Aspiring film maker and actor Mark Griffin has managed to take the top prize in Budweiser’s ‘Dream Job’ competition.
Securing the €50,000 winners slot, the Clare doctor laughed off the notion that he would ever win it.
“I'm so appreciative to everyone that voted for me – the chance that’s been offered to me, it’s massive,” he said.
“I love acting, I love films. Getting the opportunity to do it is an incredible honour and privilege.”
Still in shaking from his win, the 24-year-old told indepenendent.ie he was in rehearsals when he got the news.
“I genuinely didn’t believe I’d win so I turned off my phone because I didn’t want to be distracted when I got the bad news I’d missed out.”
“But when I finished up and turned my phone on, it started hopping. I figured something must have come good.”
Mark, who is originally from Ardnacrusha in Clare but who grew up in and around Limerick city, said the €50,000 winners prize would be used to purse his dream of a full-time career in theatre and film.
Announced as the winner by Breaking Bad star Aaron Paul, the 24-year-old doctor told independent.ie that he was looking forward to getting started in the competition’s mentoring programme.
“The prize and the equipment will mean a lot, but it’s the mentoring that I’m really looking forward to,” he said.
“It’s a very tough industry to get notice in and while I think I’m a good director, I’m no way near a great one. There’s a lot to still learn and I’m looking forward to getting the chance to do so.”
Adding: “I directed a film with my brother Edward last year, and he is currently shooting one we wrote together shortly afterwards.”
Praising Mark for his commitment to acting, Breaking Bad star Aaron Paul said the aspiring director had shown “true passion” with his entry.
“Well done Mark. Congratulations my friend. The guys at Budweiser tell me that you studied medicine - amazing! But acting... yes, and directing have always been your passion. So this year you get to work towards your dream my friend. Enjoy every second. Bravo. Congratulations!”
Beating out stiff competition from the other four finalists to secure the most public votes on the Budweiser Ireland Facebook page, Mark will receive €40,000 in cash to give him the freedom to work towards securing his dream job over the next twelve months.
In addition, he will receive a €5,000 equipment bursary, and practical mentoring sessions with experts in the world of TV, film and directing.
“I have always loved telling stories, it is why I started acting,” Mark said, expressing his hope that the mentoring programme will be based in Ireland.
“[The Irish film industry] has been growing every year so I’m sure they’ll be keen to make use of the massive home-grown talent we have here.”
“It’s an industry here that doesn’t get a whole lot of money but the shows and plays that people put on with little or no funding is remarkable.”
“For every one film that gets noticed, there’s ten more that don’t. So if I get the opportunity to contribute to helping the industry grow, I’ll be delighted,” he added.
Featuring next month in his own production of the gothic classic ‘The Turning of the Screw’ in the Everyman in Cork, Mark, who helped fund the play alongside co-star Irene Kelleher, praised locally produce dramas and plays for helping to introduce acting to children across the country.