Tag Archives: rachael acks

London: Day 2

Today was a busy, busy, busy day of running around town and trying to get the equipment ready to go for tomorrow. Because we have interviews. Tomorrow. Three of them. So we were at film DEFCON 1 all day, basically.

Getting all the luggage and equipment moved from our overnight hotel to the flat was an adventure in itself. The flat is very reminiscent of a shotgun house, with all the rooms in a straight line back, beginning with the (thankfully relatively large and pretty) dining room/sitting room and ending with one of the most awkwardly shaped bathrooms I’ve ever encountered in my life. (Hey, we’re in London, space is at a premium!) The kitchen is more narrow than the one in my old house in Colorado, which I didn’t actually think was possible. People can’t stand back to back in it, and we all can’t fit in there at the same time. So the space itself is a challenge we’re working with. (And hiding all the luggage in the single bedroom has put my rusty Tetris skills to use.)

Then it was running for last minute equipment like extension cords, batteries, the sorts of things you want to have in place before you get started. My job was actually to take care of grocery shopping, since I’ve sort of put myself in charge of making certain everyone eats, and eats reasonably healthy. Which is not as easy as it might sound when the filming schedule is as busy as it’s stacked up to be.

By the time I trotted back to the flat on my aching feet (through a drizzle, thanks London) everyone else had already gotten started on set up, rearranging the furniture, figuring out how to get the shots framed for tomorrow. It’s something you don’t really think about if you’ve never been anywhere near a camera, but those things just don’t come plug and play out of the box. I even had fun being the guinea pig, walking around different bits of the room to mark off where people aren’t allowed to stand during filming because we’ll be in the shot.

And then hours of getting all of the sound figured out. I never realized just how hard it is to talk on demand until someone gives you a mic and commands you to just speak. I resorted to torturing everyone with excerpts from my new novella, though we all had a turn. (Hmm, I wonder if that’s why the other ladies got handed the mic later…)

But it’s coming together. We’ll be ready. (And I’m running around and neatening things up. I think I’m channeling my mother because what if someone sees this mess, with cables and mic boxes and extension cords all over the place.)

As of ten o’clock we’re all turning in. We have an early day tomorrow–finishing touches before our first interviewee arrives!  It’s starting, and we’ll be ready.

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The chair is ready too!

Rachael Acks
Executive Producer
@katsudonburi

London: Day 1

There is something strange and wonderful about standing in an empty airport at approximately Oh My God in the morning and waiting for three people whom you have never actually met to find you and say hello. It turns your stomach into a monster made of insecurities and acid.

But then the people who up, and after a momentary, awkward pause, everyone says Hi and immediately you start talking like you’ve known each other for years. Awkwardness passes quickly and you often find magic on the other side. Or at the least an Earl Grey Cambric and a slightly sleep deprivation drunk conversation about screenwriting tropes while waiting to board the airplane.

You’ll have to forgive me if this one is short and not entirely coherent. Over the last two days, I’ve gotten approximately seven hours of sleep, and there’s something about spending six and a half hours being flung through the air in a giant metal tube that isn’t quite pressurized enough that really turns one’s brains to horrible, lumpy Cream of Wheat.

The good news is, we are in London. And not only are we in London, all of our baggage arrived intact, we made it to out of the airport all right, and we managed to acquire some amazing Indian food before I was forced to kill a hapless British pedestrian and feast upon his or her corpse a la 28 Days Later.

Seraphina, Sheri, and Carrie have made me laugh until the point of near pain already. We got to know each other over naan and chicken tikka masala, and all that nervousness I felt while waiting in the JFK airport has now gone like it never existed. I’m glad I’m here, and I’m glad I’m here with these women, because we’re going to make one hell of a team.

So yes, we are in misty, lovely London, we are together, and we have hit the ground running. Watch us go.

Rachael Acks
Executive Producer
@katsudonburi

Why I’m Supporting The Reel Britain

Let me tell you about one of the scarier moments of my life. It involved my credit card, an amount of money that was a whole number with three zeroes, and an opportunity.

At the time I was still finishing up my masters thesis. I hadn’t defended yet and I didn’t know when I would start working. My husband had already moved to Texas ahead of me, draining a significant amount of our bank account in the process. Money is a frightening specter when you’re a graduate student. You are simultaneously terrified of spending even a cent, and hemorrhaging the green stuff at prodigious rates.

Logic told me I should play it safe and let the chance pass me by. My heart told me otherwise. The only other time my heart has had any kind of opinion about money was when it convinced me, while unemployed and with no job prospects, to drain most of my savings and go to England in pursuit of a man whom I’d met only once before (and six years later would marry).

I went with my heart this time too. I decided to put my faith in a film project that called to my imagination, and invested the money to become an Executive Producer for The Reel Britain.

I’m glad that I did.

There are a lot of reasons I could give for making such an outwardly reckless decision. As an American, I’ve got a long and glorious history with British cinema. I’d be willing to bet you do as well, you just may not realize it. We import far more from the UK than villains for our action movies; British cinema is not just period pieces and people with nice accents. I want to know more about the artistic force that shaped my childhood and later creative life with Day of the Triffids, Henry V, 2001: A Space Odyssey, and Lawrence of Arabia. This documentary promises to help me gain greater understanding of art that I fell in love with at first sight.

 

I value new voices in the arts, which is why I support independent cinema when I can. The most interesting and difficult questions are asked by people who decide worthwhile answers are more important than achieving a safe result. Some of the best genre films (which are near and dear to my heart as someone who writes speculative fiction) of the last decade have been independent. (And some, like Moon, have been both independent and British.) Independent film, while a difficult playing field, is where new questions can be asked and new voices may be heard.

Particularly the voices of women. The number of women directors is dishearteningly small. I want to support women in the arts. I want to see what they will create. I want to see them fall and soar, because that is the meat of being an artist. And I certainly couldn’t ask for a better team of artists than the one on this project.

I was already peripherally acquainted with both Seraphina and Lindsey before this project began, thanks to the magic of Twitter. We’ve chatted back and forth, sharing silly links, bad puns, and the inevitable youtube clip. Since then, I’ve gotten to know the entire team of talented, smart, creative women. Knowing them has enriched my life. More importantly, I have come to trust them, both as people and as artists.

That scary moment I had with my bank account back in March ultimately wasn’t about me investing in a film. It was me investing in both the dream and the tangible work of another artist, and I’m glad that I did.

 

Rachael Acks

Executive Producer, The Reel Britain