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Alumni Interviews - Charlene Lydon
This is the first in a series of interviews with Alumni of Coláiste Dhúlaigh. Our aim is to showcase the work our students go on to do after their course here. They are proving to be every bit as diverse as we expected.
Charlene Lydon is a graduate of our Film Course. Currently in charge of programming at The Lighthouse Cinema in Smithfield. We thought we’d ask her a few questions about her career so far.
Firstly, could you tell us a bit about what you've been doing since leaving Dhulaigh?
I continued on to do a Degree in Wolverhampton and then to a Masters in Film Theory & History at Trinity. From there I started working as a film reviewer, mostly unpaid, for two years. I now work as Programmer for the Light House Cinema and for Volta, an Irish owned and operated video-on-demand site.
How did you find working behind the camera?
I always enjoyed working behind the camera and since college I have been involved in a number of short films and music videos. I feel passionate about creating a world through a camera lens and that has always interested me, whether I'm behind the camera or part of an audience.
How did you find your way into your current job?
I worked for two years as an film reviewer on a freelance basis for a variety of publications and maintained a film blog which I updated as often as possible. This led me to a 9-month unpaid internship in Script Development with Element Pictures where I worked as hard as I could to learn everything I could while trying to convince everybody how versatile I am and ensuring that if there was a space to be filled that I could fill it. When my internship ended I was hired as full-time Programming and Editorial Manager for Volta. In that position I looked after choosing the films, scheduling them and also maintaining the Articles section of the site, along with doing some of the writing. When the company re-opened the Light House Cinema in Jan 2012 they asked if I would take over Programming of the cinema also. So it was a windy, rocky road that led me to where I am. You just never know where you'll end up!
Can you give us some insight into what you do as Programme Director?
My day-to-day job mostly involves scheduling films, watching films and keeping in touch with our audiences via social media. Whether it's new releases or film seasons we're constantly trying to make sure we're letting people know about these events and making sure they know that we are playing them. We're outside of the City Centre so we're less visible than other cinemas. The biggest perk of the job is that I am sent to film festivals to check out the best films coming down the line. You can imagine how much fun that is! It's a film-lovers' paradise! :)
What have you planned at the Lighthouse for the near future?
We have a million ideas for forthcoming seasons and we'll continue to try new things. We haven't nailed down our plans for 2013 but we've a few exciting ideas. At the moment we're kicking off our "Naughty or Nice" Christmas season.
Was there something in particular you learned or gained from your time at Dhulaigh?
My time at Colaiste Dhulaigh was extremely helpful and taught me lots of stuff that I still use today, not least of which was the advice that you should watch at least one film per week and you can learn as much from a good movie as a bad movie. But also, the course was the perfect foundation for a film lover who is trying to figure out what area of their beloved art form they want to be involved in. I felt there was a great mix of practical and theoretical teaching as well as great teachers who weren't afraid to warn us of the difficulties of pursuing this career but who also inspired us all by being passionate and knowledgeable about films and filmmaking.
Would you have any advice for students looking to gain a foothold of some kind in the Film Industry?
The only advice I can give is stick with it and don't be too proud to work your arse off for free for as long as is necessary. And never be doing nothing! You can always be making shorts or writing scripts or maintaining a blog or making yourself visible on social media. There are tons of ways to build up a CV and you'd be surprised what comes in handy when you're applying for a job!
Could you add any notices of forthcoming events or anything you'd like us to add and I'll put these links at the end of the article?
It might be a bit late but we'd sure love to see a few Colaiste Dhulaigh teams at our Christmas Film Quiz! It's on 12th Dec so might be a nice pre-Christmas outing.
Here's the full line-up of our Christmas events. there's some fun stuff in there.
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