Filmmaker Series: Annina Kaski
Hi I’m Annina Kaski, a bilingual actor and writer originally from Finland who now calls London home. I have an award winning Scandi Noir style, dark-drama, pilot, 'Mordecai’s Girl' and a comedy webseries about depression, 'Me, Myself & Her', under my belt so far. I created, produced and starred in both projects. I’m currently looking to get funding to shoot the rest of Mordecai’s Girl as well as working on some other ideas for scripts.
What initially got you into filmmaking?
I started in theatre and have classical actor training from drama school. A few years after graduating I was stuck. I’d been an actor for years and after a year of absolutely no work and hardly any auditions I grew frustrated. It was actually my brother (who works in IT and has nothing to do with the industry) who suggested I just write a role for myself. I dismissed his idea at first but the thought stuck. It was a nagging sensation that wouldn’t leave. I only had a seed of an idea at the time. A premise for a scene. 2 people in a therapist’s office.
I started asking myself simple questions: Why are they here? Who is my character? What happened? Slowly and in a very fragmented way I wrote and re:wrote and about a year and a half later I had finish the script for the first series of Mordecai’s Girl.
Who are your biggest influences and why?
It’s hard to pinpoint exact influences for things. I think there’s elements of everything I like all mashed into one. I am hugely inspired by Felicia Day who started the webseries The Guild on absolutely no money and created a career from that. Film wise I knew I wanted a ScandiNoir style to Mordecai’s Girl, a homage to my roots really. The visuals are inspired by the films Magnolia and the Sopranos.
Writing wise I am endlessly fascinated by the things people don’t talk about when they talk to each other. The subtext, the space in between the lines. Good scripts are just humans being human.
How important is film as a medium and art form in the world, today?
I think it has always been important and will always remain an important medium. I find it magical.
Do you have a set process when making film?
I’m very aware of my weaknesses as a filmmaker so a really important part of my process is to make sure I’m working with the right people. Even though I write, I’ve never had the desire to direct and Jo Hewer (whose been a close friend for a decade) is a far more visual person and understands what I’m trying to say with my story. I trust her completely.This applies to other roles as well. On shoot dates I just want to be an actor and concentrate on my performance. I can give my best if I’m surrounded by talented people who also believe in the project.
What has been your favourite film to work on and why?
Mordecai’s Girl, although not the first film I shot, was the first script I wrote and I am so proud of how well it is being received on the festival circuit. I am in love with each of the characters and I love the way it explores the dark side of human psychology. I was terrified making it so it will always have an extra special place in my heart.
Written By Annina Kaski
Directed By Jo Hewer
*Trigger Warning: self-harm, implied sexual abuse
Which genre do you enjoy working in?
Dark drama is my favourite although I am good at comedy as well (usually with a dark twist too).
Is filmmaking your primary source of income?
Not yet. I’m working towards acting and filmmaking being my primary source of income. I took a financial risk, in self-funding the pilot episode of Mordecai’s Girl but I am so happy I did. On the side, I do classic actor day jobs: promotion, events, bartender, waiter and office temping.
What is your definition of success?
Being able to live off of your art.
What advice can you give our readers, should they wish to pursue filmmaking?
Don’t let anyone, even yourself, tell you that you can’t do something. 5 years ago I was convinced I could not write.
Do you ever suffer from creative burnout? How do you combat it?
The biggest struggle is the lack of time to write. I have notebooks and notebooks filled with ideas. I find inspiration hits me at inconvenient times when I’m not looking for it. I definitely don’t have much work life balance. I work a day job come home to do at least a few hours of writing/filmmaking/acting admin then sleep. I overwork. I haven’t found a good balance yet. I take breaks usually when my body starts complaining about the overwork and lack of sleep. But I love it enough to keep going.
What projects are you currently working on?
I’m actively looking for funding for Mordecai’s Girl. I’m keeping my eyes out for a producer to help us fundraise/pitch it as I think it would work very well as a TV show. I’m also co-writing a stage play with another writer ‘Total Bomb’ though that’s on hold until theatres reopen. I’ve started the first draft of a comedy sitcom script.
I also make comedy storytime videos on my youtube channel The Awkward Actress just for fun and to keep my creative juices flowing.
What are your hopes for the future?
I want to make my living as a screenactor and writer. I would love to have my own series on Netflix or TV. I also want to grow my own Youtube channel.
Lastly where can people find you?
On social media;
www.anninakaski.com for my personal website
Youtube - 'The Awkward Actress': https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCG-y5dCSaW4RQstyymlgDzQ
Are you a filmmaker? Want to be interviewed? Please get in touch and fill out your contact details; https://www.leahsolmaz.com/contact