The magic and mystery of how each movie created actually comes together can be quite a fantastic tale. With all of the tiny details, scheduling needs, and the large amount of people and talents needed to pull it off, it’s amazing anything ever gets completed at all. Each successful well-made film is a small miracle in itself, and the success of these films hinges on one important thing, finding the right people with the right skills to pull it off.
Craig has earned credits in multiple big projects including Taylor Sheridan's "1883"...
Every film has its own obstacles to overcome in order to see the light of day, but period films like westerns, war era, or renaissance films, have the extra added challenge of transporting its audience back in time. A task that depends on avid attention to detail and someone who knows those details down to the last boot stitch.
Meet Craig Priday
A local Civil War reenactor hobbyist turned period film wardrobe expert, Craig has earned credits in multiple big projects including Taylor Sheridan's "1883" and "1883:
The Bass Reeves Story". Recently, Craig partnered with Motion Dog Films on their latest feature, The Spring, to help breathe life into scenes depicting moments of the Civil War.
My name is Craig T. Priday and I live near Fredericktown, Missouri, where I was born. I am a sixth generation Madison Countian on the Priday line; our family coming from North Carolina and Tennessee, settling here in 1856. Needless to say, my roots run deeper than the soil in this region of the Missouri Ozarks, clinging to the granite below.
I cowboyed on ranches both here in Missouri and Wyoming...
Through the years I've had many jobs through several trades; I've worked as logger and in several sawmills, drilled water wells and core drilled for various mines around Missouri and Colorado, worked concrete, was a union laborer, a union roofer doing flat roof, hot tar, etc… I cowboyed on ranches both here in Missouri and Wyoming, was a welder in fab shops and any place else I worked that required welding to repair or build something.
I worked for a while in Tom Sloan's saddle shop before moving on to Tom Ramsey's training stables where I learned what I've considered my very first trade, that of a farrier. No matter what job I had when I had one, I was always shoeing horses and mules. All the things I've learned from every job I’ve had has culminated to my current trade as a union millwright.
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About six years ago I was riding a horse that flipped over on me resulting in a concussion, temporary memory loss, some bruised ribs, a broken collarbone and other minor scratches. Due to the broken collarbone, I was unable to perform any type of construction work. Through a mutual acquaintance I was put in contact with a man who had a horse transport business. I couldn't do any physical work but I could drive a truck so I began transporting horses all over the country, driving an average of 5000 miles a week. This job took me to every state, coast to coast and border to border allowing me to meet a lot of people and see a lot of places.
This guy mentioned he was going to be in a western film...and that I would be perfect for something like that.
It was during these travels I stopped at a place near the Superstition Mountains in Arizona and met a guy in a coffee shop that was an old west reenactor. Him and I struck up some conversation over a few cups of that hot, black brew. The conversation went from old west characters to guns, to period attire, then jumped to movies. This guy mentioned he was going to be in a western film...and that I would be perfect for something like that. He gave me a phone number to call and the name of the casting director.
I didn't think too much about it but then the curiosity got me and I called, figuring I didn't have anything to lose. The casting director and I talked a bit then she asked if I'd like to do a video audition. I said, "Sure." - though I'd never done one and had no idea how to do it. She sent me the part I was to do so I employed some friends to help act out the parts and to video it for me. I tied my mule up close to the bank I was to rob, and we played it out. In this scene, I was to come out of the bank then get shot in the leg but that was all it said. To me, it made sense that I'd run to my getaway horse and maybe for dramatic purposes, I'd get shot as I was mounting so I could fall off and say my line. (I should pause here and state for the record, I do my own stunts.) Not convinced that I could adequately portray being shot in the leg, I asked one of my friends to shoot me in the leg with a BB gun at the same time my other friend shot his pistol with the blank. The BB gun had the desired effect I was looking for- like I said, I hadn't ever done an audition before and figured I should make it as real as possible.
Getting to work for Sheridan and getting to meet, as well as work with, Sam Elliot, has definitely been a major high point in my very short and humble movie experience.
I sent the video in and got a call back informing me I got the part. This took me to New Mexico where we filmed a sizzle reel that never really took off, but what I came away with were some people I now call friends, a love for acting and movie production, experience, and contacts. Since then I've been in seven more productions, the most notable so far being Taylor Sheridan's, “1883” and more recently "1883: The Bass Reeves Story". Getting to work for Sheridan and getting to meet, as well as work with, Sam Elliot, has definitely been a major high point in my very short and humble movie experience.
Currently, I'm working with Motion Dog Films on a local production, The Spring. I was contacted by a friend of mine who had done some work with them who recommended me for some scenes depicting the War for Southern Independence (aka, the Civil War). After several text messages, phone calls, and person to person meetings, we began working together on set design and wardrobe and set a date to shoot. What we were able to accomplish was as near perfect as we could get. After seeing a rough edit of the scene, I was thrilled with the work we did.
Craig Priday comes from a long line of talented history buffs, including his Grandmother, Virginia (Gregory) Priday, who was a published historical writer. Her book, History of Madison County, documents multiple local families, including the Gregorys, Pridays, Whiteners, and more all the way back to 1816.
Using his historical knowledge of the Civil War and his impressive collection of period correct wardrobe, wares, and weaponry, Craig was able to assist the local film company in bringing this important opening scene to life. Because of his efforts, The Spring will be able to take its audience back in time. So I suppose we should add Time Machine mechanic to Craigs extensive resume.
We often go through life thinking that taking the time to expand our skills outside of obtaining a normal everyday practical job is a waste. Craig is an excellent example of how wrong that thinking can be. Passions turn into dream jobs that can bloom into real lucrative careers everyday. Never stop exploring your talents. Never stop learning interesting things, no matter how “useless” others think them to be. Never stop building your skills whether they’re “practical” or not. Never stop developing who you are because there is no limit to what you can do and there is no expiration date on obtaining your goals. The magic of making miracles happen in your life depends on you believing it can happen.
All you have to do is GET OUT THERE!
words by aj koehler
pics by t. smugala
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