Zaini Daragh was IFTA nominated for The West’s Awake in 2013. His other credits include
double IFTA and Celtic Media Festival Winner In the Name of the Fada and IFTA nominated
Series Welcome to my World and Pride of the Parish” This year he is nominated for his work on
What made you want to get into Editing?
It was always going to be something in Film or Television. I just wanted to do something where I could affect people in the same way I had been so strongly affected by Films and Television.
What was your first professional job and what led you to where you are today?
It was about two weeks after I had finished college in Dun Laoghaire. I got a job editing in the ‘Picture Company’ post production house, it is now ‘Piranha Bar’. It was all very junior editor stuff, but I do appreciate how lucky I was to be editing professionally straight out of college and not have had to work my way up from being a runner, machine room op or assistant editor. There were a lot of production companies in the same building so it gave me a really good insight into how the whole industry worked. I worked there for a year then I moved on to a
smaller post production company where I had to do pretty much everything on the post side including graphics and online for three years. I went freelance after that and have been for the last 14 years.
What have you found to be the best training for Post production?
The best training for me has been being out there in the real world working with real budgets, real deadlines and real people. There is a slight difference between a romantic notion you might have of the industry and the reality.
With technology in Post moving so quickly, How do you keep up to date with the newest and latest trends?
To be honest my keeping up with technological trends is based purely on demand. If a production company or post production company want me to work with a certain system and I don’t know how to use it, I will learn to use it. It has been the same way all along from Steenbeck’s and Avid in college to Lightworks, Media 100, Final Cut Pro and back to Avid. The same with Film, Tape and Cards it doesn’t really matter. They all do the same thing at the end of the day, tell stories.
Where do you look for inspiration and how do you stimulate your creativity when you feel blocked?
I find the best way for me to deal with a problem is to not think about it. So, if I can park it and work on another part of the project I find the answer or solution comes to me. Generally when I am not working, mostly very early in the morning.
How do you approach a scene or sequence that is proving difficult or isn’t quite working?
I just cut it to be the best it can be with the material I have. Then look at if there is anything we can add to it that wasn’t shot on the day. Finally possibly look at its position in our story and ultimately if it is necessary for the overall narrative.
What do you love most about your job ?
Being able to tell stories that have an emotional affect on people.
What is your biggest gripe about it?
The long hours and it’s sedentary nature. I do have a notion that one day we will all be able to edit like the computer scene from ‘Minority Report’ standing up waving our arms around. I don’t think it’s as far off as we might think. Avid and Oculus if you are listening I am available to do some VR R&D. It won’t help with the long hours though.
How do you, or have you been able to, create a work/life balance?
I don’t think I have a very good work/life balance. The one thing I try to do, because we have small children at home is keep work out of the weekends.
A lot of editors say that hard work and building relationships has been the key to their success, do you feel this has been the case in your own career?
Yes, it is all about relationships and the hard work does help to build those relationships. It is important to find people whose working style fits or compliments your own.
What are your plans / goals for the future?
To possibly increase the percentage of and do more of the type of jobs that I really love working on. And try to work on that work/life balance.
What advice would you give someone trying to get into Editing?
Just get out there and start cutting stuff, even if it is for nothing, even if you shoot it yourself. Prove to the people who are going to pay you to do it that you can do it. Don’t be afraid to listen to advice.