Founded by Joe Marcus, OMAS Media is a full service production and post-production company specialising in music and documentary. The company was founded in 2009, but Joe’s media career spans 35 years and includes editing work with Oscar winning and nominated directors. He also has experience in writing, producing and directing, most notably for the BBC.
Son of twice Oscar nominated documentary filmmaker Louis Marcus, Joe started cutting on 35mm and 16mm film, before moving onto tape and then non-linear, but says his early film training has stood to him over the years.
Joe began working in the 1980s and after stints at Dublin based post houses such as Windmill Lane Pictures and Screen Scene, he moved to London spending a year as a location sound recordist and editor for foreign news correspondents: “It was an amazing opportunity as I was just nineteen at the time”. Having returned to Dublin, Joe went freelance in 1992. Early freelance work included additional editing on ‘Into the West’ with Jim Sheridan for Miramax and cutting a major documentary on the Beach Boys which received world-wide distribution.
While OMAS Media is mainly focused on post-production, the company also produces broadcast and non-broadcast content. One such project is Amhar Aneas (View from the South), a four part documentary series that Joe secured funding for through Northern Ireland Screen’s Irish Language Broadcasting Fund. The series combines the Gael Linn News Reels, filmed between the late 1950s and mid-1960s, with interviews to depict life in the early 1960s in Northern Ireland: “It was a time of relative peace, after the end of the IRA border campaign and before the Troubles.” Joe further explains: “I knew there were hours of incredible social history archive film that nobody in Northern Ireland had ever seen…we were very lucky, we found about 40 people who were still alive who were in the newsreels and who gave first-hand accounts of the events that were covered”. The series was aired on TG4 and BBC NI and was put forward by TG4 for a Grierson Award. Joe will pitch a new project he has in development at the Galway Film Fair’s marketplace, a feature length documentary about the bass player from Pink Floyd. He’s attending with support from a creative momentum project.
Joe’s story emphasises the importance of connections to building a sustainable career in media production. Connections can build up to create a ricochet effect where one job leads to another. According to Joe: “One thing follows the next. You do a programme, you work with somebody, they recommend you to someone else, they give you a call, you do a job with them. It is word of mouth really”. But connections on their own are not the only element to success. It also takes commitment and determination. Joe notes: “Back in my day…you had to work your way up, it was a craft… I think it’s about self-belief, hard work and perseverance”.
Joe’s work often takes him away from his permanent base is in Co. Down, Northern Ireland. He regularly travels to London to edit Panorama for the BBC, but also edits at home for other broadcast clients. The quality of broadband is an essential ingredient to make remote working possible. Joe has installed a microwave link to the nearest town to access super-fast fiber. This part of Northern Ireland combines good physical and digital connectivity as well as a clean, green environment and positive community atmosphere: “We are half an hour from Belfast city airport, an hour and a half or so from Dublin airport. We are not that hard to get to or to get from. I can be in London in a couple of hours and now more often, people are happy to work remotely”.