‘We turned our office into a family home’

You don’t know Max Brady and her film company Pull The Trigger Ltd, but you certainly do know her work.

rady is an executive producer who has worked on some of Ireland’s most popular television advertising campaigns. Through the summer she’s been producing The Problem With People a film with Colm Meaney and Paul Reiser (Stranger Things) and directed by Chris Cotton.

As for her ads, picture the scene: A smartly dressed young lad on the sofa is talking to camera about his big National Lottery win, how it hadn’t changed him and his values. Then he’s suddenly covered with a huge splash of water amidst a shout of “Yeehaa!”.

The camera pans back to reveal a water slide running through his living room. His neighbours say ‘hello’ as they slide past. The camera cuts to a view of the outside of his four-storey apartment block which is completely entwined in multi-coloured water slide tubes from top to bottom with people of all ages sliding down it.

“That’s definitely my favourite,” says Max who produced ‘Share the Love’ for the National Lottery in summer 2020. And she reveals a few secrets that might surprise you. First off, it wasn’t CGI.

“Yes, the slides were real. We persuaded the residents of the Mespil Flats to let us build water slides wrapping down from the roof of the building. The water slides were fully functional and we had real people sliding down them. We had to get a water supply up to the roof and then dispose of it properly afterwards.

“We had to buy the slides from a specialist supplier and fit them to the building. And someone bought them for a pittance after we had finished. But it was worth it.”


A desk offers space to work from home if required

Another of Brady’s is ‘Chipus Currius’ which starts in the dark with candlelight and a huddle of satanic cult-like figures with their ‘high priest’. All are dressed in scarlet hooded robes and chanting. “Chipus Currius! Chipus Currius!” A chalice is brought forth full of McDonnells curry sauce and the priest pours it over a plate of chips as the congregation wails in pleasure.

As the chanting/wailing reaches a fever pitch the lights are switched on by a cleaner/curator lady who looks confused. We realise they’re in a bog standard community hall. The ‘high priest’ berates her: “Ah for… Margaret! We have the hall booked till 11!” In fact the ad was filmed in Bulgaria.

Much of Pull The Trigger’s work was done from their office business base at 7 Richmond Row at Portobello, a 19th-century terrace which Max and her business partner and husband Mike acquired in 2005.


A weeping willow near the property where Brady feeds the swans

“We’ve always been living in Stillorgan and we needed an office for the business.” says Brady who was once a well-known student activist and president of the Union of Students of Ireland from 1991 to 1993. “The late Liam Russell of Youngs Estate Agents phoned us and said, “I have something that might suit.

“It had apparently been used previously for decades by a printing business. It had no roof, the water was spilling in, the floor which was wet and had held big printing presses was ready to collapse. There were dead rats everywhere.”

But Max and Mike decided to give it a go. They invested in a new roof, dry lining, floor repairs, replastering, rewiring, replumbing, the installation of a new kitchen in a cinder block build extension which they dry lined and refurbished. They put in a new bathroom. And they ended up with a two-floor office building of 732 sq ft which not only offered them a central and trendy location but also a handy little roof patio on which to eat their lunch in summer.


A handy roof patio for sitting out in the summer to eat lunch

“At any time there could be between four and 14 people in there depending on what project we were working on. In our business we work with a lot of freelances when things get busy and with sometimes long hours, we also needed somewhere we could stay until 11 at night. I’d take a break and walk out to the canal to feed the swans and get my head together. I’d bring them healthy brown bread and cabbage but they were so spoiled they’d only eat white bread from the Pretzel Bakery nearby.”

And when Covid-19 and lockdown came everyone worked remotely.

“When Covid eased and it was time to go back to the office we realised we didn’t actually need to. So we decided to continue remotely. The next question was what to do with the office? There’s a housing crisis on so the most obvious option was to turn it back into a house and sell it.”


Max Brady of Pull the Trigger

Most of the buildings that house businesses on Richmond Row were formerly residential houses. A look at the 1901 and 1911 Census records shows in 1901 No7 was home to the Behan family of four headed by a carpenter. In 1911 there were also four people living here including a lacemaker who likely worked at home. No7 is therefore an example of another trend brought by Covid-19, the reconversion of buildings back to houses. And with the refurbishment work already done it was easy to for Max and Mike to return it to residential purposes.

They already had a bathroom and a kitchen and the rooms were suitable for two bedrooms and the bigger room downstairs would make the perfect living room. As it happened Max and Mike were also in the ideal business to furnish it.


The exterior of the house

“For ad shoots we’ll take a house loaned to us, clear all the furniture out and refurnish it for filming. So I got help from our assistant producer and set specialist Aoife O’Neill to stage it.”

No7 Richmond Row in Portobello, Dublin 8 is for sale through DNG. Dublin city centre is within a 10-minute walk and local schools include Griffith Barracks Educate Together, Ranelagh Multi-Denominational School, St Louis and St Mary’s Rathmines and Loreto on the Green.

It’s near plenty of restaurants too if you find yourself wailing for chipus currius.

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