly gained him notice in the film industry, working with celebrated directors such as Sam Taylor-Wood and Joe Wright. In 1998, Seamus McGarvey became the youngest member of the British Society of Cinematographers, and won the Royal Photographic Society’s prestigious Lumière medal for contributions to the art of cinematography.

Throughout his career, he has worked on a variety of acclaimed films such as THE AVENGERS, GODIZILLA, The SOLOIST and THE HOURS. McGarvey has won IFTA Awards for Best Cinematography for SAHARA, ATONEMENT, WE NEED TO TALK ABOUT KEVIN and NOCTURNAL ANIMALS.

Masterclass with Seamus McGarvey
Venue: Light House Cinema
Date: Sunday 22nd of October
Time: 10.00am – 12.30
COST: €15 (non-Members), €10 (IFTA Members) Click here to apply.