NOW READING: Lights, Camera, Action

Lights, Camera, Action

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The 'acting company' we belong to is called 'ANIMAL HOUSE' - one of the most popular providers of animal actors in NSW. ANIMAL HOUSE provides dogs and cats for use in commercials and all owners of animal talent receive a fee.

I have been a member of ANIMAL HOUSE for 25 years and have enjoyed the experiences I have had. I look upon it as a sport and all the people involved enjoy seeing our dogs perform for the cameras. It's also great to see your dog on the television! Sometimes the advertisements made in Australia are screened in other markets because they the ones we make are more affordable and better quality than those in other countries. Unfortunately, for us that means we don't get to see all of the ads as often.

My dog Cabby really enjoys doing commercials. In a recent commercial he was required to sit in the back of a car and look as if he and the family were going on holidays. He was great!

Our dogs have appeared in many other commercial for brands such as KIA, GOOD-O's and even some medical commercials. One of the most recent ones was a commercial for VIVA paper towel, where Gazza comes running in from outside covered in mud. He is then cleaned-up and it is made to look like VIVA has cleaned him.

Here's how it works; ANIMAL HOUSE contacts you and tells you where they want you to be and at a certain time. Sometimes you may have to stay at the place for two or three days, depending on the specific requirements.

The crew working usually numbers over 200 from photographers and camera crews to people doing the make up. Sometimes your dog has to play with a child it has never seen before so it needs to be well trained in obedience. The dog may even have to 'bark on command' or lick a child in the commercial - every commercial is different.

It can be hard work and the days can be long- in fact I nicknamed the crew 'one more time' as you always have to do whatever it is until they get the perfect picture and scene.

Overall, it is a lot of fun and very rewarding for me and my dogs.

- Garry Somerville