This Job Saved My Life

Liam Kearney spent a day in Dave Fenton’s crane to talk about how he came to be a crane operator, a dream job that Dave credits with saving his life, despite almost taking it.

Creative team

Writer/director/producer: Liam Kearney

Filmmaker’s statement

I discovered Dave’s story almost by mistake when I was conducting research for a photo series of Toronto tattoos. I found a photo of his tattoo online and sent an email to the tattoo parlour. They sent my number to Dave and he called me, quite enthusiastically.

I really didn’t know what to expect from Dave but I certainly didn’t anticipate being on a crane with him a week later.

On the phone he told me he’d been a crane operator for a few years and that it was basically a dream come true. He also told me the hardships he’d been through growing up, through tragedy, addiction issues and a near-death experience.

I knew this was more than a photo series and I had to get his story on camera. I’d been wanting to make a short documentary for a while but I hadn’t found a story. Now I had one and Dave was more than excited to have me and my DOP up on his crane to help share his story with the world.

The edit was a tough one. Not only did I want to tell a good story but I owed it to Dave, a man whom was practically a stranger yet was sharing some of the most intimate moments of his life with me. When I was finally happy with the edit, I shared it with him before anyone else.

He loved it and he had clearly shared it with his friends and family as it had over 200 views despite being password protected. This was better than any praise I could have gotten from any of my friends or colleagues. He loved it and it was his story so, in the end, I knew I had done a good job.

About Liam Kearney

Liam Kearney

Liam Kearney is a photographer, filmmaker and freelance video producer. Self-taught in all aspects of filmmaking (shooting, editing, audio), his hobby became a career when he was laid off from an unrelated office job in 2014.

Currently he’s working on a documentary series called Convenience Stories and a feature-length film Andray and the Giant, while also writing fictional and comedic shorts.

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