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How do I rent a live monkey for a video shoot?

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Stephen Pickering
How do I rent a live monkey for a video shoot?
on Feb 5, 2015 at 4:56:18 pm

Hi there,

I have two questions. First, my shoot will probably take place in Madison, WI. I Googled "madison monkey rentals" and found one company who rents monkeys, unfortunately it's not the ideal species I'm looking for. Is there some sort of directory I can find or is Googling it probably my best bet. Not being in LA or a big film area obviously makes this a bigger challenge.

Second question: if the animal handler is "certified" (their websites give the specific certifications) is there something specific I have to ask for for filming? What I mean is, do I have to have the Humane Society or any other "official" entities involved? I'd rather not (especially with the budget) but I want to be sure I'm not getting into hot water unintentionally. The monkeys will be in an office doing what monekys do-- nothing crazy or dangerous.

Thank you!

-Stephen



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Steve Brame
Re: How do I rent a live monkey for a video shoot?
on Feb 5, 2015 at 5:22:10 pm

You sir, have won the Internet for the day.

Asus P6X58D Premium * Core i7 950 * 24GB RAM * nVidia GeForce GTX 770 * Windows 7 Premium 64bit * System Drive - WD Caviar Black 500GB * 2nd Drive(Pagefile, Previews) - WD Velociraptor 10K drive 600GB * Media Drive - 2TB RAID0 (4 - WD Caviar Black 500GB drive) * Matrox MX02 Mini * Adobe CC * QuickTime 7.7.5
-------------------------------------------
"98% of all computer issues can be solved by simply pressing 'F1'."
Steve Brame
creative illusions Productions


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Stephen Pickering
Re: How do I rent a live monkey for a video shoot?
on Feb 5, 2015 at 5:39:47 pm

[Steve Brame] "You sir, have won the Internet for the day."

lol, as long as it comes with a prize. Or at least a printable certificate to hang on my wall.

I mentioned this project to a friend of mine, saying "I've got a project that's going to be crazy. I'm going to have to rent a bunch of monkeys..." they had a good laugh- then they realized I was serious. They thought I was referring to the production crew as monkeys.



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Mark Suszko
Re: How do I rent a live monkey for a video shoot?
on Feb 5, 2015 at 5:39:42 pm

What species?

And have you checked for sources here?


http://www.filmwisconsin.net/


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Stephen Pickering
Re: How do I rent a live monkey for a video shoot?
on Feb 5, 2015 at 6:26:26 pm

Thanks Mark. No, I had completely forgotten about the WI film organization. I'll give them a call.

As far as species, a Macaque or a Chimpanzee (I know, not a "monkey") are two that I like. But I totally get that I'm looking for the impossible being where I'm located. I know I can't be picky but just thought it would be worth seeing if there were other venues I should check out.

The one in Chicago DOES work, so that's probably what we'll go with. But I'll still give a call to filmwisconsin.

Thanks Mark!
-Stephen



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Mark Suszko
Re: How do I rent a live monkey for a video shoot?
on Feb 5, 2015 at 7:04:27 pm

Assuming a CGI version or a guy in a suit is out of the question?


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Nick Griffin
Re: How do I rent a live monkey for a video shoot?
on Feb 5, 2015 at 5:53:34 pm

WOW, are you entering a world of complication and hassle, or what?? We have a client who wanted one monkey for their trade show booth and the hoops we were given to jump through were unreal. INCLUDING... having a specified "relief area" for the monkey. Oh, and we had to fly in the monkey and his trainer from Florida and pay for meals and lodging for both.

I've asked my partner who was handling this to chime in here and let you know just how much of a hole you are digging for yourself.

Best advice: go to where a trained monkey is, rent a green screen studio that will enable you to take one monkey and clone him in different positions and places and be prepared for this to be one of the most expensive shoots you've EVER contemplated. Or... get a new idea.


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Steve Brame
Re: How do I rent a live monkey for a video shoot?
on Feb 5, 2015 at 6:34:59 pm

This is shaping up to be one of the greatest threads on the COW ever!

