Wednesday, December 10, 2008

It's a Wrap!

Ms. Rip finished her scenes for the Wayne State film, MY DOG RANIA last night in Detroit. Here she poses with her director, Marija.

We had a bit of a challenge because Jess, the leading lady, is supposed to chase Rip away with a broom when Rip shows up at the door. We did take after take, and finally Rip had a serious aversion to that broom! I tried to suggest better ways to accomplish the shots that wouldn't scare her, but I've been learning that nobody really listens to the dog trainer. ;-)

A dog like Cajun wouldn't have had a problem with this -- he woulda thought it all great fun and tried to eat the broom. But Ms. Rip is a little softer.

There was a scene where Rania noses through her owner's handbag and knocks a vial out. The vial falls on the floor, and Rania consumes the sample. It required a behavior chain of Rip hopping off the couch, grabbing the sample and licking or picking it up.

It sounds pretty simple, but it was very complicated getting the thing to fall in just the right spot, get her off the couch and nosing the thing all in sync and so that it looked good.

I had to work with her for a bit with the clicker, but we finally got the shot Marija wanted. Unfortunately it was the last scene we did, but Marija finally understood that if she could just wait a few minutes for rehearsals, she would get the best result possible.

It made me wonder what the Hollywood animal trainers have to go through in order to get the best results. I was working with actors who just were not dog savvy in the slightest, but still had to interact with her, and she had to look comfortable throughout.

I marvel at Rip's courage and tenacity. She really hung in there and tried to do what I asked. And despite moments where she wasn't sure of herself, she really seemed to have fun.

It was a great experience for both of us!

MY DOG RANIA is to be screened for the public in January -- I should be getting more information on it later.


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