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10 Questions with Limerick writer/filmmaker Shane Vaughan of Big Shots

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Shane Vaughan (pictured above) and Conor Hooper founded Big Shots when they met at a Film In Limerick workshop in 2023

Limerick writer/filmmaker Shane Vaughan of Big Shots answers 10 questions about Limerick, inspirations, and his greatest achievements

Conor Hooper co-founded Big shots with Shane Vaughan in 2023

Big Shots was founded in August 2023 when two writer-filmmakers, Shane Vaughan and Conor Hooper, met at a Film in Limerick workshop.

Shane is an artist working across photo, video, and installation. He has an MFA from Crawford College of Art & Design and a BA from Limerick School of Art & Design, and was the director of Stanzas: An Evening of Words from 2016-2020. Conor Hooper an award-winning writer, director and producer. He studied Film at the Huston Film School and received an MFA in Screenwriting from the University of Nevada Las Vegas.

Conor’s work has featured on TG4, and screened at multiple festivals including the Galway Film Fleadh. He runs production company The Twins with his brother Jamie Hooper (no relation) and is Outreach Officer for Fresh Film in Limerick.


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Big Shots is all about giving local filmmakers a chance to screen their work and rub shoulders with other practitioners. It’s a great space to see your work with a receptive audience and to network with like-minded people to get more work made! Although they focus on Limerick shorts, they have also screened national and international films as they come to them, and gives a great opportunity to see what’s going on in the world of short films.

All submissions must be under 10 minutes in length, but we accept absolutely anything made with a camera, from fine art film to documentary, comedy shorts to narrative dramas. You can submit your work at [email protected].

What was your childhood like and where did you grow up?

I am born and raised in Limerick – I grew up in Dooradoyle but have lived in the city centre for many years now. I am the eldest of 6 kids, so my childhood was one filled with lots of noise!

When did you start getting into writing and filmmaking?

My granddad had an old camera which I borrowed when I was in the University of Limerick. I really loved taking photos and things spiralled out of control from there. Writing is something that has been dear to me since school. I would write poems and stories to help me cope with m own anxieties – Sylvia Plath was one of my favourite poets, of course.

Who are your greatest inspirations in both work and life?

I get super inspired by collaborating with other people. I struggle to make art on my own, and it’s only when you get in the room with everyone that the ideas start flowing. I love to collaborate with people who are totally different to me in their ways of thinking, doing, being. 

What have been some struggles you’ve faced getting to where you are now?

I am often my own worst enemy. Self doubt, lack of confidence, and throwing in the towel when the going gets tough! Getting over my hump days is definitely a big struggle for me, but the more you do the better you get at the doing!

Limerick writer/filmmaker Shane Vaughan of Big Shots answers 10 questions about Limerick, inspirations, and his greatest achievements
Shane Vaughan says, “Big Shots is a place for filmmakers to show their work and meet like-minded peers.”

What advice do you have for any aspiring filmmakers and writers?

Just keep going. It’s a crazy industry, the arts, and so much hinges on a lucky break. But I find joy in the making of things, so just keep going and who knows where your next project will take you.

What is your greatest achievement so far?

Getting my MA was a massive milestone for me. I dropped out of my first college course when I was 21 and I felt like a massive failure. so going back to study was a big thing for me, and getting a 1:1 was such an achievement.

Where do you see yourself in 5 years?

Exactly where I am now, but perhaps with a few more films under my belt.

How would you like to see the film industry develop in Limerick?

I love the Engine shorts, they give funding to a handful of successful applicants to make a low-budget short. I think that’s a great training ground for the industry here and I’d love to see it expand. 

What is Big Shots and why did yourself and co-founder Conor Hooper set it up?

Big Shots is a place for filmmakers to show their work and meet like-minded peers. Conor and I set it up because we love films and we want to see more more more! Conor is a frequent collaborator with the Little Cinema in Galway so we took their event and shaped it to work here in Limerick. 

And lastly, what do you love most about Limerick?

Limerick is a real grungy kind of a city. We’re not sleek and clean and polished – we’ve got a real edge about us. I always love that, we’re just so full of mad characters from all over the world who, somehow, all fit in together here.

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Richard is a presenter, producer, songwriter and actor. He was named the Limerick Person of the Year (2011) and won an online award at the Metro Éireann Media and Multicultural Awards (2011) for promoting multi-culturalism online. Richard says that the ilovelimerick.com concept is very much a community driven project that aims to document life in Limerick. So, that in 20 years time people can look back and remember the events that were making the headlines.