July 18, 2017

9 Tips That Will Make Working with Animals on Set a Whole Lot Easier

Animals can be quite challenging to work with on a film shoot, but there are some ways to make the whole experience easier for you and your furry friends.

While some filmmakers dread working with animals (and kids) on a project, others can't wait for the opportunity—and why wouldn't they? Not only do they play significant roles in many movies, but they also bring a unique energy and joy to the set when they arrive.

But even though we're talking about adorable puppers and fuzzy bears, it's not all sunshine and rainbows and Kumbaya. It takes a lot of care and expertise to work with animals on a film shoot to ensure the safety and enjoyment of everyone involved, including both human and animals. Jay P. Morgan of The Slanted Lens shares nine tips that will help your next animal actor experience be a success.

Quite a lot goes into preparing for a shoot that includes animals. Looking at it from a wide perspective, you'll want to make sure that you're prepared for the responsibility of working with these special kinds of actors, that you get to know them before casting so as not to have any surprises on shoot day, and that you're keeping an eye on energy levels (you know, since animals can't really say, "Yo, I'm tired. Can we take a break?")

But Morgan gets a little more focused with his tips, namely how you handle yourself and the camera when your furry talent comes on set.

1. Design your shot around the animal

2. Know where you want the animal to look

3. Communicate clearly with the animal trainer

4. Keep the shot as simple as possible

5. Keep lots of treats on hand

6. Be laser focuses when the animal is on set

7. Work on the animal's timeframe, not yours

8. Be ready and keep your cameras rolling

9. Get rid of every single distraction

What tips do you have for working with animals on a film shoot? What's the craziest animal you've ever worked with? Let us know down in the comments.      

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