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Working with Animal Actors

Updated on May 1, 2018
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

Act Animal

One of my friends I assisted in breaking into film has a most interesting job on her days off. She still works in film. 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. Yet, 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. Film career folks in Florida and Vancouver can jump at the opportunity. You can find your way into the film business working for them. Establish a resume before coming to Los Angeles and settling down in Hollywood.

“A black cat crossing your path signifies that the animal is going somewhere.”

— Groucho Marx

A to Z Animals

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 website and check out these creatures’ headshots.

Then, there are the felines. I am curious if any of them got lucky and discovered like Lana Turner in the Golden Age of Hollywood. We can’t forget the movie Cats & Dogs.

One of those cats got discovered while mewing in an alley. An alley near a local soda fountain. A representative from Paws for Effect spotted the beauty and well…you know the rest of the story.

Japan Times
Japan Times

All Types of Animals

Paws for Effect represents all sorts of animals even lions, tigers, and bears. Oh, my! Let’s not forget livestock for movies made for television like Jane Tall and Plain. The company's credits are pretty impressive. You can read the credits of any movie or television show and catch their name. Some notable movies are Ocean 11, Princess Diaries, and Charlie Angeles. On Television are former and current series like The West Wing, Judging Amy and C.S.I.

There is the issue of animals earning bad reputations. They don't work well with the director. The breed is no longer in demand. They are too old to work and can't 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 without fleas, neutered or/and well and would make great pets. You have to promise that you will provide a good home for them. The animal is yours. You have a celebrity living in your home.

“All animals are equal but some animals are more equal than others.”

— George Orwell
Macy's Video
Macy's Video

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About Animals

I emailed Paws for Effect told them I was writing this article. I wanted to know any ideas of how a fledgling 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 website, 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.

“The cat will mew, and dog will have his day.”

— William Shakespeare

© 2016 Kenna McHugh


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    • Kenna McHugh profile imageAUTHOR

      Kenna McHugh 

      3 weeks ago from Northern California

      Jethro, Thank you for visiting and commenting on working with animals in film. I'd love to chat with you some more about it because it is an interesting field in the industry.

    • profile image


      3 weeks ago

      I have worked with some incredible animals, including a tarantula. I am keen to combine this with my film and theatre work.


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