The Founding Mother – Who is Shannon Walsh?
Hello! I’m Shannon Walsh, the Founding Mother and Creative Director of Walsh Films! I thought I’d give you all a chance to get to know me a bit better, and tell you how I came about becoming the owner of my own production company! From picking up my first camera to being diagnosed with a chronic pain condition which turned my world upside down… I’ll tell you it all.
SO, Why Film?
I follow the stereotypical ‘I want to be the next Steven Spielberg’ fantasy (Who doesn’t). From a very young age I was obsessed with movies. I was mesmerised by the way a film could make you laugh till your stomach hurt, make you cry your eyes out or even motivate you take on the world in just a short 2 hours. It was filled with glamour, beautiful camera work and stunning locations. And I decided that that was the world I was born to live in.
I studied film production at University in Cardiff and started my own production company ‘Walsh Films’. My work was being screened at festivals, I was starting to make a bit of money from corporate production work and I felt like I was making a difference through creating films for British charities. But it wasn’t all sunshine and rainbows… running a start up production company wasn’t exactly paying the bills.
The Part Time Job
After graduating from University, I started a part time job at the Odeon cinema. There I was, serving hot dogs and sweeping up popcorn in an ill fitting blue polo shirt. But I still didn’t lose hope! I told myself that I was technically working in Film, just in the distribution side of things… I remember cleaning the poster glass one day during a night shift, staring at the poster for The Theory of Everything and thinking “One day, my name will be at the bottom of one of these posters.”
Getting My Foot In The Door
Then one day I finally got my foot in the door! I’d landed my first role on a television show! I was a runner on Dickinsons Real Deal and I was over the moon! I’d made it, I could see my name written in the stars! I then went on to work on Emmerdale, Coronation Street, Hollyoaks and ITV’s ‘Victoria’. I got promoted and started working as an Assistant Director, directing extras and bringing actors to set. Prompting lines and assisting the director. I was doing it. (Spoiler alert – It is in no way glamorous!) But I was there, lapping it up and living the dream. – And running my own production company on the side!
But I started to feel deep down that my heart wasn’t in TV, and I desperately wanted my passion project – Walsh Films – to be more than just my ‘side hustle.’ But the financial risk to take on Walsh Films full time was just too high. Until that risk was suddenly forced upon me …
1 Step Forward, 2 Steps Back
In November 2017, I slipped a disc in my lumbar spine so severely that I lost the ability to walk, or live independently. I was pushed around in a wheel chair, desperately trying to recover so that I could start bearing weight on my hips again. I was put on a lot of medication and I was pushed from one doctor to next for 10 months. I was forced to quit my career in television and my life was flipped upside down. I was only 25, why was this happening to me? I kept telling myself that I’d be fine in a few weeks and I’d get back to work. But it just wouldn’t happen.
After 5 months, I was thankfully up and about on a walking stick, but still completely dependent on medication. I couldn’t drive, I needed pretty much constant care and my hope of recovering completely disappeared. In August 2018 I was diagnosed with a rare condition called Ehrlos Danlos Syndrome type 3, which effects your joints and muscles. I was diagnosed with chronic pain and put on a ‘long road to recovery’. What now?
The Silver Lining
A little voice in my head me kept whispering “this might just be an opportunity!” My decision on leaving TV was quite brutally made for me, but now I could take on on Walsh Films full time! So, once I was able to sit up in front of my computer, I started to seriously develop the business. I hired freelance camera operators, I created a website, social media platforms and became my own in house editor. I then established Walsh Films as a Limited Company at the beginning of 2018, and it has since powered forward, forming new client relationships and continuing to develop its brand.
I’ve been incredibly fortunate enough to be able to record a few of my own films on local locations with the assistance of my partner Jack (and now co-director of Walsh Films). Its given me a new purpose and opened up both an opportunity to work again, and an opportunity to really give Walsh Films the dedication it deserved!
SO that’s me! I hope you enjoyed my story!
Next week we’ll be getting to know Jack Lynskey a little better.