Asus P6X58D Premium * Core i7 950 * 24GB RAM * nVidia GeForce GTX 770 * Windows 7 Premium 64bit * System Drive - WD Caviar Black 500GB * 2nd Drive(Pagefile, Previews) - WD Velociraptor 10K drive 600GB * Media Drive - 2TB RAID0 (4 - WD Caviar Black 500GB drive) * Matrox MX02 Mini * Adobe CC * QuickTime 7.7.5
-------------------------------------------
"98% of all computer issues can be solved by simply pressing 'F1'."
Steve Brame
creative illusions Productions


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Stephen Pickering
Re: How do I rent a live monkey for a video shoot?
on Feb 5, 2015 at 6:40:55 pm

[Nick Griffin] "WOW, are you entering a world of complication and hassle, or what?? We have a client who wanted one monkey for their trade show booth and the hoops we were given to jump through were unreal. INCLUDING... having a specified "relief area" for the monkey. Oh, and we had to fly in the monkey and his trainer from Florida and pay for meals and lodging for both.

I've asked my partner who was handling this to chime in here and let you know just how much of a hole you are digging for yourself.

Best advice: go to where a trained monkey is, rent a green screen studio that will enable you to take one monkey and clone him in different positions and places and be prepared for this to be one of the most expensive shoots you've EVER contemplated. Or... get a new idea."


No... This is not what I want to hear. I would prefer if you say things like, "this will be the most fun you've ever had!" or "It'll be a piece of cake!" You know, lie to me!

But seriously, thank you for NOT lying! I'm slowly realizing this project is pretty complicated... There is a monkey within a few hours of us, so that's one plus. We probably WILL be doing your exact suggestion of using only a single money with a greenscreen. We have NOT discussed details yet (like the "relief area!") so... we'll see just how far this rabbit hole goes. We are not contractually committed yet and are just figuring out what realistic costs will be at this point, though we are trying hard to make it a reality.

I would LOVE to hear thoughts from your partner though, and if I can legitimately be talked out of this project, my heart will be broken but if it saves me my sanity... well, it might be worth it :) On the other hand if it's a matter of just being sure I'm doubling my cost estimates, I'm ok going to the client with that as well.

Thank you all, I really appreciate your real world advice!

-Stephen



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Nick Griffin
Re: How do I rent a live monkey for a video shoot?
on Feb 5, 2015 at 7:19:12 pm

Stephen-
One thing you may be missing here is the fact that you don't need ANY monkey, you need a TRAINED monkey with a trainer. You may think that all you want the monkey to do is pick up a phone or punch away at a keyboard (if I'm following your concept), but without a controlled situation you could wait DAYS for those simple things to happen. You also want an animal that's trained to stay put.

Think of it like the difference between using friends and other amateurs versus professional actors. Sure actors cost more but, in the long run, they end up costing much less because they know how to do things and take direction.


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Mark Suszko
Re: How do I rent a live monkey for a video shoot?
on Feb 5, 2015 at 7:30:04 pm

There are prop animal heads, feet, paws, hands, etc. available to rent, often used for cut-aways to tight action like working controls, so you might just need the live animal to be able to sit still, then cut away to the prop limb doing... whatever. I remember seeing a special rig that was a golden retriever's nose, with camera rail connectors, meant to stick on in front of your lens to get a "dog's eye view", for spots like "Bacon-flavored Beggin' Strips".







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Mark Suszko
Re: How do I rent a live monkey for a video shoot?
on Feb 5, 2015 at 7:34:05 pm

Here's a prop monkey's paw to purchase... remember - the three wishes that come with it can be VERY tricky to get right.

http://www.dappercadaver.com/products/large-realistic-monkeys-paw.html


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Dwayne Shrader
Re: How do I rent a live monkey for a video shoot?
on Feb 5, 2015 at 7:32:33 pm

Oh! That adventure will be the title of my memoirs. The sarcastic side of me would say go to Washington and hang around Congress and you will find any number of monkeys willing to be on camera for free. Seriously though, as Nick said you’re entering a world of hassle.

First of all you will have to treat the monkey better than any human actor you would hire. Humans are easy. Buy them lunch, show them where the bathroom is and send them home at the end of the day with a little money in their pockets. Done!

You need to find a monkey or chimp that can perform or be trained to perform the task that you require. Sounds like the Chicago primate will work. Make sure the price they quote you includes training if necessary. Anything beyond the simplest of tasks may require some amount of special training. The task our client wanted performed was basically pounding a piece of rubber into a channel. The handler estimated it would take a week to train the chip to do that. Training was billed at a half day rate.

Be prepared to pay transportation and travel expenses. That’s expected and I’m sure you figured on that. Also keep in mind that you will most likely be paying a day rate for the monkey(s) and the handler.

