Spotlight Interview with BAFTA winner and writer Ferdia Mac Anna
Over the next few weeks we’re running a series of Spotlight interviews with the guest facilitators who will be hosting workshops at this year’s Dalkey Creates Festival. Today we’re catching up with this this year’s writer in residence, BAFTA Ferdia Mac Anna.
Ferdia is a director of Film and TV drama, novelist, screenwriter, lecturer, creative writing tutor and rock and roller. For some years he toured Ireland as lead singer and songwriter with first Rocky De Valera and the Gravediggers (1977-79/2005-2009) and then The Rhythm Kings (1980-83).
He was producer and script editor on the acclaimed award-winning BBC/RTE children’s drama series, Custer’s Last Stand-Up (2000-2002) which won the BAFTA for best drama series.
His first feature film, All About Eva, an old school Film Noir revenge thriller set in the horse-racing community of Kildare, was selected for the Dublin International Film Festival (2015).
Q. What did you want to be when you were a child?
I wanted to be Ray Bradbury and write spellbinding innovative sci-fi and fantasy.
I wanted to be James Bond and get all the girls.
I wanted to play lead guitar in The Allman Brothers band and maybe The Doors.
I wanted to be Burt Lancaster and take no crap from anyone about anything, ever.
And I wanted to direct Laurel and Hardy short films.
Q. Do you have a routine in your creative practice?
Yes, for sure and it never fails me. I get up way too early, arrive way too early wherever I am working and creating and get passionately stuck into the true essence of creativity which is about developing and nurturing epic levels of procrastination. If I get through that, lots of stuff gets done.
Q. Which work of art do you wish you had created?
I don’t, really. I am happy in my own skin and also keen to come up with my own visions.
However, I admire and love and enjoy works of art in many different disciplines. With movies, I can watch and re-watch Vertigo and The Birds (Hitchcock), The Third Man (Carol Reed) and Jaws (Spielberg) and I adore The Piano (Jane Campion), but if you want to know my all-time favourite film, it’s The Warriors (Walter Hill).
The album I love most is The Allman Brothers Live at the Fillmore East, but I also admire everything by The Penguin Café Orchestra, Steely Dan and Joni Mitchell. I have a soft spot for Hall and Oates and Supertramp.
My literary heroes include Cormac McCarthy (particularly his novel, ‘Blood Meridian’), Alice Hoffman, Raymond Carver, Richard Stark, Flannery O’Connor, Spike Milligan and David Sedaris (funniest writer of all time, in my view) and my all-time Favourite writer is Ray Bradbury.
Those are my favourites and influences. I can’t really say I wish I had created anything on that list. I’m a fan first. That’s what inspired me to do anything creative and their works gave me courage to be vulnerable in the arena.
Q. If you could give any advice to someone starting out on your path, what would it be?
The only advice really is that you should persevere if you love what you do. Try not to read the critics or knock around with negative people.
Being a Bohemian is a bonkers way to live. That’s why I have always had a kind of portfolio career as a creative – I work as a writer and filmmaker and tutor because I like to mix things up.
I used to rock and roll as well, but lately I’ve taken a step away from it. I may be getting too creaky or too cranky to rock the way I want to. Last time I was on stage with a band it was a shock to find that I had belted out the first two songs facing into the back wall rather than the audience. Serves me right for wearing sun glasses indoors at night.
Q. Who would you like to meet that you haven't already?
Q. What would you ask them?
I wouldn’t ask anything. I would just listen to her.
Q. Which actor would play you in the film of your life?
I intend to keep on playing myself in the on-going movie of my life which I hope will have many blockbusting sequels. How could that the role has been cast.
Ferdia will be providing Individual Manuscript Feedback to writers on Saturday 21st October, between 10am - 1pm in the Thai House, Dalkey.