New TikTok horror series
Having studied GCSE Moving Image at St. Cecilia’s School; Zoe is now in her final year of a Cinematic Arts degree at Magee University.
“I wanted to go into acting, but I never really felt comfortable with it.” she said.
“Around GCSE, I went to St. Cecilia’s and they brought in a new course called Moving Image Arts. I have been doing camera stuff ever since then. It kind of happened by accident, but it is something that was meant to be in a way.”
Zoe is now in her third and final year studying Cinematic Arts. This is the only course of its kind in the North of Ireland. The programme of study is aimed towards students who are interested in high quality storytelling for screen.
“The Cinematic Arts course is very practical, there aren’t any exams; it is all filmmaking,” said Zoe.
“You can kind of try your hand at everything. I did the BFI (British Film Institute) course, and about three other courses with the Nerve Centre. The one in London was called the BFI Craft Skills course. I ended up going over there and I produced a film in two weeks. We had it shown at the BFI Southbank and stuff. That was like the biggest thing I’ve done, but I am doing different stuff all the time.”
Over the pandemic Zoe has produced a series of short episodes named Relics. The story was written by her friend Paddy McDonald and has been produced by Zoe Carlin Productions.
It stars local Drive 105 host Bill Waters as William Elliot alongside Dublin actress Binina Ryan as Charlie.
Zoe provides the synopsis for Relics: “A junior member of a supernatural society is sent to investigate the haunting. The ghost, a founding member of the society, is trapped and asks the researcher for help in exchange for telling stories about his relic collection.
“I want to direct, it is something I really want to do,” said Zoe.
“It is a nightmare to be independent, to get funding and stuff. I want to direct for TV and my friend wants to write for TV.
“So we were talking over the summer and I suggested doing something on TikTok. We ended up coming up with the idea of Relics and we decided to shoot that in two months, which wasn’t wise but we did it anyway.
“We knew we wanted to write something that we could do short, and in episodes, so we could practise writing for TV. Both of us like quirky type of stuff, like Sci-Fi. Paddy is a massive Dr. Who fan. We decided to write something supernatural and we bounced ideas back and forth.”
Paddy McDonald, the writer of Relics, wrote all 14 episodes in just two weeks and the entire series was shot in only two days.
Zoe says their idea was “ghosts telling ghost stories.” The set for Relics is a house in the Waterside area which has been in Zoe’s family for a number of years.
“I have an aunt and her family are all American, but she was from Derry, ” she said.
“When she died her family kept the house. They didn’t update it or renovate it. My granny would look after it just to be sure the oil’s on, and the pipes don’t freeze. So the house just hasn’t been touched and I was allowed to film in it.
“Bedlam gave us a whole pile of the props for like nothing, they were really a good support to get it going. Everything was filmed in that one house. The kitchen is really 70s and the office was a bedroom upstairs.
Zoe is influenced by the horror genre. She is inspired by American screenwriter Mike Flannagan, who has written The Haunting of Hill House, Doctor Sleep and Midnight Mass.
“If I could get into horror tomorrow, then that would be me!” said Zoe.
“I think horrors are more fun to do. I think a lot of dramas can be repetitive. I am big into sets and how things should look.
“I am very much into aesthetics. I think you can have more fun with horror basically. You can have as much fun with the lighting on a horror film as you would with a drama.”
Zoe says she would one day like to film something here, or about Derry. She believes people focus on the negatives too much.
“There is so much about the community here,” she said.
“I’d like to stay away from the Troubles stuff. I think people have the habit of making Derry out to be depressed in films and stuff. There are a lot of things that say “look how sad Derry is’.
“There is stuff here that isn’t sad. Here in Derry there are nice things that have happened in the past, but I don’t think people want to talk about the nice stuff because Derry has to be sad.
“ Derry doesn’t have to be sad. There is loads of good history that isn’t depressing. There is a community here that is so different from anywhere else.”
You can watch Relics on