Patsy Dick is a very lovely short movie from the guys at 925 Productions. I sat down with one of the producers, Laura McNicholas to talk about the production and just how difficult it can be to get a short movie made in the current economic climate. Look for Patsy Dick at upcoming festivals.
How did you become involved with Patsy Dick?
I've produced a number of plays and set up 925 Productions in order to move into producing films.I met Clodagh Downing the writer and co-producer on a writing course. She sent me the script for 'PATSY DICK' and I immediately felt a connection to the story. We spent some time developing it and eventually got the funding from Cork County Council to make it.
The cast are all great. Was casting the short a long process?
Myself and Clodagh are both actors so along with the director we were very clear about who the characters were. The casting was done by Maureen Hughes and Claire McGinley and they were brilliant. We did have Gary Murphy in mind from an early stage for the role of Patsy Dick and the casting directors helped with all the other roles. We are really delighted with all the performances-the time available in shorts is obviously so limited that casting is key to bringing the audience into the story from the first second.
Where did you film and how long was the production process?
We filmed in Glengarrif and on Garnish Island in West Cork for four days at the end of last September. We shot on water, had children, rabbits and seals and had to bring the cast and most of the crew down from Dublin.We shot 95% of the film outside and actually escaped the rain which was probably a miracle...logistically it was really ambitious & difficult for a first time shoot but we had a great cast and crew who all loved the story and really gave it 100%. I ended up getting lime disease while we were filming and was on medication for the night shoot so it was definitely a challenge but really an amazing experience. Prep lasted about two weeks and then we were in post production at Windmill Lane after that. .
Was it difficult to find funding and where did it come from?
There was definitely a sense with this project that it was just going to happen-and eventually Ian McDonagh the Arts Officer in Cork County Council read the script and gave us the funding. The Cork Screen Commission helped with the shoot and is helping us to promote the film now. The locations in West Cork are just so beautiful and wild-they perfectly suited 'PATSY DICK'. I'd really recommend shooting there.
How hard is it pulling something like this together?
I think when you really love a project it's more a case of having to make it so if things are difficult it's really just a learning experience. I'd made shorts and virals before on a zero budget but with funding you're being given the opportunity to step up. I'd never worked on sets before because I started out producing and acting in fringe plays so in terms of crew I had to learn exactly what each position was-the skill involved is pretty amazing. Pulling everything together was really hard to be honest but I'm good at asking questions and most people in the Irish industry are really supportive and happy to help and give advice.
What's the next step in terms of audiences seeing the film?
We are starting our festival run now and submitting to national and international festivals. It's a real West Cork film so we'd love to have our Irish Premiere at the Corona Cork Film Festival in November. We are really happy with the film we have made and we're getting brilliant feedback from people in the Industry so that's pretty nice.
Any advice for short producers out there looking to get their productions made?
Really work on the script until it's the best draft possible and then bring together a team who all believe in the film and want to see it made as much as you do. Apply for all the short film schemes and if you get shortlisted but don't get the funding see it as a step forward-someone obviously sees some potential-and then eventually you will get funding. Listen to all feedback cause chances are there is something in there that can help. It's so important to build relationships with other filmmakers as you learn from each other. Obviously though have fun cause it's pretty cool to watch a film that you have made go out and connect with other people!!