The Mechanic: A Short Film

I’m working on a new film! For the course this time…

This term has consisted of putting a portfolio together to display a film idea that has developed through the past weeks, and it’s been reasonably enjoyable. I think just having come from shooting a short film it felt somewhat difficult to come up with anything fresh, but I think I got there in the end!

“An introverted boy’s passion for building bicycles shelters him from the violent family life that has plagued his upbringing, but can his passion allow him to escape?”

The film aims to give the audience a view into the lives of someone who could live on their street. Doing this will allow the audience can question the behavioral impacts of isolation as a child, and why disturbed family life can force children to mature at a faster rate than their peers.

Rob Searle and Recount Archives are back on board again to help me with production, which I’m really looking forward to. We will be using a Sony F3 and 552 sound mixers, which is a reasonable step up from the HPX-171’s from last year.

All in all it’s been a good term but I’m glad to be on a break, I am finding the practical and independent film work a lot more enjoyable and satisfying than sitting and writing essays for hours, I imagine most agree with the sentiment but it deserves to be said.

The featured photo was taken during the production of ‘One Small Step’ while I was directing a scene crew were watching intently.

Roland Spencer.

Back Again: Nous Progress!

Apologies for being away again, I’ve been plagued with my own health issues lately but thankfully it’s all fixed up now.

The shooting for Nous went extremely well, we shot with actors Callum Brown and Aaron Ward who were both spectacular, it was a really enjoyable weekend and everyone on set was amazing.

This shot is of me and Aaron blocking through a scene outside a corner shop, he was amazing to work with and it felt like he was constantly aiming to achieve the best possible which made it a lot easier running through shots.

I’ve finished editing the film and it is now in the hands of Recount Archives, sound design first draft should be done by mid December! I’m really excited to be working through this film as it feels like something to truly be proud of.

I’m back at university now as well, which means the work quickly piles up, I may not be posting for a while but I will be making it my mission to update more often once the winter break begins and my assessments are done.

Roland Spencer.

 

A New Camera, A New Short Film

It’s about that time again!

My original aim was to shoot twice this summer, and I believe I will achieve that goal by the end of it!

I’ve slowly gathered equipment through the years, but have been borrowing and renting cameras for a while now, it’s difficult to shoot without using full frame cameras nowadays considering how readily available they are, and it truly stands out when you don’t.

I’ve bought a Canon 6D.

Using the money I pulled together from my previous job I have bought that along with a 50mm prime lens and a 24-105mm zoom lens. I’ve gone with this set up rather than the popular 5D mark 3 as it was significantly cheaper, and the shoots I do tend to focus less on the pros of the 5D so it won’t be too much of a worry.

I have been working on a script for a new short film which I aim to enter into festivals, about two men meeting under a tunnel. It aims to be a homage to La Haine and Sergio Leone westerns, and I’m really looking forward to shooting it!

I’ve got Rob Searle back on board to do cinematography, and Recount Archives are looking at sound design! The shoot will hopefully take place in the coming month as we have the majority of pre-production finished. I’m not going to disclose scripts this time and but will release these once the film has run its course, instead here’s a shot of the tunnel we will be shooting in.

All in all I’m really looking forward to the next month!

Roland Spencer.

 

One Small Step: A Short Film

What happened and where have I been?

A lot has happened over the past few months, I’ve been extremely busy shooting a new short while also moving house! I apologise for not posting in a while, my focus was entirely on getting this next film finished. The work everyone on the art team put in the week before shoot was incredible.

Honestly it’s been one of the hardest pre-productions I’ve ever taken apart in. I was waking up at 9am and working straight til 11pm every day for a week trying to get props and sets finished.

We smashed it as a group and everything was done, so all the equipment and items were shipped off to Ben Porters office in York, where he had kindly lent us the space. Shooting lasted all day Saturday doing the various scenes from ‘Ms. Fingers’ (as she was affectionately known) travelling the globe, and then on sunday we did the live-action shots with our actress on Heslington campus.

The shoots went swimmingly and everyone had a grand time, it was a joy to shoot and I had gone in with the intention just to do something fun after a year of sweat and toil.

Post-production was a different matter entirely, passing the footage off to our sound designer who unfortunately disappeared only to reemerge a month and a half later, he had health issues which was absolutely fair reasoning, but I am now working on a new project and thus the passion for old film projects fades. By the time the first draft of the sound was finished I had little time left to focus on a prior project that was now in an unsatisfactory state.

I hope and believe that I will return to the project when I have time, but for now it is sitting in a folder on my desktop, here are a few images from the first day of shooting.

With thanks to Jack Spring for producing, and every single person who worked on set and off, it was an immense joy shooting and I aim to have it finish it as soon as I have fresh ears and eyes.

