18 April 2024 The Irish Film & Television Network

Irish Film and Television Network


Education / Training


Making the Cut

Making The Cut– Denise Fogarty (Big Mountain Productions)
21 Sep 2015 :
Denise Fogarty is a graduate of DKIT
As part of the Making the Cut series, IFTN profiles some of the countries most accomplished young graduates of the past few years to find out more about the places they first cut their teeth in the industry.

Denise Fogarty, a graduate of DKIT, now works at Big Mountain Productions where she is the coordinator on all shows produced by the company including Irish language productions, recently taking on the role of Production Manager on new projects.

Here, Denise talks to IFTN about her time spent at the Dundalk Institute of Technology.

IFTN: How did DKIT prepare you for your career in television?

DENISE FOGARTY: ‘DKIT was a great foundation for my career, as the course (BA in Video & Film) covered such a wide range of subjects that it allowed me to experience different roles and to find the ones I was most suited to. One of the best elements of the course was the hands on approach to practical learning. It was great that we could go out and put our ideas into practice. The course is a great mix of in class room and practical based learning.’

Were you offered practical experience/work placement as part of your course? If so, how did it benefit you?

‘Yes in my fourth year of the course there was a work placement. I felt this placement was the best part of the course as it allowed me to get into the work place and get some hands on experience. For my placement I joined Big Mountain Productions for six weeks and took on many different roles. It was great as I got involved in lots of different areas from research and development to a live broadcast and post production. I got a real taste of what working in the industry was like.’

How did you make the transition from education to paid employment?

‘After I finished my work placement with Big Mountain Productions I kept in touch with the company and kept returning doing small jobs on different productions. A few weeks after I graduated I was offered full time work with them. The placement definitely helped me transition from education into working full time in the industry. I can safely say that I wouldn’t be in the career I’m in now without DKIT and the work placement programme.’

What areas in training for film/TV production do you feel are lacking overall in Ireland? How can improvements be made?

‘I think nothing beats experience, you can only learn so much in a classroom. Students need to get out into the work place and physically do the work. Work placement programmes are a great facility that allows students to get a start in the industry. My only suggestion would be for them to be for a longer period of time. A lot of the time the student is only beginning to settle into their role and starting to get good experience and the placement period is over. The longer they are immersed in the industry doing hands on work the more they will learn.’

What are you currently working on and what plans do you have for the future?

‘At the moment I’m working with Big Mountain Productions as the office manager and also as Production Coordinator/Manager. Our second series of ‘The Genealogy Roadshow’ (US) just started airing on PBS in America. I’m also in post-production on a new series for ITV and I’m finishing up on an Irish language doc on WW1 for BBC NI. Plus,our new series for TV3 ‘Danger! Amanda at Work’ is airing at the moment (Thursdays at 9pm). So I’m kept very busy at the moment, just the way I like it!’

Have you any further advice for anyone wishing to get into TV and film production in Ireland?

‘Be prepared to start at the bottom, your first job is not going to be as a director or producer. Have a good attitude and work ethic, show up on time and work hard. Nothing beats experience so take every opportunity that arises. Also if you are a student on a media course take advantage of the equipment your college has. Use it to work on your own projects and get more experience in the area you want to work in.’

IFTA Q&A Series: Joanne O’Brien on Costume Design
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