In Profile

Published: 9 Apr 2015

Michael Chang

Who are you, where are you located and where do you work from?

I’m a musician and film-maker living in Galway, but originally from the North West of the US. I moved to Ireland during the late 90s and it was music that drew me to Galway. Since moving here I’ve worked as a traditional Irish session musician and am a member of several fusion bands. I’ve also toured quite widely and compose for theatre and art installations.

In 2004 I directed, wrote and co-produced a short film ‘The Listener’ and am increasingly interested in film-making. I was a participant on the Galway Film Centre/Western Development Commission Feature Film Script Mentoring Programme in 2014 to develop my first feature film script.

I work from home but find this easier for my music than my writing. Writing is more of a challenge at home; it’s hard to be free of distractions. I think it would be a real benefit to be able to go to a creative writers’ space, somewhere to write and focus. I spent a week at the Tyrone Guthrie Centre and found it a hugely valuable experience. No obligations, a full retreat.

Is living in the West of Ireland important to your creativity?

Living in the West of Ireland is really important for my music. The West of Ireland is the place you have to be for traditional Irish music. But for writing I don’t feel it is as important and I don’t feel that I have really tapped into the writing networks that do exist. I do feel that the music scene here could be shaken up a bit more, new people are so important for creativity. Galway is quite transient and there are always fresh faces but it can be a bit closed for getting music gigs.

What inspires you / do you have creative role models?

I wouldn’t single anyone out in particular but what I do admire are artists who are economical with their creativity. Who can express a lot in a small amount of music or words. It is very difficult to be succinct, I’m inspired by those who can be very succinct in their creativity and express a huge amount briefly and simply.

What is your biggest challenge?

Definitely it’s motivating myself. As a musician and writer I really need to push myself because no else is going to, but life tends to get in the way. I think ‘I’ll do it later …’ and it is very easy to get distracted. You really need a lot of discipline and focus. An external motivation or deadline can be really important, for example on the mentoring programme I had the mentor driving me to complete things for deadlines. When working by yourself you need that outside push.

What are your plans for the future?

My main plan at the moment is to complete my feature film script and get it made. I really want to get more involved in film-making and directing my own work. I think my creativity is very visual and I want to express that through film. This year’s Galway Film Fleadh will be a really big opportunity for me in pursuing this.


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