Interview with Motive Television's Jamie D'Alton and Anne McLoughlin While Conor McGregor series 'The Notorious' continues to sell worldwide proving their most renowned hit yet, Motive also have 'The Long Walk', 'A Sporting Chance' and 'Darndale: The Edge of Town' receiving nods this year.
IFTN: louis vuitton purses in new york Five IFTA nominations for four different productions is not a bad result out of the IFTA noms this louis vuitton bags for less year Jamie D'Alton: 'Yeah it's fantastic last year we got three IFTA nominations but didn't win any on the night so we had a pout on that night [laughs]. It's great to be nominated also across a number of different titles not just one or two.' Also delighted that Patrick Timmons Ward (Director of 'The Notorious') and Michael O'Donovan (DOP of 'The Long Walk') were nominated in the craft categories. The big hit for Motive has undoubtedly been Conor McGregor documentary series 'The Notorious' over the past year. Much like the man it follows, that series is proving to be a hit worldwide Jamie D'Alton: 'For a company like ours, to get in with a man like Conor at the time we did was fantastic. There was no way of predicting how big he was going to become. 'The Notorious' is proving to be a huge hit for us we have a great bunch of creative people working on it. It really appeals to audiences because even though there is loads of Conor McGregor material out there we offered unique access and that really excited people particularly as Conor got more into the public eye. We had access to his family and I think the audience really felt they were in Conor's world.' Would Conor be a documentarian's dream he seems like the type of guy you just point a camera on and shoot and he will take care of the rest? Jamie D'Alton: 'I think it would take a brave man to try and direct Conor McGregor [laughs]. He really is TV gold. He's a massive personality but really his story is all about the remarkable journey he has been on going from collecting the dole to presidential suites in Vegas hotels. Saying that, Patrick (director) and Gavin (DOP) did an incredible job capturing that story. We really just want to capture that journey and I think that's why his story struck a chord with people it was real and authentic and it's rare to get such an intimate inside track on someone going on such a cataclysmic ride.' With so many productions under your belt you must have attended MIPCOM last week with a lot of confidence? Jamie D'Alton: 'We don't even know what MIPCOM is [laughs].' Anne McLoughlin: 'We are going to have to start going I think [laughs].' Another project that has sold for Motive (and is also IFTA nominated) is 'Darndale: The Edge of Town' Anne McLoughlin: 'Yeah 'Darndale' aired on Channel 5 in the UK and it really did well over there. Much like we did with Conor McGregor, we spent a lot of time with the participants in Darndale. I think if you spend enough time and be patient with participants, you will get good content. It just takes a lot of patience, a lot of very enjoyable cups of tea, but of course very long days. In Darndale there was a great team dynamic across the production Yvonne Kinsella casting, Matt Leigh and Katie Lincoln directing and of course Emer O'Clery in the driving seat in the edit.' Another acclaimed show of Motive's over the past few years has been 'Prison Families' did you follow the same process there of taking your time with the participants? Anne McLoughlin: 'Yeah, we had amazingly strong participants in 'Prison Families' and they all had very strong stories behind them. However, it did take a lot of persuading from the casting team to win their trust. This is another series that we are delighted to have sold abroad with Nat Geo picking it up.' Between 'A Sporting Chance', 'Darndale' and 'Prison Families' there is kind of a pattern emerging of shows centred around people in disadvantaged areas? Jamie D'Alton: 'It's funny because even though 'The Notorious' would be the show that put us on the map, Anne and I are most proud of our kitchen sink dramas 'Darndale' and 'Prison Families'. We got a lot of positive feedback from press both in Ireland and the UK calling both shows life affirming and that made us really proud because it's easy to find the darkness in shows like these but it's hard to find the light. So, for people to say those things to us was fantastic. There are accusations that you could make tabloid television with something like 'Darndale' so to not only avoid that but be ultimately praised for being the opposite of that is extremely gratifying.' Anne McLoughlin: 'I suppose it all started in Ballybeg with our television show 'The Estate'. Ben Frow of TV3 gave us a lot of freedom to pursue a series in a disadvantaged estate and then 'Prison Families' followed on from a family we filmed with down there. So, I suppose productions beget productions. With all of these shows, I have really found all the participants to be extremely strong in telling their own life stories and I think that is what continues to draw us as a company and a team to produce these kind of series.' Jamie D'Alton: 'I was always a bit concerned that television was a little middle class in Ireland [laughs]. We were aware that there were all these amazing communities out there that hadn't been portrayed or if they were portrayed then they would have been portrayed in a one dimensional way. I wouldn't say we are exactly drawn to material like this how to tell a fake louis vuitton agenda but it's just rich documentary material and TV3 with funding from the BAI really gave us a great opportunity to explore that.' 