Thursday, July 18, 2024

How to Handle Animals on Set and What Not to Do

Animals may surprise their owners in many ways, as any pet owner knows. Even if their handlers have the patience to work with them, they still need training in how to keep them under control on set. Here are some common blunders that people make when working with animals, whether they have done it previously or not.

1. Using Animal Stunt Doubles

Stunt doubles aren’t just for humans; animals can use them too. It may be necessary to use a replica or CGI to achieve the required effect in certain shots. The extra effort may be worth it if you’re struggling to persuade an animal to cooperate with your filming schedule.

Even though doubles and substitutes can present some challenges, you shouldn’t avoid using them. It may be preferable, at times, to show only close-ups of the animal in question.

2. Skipping Health Checks

When working with animals, it’s essential to check on their health on a regular basis.An animal’s health could be negatively impacted by the stress of adjusting to a new habitat and a new job, and the effects might not show up right away.Visiting the vet often might help detect health issues at an early stage.Preventative care, such as vaccines and parasite control, is equally crucial for animals living in close proximity to humans.

Furthermore, any shift in an animal’s behaviour or performance can indicate a problem.The wellbeing of the animal can be greatly improved if the cast and crew are trained to recognise these symptoms.Furthermore, a vet or other animal healthcare specialist should be present on set at all times.In addition to being there in an emergency, they may keep an eye out for any signs of illness or distress in the animals and act quickly to treat them.

3. Not Recruiting Veterinarians

Do not even think of filming without experienced animal handlers present. Taking care of animals is a lot of effort, and you need to make sure the environment is safe. An animal welfare consultant can assist you identify potential difficulties on-site. If the animal is performing an active role, a veterinarian must be there for its protection.

Animals that are too active or are simply in supporting roles can be managed with the help of a trainer on set. Some might be fascinated by wires and try to chew through them, which is dangerous because it can cause fires and even electrocution, not to mention the destruction of your electronics. Injuries on set can be avoided with the help of a professional.

4. Having Unsuitable Methods of Transportation

Good means of transportation are essential. Unless someone specifically assures you of this, you shouldn’t assume that your responsibilities will be met in your absence. You need precise records of when and by whom the animals are being moved around and transported. The finest technique to manage your animal performers.

Consider transportation costs when making your budget. Horse hauling charges, for instance, can reach $3 per mile, which might have a significant impact on your budget if you intend to use multiple horses in the film. The easiest method to make sure you have enough money for anything you want to incorporate in your film is to budget for animal transportation before shooting begins. Working with animals requires you to think on your feet.

5. Ignoring Proper Sanitation Procedures

Just like people, animals can be messy. When they are near the cast and crew, however, strict sanitary procedures should be followed. Zoonotic diseases are transmitted from animals to humans when certain viruses undergo mutations that allow them to pass on their genetic material.

Animal living quarters, especially those used for cattle should be cleaned and disinfected completely. If you and your cast and crew take the time to do a thorough cleaning, you can avoid getting sick. If you’re using someone else’s area, use disinfectants that kill viruses, and don’t forget to clean up after yourself.

6. Failing to Plan for Months

The time required to fully train the animals is an important factor to think about. If they need to be trained for something specific, you should begin early on. Dogs are among the simplest animals to train, but their owners still need a few specialised items.

If you need an animal actor for a certain role, you should set aside weeks or months for training. This is especially true for more difficult animals. You can’t have an unprepared animal running about the set scared and confused.

7. The Absence of an Animal Caretaker

Get a pet sitter for the duration of filming. They should be well-versed in working with that species of animal. They must be present on set to care for the animal’s needs, including feeding, watering, and waste removal. They need to make sure their employees get time away from work when they need it.

Everyone that interacts with the animal should know what their role is. In addition, you can document everything that occurs on set with the animals present. In this way, you can examine your procedures and optimise their functioning. Having someone keep an eye on the animals throughout filming can help guarantee that they are never abandoned or left alone in a vehicle.

8. Inadequate Socialisation of Animals

Animals must be acclimated to their permanent habitat by being exposed to new sights, noises, and people.The shooting schedule could be disrupted and the animal’s health could be jeopardised if the animal is not used to the hectic, noisy surroundings.Therefore, educating an animal for the screen should involve gradual exposure to varied locations and sounds.The actors and crew who will be working with the animal on set should also be involved in the socialisation process.Before filming begins, the cast and crew should spend time getting to know the animals.This can provide for a more harmonious set and less erratic behaviour among cast and crew members alike if they are more comfortable with one another.

9. Having Pets and Other Non-Working Animals on Set

You may be looking for a set that welcomes pets, but mixing domesticated animals with livestock might be tricky. It’s risky to put your actors and crew in an environment where they might not get along, and it could be too much for them to handle. You should leave your dogs at home unless they have a specific role on set.

It’s hard to turn down an adorable pet, but they’re better off at home and out of the office. Watch a movie about animal buddies if you’re in the mood for some cute critters. There’s a time and a place for cuddly animals, but you can’t let them distract you from your work.

10. Animals That Are Overworked or Under Stress

Overworking animals, which can cause them stress or even physical harm, is a reality that is often ignored when working with animals on set.Just like people, animals have a limit to how long they can keep their focus and work without taking a break.Stress in animals can manifest in a variety of ways, including pacing, refusal to perform, vocalisations, etc.Therefore, it’s important to observe the animal’s disposition and behaviour.

The capabilities of each animal should be evaluated and respected.Animals should be given a break right away if they show signs of stress or discomfort.To avoid overworking animals and provide them enough downtime, you should coordinate with their trainers, doctors, and caretakers to create a work schedule.Providing animals with relaxing areas to go to while they’re not working has been shown to considerably reduce their stress levels.Shooting with a relaxed and rested animal will yield greater results and a more pleasant experience for everyone involved.

Cooperate with Your Feature Animals on Set

Animals have emotions, too, and need to be cared for properly throughout filming. It’s important to remember that they’re human, too, and that they may be unwilling to work at times when you need them to. If you take the proper precautions in terms of cleaning and feeding your animal star, you should have a smooth filming experience. When working with animals, it’s important to prepare for the unexpected and think of ways to overcome any challenges. Your hard work will pay off handsomely in the end.