Local creative - Catherine Mack
Creative producer and actor, Catherine Mack thrives on creative deadlines and challenges, and with the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic she developed a new project providing opportunities for the other creatives around her to work in an alternate medium.
With the support of an Arts & Creativity Grant, Catherine has produced an evocative podcast series 'Night Light’, ‘for restless heads and racing hearts’, narrated by some of Australia’s favourite performers.
Find Catherine on Instagram @misscatherinemack
Photo © Current Mood Films.
Tell us a little about your life as a creative producer, writer and actress?
I started in the entertainment industry ‘late’, in my mid 20’s after finally gaining the confidence to follow my passion. My first few years were spent training and then (so luckily) in front of the camera working as an actor. After my first job, as a reg on Home and Away, I felt like I didn’t have any control over my life’s projection, relying on auditions and waiting for the phone to ring, so I became very interested in creating my own projects. These days I feel so much freedom creating and producing projects. There is a lot of admin, adrenalin filled deadlines and obstacles to overcome – I love it. At the moment I’m producing two network TV shows and working on a concept for my own show. The ‘Night Light’ podcast is going into season two, so I’m in preproduction for that too.
You’ve had films selected for festivals such as Flickerfest and local favourite, Tropfest. Tell us more about your filmmaking?
I love the element of storytelling and creating a visual narrative. I’m a very visual person so location usually plays its own character in my projects. At first, I started creating short films with other directors as co-productions (The Hunt – Flickerfest) and spent hours on set while studying filmmaking at Melbourne Uni, but nothing compares to the experience gained on an actual professional set. I just tried to soak it all up as much as possible when working as an actor on a show. In the downtime without acting jobs (and there’s been a lot of time between jobs!!) I realised the way forward was to tell my own stories, rather than being annoyed at not getting a job, or having a character be less than desirable. My first solo film was a little Tropfest film that we shot in the middle of a forest in NZ on a shoe-string – I’ll always remember that experience as such a learning curve – it was a special experience seeing my first short up on the big Tropfest screen. Now, years later I work as a freelance Director, actor and in the commercial space with our production company. I love telling commercial narrative stories, so I’ve been stepping into the commercial space too.
How did the Arts & Creativity Grant enable you to keep creating during the COVID-19 pandemic?
It really made ‘Night Light’ a reality and I’m so thankful. I also wanted to see the creatives around me creating, in another medium, and wanted to help ease anxiety and depression
Tell us more about your project, ‘Night Light’ and how you’re sharing it with the community?
‘Night Light’ is a podcast series showcasing a collection of curated stories, featuring one powerful tale performed by a renowned Australian creative. With a goal to combat the quiet epidemic of anxiety, depression and loneliness rippling through our world, the podcast series seeks to inspire an intimate experience to pause, stop and refresh, through a literary experience. A million miles away from the hamster wheel of everyday life in 2021. It’s an oasis for the mind. Short episodes to promote attentional focus. All you need to do is sit and listen and focus on the story.
You have engaged more than a few renowned performers to narrate episodes of ‘Night Light’. Who are the actors and performers involved in this project?
The list of performers includes Australian favourites; Rachel Ward, Erik Thompson, Georgie Parker, Kassandra Clementi, Matilda Brown, Tim Peacock, Mark Cole-Smith, Rick Donald, and me, as well as celebrated UK poet David Whyte.
What does your creative future look like?
I have no idea! I once said to my dad (when stressed out about something), “Oh no, I have no idea what’s around the corner” – and he said “yes! And it could be wonderful!” that’s something I love now (most of the time), the beauty of the unexpected. I’ll continue to work on my own projects as well as produce for our production company – and take it one day at a time.
Images courtesy Catherine Mack.