Filmmaking / Directing : Cat in a film short by Reggie Street

Reggie Street

Cat in a film short

Hi there, I'm working on a short film in NY, that requires a cat to perform basic stunts for a few minutes in the shoot. Anyone have any ideas on the best way to go about getting a cat for production?

Dan MaxXx

i worked on a student film with a dog scene... after 2 hours of out takes and BS, the crew was pissed off waiting. we killed the dog and moved on

Owen Mowatt

A trained cat is way too expensive and hard to find I imagine. An untrained cat is a cat. Kill the cat, it's not worth the hassle.

Reggie Street

I wish I could kill the cat out of the script. However, the whole story is based around the cat. I'm able to use animation for some of the cat scenes. However, I still need a real cat for a small portion of it. I did find one cat trainer. But she was too far.

Erik A. Jacobson

Simply Google the many animal talent agencies and call them. I've used them to get a trained German shepherd for a film. Just remember, animals and kids require lots of patience and extra time.

Lauran Childs

I hope you people who are talking about killing animals are joking - or suffer cruelly yourselves. Reggie I don't think it's a good idea to use a real cat. I'd tend to think that was cruel too. Cats are proud independent creatures and I would suspect that if you could get a cat to do what you want it's spirit would have been broken. Perhaps change the script?

Owen Mowatt

Kill the cat means to take it out of the script. What kind of people do you think we are?

Lauran Childs

Thanks Owen - I'm so relieved!

Elisabeth Meier

lol @Owen. lmao. Think about Blake Snyder's book - what a bad cat killer. Murderer... @Reggie - you already know what could do. You don't need a real cat. Just let the cat consequently be animated. That's cool as you could give it a mimic and meows in certain sound etc. Try it at least. I think it will work much better than you now think.

D Marcus

It's been a month. Are you still looking? I have some suggestions on the best way to go about getting a cat for production.

Lauran Childs

Please don't do it. Using a real cat for film seems downright cruel. Unless you get the most unintelligent and insensitive cat ever.

Reggie Street

Thanks guys for all your comments. I've been having a good chuckle over some of them. I do have a dream sequence portion of the film that will use an animated cat. However I do need a clip of a real cat to interact or respond to an actor. There is no getting around it. I have sent the script to a few writers and they agree. This film can not be done without the cat. The live cat portion is actually only two pages. It needs to walk down the aisle of a store, jump on a shelf, hiss at a little boy then jump down and run away. Shooting will take place in August. So I still have time to work things out.

Lauran Childs

Cats do what they want to do - if you can inspire one to do what you want them to do then great.

Owen Mowatt

Erm.....How do you "inspire" a cat exactly?

Lauran Childs

Owen - exactly.

Lauran Childs

Eg - Fat Chance.

Owen Mowatt

There are trained cats. It is possible to find one, but as I said expensive.

Reggie Street

You right about that Owen. It could cost me about $5,000.

Erik A. Jacobson

No way! It cost me $200 to rent a trained German shepherd! Pick up your cell phone. Call an animal talent agency and ASK!

Reggie Street

Hey Erick I did contact a animal talent agent. I sent them the script and they gave me a breakdown. I did exaggerate the cost a little but it was over $3k.

Erik A. Jacobson

THEY did the breakdown? Of course they'll pad it when that happens. YOU are supposed to do the breakdown yourself, bunching the animal days together as much as possible. Then ask them the price per day and do the math. And don't stop with just one agency.

Reggie Street

Thanks Erik. When I say breakdown, I don't mean the script. They broke down the rate for cats and trainers according to the days I requested and what is needed in the script. But I will certainly contact more agencies. The rate per cat a day is about $450 a day, when local. Yikes! I wish I could use a dog. But being that the movie is called "Bodega Cat", that won't fly.

G.R. Barnett

You motivate a cat with food, I've found. I'm no animal trainer but I am a cat owner. I've found a bit of food on a string provides 2 things, a toy, and a treat. Barring string, you could always use one of those grabber things (you know, the kind you grab stuff off shelves with?) and just drop the food when the cat has done what you want. (actually, just drop the food at the end of each shot or the cat will plot your demise. ;) Also cats attention spans are short, so make sure that you get the shot while the cat is 'into it'. Once the cat loses interest time is wasted and you've lost the shot. Am I an animal trainer? Nope. Have I ever gotten a cat to actually do what I want on film? With varying degrees of success, I guess you could say I have. Have I taken a lot of video with my own cats? Yes. Yes I have. Does that apply here? Maybe not but I thought I'd interject how to motivate a cat. (At least that's what my cats are always motivated by.) -G.R.B.

JD Hartman

@Lauran Childs, "...... hope you people who are talking about killing animals are joking - or suffer cruelly yourselves." You might want to familiarize yourself with some film industry slang. You could start with: http://www.theblackandblue.com/2010/12/09/film-set-lingo-general-product... http://www.filmtraining.mb.ca/resources/industry-info/film-lingo/ There are many others.

Nicholas Jordan

It is not my intention to dissuade you but few things scare me. One is people who can train cats & the other I cannot mention here. Hire professional cat trainer; be very very patient.

Reggie Street

Thank you all for your comments and support. Today was the first day of production of my film short. I found a plain old cat and her owner on Actors Access and everything worked out just fine.

Dan MaxXx

I wanna see the cat scene :)

Reggie Street

Hey Dan. I'll make sure to invite you to the screening in the spring.

Terry Owen

Reggie, when you are done check out, www.akyumen.com and our soon to launch global distribution network AkyumenTV, we have signed non-binding global distribution agreements with around 800+ INDIE filmmakers from around the world with all genres (except XXX) and shorts, features, web series and docs... significant revenue potential for our INDIE filmmaking partners who have content on our platform... did you know that by 2018 India, APAC and Africa will be the largest consumer audience of USA related film/tv and along with our exclusive streaming rights into mainland China... and through our devices, AkyumenTV will have a significant captive global audience (we will be global with our device and OTT).... SO get in touch with me @ terryowen@akyumen.com and spread the word to your peers creating great content and looking a viable outlet for consumer consumption!

Beth Fox Heisinger

Hi, Terry. Just a friendly reminder: direct soliciting within threads is preferred to be kept out of the craft and business forums. If you'd like to promote your company please do so in "Your Stage." Thanks. :)

Erik Grossman

You can find cat wranglers on craigslist, I'm sure. There is an entire industry centered around "film" animals. Although my favorite cat short film (music video) has to be: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bkUeYLHiz58

Reggie Street

Hey Erik. I actually tried Craigs List and didn't find anyone. But I found someone on Actors Access and the cat scene went well.

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