The involvement of the Humane Society (HS) can be influenced by state or locality. The jurisdiction for our project was Atlanta, GA. At that time the HS required notarized records of the handlers certifications, I remember one was a USDA “C-class” Cert, and the animals health records and certificates of vaccination. And then it got stupid… I needed to provide a feeding schedule, a potty break schedule (to and from), a map that showed the route to and from the “relief area”, proof of water supply and feeding area. Some of this may have been influenced by the venue.

We were not required to have HS on site, but they were to make a prevent inspection of the facility and unannounced inspections during the event.

Oh, and then there was the biggie… insurance. You may be required additional insurance on top of what you already carry.

It might be easier to rent a Congressman and a monkey suit.


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Tim Wilson
Re: How do I rent a live monkey for a video shoot?
on Feb 5, 2015 at 7:43:01 pm

[Dwayne Shrader] "And then it got stupid…"

I respectfully disagree. HS has standards for what "humane" MEANS, and certifications, schedules, relief facilities, feeding -- which of these SHOULDN'T be included in what "humane" means? For a kid, you'd need all this PLUS a tutor.

Heck, for a major location shoot, in order to get a permit, you have to show where port-a-potties were going to go, and proof that you have a contract with someone to pump them out.

If you're in this business for any length of time, you're gonna have to deal with some kind of shit or another. LOL

And that's even not counting when monkeys throw their own at you.


[Dwayne Shrader] "Oh, and then there was the biggie… insurance. You may be required additional insurance on top of what you already carry."

To find out why, I encourage you to Google "chimpanzee tears off face" and "chimpanzee attack face transplant." I encourage you NOT to look at the pictures.


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Dwayne Shrader
Re: How do I rent a live monkey for a video shoot?
on Feb 5, 2015 at 8:11:26 pm

I agree. Water and feeding doesn't fall under the 'stupid' category, but growing up and living in middle of farm country to me they are givens. It is a sin to deprive an animal of either.

Yes I over simplified the human factor thing, but in my experience it's still easier to work with people.

I wasn't going to get into the whole face eating chimp thing. But yes, they are wild animals and at times unpredictable.


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Tom Sefton
Re: How do I rent a live monkey for a video shoot?
on Feb 5, 2015 at 11:24:18 pm

If you manage to get a monkey, I will happily fly from England to work as a monkey fluffer or gear lackey on this shoot.


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Mads Nybo Jørgensen
Re: How do I rent a live monkey for a video shoot?
on Feb 6, 2015 at 10:44:49 am

[Tom Sefton] "If you manage to get a monkey, I will happily fly from England to work as a monkey fluffer or gear lackey on this shoot."

What does a "Monkey fluffer" do?
And wouldn't this only work on male monkeys?

Shouldn't be thinking out loud.

However, I'm happy to fly out too and be the monkey (NOT the fluffer), although based on pictures there might be other more suitable (local) people in the thread who would be better actors :-)

All the Best
Mads

@madsvid, London, UK
Check out my other hangouts:
Twitter: @madsvid
http://mads-thinkingoutloud.blogspot.co.uk


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Mark Suszko
Re: How do I rent a live monkey for a video shoot?
on Feb 10, 2015 at 2:37:55 pm

I have to know, whatever happened with the monkey idea? Did it go forward? It has GOT to be Tim's next cover feature for the COW magazine!







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Stephen Pickering
Re: How do I rent a live monkey for a video shoot?
on Feb 11, 2015 at 5:33:00 am

Despite all of the great offers by some of you to play monkeys, I continued our search... and might have secured a chimpanzee! The chimp tips our budget, but I think it will be worth persuading the client. And I was already warned by the handler that the chimp won't be petted... I didn't ask about the dangers of my face being ripped off. Maybe I'll use a zoom lens...

I'm meeting with the client at the end of the week to discuss details and hopefully get the shoot booked later this month. I have mixed feelings. Some of your words of wisdom scare the heck out of me, but I'm a sucker for a challenge. In all seriousness the suggestions you all gave have helped me a lot. It's a very small "set" and minimum crew. I was warned the chimp is great for the first take or two but gets bored quickly- so we'll just have to shoot to get the take the first time. But we also don't have a storyboard we're tied to either. We'll get what we can however we can. And a bored chimp is still cool too.

I'll keep you all posted on this... adventure!



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