Friday, December 03, 2010
Dinah and Badger embarked on their careers as canine supermodels yesterday. (Well, they've been the subjects of fine art paintings before, and Dinah's appeared in books and on AKC Meet the Breeds materials, but this is the very first time they've worked for remuneration.) The kind folks at FetchDog contacted me a little while ago after going through their photos, looking for catalog models. I had completely forgotten that their "talent scout" had snapped some pictures of Dinah at a Meet the Breeds event a couple of years ago; she seemed particularly interested in Dory at the time, so I thought nothing of it and completely forgot about the whole encounter. The call from their production manager came as quite the surprise!
At her request, I emailed photos of all four of the Beardies, plus their vital statistics. Since Charlie and Seamus are clipped, their coats aren't as glamorous as Dinah's and Badger's -- so Dinah and Badger were selected to take part in the next photo shoot. They would be modeling a couch cover, I was told. Our friend Liz is the "dog wrangler" for the shoots, which was also welcome news. Liz understands bouncy Beardies and how to get the best out of them. After a panicked call to our saintly favorite groomer, the kids were dispatched to the doggie spa, fluffed and folded, and returned. I packed a bag with grooming supplies, brushes, hairspray, and hair elastics.
We arrived at the shooting location in Yarmouth half an hour ahead of our scheduled shooting time. The folks who own the house are both brave and generous; their beautiful house gets invaded periodically by small crowds of people bearing equipment, props, toys, collars, and various dogs on leash. The front entryway is protected by dropcloths and all the humans remove their shoes to minimize the amount of dirt and grit tracked onto the pristine hardwood floors.
All of the shoots for a given day are scheduled for particular times, by the dog's name and the products they'll be modeling. We waited a little while for the adorable German Wirehaired Pointer puppy to finish her session. She was sweet and very wiggly; I'm not sure if she settled down enough for the photographer to get what he wanted. I signed our photo release-cum-vital-statistics form and collected our copy of the current catalog with a gift certificate. Robin, the production coordinator, came in and out with collars, toys, and other props for shoots. She dropped off some, then picked up others and disappeared back into the house.
Production Central was located in the garage of the house. The kind owners had cleared out for the morning, leaving both parking spaces available for soft crates, bins of props and collars, and all of the paperwork associated with scheduling the photo sessions. Two beautiful little Aussies waited in one of the big soft crates, which doubled as a work table. Dinah and Badger were more comfortable in the car, so they waited there as we humans stamped around in the garage and sipped coffee to keep warm.
After a bit, the crew rearranged the furniture in the living room so that the couch and its cover stood in the middle, free of interference. Liz came out and helped me bring Dinah and Badger into the house. Everyone made a fuss over the pretty shaggy dogs. Dinah danced and wiggled. Badger took everything in and waited thoughtfully. We met Dennis, the photographer, and a number of other crew members.
Liz and I managed to get the two Beardies up onto the couch and positioned together. I asked, "Do you want me to get their hair out of their eyes? I brought hairspray and everything." The crew seemed to prefer having their hair down in their faces, so we left them as is. The tan couch cover they were modeling was thick, quilted, and lush, with a faux-sheepskin underside. I had to force myself to stop fondling it long enough to back away and let the photo shoot begin.
After some urging and a number of duck treats, Liz and I managed to get both dogs to lie down and stay in place -- though neither of them felt inclined to stay there for long. Dennis took a number of shots, and then I was asked to walk Badger outside while Liz stayed with Dinah. I didn't get to see how that worked out, but I'm hoping Mama's Girl wasn't too restless with both of us gone. The set designer came out and said, "We love your dogs, but..." -- so I'm not sure whether they sat still enough to provide good shots, or whether these wiggly shaggy dogs will be invited back.
Dennis then came outside and asked us to pose both dogs close together in the front yard and then the backyard. He tried several views with different lenses and light directions. One of the crew members walked back and forth behind him as I held Dinah and Badger. She squeaked a toy and talked to the dogs to get their attention.
Dennis shot several photos, changed lenses, and shot several more. He indicated a set of stone steps on the side of the house and asked whether both dogs would sit up there. I replied that Dinah probably would. We set her up on the steps and shot several photos of her pretty face before she grew restless and descended the steps. We're still working on that sit-stay in obedience.
He asked us to wait a bit while he checked the photos indoors to see whether he had the shots he wanted. We waited in the front yard and watched a Sheltie and her owner walk past, plus a portly but adorable Nova Scotia Duck Toller who would be gracing a number of the shots. Liz came out, checked with Dennis to make sure he had what he needed, and then told me we were done for the day. We shook hands, thanked Robin for inviting us, and headed homeward.
Now, all we need to do is wait for the photos. I hope that Dennis was able to get shots that he can use, since it would be Cool As Anything to see the kids in the catalog, professionally photographed. In the meantime, I'll be cruising the FetchDog website, looking for a backseat cover for the Subaru.
It's possible that none of the shots we took will be used, but at least we can say we've had the experience -- and who knows? Maybe their next career move is just around the corner. The cover of Dogue, perhaps?