A wise man once said to me that he took a role in a short Western shooting in Massachusetts because he wanted to see how the hell someone shot a Western in Massachusetts. Sometimes, as an actor, that's a perfectly good reason for auditioning for a project or accepting a role--you just want to see how the filmmaker plans on implementing his or her vision.
And I mean, how the hell do you shoot a Western in Massachusetts?
In the case of this short, the qualifications are sheer force of will on the part of the director/producer, and a fine eye for locations. Director Joey Cassaro over at Ides of March Productions has plenty of both. Old-fashioned trains, camp fires, and a classic stable shootout have all been included so far. In what was possibly the most bizarre thing that has ever happened on any set I've ever been on, half of the cast got to witness a cow being born. It was that authentic a set. It also ruined steak for at least a couple of us temporarily.
Next up: Some of the actors will get their first chance to film on horseback later this summer. Isn't this why we get into acting in the first place? To do things we would never get to do in real life?
One of the other actors, on set back in January in Keene, NH, says to me, "This is my outlet, man. Some guys go hunting, some guys go fishing, me, I get dressed up in shit I'd never wear and say shit I'd never say on the weekends."
These are the things you hear on small indie sets. Because on this level, while a lot of us do hope to make a living at it in some way, for the most part, the love is still there. We're playing pretend. On any given weekend, you're a cowboy, you're a vampire, you're a cop or a crook or a killer or a hero. It's the best job in the world, when it's happening.