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Working with Animal Actors

Updated on November 17, 2016
Kenna McHugh profile image

Kenna worked on many productions as PA, Craft Services, Talent Scout, Grip, and Producer. Credits include Bowling for Columbine, Wallace.

Screen Junkies
Screen Junkies

One of my friends I assisted in breaking into film has a most interesting job on her days off. It’s still a film job and it might be the type of job you would like to do as a way to break into the film business or do on your days off, too. However, let me warn you, the job deals with animals and you have to like animals to do the job. I mean animals that are actors, too.

Paws for Effect is a ranch at an agency for acting animals. They have offices in offices in Los Angeles, Florida, and Vancouver. For film-career-minded folks in Florida and Vancouver area, here is an opportunity to try to find your way into the film business before coming to Los Angeles.

Even if you don’t consider insects an animal, Paws for Effect represents those, too. They even have reptiles like snakes, frogs, lizards and Gila monsters – yuck! Go to their web site and check out these creatures’ headshots.

Then, there are the felines, which makes me wonder if any of them were discovered like Lana Turner in the Golden Age of Hollywood. We can’t forget the movie Cats & Dogs. I am sure one of those stars was mewing in alley at a local soda fountain when a representative from Paws for Effect spotted the beauty and well…you know the rest of the story.

Japan Times
Japan Times

Paws for Effect represents all sorts of animals even lions, tigers, and bears. Oh my! Let’s not forget livestock for Movies of the Week like Jane Tall and Plain. Their credits are pretty impressive with recent hit movies Ocean 11, Princess Diaries, Charlie Angeles and former and current television series like The West Wing, Judging Amy and C.S.I.

What happens to these animals that earn a bad reputation for not working well with the director, or their breed is no longer in demand or are too old to work anymore? According to my friend who works at Paws for Effects, these aged but cherished animals are free to a good home. They all are de-flead, neutered or/and well and would make great pets. You just have to promise that you will provide a good home for them.

Macy's Video
Macy's Video

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I emailed Paws for Effect told them I was writing this article and wanted to know any ideas of how a fledging film worker could apply for a job. They didn’t reply after several weeks, so I suspect that they were busy milking the cows and sorting the eggs. But, this doesn’t mean you can’t give it a try. If you go to their web site, you can email them or call their toll-free number to network or pitch yourself. Good luck and if you get a job let me know how it all turns out helping animals get their big break in the movie business.

© 2016 Kenna McHugh


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