Written by Murray Ashton on Jun 29, 2012. Posted in Interviews

On location with UK producer Spencer Friend

Spencer is the founder and Executive Producer of Joyrider that was set up almost eight years ago; the company is known for visual storytelling. Spencer has been working mainly in commercials and music videos, and has just signed his first producing deal for a US feature film.

Experienced as a live-action specialist, Spencer has also supervised many VFX and animation-led projects.

How did you get into the business?

I became a producer after being advised by someone at ITV who told me to walk around Soho and knock on doors armed with a copy of Broadcast magazine and 20 copies of my CV. Fortunately on the first day of wandering around, Liquid TV gave me a job. Thanks Asra, I shan't forget that and to send the elevator back down (sic). I've been producing now for around 18 years.

Where have you filmed abroad or out-of-state in the past few years?

Over the last few years I've shot in Cape Town, Madrid, Bangkok, Sao Paolo, Prague, Paris, Namibia, Israel, Toronto and all over the UK.

Is there anything you would recommend or insight that you would pass on to anyone shooting in these locations?

The most vital thing is the local Line Producer, who is obviously running your local production. On the last two runs I've had exceptionally talented and professional people, but I've had a few horror stories. One involved someone who had lied about being based in the city and one involved someone lying that a budget would work.

My advice is to meet the local service company Producer beforehand, even if it’s just via Skype. You'll just know whether they can handle things without unnecessary risk and stress after some straight questions.

Oh, and don't waste money getting a hotel in Cape Town; hire as many private houses as you need. We hired the same four-bedroom house in Camps Bay a few times and it was a hundred times better than any hotel I've stayed in.

Bangkok - not only was everything lost in translation but the riots weren't that lovely. I was very amused to see the police sleeping in the reception of the hotel though!

Are there any production service companies you would like to give a special mention?

Two companies deserve special mentions, I feel. Cat Isakson, Producer at A Productions in Madrid. Also, Tandy & Sasha at Lucky Rabbit Cape Town. If you need to shoot in either of these locations use them; you will have the best shoot, I promise.

What has been your hardest location filming challenge to date?

Bangkok. Not only was everything lost in translation but the riots weren't that lovely. I was very amused to see the police sleeping in the reception of the hotel though!

Where do you most like shooting and why?

Cape Town. Locations galore in an easy one- or two-square mile radius and the crews are awesome. I love it there and it just feels like home now.

Where in your international filming experience do you consider you got the best production value?

Again, I'd have to say Cape Town strangely enough.

What do you do to relax after a full-on location shoot?

Go for a run, sit by the pool then go out to eat and drink. Away from the location, there isn't a place on Earth that’s as remarkable - nor as re-invigorating - as The Maldives. If you haven't been there you've been wasting time, to coin a phrase. There are a lot of hotels that are not super expensive and plenty of islands without the stereotypical honeymooners. Lovely sharks too.

Where do you find peace and quiet?

20 metres below the surface in the South Male Atoll.

Thank you

To contact Spencer please click here

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