Roland Spencer.

A New Idea, A New Short Film

I don’t want my holidays to be a time where I’m not working on film. It has felt to me that to succeed in the industry I need to be using all of my spare time pushing my career forward as best I can.

The idea for my next short film, ‘One Small Step’ came to me one day after finger walking my hand across a table. It seems really silly now, and the diagram I used to demonstrate the idea to Jack Spring seemed even sillier, but he actually really liked the idea, and so has put me in contact with some extremely talented people to get the film produced.

I’m really looking forward to working on this next short, but I’m aware there will be a lot of work involved in creating the sets and costumes! I’ve got a few creative minded people on board and I’m really excited to get to work with them to make this idea become a reality. I often worry that I can’t achieve films because I cannot pay people yet, but honestly the amount of kindness in the industry seems to make these films possible. I have come across so many people in the past year that are happy to get involved purely because of their passion for filmmaking, especially Jack, who help not for any immediate gain. I really appreciate it and I will make sure to return the favour.

Roland Spencer.

The Little Spoon: A Short Film

So our first short at the University of York is now finished and through post production. It’s an interesting little thing, considering everyone on the team had not used the equipment we were given before, it’s not bad at all.

I feel like there’s a lot of polish needed and the story wasn’t immensely solid, I’m mostly proud that we finished with something. I really enjoyed seeing members of the team pick up new skills so quickly, while also working around challenges on set that popped up without warning!

I honestly wouldn’t use the HPX-171 again unless it was for a documentary, it’s very limiting and I would have taken a DSLR over this camera any day of the week. Onto the next film!

Roland Spencer.

The Little Spoon: Short Film Script

We’re now working on our end of year shorts for our BSc in Film and Television Production! The process seems to consist of letting you loose and then asking for specific paperwork at the end. We’ve been given access to a 552 Sound Mixer and an HPX-171, so the film could be quite interesting.

I was sent away by our group at the beginning of easter with a treatment and have had to write up a short script for us to follow when shooting. This is what I came up with! Somewhat weird, somehwat whacky, but it works for what was asked of me.

I have been really enjoying the practical assessments for the course, it has been really educational and has pushed me to make more moves in regards to linear narrative filmmaking. Hopefully this will pay off in the summer too when I plan to start making another short or two!

Roland Spencer.

Dream: A Short Film

So, I was working on a new short, and I suppose it didn’t go as planned – to cut a long story short our course got very busy and the contacts I had to get involved in the project had independent projects to focus on! Better luck next time I suppose.

I’m going to place the script up here so you can view the story, I was really excited to make it, but I’m going to focus on the next project instead! We have our short film making coming up next term so we will have that to focus on, and I have been writing a lot of essays. I have been surprised by how much of our work on this course is theory, BSc makes it sound like the course in production would be more practical based and scientific but unfortunately it is not. Our ‘science’ section culminates with a single science of film exam at the end of the year, and that is your only obligation in regards to the science of film and television.

Otherwise the course has been good, I was working with Jack Spring on this film and he has been an immense help, teaching me a lot about the film process and how to network. I believe he is moving to produce a feature film now and I wish him the best of luck.

Roland Spencer.

University of York: Return of Roland

(Had to grab this photo on my phone so it’s fairly low quality, sorry!)

 

Apologies for not updating the blog in so long, first term at the University of York has been incredibly busy! I have been busy meeting new people, learning new things and setting up a film social! I will hopefully be updating the site from here on out, perhaps not as often as I would like however – due to working on the course and on a new short film.

One of the most eye opening things so far has been using the TV Studios at Heslington East, before this course I knew nothing about what went on behind the scenes for TV production, but the degree at York has given me really good experience working with studio cameras and performing gallery jobs such as vision mixer and sound mixer.

We have worked beneath Patrick Titley who directed ‘Jungle Run’ and his knowledge and experience has made our practice in the studios feel very professional and worthwhile experiencing, even if I’m not yet convinced by work in the TV industry.

Roland Spencer.

Headshot


‘Speaking through film’

Along with the new logo comes a new headshot. I want to move away from a traditional formal headshot, and aimed for something slightly different. If a little pretentious, it still works and the film works as a way of being eye-catching. I noticed that traditional headshots use vertical lines and wanted to emphasise horizontal lines and the aspect of movement, standing out on websites such as LinkedIn.

I also feel as an artist it’s not necessarily as important to stick with suits and ties, and probably better to show a level of personality and thought in the photo, even if that means being more casual.

The photo itself is a play on words, ‘Roland Spencer – speaking through film’ I had originally liked the idea of covering my eyes as well but it’s an important part of the face to be able to see someones eyes, so I scrapped that idea. I have stuck with my usual monochrome as it pushes the shapes out of the image better and I think it holds up well.