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Production / Funding - Ireland

Industry Report: Market Trends

Irish road movie Joyride sets the example for skills needs and talent development practices

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Skills plans will play a major role in developing the crew base of smaller regions, the film's case study reveals

Irish road movie Joyride sets the example for skills needs and talent development practices
Actress Olivia Colman (centre) with the Joyride crew during the film's shoot (© Tara Donoghue)

Screen Ireland, the Emerald Isle’s film agency, has recently published a compelling case study on skills needs and talent development practices. The document focuses on Emer Reynolds’ feel-good road movie Joyride, premiered at the Galway Film Fleadh last month and staged by Dublin-based studio Subotica. The picture follows the story of Joy (played by Olivia Colman), a headstrong solicitor, whose plan to offload her unwanted baby is derailed when a vulnerable but opinionated teenager steals their taxi.

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As a regional Section 481 production, Joyride was required to submit to an approved skills development plan. In detail, the project’s skills plan included six trainees and two new entrants that were local to the region as well as an internship programme with a local college.

Filmed in County Kerry in July 2021 (read news), the production team had to face challenges related to travel and accommodation for crew and cast owing to cost and limited availability. The production looked to sourcing crew from the local region as a practical solution. With the help of Screen Kerry, the local film development office, they were able to source the crew needed for the shoot.

“As we were shooting in the Kerry region we made it our mission to hire as many crew as was possible who reside in that area. We did a mailshot ad in conjunction with Screen Kerry which we had a good response to. We were able to hire several crew members through that,” explained Elaine Nicell, Skills Development Co-ordinator. Moreover, the production team worked in conjunction with the Kerry College Monavalley Campus to offer internship placements for students undertaking the Broadcast Production Skills course.

But how were these skills needs addressed? Specifically, skills participants were paired with a mentor in their department to set out both the requirements for performing tasks in the role as well as individual learning objectives for the mentee. This approach ensured both active participation and the fulfilment of crew needs. Throughout this process, participants would receive regular feedback on their learning progression from both their mentors and heads of department.

Upon completion of their skills plans, participants shared that they had a better understanding of what was expected of them in their role and that they felt more comfortable asking questions about their own skills needs as well. They were able to build on this experience with confidence and take on new jobs after Joyride’s production was completed. For example, Alan O’Mahony, a production trainee, already managed to work as a trainee assistant director on a feature and a high-end TV series. He will continue his studies before seeking further work opportunities.

Overall, Joyride’s skills plan had a positive impact on the production itself but also on its participants, as it created new opportunities for people at all levels, including new entrants with transferrable skills, people with no experience and film students who hadn’t had the opportunity to do the usual project work owing to Covid restrictions. This case study made crystal-clear that how skills plans and collaboration with local educational institutions are set to play an essential role in enriching and upskilling the crew base of smaller, emerging regions. “As we grow the depth of the crew base in Kerry, productions like Joyride provide employment to crew and trainees based locally, enabling them to further their skillset and gain career experience. This is highly beneficial to the regional industry,” added Siobhan O’Sullivan, Kerry ETB Film Development Officer.

You can access the full case study document here.

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