Martin is the author and director of  The Apollo - a film for radio
We sat down with Mr. Martin Duffy recently and talked to him about his latest radio play for

What inspired you to write your first audio play?

I spent most of my working life in the world of film. My first job, age fifteen, was as an apprentice projectionist. There is a quote from comedian Stan Freeberg from the Fifties. Television was eating into Freeberg's domain of radio and he said he asked a kid if he preferred radio or TV. 'Radio,' the boy replied. Why? 'Because the pictures are better on radio'.

So with THE APOLLO I wanted to make 'a film for radio'. As a film editor and film-maker, I consider radio the closest next form of the storytelling you experience when you sit in the dark of the cinema. A radio play happens in your head and you supply the images. Okay, in my play there is a narrator who is also providing a commentary on how those images might form and what shots would best cut together as if you were watching a DVD of a favourite film with the option of listening to the director's commentary.

Do you have a specific writing style?

Yes, there are 26 letters and I use most of them, plus various punctuation symbols. I also go in for things like paragraphs. I confess I rarely venture beyond the 26 letters and rarely use personally-designed punctuation. Call me conservative.

How did you come up with the title?

THE APOLLO was the name of my local cinema when I was a kid; The Apollo Cinema on Sundrive Road in Crumlin, Dublin. Like all the kids around, I went there every Saturday early afternoon for the matinee; lots of shorts, lots of 'follyin'-uppers' and a main feature that was usually a Western.

Are experiences based on someone you know, or events in your own life?

THE APOLLO was triggered by my memories of my first job; two years, from the age of fifteen, as apprenctice projectionist in the Dublin suburban cinema THE KENILWORTH (later renamed THE CLASSIC). The manager (who years later bought the cinema) was Albert Kelly and he ran a family cinema in which the staff were his family. I loved working there. He was the father. He was the one who made The Kenilworth a safe world we all inhabited. He chose the films. He even edited the films if he didn't approve of their content! And if too much bosom was showing on a film poster he would fold the poster in the showcase window so as to hide the exposed flesh.

Who or what has influenced your writing, and in what way?

Too big a question. I have had a long, rickety career in writing, editing and film-making and the influences range from people I have worked with Bob Quinn is one example to people I wish I were Billy Wilder is one example. I am always looking to find a way of being as good as I can be and as original as I can be. As to whether I succeed from time to time...

What book are you reading now?

There always several books around me waiting to be read. Right now, I happen to be reading a lot about World War One as part of research for a book I have been commissioned to write. The book I finished this morning is MAGNIFICENT BUT NOT WAR by John Dixon it is about the Second Battle of Ypres.

What are your current projects?

Above-mentioned book commission, plus looking at ways to get another film project off the ground. Meanwhile I have two stage play project possibilities. Oh yes and always with an eye on earning enough to pay the bills.

If you had to do it all over again, would you change anything in your latest audio play?

Moi? Je ne regrette rien.

Do you recall how your interest in writing originated?

It was there from childhood an over-active imagination in a lonely kid. My first film, THE BOY FROM MERCURY, is quite autobiographical. I've been hiding in stories for much of my life!

Is there anything you find particularly challenging in your writing?

Finding, believing in and going the distance with a good story. All kinds of ideas can land in your head. You can spew anything out on paper. I am much more critical these days of initial ideas for better or worse.

What was the hardest part of writing your audio play?

Remembering all of the 26 letters mentioned above.

Did you learn anything from writing your audio play and what was it?

I have written a lot for radio. I think the challenge is to remember how much the audience can 'see' on radio and trust that you don't have to lead them by the hand.

Do you have any advice for other writers?

All that comes to mind is a quote that has stuck in my head for years though now I'm sketchy on who said it. I think it was F Scott Fitzgerald. The quote is: 'If you want to write, don't. If you have to write, you're a writer'.

Do you have anything specific that you want to say to your listeners?

Thank you for taking the time and trouble to listen to my play. I hope you enjoy it.

Interview with Mr. Martin Duffy



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A Dollar Short
Episode One
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The Thinking Machine
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Dark Sense Series
-Architect of Fear
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