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Pulse College is delighted to announce the two film treatments by Mark Symmons and Paul Mahon from the full time Film Diploma course, have been chosen to be produced into short films. This is part of Pulse College’s ongoing commitment to hands on practical experience on all of their courses. We talk to the successful duo to find out the philosophy behind their concept and the plans that are in place to take on the mammoth task of getting their short films on to the big screen.

Mark Symmons: Film Title: ‘These Aren’t Toys’

Q1. Your background? Where you’re from? What did you do before you came to Pulse?

I did an MA in Film and Television in 1994 -1995, purely on the theory side of the discipline before moving to the US to get work experience in the industry. I eventually can home to work in the family business and have been doing so for the past 15 years.  I always felt that I had unfinished business with film, and it was something I could never quite get out of my system. It was when my girlfriend saw the ad for Pulse College on TV and suggested I go for it.

Q2. Tell us about the concept behind your short film.

It’s a story about the internalization of grief and how it can affect previously secure relationships.  I’ve written it and am Producing and Directing it.  My colleagues’ from the course will form the crew, I hope! Getting the casting right – it’s the next most important thing after the script. The whole idea of how internalisation of grief can affect family dynamics and personal relationship has always been an interesting topic for me to explore, so I can’t wait to see how it translates onto the Big Screen.

Q3. What are you film influences who inspires you from a Director point of view?

Directors – Arthur Penn, Sam Peckinpah, Lasse Halstrom, Woody Allen, John Sturges, Larry Cohen, early Polanski, Coen Brothers, Ridley Scott, Spielberg – all in no particular order, and to varying degrees!  Writer – Directors especially, like Allen and the Coens, because it all starts with the writing. Ennio Morricone, Composer – His musical landscapes are incredible, his cues are characters in their own right.

Q4. How did you feel when it was announced that you were shortlisted?

A great deal of satisfaction, followed by panic!

Q5. What are your plans after you finished in Pulse College?

I am starting my own Production company, and doing some script doctoring for a friend. After that I have a couple of ideas for shorts, but nothing concrete yet!


Paul Mahon: Film Title: Eric

Q1. Your background? Where you’re from? What did you do before you came to Pulse?

I am Paul Mahon. I am from Kilkenny City. Before I was in Pulse I had done a lot of stuff involving video, a few skate videos, music videos, live visuals along with other projects I’ve had on the go. Then as most Irish youths with no direction in life I decided to travel the world to find Jesus. Lucky for me I found him, he had some awesome advice, mostly about my hair and beards though. Unlike Jesus I couldn’t rely on the fame of family members to get me anywhere, so I decided I’d like to get into TV and Film work. Step one was Googling it. I found details of this course on the Pulse website, and it looked interesting. It was, and still is.

Q2. What prompted you to take up the Film Diploma with Pulse College?

I wanted to learn more about how to get into the business and meet new people with the same plan and/or idea. A friend of mine had done an audio course in Pulse and said it was the bees knees, so that’s why I decided to go, along with my parents saying they would no longer answer my calls if I couldn’t secure an interview on the Late Late Show within the next 5 years. So pressure’s on really.

Q3. Can you tell us the background behind the concept of your film?

My short film is about a puppeteer and his puppet. It will just have to be watched for further detail. Most of the class will be helping out with the production but as far as the writing goes, fellow classmate Eoghan McKenna helps me structure things out. I pace up and down the room shouting ideas, and then he decodes them and puts them onto paper. It’s great. I think the entire process of making a short is challenging, in fact anything to do with film is, so much to organize and sort out before filming and its all ahead of me!!, It is amazing to watch a film now and think… “How in the name of God did they sort out a shot like that…?” Where did the idea for basing you film around puppetry? I was always fascinated by Pinocchio as a child growing up and the whole idea of the dynamics between the puppet and puppet master fascinated me. As an adult AI really inspired me from a film stand point.

Q4. What are you film influences who inspires you from a Director point of view?

Music videos have inspired me more, people like Michel Gondry & Spike Jones. Their progression into film is pretty inspiring, and the fact they still do shorts and music videos is great. I think people around me have inspired me more than any name that happens to appear after “Directed by…” in film credits or DVD box.

Q5. How did you feel when it was announced that you were shortlisted?

It was great to get my script picked to be made into a short, especially knowing who was picking them. It’s a frightening thing sending something like that away to get judged. Nothing to lose though, so it’s all good.

Q6. Do you have a dream film festival win?

Expresión en Corto International Film Festival, Festival du Nouveau Cinéma.

Q7. What are your plans after you have finished in Pulse College?

Move to the country and get stuck into the projects that are mentioned below and am very excited about!

Q8. Do you have any projects planned for the future that you can share?

The ground work has been set for a few other projects I’m involved in alright. I’m in studio with Stephen White from the audio course recording an EP down for a collective band I started last year called Geppetto. Then there is Geppetto:CoLab, which is a live visuals duo consisting of myself and artist friend, Mick Minogue. We have also just got into some installation projects (one of which is getting an audio make over by Brendan Rehill from the degree course in Windmill). That’s fun. I also provide live visuals for RSAG, so that keeps me quite busy as well with editing and live shows.

To find out more about our Film Production programs, click here.



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