Local comedy series features dude-ranch fun
by Anne Glasser
Describing his new television series, Prescott resident Patrick Ball says, “Horse Camp is comedy with heart!” This Emmy-winning producer, critically acclaimed director and an award-winning cinematographer is the creator and director of Horse Camp.
While working on a friend’s ranch, Ball realized that the country needs something to laugh over. “I started looking around me at everything that was there at the ranch — the people, the horses, the setting — and realized it would make a great story,” he said.
It was during one of these moments when Ball realized he wanted to write a cowboy comedy to help people laugh again. “It’s been tough with Covid.” Ball said. Horse Camp is a cowboy comedy that tells the story of a dysfunctional crew working an Arizona dude ranch.
Ball’s mother, a horse-trainer and farrier, taught him how to work with horses, and told him he had a natural talent for it. He speaks of his training as slow but effective, with patience as the key. Before shooting began he spent five months desensitizing the horses used on set by getting them used to the various sounds and lighting that he would use. As an animal lover and filmmaker, Ball says that Horse Camp is a perfect vehicle for both his passions.
Most of the shooting was done in the Prescott area at a friend’s ranch, with some scenes from the Granite Dells and around Watson Lake. He says he’s very grateful that the city has been so easy to work with on permitting.
He enjoys shooting in Prescott because “it’s so beautiful here. The weather and landscape are perfect!”
On his cast and crew, Ball says, “The people have all been so wonderful to work with.We’ve become a family and have a lot of fun.”
His local talent includes Sean Dillingham, with credits on Operation Repo, Discovery ID, The Night Shift, Longmire, Better Call Saul and many others. Adam Newberry is an actor and writer known for the C-Bar series, Tombstone-Rashomon, and Perception.
Nicole Zuelke has appeared in active-lifestyle commercial campaigns for leading brands. The Maricopa native is an accomplished horsewoman and horse-trainer as well as actor and model.
Laine Murphy’s background includes both dramatic and comic stage roles.
“We have a veterinary specialist and two wranglers on hand to make sure safety comes first. On the set, horses are treated better than I am!,” chuckles Ball.
Zuelke and some other cast members use their own horses in the show. “It makes it nice because they know their horses and the horses respond to them well, which makes it easier.”
As with so many areas, the pandemic has thrown an unexpected wrench into the process. Stay-at-home orders took effect halfway through shooting on the show’s first season, slowing production. Ball resumed production in October and has been safely and slowly wrapping up Season 1. “It’s been harder to get everyone together with Covid,” he admits. Ball plans on going into full production mode at the beginning of April.
Doors are open to investors and sponsors. You can get in touch with Ball through his website (patrickballmedia.com), where you can view clips from Horse Camp. You can also help fund the project by visiting Ball’s GoFundMe at gofundme.com/f/horsecampseason1 or Facebook facebook.com/horsecamptv.
Anne Glasser is a homeschooling mother of two teens with a passion for all things LGBTQ+.