Fergal is a multi-award winning filmmaker working in Feature Film, TV and Commercials. Upon graduation with First Class Honours from Ireland’s National Film School, Fergal was immediately hired as a director for Irish Academy Award winning comedy show “Republic of Telly”. Having worked on the show for two years with many viral sketches and shorts behind him, Fergal moved into the world of commercials and music videos with his Doritos and Gaviscon commercials both picking up YDA Awards.
In 2017, Fergal picked up three coveted Kinsale Shark Awards for Best Director, Best New Irish Director and Best Low Budget Music Video for his music video work. So far in 2018, Fergal has won Best Newly Signed Director at The Shiny Awards in The Mill, London as well as Best Music Video at the 2018 YDA’s for his piece “Way to Love”.
Q & A
If the world you created in your film became a reality, is that a world you would want to live in? Is there a Sci-Fi world you’d buy a one-way ticket to?
Zenith is pretty much set in our world, but only a little bit into the future, so absolutely! I’d love to live in the Star Trek universe. All that positivity!
Name a Sci-Fi character you relate to on a spiritual level? Who is your Sci-Fi spirit animal/spirit alien?
I can relate to Jabba The Hutt, food tastes too good! Spirit Animal would be Caesar from the recent Planet of the Apes film trilogy, he’s the most charismatic character in science-fiction in years, and he’s literally an animal.
Friend or Foe: humanoid robots with advanced artificial intelligence? What if robots start making their own Sci-Fi films? Will you support them in their endeavors?
Foe surely! Haven’t you seen Terminator? It’d be cool for all of one minute. I’d like to see one of their sci-fi films though for sure, Reverse Terminator, where the human is hunting robots. Good stuff. They’d probably call it “The Human”.
In 1996, Bugs Bunny recruited Michael Jordan and Bill Murray to form the greatest basketball squad of all-time, the Tune Squad; you’re Bugs, who’s on your Sci-Fi Tune Squad?
For basketball? In general though, Neo from The Matrix for the godlike powers, Boba Fett for the guns and cool intimidating presence, Spock for his smarts, Commander Shepard from Mass Effect for the leadership skills and ELLEN FUCKING RIPLEY.
You’ve gotta go through some bad ideas to get to the good ones. Tell us one of your bad ideas. How do you get past the bad ones to find your spark?
I had an idea once for a hidden camera comedy sketch that involved a river, a fishing rod, and a gimp dressed like a fishman. Let’s leave it there. You just keep coming up with stuff, I feel like a lot of ideas will eventually amalgamate into one core idea. Different elements feeding one beast.
Do you consider yourself part of a sci-fi community? Or when your brain is in the future and your body’s in the present, is that isolating?
I’m a huge fan of science fiction for sure, but I wouldn’t be embedded in one specific community of sci-fi, I like it all!
Do you consider yourself more of an analog or digital person? What kind of balance do strike between the two? Is there a disconnect between the technology you make films about and the technology that you make films with?
I’d consider myself more of an analog person right now with regards to filmmaking, purely because it’s more cost effective. My last film had an equal combination of both CGI and practical and one feeds the other very well I found when they’re combined equally. Usually the tech featured in my films tends to be malevolent in some way, whereas my editing software and Xbox don’t want to kill me. I think.
When you’re creating the props and sets that make a new world, where do you look for inspiration? How do you create objects that are relatable but unfamiliar?
I like Neill Blomkamp’s depictions of future tech, where everything is just built for function over form. His tech is rusting, old, sharp and generally covered in blood. I like to take that approach, old weathered tech, it just adds layers of depth. The tech can be made familiar by shape I’ve found, once we see something that somewhat corresponds to shapes of our current tech, we can generally intuit what it probably does.
Lightning round: Star Wars or Star Trek? Philip K. Dick or William S. Burroughs? Practical or CGI? Dystopia or Utopia? Post Apocalypse or Pre Apocalypse?
Star Trek! Philip K. Dick! Practical! Dystopia! Post Apocalypse!