By: Jaaziel Job
Riley Rewind is a recently released 5 part web series directed by Ray William Johnson. The modern day
sci-fi drama revolves around a time-travelling high school student Riley Brown, who tries to save a school mate from committing suicide. The character is played by the writer of the series; Anna Akana. While the series is said to be entirely fictional, Akana admits that a lot of it was inspired by real life experiences.
“….I wanted to write fiction, and act as someone other than
Anna Akana - Riley
Lamar Legend - JAY
Leanna Spear - GAIL
Casandra van Dongen - Kara
Christina Marie Leonard - Angela
Eric Braun - Trevor
Trevor Dow -Quinn
Scott Higgins -Jimmy
Ray William Johnson - Mr Osbourne
Well done, Runway Machine! An amazing production with a superb cast! 5 stars, without a doubt!
LTL had the opportunity to interview Anna Akana - the brains behind Riley Rewind! Here’s our exclusive with the LA based actress:
How did you start out on YouTube
I initially started doing sketch with a few actor friends of mine. We wanted to keep acting (instead of sitting around waiting for auditions, or having 10 minutes on stage in acting class), so we created a sketch group that made quick, quirky videos.When the group broke up, I wanted to continue to act and write and build up a fan base, so I started doing sketches by myself. I learned how to clone myself on
screen and was able to continue on with my own channel.
Tell us more about Riley Rewind and what inspired this?
Riley Rewind is a 5 part series that I wrote about a time traveling high school girlwho tries to save a classmate from committing suicide. Initially it was inspired because I wanted to do more narrative content and storytelling. My videos are typically semi-autobiographical stories where I act out all the
parts. I wanted to write fiction, and act as someone other than myself. It wasn't until someone pointed out to me that it was obviously based on my sister [who committed suicide in 2007] that I realized it actually was.
You take your work and art very seriously, what motivates you to keep going?
My sister's death ultimately gave me the courage to pursue what I've always wantedto do. Youtube is a great social media tool for building up a fan base and a fun outlet, but the career I'm striving for is definitely TV/film. It was something my brother and sister and I have always wanted to do, but
entertainment seemed such an impossible goal. When she passed away, it was a wake up call. I dropped out of college and moved to LA.
Tell us more about some of the other projects you are doing?
Ray and I are working on our next project, which is currently in pre-production. Between auditions, I'm workingon a novel, which hopefully will see the light of day. But even if it doesn't, it's a great learning experience. Writing is a challenge, but I hope to get better at it and create some substantial roles for myself that don't involve an Asian accent or geeky glasses.
You recently released a raw video telling the world a very personal story about your younger sister. Was that hard?
I've been wanting to do it for a long, long time. I see a lot of suicide awareness videos and anti-bullying campaigns, but for some reason those never seem to hit home. I wanted to show the other side of suicide. What you could potentially beleaving behind. It was very hard. I had to edit it and upload it and cringe and hope that the world would enjoy it. But in the end, I decided it was the best thing to do. If it reached just one person, that would be fantastic.
What would you say is your most influential video to date?
Probably "Please Don't Kill Yourself". It's not my most popular, but it's definitely the
most real and honest video I will probably ever make.
You can catch Riley Rewind HERE!!
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LTLtalk is an entertainment blog that is part of LTLmagazine.