I escaped NYC for the filming of COWBOY SPIRIT up in MA. It was a blessing, a challenge, and a spiritual journey.
For starters, I stayed with my Aunt (the “witchy” one)- who offered to read my cards upon arrival. That said, I was showered with angelic “messages” for about two weeks.
As for the filming, WHOA! I worked with some of the most talented and interesting people. The film is a Western, and I play…well, a bitch; a major antagonist. I never thought I’d play the villain. But hey, I’m from Jersey and I’ve been in NYC a few years working in restaurants so…there was a glimmer of “Bitch” looking to go up in flames, and just the role came about.
When I first read COWBOY SPIRIT it was hard not to detest and judge the character TORI. But how do you embody a character you judge? Impossible. So, I began asking all those questions involved in character study. Where does she come from? What was her childhood like? Etc. etc. We’re all creatures of habit and those habits come from our experiences and the memories around those experiences. As filming neared, I focused on what experiences and memories would bring the character of TORI to life, from page to screen. When filming began, I really had to separate myself…keep myself glued to my phone in between shots, and create that distance she seems to have with the rest of the world.
I thought about people I’ve met, in life, who ARE actual Tori’s. Tightly wound, spoiled perfectionists out of touch with the hardships of life. After exploring the character, I left set feeling sorry for Tori’s I’d judged in the past. It’s A LOT of energy trying to maintain such an image; a tightly wound spring ready to burst.
Cowboy Spirit reminded me why I wanted to be an actor and writer in the first place. Both allow room to explore the spectrum of experience through characters, words, and story, and ultimately become a more compassionate human being, chipping away towards the core…the truth (whatever that means…I’m still searching…).
BITCH and all, it was fun as hell playing Tori. Heck, It was fun as hell being on set, despite trying NOT to have too much fun (in character). I had the pleasure of working with Rich Manley who plays the lead and ultimately, hero. Um, he’s not only an actor. He’s also a skilled martial artist and MAGICIAN. Anyone who knows me is laughing. They know he had me at “magician.” I kept asking for card tricks. Pretty sure he thought I was hitting on him until my significant other showed up on set. “Show me some magic”
I also had the pleasure of working with Ayla Brown. She plays the “good girl” my character dislikes. She’s such a sweetheart in real life; I had to apologize after takes in which my character unleashes the bitch on her. She’s 6 feet tall. Her character’s supposed to be intimidated by my 5’5” self? Couldn’t help but chuckle over this. Listen to her music! And “LIKE” her on facebook to stay posted on her upcoming shows.
COWBOY SPIRIT was an amazing experience. I’d like to thank everyone involved. It’d be too long a list to mention everyone. There was a ton of hard work, passion, and soul on this project. Written by Mike Allison, and directed by Bill Miller, COWBOY SPIRIT will come to life and remind the audience that we all have a life with experiences of our own choosing. We’ll all take that final ride one day, and hopefully you’ll have created the experiences and memories that will lead you to the greenest of pastures.