Next in our series of Sit Down With... is Missing Link Films' rising star, Alicia Macdonald.
What movie inspired you to be a Director?
Death Becomes Her.
I’ve got a lot of love for Mean Girls too.
2. What other mediums do you draw inspiration from? (e.g. paintings, photographers, writers, etc)
Facebook - I got the idea for Otherwise Engaged after hours of mindless scrolling. Social media may be wily in its insecurity-inducing ways but it’s a darn good place to find characters. Plus I can procrastinate and tell myself it’s ‘research’.
Travel’s always good for inspiration - not the boho way that involves ‘finding yourself’ in tie-dye trousers on a mountain with a Buddhist goat; more just getting some head-space and running away from London sometimes, preferably by train. There is little better in this bastard world than a forward facing window seat, at a table, on a train.
3. Who is your favourite Cinematographer?
Buster Keaton in The Cameraman.
4. Are you interested in making long form?
Definitely. I spent 5 years working as a freelance assistant to some hugely inspirational and divergent directors - Kevin Macdonald, Mike Leigh, Justin Kurzel - so making a feature film has always been something I want to do when I’m ready. I’m sure I’ve still got a metric fuck-tonne to learn though. There are so many ‘good’ films out there and however misguided this may sound, I don’t want to add another ‘good’ film to the already massive cannon of celluloid, I want to add a great one.
5. What piece of advice do you have for aspiring filmmakers?
Don’t go to film school (unless you want to be a DOP). And prepare for a gloriously unpredictable and generally impoverished existence.
6. Do you still prefer to shoot on film?
I am yet to shoot on the (accursedly costly) film although I hear it’s rather pleasant.
7. What is your favourite piece of kit to use in your work? (Camera, crane, etc)
I’m not very techy but I ruddy love a Steadicam; they’re so slick. I remember pleading with the Steadicam Operator on the Mumbai set of Sense8 to let me have a play. Turns out film folk don't like it when you cavalierly talk about ‘playing’ with their very expensive cameras but still, he jovially helped me into the vest whereby I immediately drenched it in sweat. I think I lasted 15 minutes amidst its crushing weight, but having adopted a surprisingly stabilising crab-esque shuffle, I at least managed to capture one vaguely smooth shot…
8. How would you best like to showcase your work? (Good info for you) including technical spec for DP's format/res etc
I like to put my films online; it’s the only place you get (brutally) honest feedback. Festivals and screenings are cool, although being sat amidst an audience watching your film is one of the most awesome and simultaneously galling experiences. I find myself sweating and twitching and frantically trying to gauge the atmosphere - Are they laughing? Why aren't they laughing? Oh creeping Jesus, they’re laughing at THAT bit?! Oh what fresh Hell is this? Can I hear snoring back there? I thought we cut that bit? Sod this, pass the gin.
Check out Alicia's work here