When they lost their camera person on location, Caroline Spence of Raya Films, made the suggestion to use a smartphone and turned a bad situation into a fortunate one.
Our guest in Episode 90 of the SBP Podcast Mobile Filmmaking is Caroline Spence. She is a screenwriter and producer, but she plays different roles on set as needed. She’s even played an assassin in one of the company’s films.
Without going through 89 of our previous episodes, I cannot recall a time when our podcast featured a guest filmmaker who had made more than one feature film with a smartphone. But our guest, has completed two feature length films.
“Cyberlante,” has been released to Amazon Prime. Their second mobile feature film, “Surveilled,” was just accepted into the UK’s “biggest film festival,” Horror-on-Sea Film Festival.
My conversation with Caroline was lots of fun and inspiring and I believe you will enjoy listening to her share the experiences she has had during the production of two features shot on smartphones. “Cyberlante” was shot with the Google Pixel and “Surveilled” began filming with the same phone. However, during filming, something happened and they had to get a new phone, so they used a Samsung S9 Plus.
Caroline has always loved the arts, drama and films. However, it was her work for a realtor that introduced her to the filmmaking industry, as a participant.
It was after an experience, working for the realtor, to be on camera for a TV Travel Show that she teamed up with James Smith in 2004, and began to write screenplays and make films with Raya Films. Screenwriting has become her passion. She learned how to write screenplays on her own. She studied the craft from a book, reading screenplays and then studying the films from those screenplays. Although her screenplays received good reviews, even from people in Hollywood, she and her partner had trouble with funding for the films. So they shot most of their films on low budgets.
During one of those films, the cinematographer quit and took his camera with him, leaving James and Caroline without a camera. It was then, that Caroline brought up the idea of using a smartphone to experiment making a feature film. James agreed and so they began to shoot “Cyberlante,” A film about a young man who moves to a new town who begins to use his skills as a hacker out of curiosity and stumbles upon a situation at the isolated hotel he is working for.
Caroline shares the challenge of making that film because for one thing, she was writing the screenplay as they shot it. They were also filming it with a handful of people. Her partner, James, was directing and filming using the smartphone camera. Caroline was alternating between the role of sound tech and script supervisor. One of the actors was running sound while he was off camera so she could focus on continuity as script supervisor.
The film received great reviews and is currently available on Amazon Prime.
Their second smartphone film, “Surveilled,” a mystery horror, was planned. They were surprised at how many people were willing to travel to the UK from different countries, to take part in the production.
Caroline and James were in their small yacht in Spain in March, this year, when they were forced to quarantine. They kept trying to leave but about nine cancelled flights later, they realized they were stuck. So they made due and finished editing their film in there until they were able to leave in July.
Currently, Caroline and James are working on their next film, which is not a smartphone film, “Casting Kill,” as they continue to make films with Raya Films.
Caroline Spence knows how to turn bad situations into good outcomes and she shares several times that she has been able to do that. It’s quite inspiring to listen to her stories and accounts on being challenged and rising to the occasion with the best outcome.
SBP Podcast: The Voice of Mobile Film™ is for everyone who ever wanted to or is curious about making movies and videos using smartphones.