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Local Writer Visits Pre-University Arts Class at Monaghan Institute

On Tuesday the 23rd of November, the Pre-University Arts students in Monaghan Institute were visited by Mark McNally. Mark is a freelance writer, who recently sold a movie script that will star Liam Neeson, entitled, ‘In the Land of Saints and Sinners.’ Writer Terry Loane is also involved in the project.

Glaslough writer Mark McNally, who recently sold a movie script that will star Hollywood A-lister Liam Neeson

The students were taken through the writing process by Mark, who explained the intricacies and processes his role entails. He outlined how the COVID-19 pandemic has slowed down production, which was due to take place before the first lockdown.

Before creating a script, which captured the interest of a Hollywood A-lister, Mark graduated from Queen’s University with a Degree in Film Studies. His writing earned him a place on the coveted Puttnam Scholar’s Scheme in 2020.

In the same year, Mark was a member of the Belfast Voices 2020 programme as part of the BBC Writer’s Room, in which talented writers of tomorrow attended monthly seminars delivered by industry professionals from a range of different fields.

Outside of film scripts, Mark was a dialogue co-writer on the videogame ‘Buildings have Feelings Too,’ released in April of the year on multiple console platforms.

Mark explained that before finding success in writing, he took part in roles on set of different productions. He was a cinematographer on Post Party’s music video for their song ‘Being Honest.’ Mark took on the role of a grip on Season 2 of Derry Girls and was a crew member for Doing Money and Sasha of the Sea.

Mark discussed with the students, that by taking part in other roles within the production process, he was able to gain invaluable experience on set, getting his foot in the door for further roles and career progression.

Originally from Glaslough, in county Monaghan, Mark went on to discuss how writing was always his form of self-expression, with the process bringing great enjoyment and satisfaction to him. As a lover of Western movies, storytelling is Mark’s passion and during his visit, he talked about how he loved nothing more than sharing his passion with others and getting to meet others who share his love for writing.

By Eoin Maher, Monaghan Institute Pre-University Arts Learner.