DireChat – Cameron McCasland of The Lashman

Next in DireChat is an interview from Cameron McCasland of The Lashman

MG:Thanks for taking the time to do this Cameron, I Really Appreciate it.
CM: No problem, always happy to talk with you.

MG: What inspired you to become an Director?
CM: Well, I had grown up around entertainment people. My mother was an actress, and director of theatre. I spent a lot of evening sitting in the back small playhouses in Texas watching them all rehearse. I never really aimed specifically at being a director as much as I wanted to make movies, and make them independently. To do that you really need to know how to write, direct, and produce.

I watched a lot of movies as a kid. The fare of the day like Star Wars, Goonies and E.T, pretty much anything that Lucas or Spielberg was doing. Somewhere in all that we took a family trip to Hollywood on vacation and visited Universal Studios. I got to peak behind the curtain and I guess it piqued my interest.

I read Robert Rodriguez fantastic book Rebel Without A Crew and it kind of just blew my mind. Changed my way of thinking as far as rather than trying to climb the ladder to just build my own. So I couldn’t say it was really any one moment that inspired me, as much as a series of events that lead me down that path.

MG: Can you tell us about some of the other projects that you’ve worked on?
CM: I have shot several music videos my first being for the band Quiet Company, who has taken off like a rocket. Taylor Muse and I are dear friends (he is the godfather of my second born child) and were room mates years ago. He needed a music video, and I needed to direct something. So they stopped in Nashville for a few days on tour and we shot the video for Fashionabel. He kind of just let me run with it. I treated it as if it were an indie film in its own right submitted it to film festivals and such. We won honors at Crossroads Film Festival, Fearless Film Festival, And Worldfest Houston. After that my phone started ringing more.

Soon after that I ran into Larry Underwood who plays Dr. Gangrene on the television show I produce (and Eustice in the Lashman). He was looking for some changes on his show, and we hit it right off. I had known his former director Chuck Angell, as we had worked on a film that was never released entitled DEAD LAST. Larry invited me to come help out on an episode and soon after I started writing and directing the show. Since then we have created a series of Public Service shorts that were a hit, shot a made for television movie entitled DREADFUL HALLOWGREEN SPECIAL, and produced over forty episodes of the new show Dr. Gangrene Presents.

Now that we’ve got a understanding of Cameron’s directing background we’re now going to move on and talk about The Lashman, he opened by saying that once it’s done we’re going to love it. No doubt we will after watching the trailer.

MG: Where did the Idea come from for The Lashman?
CM: Lashman in a way was built out of necessity. I knew I either wanted to make a down and dirty horror movie, or a movie about sex and relationships. The horror movie won out mostly because I had such a strong audience through Dr. Gangrene. I had this desire to do a straight horror movie, as I honestly think the genre has lost its way because everyone thinks they should make a horror comedy, and usually its neither scary nor funny. Not to say our movie doesn’t have some laughs, but I think its more natural to the dialogue. It defiantly isn’t a comedy.

I wanted to set it back in time a bit, as I think cell phones, gps, etc have ruined the scare factor of the slasher in the woods story. My friend Lee Vervoort had recently shot his feature film GUNTOWN at a little ranch called COPPER CANYON near Hopkinsville Kentucky. He had such a great experience with the people in that town, and specifically the Emery family that owns Copper Canyon that I took a look around and saw a lot of things we could use. Hopkinsville is a sleepy little town, and has a lot of elements that take you back twenty years in time just driving through.

I didn’t really write with anyone in mind except Shawn Phillips, as we had spoke for some time about doing a project together, but I wanted to do something different with him than I had seen him portrayed. He was playing a lot of goofy characters (which he is fantastic at), but I wanted something straight, and that interested him.

MG: What is the plot of the Lashman in your own words?
CM: It’s the classic tale of campers in the woods who find something they wish they hadn’t. We didn’t exactly reinvent the wheel here. But for me its not just a slasher movie, its my slasher movie

MG: Can you tell us the Crew who where on the movie and what where they like to work with?
CM: Our cast was fantastic. It’s really an  ensemble piece for Stacey Dixon, David Vaughn, Jeremy Jones, Kaylee Williams, and Shawn C. Phillips. Our supporting cast consisted of Tim Emery, Terry Gragg, Todd Bush, David Chattham, Larry Underwood, Lee Vervoort, Alea Jordan, Joe Downing, and a wealth of actors right out of the town of Hopkinsville Kentucky.

And I beat them all up pretty bad if we are being honest. The guys all slept in a bunk house, which is basically a barn where they keep saddles for the horses. Jeremy had a mouse run across his head one night, and told me later he just went back to sleep because if he would have got up he never could have slept in there again. It was hot, and physically demanding. I have hundreds of stories for the couple of weeks we were on set. When you are making a movie, you turn into a family of sorts. Everyone has their place, and everyone has their own needs. It is lucky that anyone ever finishes a low budget movie really.

MG: How did the main cast come about and can you tell us about them?
CM: Well like I said, I knew Shawn was going to be involved. Larry was reading early drafts and actually had me go back and write something for him to play, and I was glad as at first I was going to have him in as the station attendant early in the film.

Stacey Dixon came to the movie after Larry called her husband Ben one day. They own some Tattoo shops in Nashville called Lone Wolf Body Art, as well as run the big Tattoo and Horror convention in Nashville every year. They have been one of the sponsors of our television show for some time. Ben asked Larry what I had been doing as we had not spoke in a while and he mentioned the script kind of off the cuff. Ben suggested I talked to Stacey about it. I was floored, as I really didn’t think we were going to be able to get her for that amount of time. But she liked the script, and schedules worked out. Oddly enough the part had been written with the characters name as Stacy. I told her I could change it if she felt the need but we both agreed it was fine. So even though I didn’t specifically write it for her in mind, fate just worked it out.

Mostly everyone else came to the cast via auditions we held in Nashville except Kaylee Williams. We had actually already cast someone else for the part but they dropped out a few weeks before shooting started. We only had Shawn and Stacey for a limited time and were on the hunt to recast the part. Shawn had worked with Kaylee on another film recently and suggested her. We talked about the part on the phone and got her on a plane from Chicago.

MG: Can you tell us a little about the production of the film and if there was one moment that made it that more special?
CM: The crew worked 16-20 hour days most of the time. It was gruelling with the temperatures over 100 degrees daily. Like I said we were sleeping in barns, and the cabin we were shooting at didn’t have running water. Kaylee ended up in the hospital one night dehydrated, and we had to wrap for the evening. When I arrived back at camp it was almost three a.m. and everyone was waiting up on me to see the fate of the film. We all walked around in this corn field under the loveliest sky you have ever seen in your life. I was tired and both physically and emotionally drained. It was just this magical moment where I knew If I could pull this off that I could accomplish anything. We were back at it the next day, and ultimately the movie was completed.

MG: The Final Question is, Can we expect any more great movies from you?
CM: I expect so. The good thing about being independent is there really isn’t anyone to stop me from making them. So Ill make them until I get tired of making them I suppose. If people want to watch them thats great, and if not so be it. Either way I’ll make them. And I am working on some new projects, but really don’t want to get full fledged into anything else until we let The Lashman take its own bow. Thanks for talking to me!

Thanks for Cameron for joining us on the DireChat, Join us again soon for another Interview!.

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