Thanks to Tom Murphy at irishfilmmakers.com for sharing this interview with Alan Duggan.
IFM recently caught up with Irish-born actor/writer Alan Duggan to talk about his career, and his new web series ‘Claddagh.’
IFM: First off Alan, give us a bit of background and information about yourself. You’re originally from Ireland, but now live in Vancouver?
I’m originally from Northern Ireland, roughly fifty miles South of Belfast. I grew up in a family of five, two brothers and two sisters. My father was from the South of Ireland and my mother from the North. I grew up playing Gaelic Football, though had a passion for football (soccer). I ended up playing semi-pro for 5 years. I moved to Canada in my early twenties. I currently live in Montreal, though I travel around the country for career opportunities.
IFM: Tell us how you first got involved in acting.
Acting was a gut reaction. I was sitting in my living room in November 2003 watching TV and I realised that that’s where I should be, on the TV.
IFM: What aspect do you enjoy most about acting and performing? And which do you prefer, film/TV or on-stage acting?
I love the fact that I get to play any character in the world from criminal to a priest to a dad, and then return to my real life. I enjoy the stage and relish the instant gratification, though I love film/TV. I feel I’m built for that side of the industry.
IFM: You’ve moved into writing and directing too. How was the transition, and what were some of the challenges you faced?
From the second I started acting I began writing. It was like they came hand in hand, for me anyway. And I get to write about what I know. I had no interest in directing until I was on set of my own project. I found that I had a knack for it. Especially when you know what you want. The biggest thing I found was dealing with actors and their sensitive side. Knowing how to talk to them so their egos aren’t bruised. Stroking their ego gets you what you want out of them.
IFM: Do you think taking on the dual role as writer/director has made you a better performer? If so, in what areas?
I feel that as an actor you should be open at all times to any situation. You don’t know what you’re going to get from the other actor. As from a director/writer stand point, if it’s your own project you know what you what from the performer, though stay open as some of the best work just happens.
IFM: Moving onto ‘Claddagh’. Briefly describe the series and how the idea for it came about.
‘Claddagh’ (Love, Loyalty and Friendship) is about Irish James McGovern, a gambling entrepreneur living in Belfast. He receives a phone call from his uncle Frank (the Irish GodFather in Montreal) that his father, priest Fr. Kearney, has been murdered. James has to return to Montreal to bury his father.
He receives news from his uncle all is not well. As both his father and his uncle are both IRA Commanding Officers. Someone has found out where his father was hiding. James has no interests until he receives a recorded will from his father in the form of a DVD that leads him on an unknown journey. Will he be able to become a solider of Claddagh? They say write what you know.
IFM: You take on a number of roles with the series including co-writer. How long was the writing process, and how many drafts did you go through before you believed you were ready to shoot?
I’ve been writing ‘Claddagh’ since 2004. I had written five one-hour episodes for TV, then I got a friend (Anthony Mancina) involved to write with me. So we took everything I had written and took little pieces from each episode and wrote a pilot. We shopped that for a while with no success. We then we wrote the project for the internet. So all in all two drafts and roughly six years from writing till shooting.
IFM: Where was ‘Claddagh’ shot and what was the crew and your fellow actors like to work with?
‘Claddagh’ was shot in and around the streets of Montreal. The cast and crew were awesome. Everyone pulled together to get the project done. Whatever was needed was done without question. There’s so many people that deserve praise for their effort on this project, from pre-production to post production.
IFM: What are your hopes for the future of the series?
I predict that somewhere down the road that we will get picked up by a Network. Viewers already are asking for it to be on a Network. So it has great potential.
IFM: And finally, and what does 2013 have in store for you?
2013 has started well so far. So great auditions for several TV shows. We’ve started working on writing Season Three of ‘Claddagh.’ I’m also presenting an award at the Wasaga Beach Film Festival 26th January. So 2013 has gotten off to a great start!