'We also have a big series going out on RT soon called 'Dole Life' and it explores people drawing unemployment benefit in their twenties. Again, I think it's a very powerful series because very little is being done by for this cohort of 18 25 year louis vuitton alma new olds, where unemployment is still over 20%. Again, we followed this demographic for a long period of time and we got a very rich story out of it.' Anne McLoughlin: 'With documentary making, I think you can find compelling stories if you have the curiosity and patience within any street or town in the country. If you bed down in any community advantaged, disadvantaged you will find rich documentary material there. You will find financial difficulties, education worries, illness, new relationships etc and at some point it would be great to get the opportunity to tell the story of a more middle class urban or rural isolated area etc. The BAI has been very generous to us in backing projects over the years, so hopefully we can get some support here too.' You talked a lot there about filming for a long time and getting the trust of participants. Particularly with something like the upcoming 'Dole Life' how would you get people to go on camera and talk about something as stigmatic in our society as not working and being in financial difficulty? Anne McLoughlin: 'I think people in their 20's are used to broadcasting their lives these days. The participants in 'Dole Life' were very self aware and they were fantastically open in giving us access. I think for some of them that being followed around by television cameras maybe led to some opportunities for them that maybe would not have happened otherwise. I think being on camera and having a lot of time self reflecting garnered a lot of positive results for them.' Jamie D'Alton: 'Ultimately, it's all about winning the trust of your participants. We are committed fully to our participants and to our work. We don't just follow someone around for three or four days and then throw something together. We give the time to our participants from 'The Estate' to 'Darndale' and 'Prison Families' and that ultimately means we now have a track record. I am really proud of the fact that all of our participants in all of our projects were happy with how their stories were handled. Ultimately, we have surrounded ourselves with a great team that are sensitive to the people we are trying to portray and that is really important.' Being a small company with a proven track record like you said how much confidence does that now give you to see all these projects landing with the right audience? Does it spur you on to perhaps tackle some stories and some projects that you wouldn't have thought possible a few years ago? Anne McLoughlin: 'It certainly does give you courage and it becomes a little easier though I am saying that knocking on wood because you are only as good as your last project. In saying that, I would be fairly confident that we can build on this success and perhaps build another team of people who can create more solid programming across Ireland and perhaps the UK. We are working and have worked with some of the best producing, directing and editing talent in the country so it's their talent that ultimately gives you the confidence that most stories are possible to tell, once you have the time, the budget and fundamentally the backing of the broadcasters.' Jamie D'Alton: 'It's great to have made good television that people have responded to. It's a challenge making short form non returnable series. From a business point of view, it's hard going. You are kind of re inventing the wheel every time you work on a big one or two parter. Six to eight part series sounds a bit more comfortable in terms of running a business! In saying that, we love the content we have made that's what we have built our reputation on. It's all about making a bit of noise and getting people talking whether it's on Twitter or through good reviews.' Besides 'Dole Life' and an inevitable new series of 'The Notorious' after McGregor becomes World Champion what else is on the cards for Motive? Jamie D'Alton: 'Maybe ask Conor's manager about a new season of 'The Notorious' because we are finding him harder and harder to pin down [laughs]. We would love to do more with Conor but he has gone stratospheric now so it remains to be seen nothing is pinned down yet.
' 'Aside from 'Dole Life' we also have a big series on Lahinch and big wave surfers coming up. That project is directed by Ross Whitaker ('Unbreakable: Mark Pollack).'.
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