Boy! You never know what the next project will bring! We just finished a shoot for a pharmaceutical company who is branding one of their products with alligator imagery. We got a call and layout for a new ad that required a close head shot of an alligator, and in talking to the Art Director it was determined that everyone wanted to track down a good-looking stuffed alligator to do the shot. Well after a day of searching film & television prop houses and a variety of taxidermists, it became abundantly clear that there were no good-looking stuffed ones to be had. They all looked……. Stuffed!…Nothing even close to resembling a live alligator. We were able to convey to the Ad Agency that the only way to get a shot of an alligator that looked alive was to shoot a live alligator. So with a little convincing we got the approval to move forward and line up a live alligator for the shoot. What a blast! Our female alligator, who’s name was Handbag (no kidding!), showed up to the shoot in her truck with her two wranglers. We had to assist in getting her out of the truck. So we got our instructions on what and how to accomplish this, and off we went. The wranglers failed to mention that she might “go to the bathroom” as we were doing this….. That was not a blast!
Anyway, Handbag performed wonderfully. And thankfully the ad concept called for a band around the alligator’s mouth which would be added digitally in post. But this (to the wrangler’s delight) allowed us to keep the band, which they put on Handbag for transport, in place, which certainly reduced the risk of one of us being eaten! The shoot went well, we packed Handbag back into her truck, sent her on her way, cleaned the studio and then went home and took long and thorough showers!!!