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Let Me Introduce Myself Part 2- The highs and lows of the NI Film Industry

Hi there,

Welcome back to Let Me Introduce Myself! 

As I said in Part 1, Architecture wasn't for me, but I learned a lot, lots about design, being a designer and plenty about myself.

Working on the model of Winterfell during S05 of GOT.  (photo credit HBO)

After studying a basic course in TV and Film I quickly set my sights on working in the Art department.

When I started applying for jobs it felt like Ireland's best kept secret as to how one might obtain a job in the film industry, but I didn't let it deter me and soon enough good fortune struck! An Irish film "Grabbers" was being shot in my home town so I sought out the production office and pestered them daily until someone from the Art Department gave me a call. I worked for five days with the standby team, carrying buckets of water up and down Pollen Strand at Ballyliffen erasing footprints in the sand (real film magic). It was tough work during a very cold January but I stuck it out and it played well in my favour.


I met an incredible young lady on that set who became one of my closest friends. She also introduced me to the designer, who in turn became the designer I would work most for in my career; and the one that requested me to make some origami pieces for the BBC Series "The Fall" (the one with Jamie Dornan).


I’ve worked on some really fun productions including two seasons of Game of Thrones. During Season 5 of GOT they produced a behind the scenes film, “A day in the life”; I was really chuffed that a set model I made for the Hardhome scenes featured prominently; its up there as one of my absolute highs!


I was requested to make some origami props for Luke Scott’s (yep, Ridley Scott's son) first feature film “Morgan” about a year later, by the same designer of “The Fall”. This time round it was more challenging than my first foray into origami with flowers and birds; the brief was fish and geometric shapes! It was a challenge but I managed it and it’s when I really got hooked with modular origami and it’s possibilities!

Origami Koi fish, based on design/tutorial by Jo Nakashima & Davor Vinko


So why did I give it up? When the industry was good it was great, but cracks began to appear over time. I frequently saw other trainees and assistants, in various departments, bullied by their seniors for no reason. Be made out to be worthless in front of their peers and colleagues. Bullying was much too common and never dealt with at the source; unfortunately I’d experienced it myself on four separate occasions by people at different levels, the last to be a director. Needless to say it didn't sit well with my personal values. People should be respected, that's the bottom line for me.

Add to that a minimum 55 hour week, working nights and weekends, limited time to see family and friends, no real "holiday" time, just time between jobs and an imbalance in pay grades.

As I looked at my future career possibilities I decided it was time to move on, I had a good run with the industry and I'd worked with some increibly talented people but I wanted to get back to a simpler form of design, to work for myself and hopefully achieve a business model that would help me help others.

And so I took a big leap of faith in myself to create something new and right for me...that was back in 2017!

Hopefully I now have you hooked and you’ll check back next week for “Let me introduce myself, part 3- The birth of Pattern and Fold”

See you next week!
Grace Margaret


PS: If you want to help some folks in the film industry gain a little more life balance sign this petition for them, it's a big deal. An hour to gain daily may not sound much but it's a huge difference and sometimes the difference between getting home safe or not!


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