Communications alumna finds success in entertainment industry
Candice Burrow Spake ’00 has been involved in several aspects of the creative process throughout her career. Se recently co-wrote the script for a movie, “New Life,” which premiered in the fall.
By Xernay Aniwar ’17
Candice Burrow Spake ’00 came to Elon to become an investigative reporter. But after completing an internship at CBS Baltimore, she decided to launch herself into other creative projects.
Fast-forward 16 years, and Spake, a communications and journalism graduate whose professional name is Candice Irion, says she feels blessed with where her creativity has taken her. Since graduation, Irion has worked as a director, producer, writer, actress, assistant director and set photographer on feature films, shorts, commercials and documentaries. She has interviewed politicians and Hollywood stars alike for the Dallas International Film Festival, established a business as a portrait photographer and written five short films, a book, devotionals and six feature-length screenplays, including a script for the movie “New Life,” which she co-wrote with her husband, Josh.
The film debuted in select theaters across the country in October and follows the love story of Ben and Ava, who meet as children, marry as young adults and together face the difficulties of life. The project began in 2010 when the director approached Candice and Josh individually with a concept for a short fi lm and asked them to write the script. What he didn’t know was that the pair was dating at the time. “One of the best parts about this process is the personal journey with my relationship with Josh, which ran concurrently with the development of the script,” Irion says.
The couple married in 2011, after completing the final script for the short film. By 2015 the feature script was written and revised, then soon optioned and filmed. The couple attended the screening in 2016 while Irion was pregnant with their first child. Months later they took their daughter, Adelaide, to the theatrical premiere. “To be able to experience watching our vision come to life on the big screen together was just unbelievable,” Irion says. “The moments can never be fully described, but just lived. It is a bond that we’ll always have. Plus, the first movie Adelaide ever saw was the one her parents wrote.”
While at Elon, Irion wrote and directed two musicals, and was involved in InterVarsity as well as New Student Orientation, for which she also created promotional videos. She says all these experiences provided her with the critical comprehension of “how to harness implementing a vision.” She credits professors Mark Fox, Don Grady, Tom Nelson and Michael Sanford and staff members Ray Crompton, Felicia Massey and Rex Waters for teaching and mentoring her during her time on campus. “Elon provided a balance of opportunity: from a great education to an even better understanding of project management,” she says, adding that it was the platform for a wonderful independent career.
She encourages those pursuing creative careers to be diversified, proficient and ready to deal with disappointment. “There will be more ‘noes’ than there will be ‘yeses,’ so be determined to see your purpose through, not allowing disappointment to override your devotion.”
Irion hopes to direct her own work in the years ahead. In the meantime, she is enjoying raising Adelaide and writing new projects.