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Have You Got what It Takes To Be A Primetime Director?

By: Ballywire Newsdesk

Ballywire finds out what it takes to be a director
One of our favourite collaborators, top director Conor Morrissey.

Ever wanted to work in primetime tv? Are you someone with a creative vision that you feel would enliven your favourite soap? At Ballywire we are very fortunate to work with some of the most creative professionals in the business.

Take Dubliner Conor Morrissey.  Just back from an assignment in New York with Ballywire, this Monday the nation has an opportunity to see how Conor brings his creative vision to life, in the latest episode of Red Rock.

Born in Dublin, Conor studied film at The Dun Laoghaire Institute For Art, Design and Technology. His graduate film, ‘At Death’s Door’, starring Cillian Murphy, won nine Fuji Film awards including the BBC Award For Most Promising Director. Following graduation Conor relocated to London in 2000 where he directed commercials and music videos through production houses Itinerant Films and Manifesto Films.

Since 2003 Conor has worked primarily in television directing a wide range of projects. His credits include the supernatural thriller ‘Chosen’, ‘MacIntyre’s Underworld’, ‘Living The Dream’, ‘Buyer Beware’, ‘No Frontiers’, ‘Brides Of Franc’.

In 2006 Conor wrote and directed the short film ‘Last Night’ which was financed through the Irish Film Board’s Short Cuts scheme. The film had a successful run on the international festival circuit and was selected as a finalist for The Manhattan Short Film Festival in 2006.

If you’ve ALWAYS wanted to be a director, and think you might be able to oust Wonder Woman director Patty Jenkins or JJ Abrams calling the shots in Star Wars  then you will already know the answer to why become a director. In Conors case:

“I’ve always loved cinema and the idea of storytelling through pictures. When I graduated from IADT I was lucky enough to pick up an agent in the UK and it was through her that I got my first break into television, directing a drama series called ‘Chosen’ for RTE and ITV Wales.’.

All of which raises the question what’s key to a good director?

‘You need to be observant, curious about people and how the world works, being a director involves a lot of listening as well as creating an atmosphere where you draw the best out of those with whom you are collaborating. You need to have an intricate knowledge of the story you are telling and where to place emphasis within that story. That is your job.’.

We were curious to know how Conor directed this week’s Red Rock episode and pulled it all  together.

‘Red Rock was such a great project to work on. The episode that is about to broadcast represents a climax to a story that had building for the last number of episodes. To get to the pitch we needed it involved a lot of close work with the two principal actors. This was wonderfully intense and engaging as they were both so committed to their roles. For this season of Red Rock, where the shows are now one hour in length, we are pushing the visual style away from soap opera into something more expressive and cinematic.’ Check it out this Monday night on TV3 at 9 or on the 3player.

Here’s a sneak peek!


Conor is also keen to get his teeth into some of the hot shows right now, and with a talent like that why not?

“There’s a lot of quality drama being made for TV now. I would love to have a crack at Peaky Blinders.’ says the Dubliner.

Any advice for aspiring directors?

‘Don’t be too choosy too early on in your career. The important thing is to keep shooting, keep putting stories through the camera.’ Hopefully Conor will continue to take calls from Ballywire when he is in the Hollywood directors chair!