Does the success of your next blockbuster hinge on the talents of a fury four-legged cast member? It’s not quite as easy as booking business class for the star of your show when he or she isn’t human, says Stage and Screen Jennifer Smith.
“If anything, the needs of and requirements for travelling animals are even more complex than those required for your normal cast and crew.”
Although working with animals on a film project can be rewarding, it is important to know how to do it right. And the truth is that long-distance travel to get animals to a film set is not always ideal, warns Nicole Jennings, licensed animal wrangler at Animal Tails.
Jennings explains 90% of animals used on film sets are local animals. “When we need animals on location, we try and source them locally and train the animals when we are there. This has its challenges, but our job is about keeping the animal happy and the stress levels at a minimum.”
Sometimes directors will insist on featuring a specific animal in their movie, however. Animal wrangler Irene Haselau from Tailsup Animal Casting explains that Bobby, the Coca Cola dog, travelled from the United States to shoot a commercial in South Africa.
When travel arrangements are required for animals, it is essential to call upon the services of a specialist travel organiser to make sure everything goes smoothly. Smith explains the details of organising travel for a film cast including animals can be overwhelming. “You need to think about flight permits and crates, as well as coordinate the pick-up and transfers for the animals, making sure they are comfortable at all times.”
Smith says in Australia, Stage and Screen Travel Services recently helped move four spirited sheepdogs and 40 cast and crews to remote parts of the continent for the filming of a feature movie. The Australian Stage and Screen Travel Manager took on the task of ensuring the film's precious canine cargo, cast and crew were in the right locations at the right time.
“The Stage and Screen travel manager made sure everyone was up-to-date with all the requirements, from blood tests, microchips and vaccinations to all the necessary paperwork and documentations,” says Smith.
To get the rest of your act together behind the scenes, Haselau shares the following tips:
One of the first things to do is to get a dog used to being in a crate. Purchase the crate well in advance and install it where your dog is based.
“Although dogs and cats are the most common animals used on sets, both Jennings and Haselau have worked with other species that require more specified knowledge.
Also important to take into consideration is to always get the animal to the destination the day before filming. “You can’t expect them to come out of the crate and immediately perform. They need to get settled in their new environment first.
Stage and Screen Travel Services was born from the need for specialised travel requirements and passion (borderline fanaticism) for the sports and entertainment industries, they built a team matched to their clients. Today they are recognised as a leader in managing travel for some of the most demanding industries in the world.
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Stage and Screen provides specialist travel services for Sport | Music, Touring & Arts | TV & Production | Film | Creative Industries.