Headshots, glamour shots, or any kind of professional photos are an excellent start to getting your pet into acting. I call them “headshots” but in this case, casting directors will typically need to see your pet’s entire body. Breed, coat length, fur texture and color/color patterns should be visible for best marketability - you’ll never know what they could be looking for! The first step is usually a decision between professional photos or a basic training course. If your pet gets anxious and unruly when you need him/her to sit still, sometimes a basic training course will be a better first step. Then, some of those behavioral lessons your pet has learned can come in handy during the photoshoot!
There are a ton of options here. A simple training course can often yield many beneficial results to help your pet learn cues and discipline that s/he’ll need while on set. But if you want to get SUPER into it, there are real acting classes for pets! There are a handful of training centers for animal acting - Hollywood Paws, Animal Actors of Hollywood, Le PAWS, and Production HUB are just a few. Another trick of the trade that any working actor will know is that networking is key! Sometimes, it’s all about who you know. Networking takes effort, work, research, a great memory and an aspiration to be known. Just like MeetUp and EventBrite events are free and open to the public, a database on sites like Hollywood Paws can connect pet owners to other working animal actors. Connect with as many others as you can because you never know when someone will need a favor!
FIND A TALENT AGENCY
Once your pet is prepared with the proper training and tools to work, begin your search for a talent agency. Most of the companies I listed above also serve as talent agencies, and there is likely a better deal if you book training with them first. The better relationship you gain with industry professionals, the better chance you’ll have to be connected with the right people at the right time. Just like for human actors, pet acting requires hard work, time, and a lot of research and networking.
LIGHTS, CAMERA, ACTION!
Your pet could be the next Lassie or Babe! From roles ranging from leads to extras, pets are needed all over Los Angeles to play the loved ones they really are in your life. It couldn’t hurt to give it a shot, especially if your pet loves attention. Living vicariously through your four-legged loved one is just an added special bonus. Get out there, and good luck!