WELD at Work: School of Rock Reunion

WELD AT WORK:  School of Rock Reunion
WELDER:  Rachael Currie
Website:  RachaelCurrie.com
Interview by:  Kristin Read

Entertainment Weekly Call Sheet


Facts about Rachael you likely don’t (and need to) know:

Rachael was originally named Cydney for the first two days of her life… Then, her parents changed their minds.

She’s an avid thrifter who collects handmade pottery from thrift stores for fun.

Rachael is known for her friendship skills, even to those we can’t see — Namely, Gertrude, her imaginary childhood friend (an invisible worm that lived in a brick hole on her front porch).

She travelled to New York five times in the past year, clearly one of her favorite places to be.

If she thinks a dumpster is diveworthy, she WILL dive into it. (Don’t miss the chance to test this.) 

She has a dog/child named Hank. He never meets a stranger, just like his mom. 

She gots no husbands and gots no kids. (Gentlemen!)

Her favorite shoots are whimsically themed, and involve styling cute kids.

She once swam in a fountain and stole all of the change at the bottom of it… And still feels guilty for stealing people’s wishes. 

Rachael building the School of Rock set and hand stenciling letters.


You were recently able to work with comedian and actor, Jack Black, correct? Tell us how the project came about.

So, I was sitting in Starbucks working on a different project with a friend of mine, and I got a phone call randomly from the photo editor of Entertainment Weekly (for a second I thought I was in trouble for who knows what), who was recommended to me by a photographer who heard about my work and told the photo editor about me. He visited my website, saw my work, and wanted to hire me for a gig with Jack Black. It was a big networking chain that landed me the job.

You’ve been known to take on “passion projects” from time to time. What spurred you in that direction?

Here’s the back-story: when I stepped out into the world as a full time freelancer back in March, I was offered work/opportunities from people who had little to no budget. I thought about it, and rather than say no, I decided if it was a cool gig, that gave me the opportunity to grow my network, I’d be open to take on passion projects.

Right: Rachael backstage with School of Rock crew, Left: Director, Richard Linklater at work

I’m assuming that lead to this specific project?

Yes. That being said, I got a phone call at 10:00 the night before a scheduled shoot back in April, where I was asked to be in Houston the next day at 9 a.m. to start building a set.  They needed everything done for free, and I decided it was well worth my effort.  I had the opportunity to work with Jon Foreman from Switchfoot and a few other bands that I really admired — on zero sleep. The videographer and I really worked well together, and then fast forward several months, and I was getting a phone call from the photo editor at Entertainment Weekly. The lack of sleep, and budget, on that one music video paid for itself — with a paying job from EW.

What were the highs and lows of the project while on set?

I had four days notice to get everything prepared for the EW shoot. It was for their reunion issue where they reunite casts of old movies. The School of Rock cast was coming up on their 10th year anniversary of those films and the director, Richard Linklater, originally called EW and they were in! We ended up doing a photo shoot of the casts reuniting. I was brought in as the production designer on the shoot. The location was already set … but it was the worst room I’ve ever had to work with. (The photographer and I looked at each other in panic.) It was a black curtain, a black stage, like no natural light. I HAD to think outside of the box.

Backstage setting up lighting and jamming out at School of Rock

Tell us about the design that you chose for this particular shoot. What was it like and why’d you choose it?

Well, we successfully reworked the set. I decided we should open the garage door of the room we were working in, and embrace the loading dock behind it that was full of random crap. I thought, “This could be so interesting.” It was this really great gear rental studio location in Austin for big bands who come in town on tour.  This giant warehouse is covered floor to ceiling with every type of every musical instrument you can ever imagine.  I was given free rein, and great art direction … It worked perfectly.

What did you learn from this experience — the set, the crew, the work itself?

It was really eye opening for me, and reminded me of the direction I want to take my career in. With smaller projects, everyone that is involved is expected to wear a number of hats in order to make the project successful on a limited budget. This particular project was really the first time I’ve ever done a shoot where every single person is hired only for their specific talent. I finally didn’t have to worry, “Did anybody get coffee?,” or “Is food here?,” or fill-in-the-blank. Every role was filled. I was hired solely for set design. It was refreshing. I thought, “See, this is what I want, to be hired to live in my sweet spot and focus on what I’m really good at.”

What was it like working with such a powerhouse team? Were they cooperative, open-minded, …?

Working with the Oscar-award-winning director, Richard Linklater, was amazing. He is an amazing guy, so down to earth, and all the kids gravitated towards him. And working with Jack Black is exactly how you’d expect it to be.  He walks in a room, commands attention, but you adore him. Granted, he’s not there to be sweet and ask if you need help, but he is definitely there to make you laugh — from entrance to exit. When he first came in, everything had been set up for several hours, and Jack Black comes in and Miller is like, “Okay, I want you to stand here, and I want ‘so-and-so’ to stand here” and Jack was like, “No, no, no, I don’t like that.  I don’t like that.  Um, that doesn’t bring enough energy.  Okay, I want her to go down on her knee here and then I’m going to stand above her and I’m going to do a herkie, and I want you to catch the herkie midair.”  Miller was incredibly receptive to Black’s creativity, and always had an open mind. He could successfully make everyone feel comfortable/heard on set, while still capturing the images he envisioned … I can’t wait to see the images they choose to publish.

Speaking of shots, when can we expect to see this project go live?

You can expect to see the issue come out on Friday (18th). Look for the cover with Jack, and the two-page spread!