Everyones an expert.
From finances to funding, film producers are responsible for so much on and off set. If you are sitting in the hot seat, the last thing you need to feel unsettled about are any animals in your production. It is an unfortunate belief that any time an animal is brought on set getting the shot is made that much harder. It doesn’t need to be that way. In the same way that a good AD or DOP will add so much to a production, a good animal and wrangler choice will make the process of animals on set cost and time effective.
The best advice we can give to producers is not to wait until late in pre-production to begin to look at the animal talent for the shoot. Even if the budget only allows for minimal (no) training, the more information we get early on about your requirements, the better we can assist. We are happy to share our thoughts, as experts in trained and natural animal behaviour, to ensure you have the best information moving forward – whether we supply the animals for the shoot or not.
When we are hired to train and supply animals for a production, we set up a dropbox folder and upload training sessions and notes for each scene the animal appears in on a daily basis. This allows the director, DOP, art department, actors etc to see how we the training progression and communicate with us during pre-production if things need modifying. So every moment we are employed, production can check on our progress. Don’t wait until the animal is set! If the training isn’t up to scratch, it’s too late at that stage and we all end up stressed and frustrated and the animal possibly confused and anxious.
We would recommend that you request regular video updates from any animal agent you work with, where you are paying for training to be done several weeks out. This practice has saved us several times, especially now that “storyboards” are not as regularly used as they were once upon a time.
Whatever stage your next animal project is at, we are more than happy to discuss it with you.