Cowboy Spirit Movie: On Set with Rich Manley
CowboySpirit.TV- Today we have a blog entry from the male lead of the Cowboy Spirit movie, Rich Manley. Enjoy this read as Rich recounts his experience on set.
So I have been sitting here trying to figure out how to honestly express the enlightening experience I had while working on Cowboy Spirit. I guess I should probably start from the very beginning. One day while finishing up some long needed writing for a project, I got a phone call from my agent. She said that she received a phone call from a production that had seen my work in a prior western and that they were interested in me as the lead for their film and said she was sending over the script. I said "OK, I will check it out when I get the time." Little did I know that the script that was given to me would be a compelling and life changing experience. I began to read the manuscript one evening and stopped, sat it down, and looked around. I said to myself, “this feels like a strange bout of deja-vu.“ I could relate to the story and was instantly drawn in by the heart of it, that indeed there is something, an ideal and a belief that is bigger than humanities ego. There is in fact a cowboy spirit. I have always believed that there is a higher standard of living where treating others with respect and moral dignity is the right way of doing things. Compassion, humbleness, upholding and protecting a standard in which others should be treated is one of the things the world needs more of. I didn’t know what to call this, but I suppose it is best called the Cowboy Spirit and I found that in this project.
I accepted the role not sure exactly what to expect when I returned to Mass, the place where I originally grew up. Well, I got more out of this experience than I could have ever imagined. I have worked on projects in Los Angeles where the process is more of an assembly line than a family sharing a passionate dream of making a truly compelling product, but not even a product, more of a message. I had a great time working with everyone on set. The crew and cast were terrific people whom performed their tasks as if they had been doing this job for years, which some very well had been seasoned veterans.
Mike Allison was right there and everywhere at all times. I swear that guy has five body doubles who jump around making sure everything is going smoothly. Just when you think he is off doing something else you feel a presence next to you asking if you need anything and if there was anything he could do. Such a great guy. Larry was right there with his quick humor that complemented his twin, Bill Millar, who was such a joy to work with as a director. He was patient, understanding, easy to work with, and had that understanding of the actor that only comes with an immense wealth of knowledge and experience in this industry. He let the actor remain in control, only to jump in subtly and patiently to keep the scene grounded and true to the story.
I told Mike one evening, after shooting, that I felt as if the script that was sent to me months before was indeed not just a job, but that it was meant to serve a higher purpose. I had been going through a stressful time in my life when I was given the screenplay. The message in the story seemed to be exactly the therapy I needed to realize and see past a lot of the muck I had been caught under. I don’t know how he did it, but his film helped spawn a refreshing new take on how filmmaking should be conducted. I had amazing experiences and developed relationships with unbelievable people. Ayla was fantastic as Molly. When I watched her perform I thought she had been acting her whole life, so natural. Brad was perfect as Blaine and Jenna captured the essence of Tori with those intense eyes of hers. Sheri added that much needed touch that gave us all a dynamic relationship with one another. Oh, and Tess, how could I forget the girl who would tug on my arm and say “Hi Teddy Bear!” She was adorable and, despite her age, shockingly well mannered and natural in front of the camera. So, in conclusion, at the expense of writing a review of the film before it is released I will end with saying that I can honestly attest to the fact that working on this film was one of the most enjoyable experiences I have ever had working in this business and that’s because it wasn’t business, it was passion, family, and spirit. I am honored to have worked on this project and to have been offered the chance to be part of this family, that is, the Cowboy Spirit team.
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