When it comes to film production, Spencer loves it all
For a number of award-winning youth, student, and local film productions, Spencer has served as writer, director, film and audio editor, sound designer, composer, actor, and more. Below are some highlights of projects he's worked on in various ways, including some additional credits.
A 19-year-old girl receives a terminal cancer prognosis. 3 months. Despite her doctors saying her only chance is a miracle, she decides to fight for her life. She bravely faces terrifying medical treatments, passes in and out of consciousness, and loses the control she once had. Afraid she won't make it to the end of her treatment cycle, all she has left is hope. And at the end of her long journey, there's a glimmer of light.
Spencer's 2016 chamber piece for string quartet, piano, harp, and audio track accompanies the pre-recorded narration of a real, 19-year-old woman battling terminal cancer. Her story is supported by an intimate score full of hope, pain, and resilience - the musical instruments dance with each other and with her voice, sound effects from medical equipment interject and become one with the musical instruments - but all the sounds seem equally driven onward, fighting for life, aware that at any moment the cycle could just stop.
reflections through a frame
Spencer created this short film as a music video for the song “You Said” from his 2019 LP Atone. The source material for the film is a collection of videos he took as a child on a small, inexpensive camcorder. The music video visualizes the self-reflective themes of the music, and serves to build a portal between now and then.
Spencer created this film as a little summer project with co-composer Mallory Strom and dancer/choreographer Karah Haug. It took 48 hours from concept to filming and the music uses only instruments, technology, and other resources readily available. Filmed in South Dakota, the piece is inspired by a scene from Disney's Tangled.
learning by doing
For high school students Spencer, Ashley, Dominic, Isaac, Nate, and Josh, the summer of 2014 culminated in an unusual project: part-summer-camp, part-film-shoot, part-playtime, Eccentricity was a thing of its own. The basic idea? Learn how to make a movie...by making a movie. An immersive three-day intensive at the end of the summer gave us a chance to focus all our energy on learning about filmmaking - by actually doing it.
Shoot days were energetic, fun, creative, silly, and driven. Thankfully, the process is well-documented in a series of behind the scenes videos so you too can experience what it was like to create Eccentricity:
The final film was premiered on June 21, 2015 at Studio 35 Cinema in Columbus, OH. Watch the full film here: Eccentricity
Match Girl presented a fun challenge for Spencer: in a film with only a few lines of dialogue, create all the rest of the sound from scratch. Ultimately, Spencer's sound design effectively characterizes Match Girl's mysterious and ominous world, and helps to convey the story's meaning. Match Girl was screened at Guam International Film Festival, The All American High School Film Festival, and Seoul Youth International Film Festival.
An Uplifting Song
captain grain elevator
This music video, which Spencer wrote, recorded, filmed, and edited in three weeks as an 8th grade history project, spread like wildfire. After the video's release, he was featured in local news, multiple times, he met the governor of Ohio, and the music video won multiple awards including an Ohio State Fair arts competition, and second prize in a youth shorts film screening. To this day, Spencer can't seem to shake his legacy as "Captain Grain Elevator."
starting a school district film festival
In 2014, Spencer turned a French assignment into a short film. The foreign language wing at his high school quickly realized the language-learning potential of film production - from writing, to speaking, to listening. With Spencer giving film workshops and helping craft assignments, his teachers were able to build a district-wide student foreign film festival to screen student assignments. "Le Voisinage" is Spencer's second French film.
emulating your heros
Warning: switching to first-person for this one. Though I'm a big fan of the BBC TV series Sherlock, it has a lot of problems. My parody barely scratches the surface. But more importantly, parodying Sherlock gave my friend Austin Crum and me a chance to emulate the show's visual style and effects. We tried to achieve a similar, recognizably-Sherlock look using our own limited resources. Sometimes, expanding your toolbox means learning by imitation.
Sound for GOLDFISH - Short Film written and directed by Christina Xing
WINNER - BEST DRAMA - All American High School Film Festival
WINNER - BEST FILM - Austin Student Film Festival
WINNER - BEST ACTOR - Austin Student Film Festival
FINALIST - BEST DIRECTOR - Austin Student Film Festival
FINALIST - BEST DIRECTOR - All American High School Film Festival
FINALIST - RISING FEMALE FILMMAKER - All American High School Film Festival
FINALIST - BEST OVERALL PICTURE - All American High School Film Festival
FINALIST - BEST OF THE FESTIVAL - All American High School Film Festival
FINALIST - BEST ACTRESS - Austin Student Film Festival
All American High School Film Festival - Drama - OFFICIAL SELECTION
IndieWise Virtual Film Festival - Drama - OFFICIAL SELECTION
Second Asia International Short-Film Exhibition - Drama - OFFICIAL SELECTION
Scout Film Festival - OFFICIAL SELECTION
Score production and Piano for Pipelines: An Improvisational Film created by Colter Fellows
Devil Bully and Set PA for Monsters Under the Bed written and directed by Jeremy Hughes
Composer for Spring Lake - A Short Film directed by Cedric Gegel
Original score for Light of the World directed by Margo Cummins
Writer, Director, Narrator for le sauvetage de la princesse kee-kah
Music for The Tangibility of Loneliness written and directed by Margo Cummins and Austin Crum