“If you can imagine it, you can achieve it. If you can dream it, you can become it”: A quote that holds particular weight when it comes to the achievements of Leap man Danny Crowley, who recently took home an Emmy for his sound-mixing work on the world famous HBO series Game of Thrones.
Danny lives with his partner Emily and six-year-old daughter Alannah, next door to his parents John and Maureen in Leap.
The gold statuette, the equivalent of an Oscar, has taken pride of place in their home, tucked in between the family photographs in the kitchen cabinet.
“It’s a nice piece, fairly weighty,” Danny tells Mary O’Brien. “Emily has even used it to hold the sheet down on the table while ironing,” he adds laughing.
Danny, whose work has taken him all over the world, is currently enjoying some downtime at home with his family and is looking forward to celebrating Christmas in West Cork.
The award is already opening doors with a Star Wars project in the early stages of discussion. “It will probably attract more international work,” says Danny “which is a conflict of interests of sorts, as I’d prefer to work closer to home.
“Emily hasn’t seen much of her dad in the first six years of her life,” he explains. “Game of Thrones was filmed over nine years and involved a lot of driving and getting home from Belfast every Friday night.
Danny got his first big break as a 17-year-old Leaving Cert student on the set of War of the Buttons, which was filmed in West Cork. Two weeks work experience turned into three months paid work and the rest is history. “My parents weren’t too impressed at the time!” says Danny. However, Danny completed his Leaving Certificate exams going on to study fine art and film in the UK.
The call of the film set proved too strong though and he dropped out of the degree course after a year, initiating his journey to a successful career in sound mixing.
“I think the next film I worked on was Divine Rapture in Ballycotton,” says Danny. The next fifteen years were a whirlwind with Danny based out of London but travelling all over the world for work.
Eleven years ago Danny and his partner Emily decided to relocate to Danny’s home-village, Leap, where Emily now runs a dog grooming business.
“We love living here. While I like seeing new places, I always can’t wait to get home,” says Danny.
Danny’s love of sound and what he could do with it was cultivated from a young age in his village.
“I spent a lot of time in Connolly’s,” explains Danny. “Paddy McNicholl was very good to me and I learnt a lot there about sound engineering.”
He advises anyone interested in pursuing a similar career to aim high. “Learn the trade from the best and doors will open for you.”
As well as Game of Thrones, Danny is particularly proud of having been involved in a smaller project closer to home – The Young Offenders. “It was made from nothing and enjoyed huge success,” he says. “Three of us invested our time in it for free and got it over the line.
“Invest your time and energy wisely and try to support creative things,” he advises.
Work is challenging but enjoyable. “People don’t realise that we have to work through all sorts of conditions, there is no escaping it! Imagine three months on a Game of Thrones set in driving sleet, with no daylight and horseshit mixed with mud…it’s a particular type of person who doesn’t get broken by it,” says Danny.
Danny’s prime objective is to get the actor’s performance perfectly clean and perfectly usable, regardless of what’s happening around them. “It’s a diplomacy-based roll, as there are so many different departments jostling to get the job done,” he explains. “Sometimes the actors’ performances can get forgotten about…you’re walking a tightrope all the time.”
With home where his heart is, his success means that Danny is looking forward to now being in a position that means he can be more selective about the jobs he takes. “I’m working on a superhero flick in London and there’s a job in Limerick possibly in the pipeline after Christmas,” he says, “but the last nine years have been so crazy that I’m really liking being home.”
For those of you fantasizing about a career in film, Danny’s advice is to never give up on your dreams. “Anything is possible…I live up the back of Leap…you’re only restricted by your imagination, certainly not by your location.”