Peter Fenzel, Jordan Stokes, and Matthew Wrather pick their jaws up off the floor and discuss the botched announcement of Moonlight’s Oscar win over La La Land and analyze the 89th Academy Awards as a television show, a live event, and a reflection on cinema.
Subscribe: iTunes Other Apps
He said “but to hell with dreams!” And it was wonderful.
An animatronic horse puppet actually seems really useful.
Getting any kind of animal on TV or movies is really expensive and complicated. An actor being on a horse presents many, many costs and complications. Last year, I worked on a show that needed 2 horses on one episode. And, not to brag, but we had to do a pretty good job of cutting down on costs to make it even feasible on our budget. And the amount of time and worry and work we put into making it happen was considerable. There were all sorts of requirements for the ground of the stage so the horses wouldn’t slip. We had to talk to animal rights groups so they’d ensure we wren’t mistreating them. We had to learn what a horse could and couldn’t do easily on command, and whether it would work on camera.
As far as the costs, it’s not just the horse you’re paying for. It’s at least one or two wranglers or trainers per horse. And that’s a hard job, so we pay them well. There’s the trailer they ride in. You gotta pay a trailer rental fee, gas, and driver. And you gotta figure out where to put the thing. Parking and arranging trucks around and near a shoot is already hard enough. The horses might need shade if it’s summer in LA, which means finding a parking spot big enough with shade.
You have to pay the actors a bonus to do anything that requires special skills or is risky. This is both. We paid our trainers as actors and put them on camera, but that’s not an option if one of your principals is supposed to be riding or interacting with the horse. You’ll probably also have to have various safety meetings, reviews, etc. for something that is inherently risky like that. You’ll probably have the suits at the network or studio calling about it if it’s a big actor.
Then there’s the amount of prep time it would require. The rider is going to have to get used to the horse, the horse is going to have to get used to the rider. The trainers will have to figure out how to get the horse to do whatever action it needs to do and then train it to do that. You’re going to have to rehearse it so that it looks right on camera. All of this will cost you money, because this business pays by the hour and the day.
So, yeah, animatronic horse puppet sounds like an amazing invention.