Interview with Actor/Director/Writer and Mayo Man, Seamus Moran.
Tell us a bit about yourself? My name is Seamus Moran and I’m best known as an actor, but I am also a director, writer and some-time Learning-Support Teacher. I’m currently promoting my debut novel – The Ballad of JJ McHale – which I self-published earlier last year. I’m also working on an original screenplay and on a feature documentary proposal for TG4.
What is your connection to Mayo? I was born in Ballinrobe, County Mayo, where I lived until I was 17/18. Then I moved to Dublin to train as a Primary School Teacher. My mother still lives in Ballinrobe, so I am a regular visitor. I have also endured the pain of so many other loyal Mayo GAA supporters over the decades, although I have to confess to being a fair-weather, championship only fan.
Why did you choose this particular career? I can’t honestly say why I chose a career as an actor and maybe it chose me. I do recall many childhood hours, spent in a wild, expansive back yard, re-enacting the falls of the stunt men I had just watched being short in a Western or Gangster film on TV. Maybe a seed had been planted that I was unaware of. I also remember a moment, when I was about 16, during a performance of a school musical, feeling utterly and comfortingly “at home” on the stage and in the “body” of the character I was playing. But I didn’t feel confident that I could even consider acting as a career until ten years later, when I passed the rigorous audition for the Gaiety School of Acting and was accepted onto the intensive course.
What advice would you have for those starting out in the industry? I’m very reluctant to give advice to others because everyone’s experience and path is different and there are no hard and fast rules. What I would say is that it’s relatively easy these days to get a name and reputation for yourself as a performer through Youtube. But this kind of “fame & fortune” will be short-lived. If that’s for you, then go for it. Otherwise, get yourself some training, because everyone else is, and concentrate on screen rather than theatre, because you will never make a living as a theatre actor. After that, just keep doing it. If you can’t get work from other people, find like-minded friends, especially those with camera and editing equipment, and make your own. Then you can use Youtube etc. to get it out there. You will also need part-time work or a small business to fall back on.
If you could keep one moment from your career what would it be? This is the virtually impossible question to answer that every actor gets asked at some point… If I trust my instincts and give my reflex response, there are two (see, I told you it was impossible to pick one!). The first proper, fully paid acting job I got, after almost two years as a professional, was with Field Day Theatre Company in 1989. It was a substantial role and I got to act alongside Stephen Rea, a long-time idol, Peter Hanley (Ballykissangel & Braveheart) and Brendan Gleeson. The job lasted six months, during which I had a ball and learned more than I had in the previous ten years. The second highlight, on the more facile end of the spectrum, would have to be the iconic wedding scene from Fair City (1997) that made the cover of the RTE Guide and Reeling in the Years.