Michelle Ryan pictured above is a Limerick born filmmaker and the founder and manager of EPIK Media.
Limerick born filmmaker Michelle Ryan is the founder and manager of EPIK MEDIA
Limerick born filmmaker Michelle Ryan is the founder and manager of EPIK MEDIA. She has a background in advertising and film production in New York City, London and Ireland. She has created marketing material for many well-known clients such as Universal, Showtime, Playground Entertainment, RTÉ and many more. Her main focus in her career is capturing the behind-the-scenes of films and TV shows. Some of her most popular projects she has worked on in the last few years are Penny Dreadful and Jurassic Park.
What makes you a proud Limerick woman?
The Limerick people. They are the soundest you’ll meet. Down to earth, always willing to give you a hand and with a great sense of humour. Not to mention incredibly talented, representing our class city all over the world, with a very special Limerick sort of pride.
How and why did you choose this career?
I loved film from a very early age…became a bit obsessed with it actually! I remember seeing my brother do media and filmmaking in college (Mary I) and I immediately knew that’s what I wanted to do. I love storytelling, in any form. But getting lost in the world of a film or TV show never loses its magic for me.
Tell me about your job and what you love most about it?
I’m a filmmaker. I produce, shoot, direct and edit all kinds of creative videos – but with a focus on “behind-the-scenes” documentaries i.e the “makings of” content you see for films and TVs. I run my production company, EPIK Media, with a small but hugely talented freelance team, we produce creative content be it for promos, corporate, event, music, TV or film. We’ve been lucky enough to work on some amazing projects in the last few years, from Penny Dreadful to Jurassic World, Children’s Books Ireland to the Irish Red Cross.
What have been the greatest challenges in your career?
I think getting started was the greatest challenge. The film industry can be a really hard nut to crack, if you’re not directly related to someone already working in it. So you have to work hard to make those initial connections and to get your foot in the door! Also, as with most creative careers/those in the arts, it’s not exactly reliable or stable work. You can have very quiet periods and then insanely busy times. You never know what each year will bring. So you have to accept that fairly early on and get comfortable with it. But that’s sometimes what keeps us going; the unpredictability, variety and versatility.
What work achievements are you most proud of?
Being asked to direct and shoot footage for the latest Jurassic World: Dominion film. That was insane, terrifying and amazing. The film opens with documentary style footage and the director Colin Trevorrow asked me to shoot it so that it looked authentic. I was on the job shooting and directing all the behind-the-scenes content already. At the end of the job (approx 6 months) we cut together a sizzle reel to show to the cast and crew on wrap, as a little celebration. The filmmakers loved it so much, they sent it to the folks all the way up in Amblin (Stephen Spielberg, Kathleen Kennedy & Frank Marshall) who sent some very lovely words back about my work. Pretty surreal.
Who are your greatest inspirations both in work and life?
My parents, most definitely. They’ve supported and encouraged me and my siblings no matter what career path we chose. They’re big believers of “you can achieve anything you want to” which has really been drilled into me, I think. And has helped me through those rough days. In terms of work inspiration, my very good friend and amazing unit stills photographer, Jonathan Hession, has always been somewhat of a mentor to me and someone I’ve always looked up to. In terms of work and style, Wes Anderson movies were my biggest influence growing up.
How has Covid impacted your own business?
I was very lucky to have not been impacted too drastically by Covid. We had a few months of nothing filming during that initial lockdown period. But during that spell, my production company EPIK Media looked after a lot of clients in helping them to move events and produce content online. So we kept going with edits and online work. Jurassic started back filming in early July then. The bigger productions were fortunate to have the budget to create a whole Covid dept and protocols (daily testing etc) to ensure we could all continue working safely.
What advice would you give to people wanting to pursue a career in film?
Be willing to work hard. Be willing to learn all of the time – methods, styles and technology are constantly changing. At no point will you ever know everything. Don’t be afraid to make mistakes and don’t be afraid to put yourself out there – everyone had to start somewhere. So send the emails, arrange the coffee meetings, send the nudge email again. Be kind and help people out when they need it.
Where do you see yourself in 5 years’ time?
Still trying to train my dog, Christy O’Connor! I hope EPIK is as busy as ever – I would love to grow the team, expand more to the UK, start producing more feature documentaries and still be taking on creatively exciting and challenging work.
And to still get the same buzz when stepping on to a film set!
What’s your favourite thing about Limerick?
The people! The absolute soundness and chattiness of the people, not to mention the talent and ridiculous amount of modesty. And Donkey Fordes. Obvs.
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For more information on Michelle Ryan and EPIK Media go HERE