The Production

Following the completion and premiere of “Larry’s Home Video”, I was invited to be the guest on a public access talk show called “Hollywood New England”, a joint production of Autumn Drive Productions and Miken Entertainment. The program highlighted the arts and entertainment scene in the region and was hosted by veteran newscaster, Ms. Gail Scott-Key and local casting director, Mr. John Campanello. After the episode was filmed, I was asked to stay on as Assistant Director and later Director of many episodes.

I befriended one of the show’s producers, Ken Lawrence, who also had a writing background. After one taping, he and I went out for coffee and he pitched me his idea for a documentary short about pet cemeteries. Initially, my thoughts gravitated to the popular Stephen King novel. He quickly put those ideas to rest, pardon the pun, and explained that it was to be a project about something historical and emotional.

He told me that he wanted the piece to talk about war dogs, but also the love people have for their pets. Their shared devotion, he told me made their pets practically members of the family rather than just ownership of an animal. His passion for the idea and my lifelong interest in history and drive to tell stories that matter hastened me to agree to co-write the script with him and direct the project.

In the summer of 2008, with a small crew including John and Gail as our hosts, we traveled to two pet cemeteries to mount the production: Hillside Acre in Methuen, Massachusetts and Proctor Animal Cemetery in Nashua, NH. In just three days, we interviewed many interesting people including pet owners, pet grief therapist, caretakers, and heard numerous personal stories and histories of these beloved family members and the storied locations were they and tens of thousands of others had been given a final resting place.

Director of Photography (DP) Nate Wentzell sets up an establishing shot at Proctor Animal Cemetery in Nashua, New Hampshire.
Co-Host Gail Scott-Key introduces the documentary’s viewers to the loving world of pet cemeteries that honor the beloved four-legged, winged, and other assorted animal family members at Hillside Acre in Methuen, Massachusetts.
Co-Host John Campanello addresses the founding of the Proctor Animal Cemetery in Nashua, New Hampshire, and the role a heroic cat named Creampot played in it.
Various crew members get ready for the next shot set-up at Hillside Acre.
Executive Producer/Co-Writer Ken Lawrence interviews Hillside Acre caretaker Joe Mullins about the storied history of the Methuen, Massachusetts facility dating back to around the time of the first World War in the early 20th century.
The crew looks on as Director Caseley and Executive Producer Lawrence discuss where to place the camera for the next segment of the documentary interviews with people associated with the location.

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