Caroline Spence is a screenwriter, producer, and co-owner of Raya Films London, who’s recently released a debut feature film ‘Do Something Jake” Working on a slate of original movies with Raya Films Caroline’s screenplays have received high praise from established companies in London and Hollywood.
She came to film producing through a series of events and been writing since her childhood, which she is very passionate about. Caroline then went on to write published articles based on natural history, science, and ancient history and In 2004, she was invited to appear on to a TV show about international property, which she wasn’t too impressed by the unprofessional behaviour of the film crew. Nevertheless, this odd experience inspired her to write and present her own documentaries.
We all know how hard it is to break into the film industry, in fact any industry, but for Caroline, who has never been employed on a ‘job’ in the film industry, shows us how it can be done. She was commissioned to adapt a best-selling novel by an author in Louisiana, which was the true story of his life experiences running drugs in Spain and Mexico. Since then she has been commissioned to write short films and promos from clients from all over the world including Hong Kong, Canada and Australia.
We asked Caroline what her favourite British Film was and she says, we need to define ‘British Film’ since most films people consider British are actually made with American money – a very valued point. Caroline goes way back to 1938 and pause; ‘The Lady Vanishes’ by Alfred Hitchcock. I don’t know why I like this film so much. It’s set in Europe, which is always appealing and Dame May Whitty is absolutely delightful.
After that we couldn’t help but follow with, who would be your favourite screen hero, let’s say we wasn’t expecting that answer, maybe “QUINT” played by Robert Shaw in JAWS – a brilliantly complex character. Neither a villain nor hero, but characters riddled with flaws, humour, and frailties hidden behind a wall of bravado are always such a delight to go on a journey with.
Caroline seems to be very interested in the way the film industry perceives woman and believes women are doing okay she says, things are improving all the time with stronger and more ballsy roles. Behind the lens, there are a greater number of guys wanting to direct than women wanting to direct so we have to factor that in. I think we need more female directors that make commercial movies for both male and female audiences, such as Kathryn Bigelow (Point Break, et al) and Mary Harron (American Psycho).
We seem to be seeing a lot more diversity within the British and USA film industry, but the question is are there enough roles available for women? I mean we only have to look at the UK, which is way behind the US in terms of ethnic roles right?
It was interesting to get Caroline’s perspective on the lack of roles for woman and her opinion was valued The UK is exporting some exceptional talent to the USA and they are heading west because there is more opportunity for them. Idris Elba, Daniel Kaluuya, Naomie Harris, John Boyega, Riz Ahmed are just a few as Caroline says the names we note the lack of female names thee, this needs to be seriously rectified!!! However In the USA there is still more room for improvement, but they are heading in the right direction.
At Raya Films they do not put people in boxes and are very flexible in the outlook. For instance, in Do Something Jake they had two roles written for men that eventually were swapped around and filled by women. In terms of crews and actors, they simply ask, if they can do the job or perform the role regardless of background or race.
Many of Raya movies have central female characters who are strong, intelligent and independent with ages ranging from the late 20s to 70s and above. The movie Do Something Jake, which was well-written and produced by Caroline Spence and brilliantly directed by James Smith (co-owner of Raya Films) shows the strength of how woman can take the same roles as me.
The film was shot in the East Midlands, U.K. and follows the story of Jake, an unemployed introvert, unable to read or write, who draws on brilliant ingenuity when the woman he secretly loves is threatened. Starring Jamie Alderson in the title role, Ed Bergtold (Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps) and Mia Mills (Black Mirror) Do Something Jake is a 110-minute film shot with zero-budget, yet utilizing a large international cast and multiple locations.
With a mix of humour, noir and criminal menace, Do Something Jake offers a fresh angle on the UK crime thriller – a British film that does not feel ‘British’. This helped by Hollywood-inspired screenwriting and bold cinematography, plus the appearance of award-winning New York actor Ed Bergtold (Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps), and post-production crews from Europe and Los Angeles. Do Something Jake is the feature film everyone will be talking about and want to see – brilliantly produced.
Jake is an introvert, illiterate, and unable to hold down a basic job for more than a few days. Unbeknown to those around him, however, he is intelligent and ingenious – strengths he uses to secretly observe his neighbour, Alice, the woman he loves. But Alice lives with her boyfriend, Guy, a small-time criminal, and drug pusher. Events escalate when Jake crosses the line from Alice’s voyeur to direct manipulation of Guy’s illicit dealings. Things come to a head when Alice is assaulted and abducted. After an unconvincing appeal to the Police, Jake decides to rescue Alice in his own ingenious, yet ultimately dangerous, way.
We asked Caroline what it was like working with the director James Smith; James is a highly skilled cinematographer with an incredible instinct for framing and composition. As a director, he has the ability to bring out the absolute best in actors no matter what their level of experience. Most importantly, however, when I tell him a shot is taking too long or to get a move on because my schedule is about to become disrupted, he takes heed! In short, I can’t wait to get on the next film shoot with him in the driving seat.
James and Caroline are certainly an inspiration to the young directors and actors who want to pursue a career within the film industry they are award winning, creative and outstanding storylines, they certainly make a good team. We asked Caroline what would be the best advice to give people wanting to break into the film industry. You don’t need a big budget to make a start! We spent YEARS trying to raise finance to make our first movie. Network and gather people around you, go make a movie with whatever equipment you have, you never know where it might lead…
Following sell-out theatrical screenings, a festival run and Best Feature Award, Meridian Releasing Group will release the film on DVD/Blu-ray and VOD later this year.
For more information visit http://www.dosomethingjake.com