Wednesday, October 06, 2010

More from the set of White Knuckles...

Below are some behind the scenes videos from the OK Go White Knuckles video shoot. Enjoy!

This is a two-for-one. First, you get to see some of our not-so-smooth moments in each of the 123 failed attempts. Then, the making of the winning take:

Here are some of the VERY early, while we were still using human and stuffed animal stand ins. Also, some other nice little making-of snippets.

This one is all about Bunny Carlos. Bunny (aka "The Potato") belongs to lead singer Damian Kulash. Bunny had to have a crash course in training during the shoot, and at one point she decided to go swimming in some nasty swamp goo....

This behind the scenes video shows the process of creating the "popcorn" scene. As you'll see, we went through several not-so-great ideas... With only a few days left to film, Spike (the Jack Russel Terrier) came to the rescue of "popcorn!"

And this one is our choreographer, Trish Sie, showing off our craft services table, along with some other fun things we had on the set....

Tim talking about some of the various behaviours, and the introduction of Tin Tin!

Yup, this one's all about Ranger....

This video shows our attempts at timing the last scene, "Dogamid," where the dogs all sit and down in unison. Dazzle and I didn't actually participate in the counting practice; as they mention towards the end, we were "dead on," and I had already figured out the timing of my cues earlier. Having a music background came in handy here! :)

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Dazzle & Peanut take part in OK Go's newest video!

We've been keeping quite the secret over this past summer!

First, some things to note:

1) Yes...that was a goat. His name's Ranger.
2) Oh, you didn't catch the goat? Watch again. ;)
3) You betcha! The entire 3:30 minute video is one take.
4) How? Patience and a lot of dog cookies....
5) Where? Filmed in Corvallis, Oregon!
6) Many of the dogs are rescues! Check out for details.

Are you craving a few more details? Alright, then. Here you go; we'll start with a quick behind the scenes video:

Dazzle, Peanut and I were among a total of 12 talented pooches and 12 amazing animal trainers from Talented Animals that worked with the band OK Go (well known for their previous viral videos like the Treadmill Dance, the Rube Goldberg Machine, and the A Million Ways Dance) to create the video you see here before you.

The video began five years ago, when the idea to use dogs suddenly seemed possible upon meeting up with Talented Animals. A year passed, and then the planning and brainstorming began.

Fast forward to June 2010, and they were ready to put all that planning into action. Dogs were cast, trainers hired, and our location was settled.

That's when our little trio drove down from Seattle to the small town of Corvallis, Oregon, and called a big building with shaded pink windows our new home for the next month.

We started with 2 weeks of dog training - without the band members. We taught all of the dogs their various assigned roles, and also "crosstrained" each dog so they could perform any given behavior you see in the video...the whole time keeping fun our top priority for the canine members of the crew. To the dogs, this wasn't just work - it was some crazy form of work cleverly disguised as play (okay, so going through 4 pounds of dogs treats each day helped a lot with that).

Also during those first two weeks, we trainers practiced our own choreography. What you see in the shot is only half of the story; just off camera there is furniture being rolled in, rolled out, and staged up. Trainers are running this way and that, cuing their dogs or getting in position for their next move. And somewhere off stage the goat is munching on some hay, preparing for his big moment. Each behaviour alone was not particularly challenging. However, stringing all the moves together and getting the transitions from one behaviour to the next accomplished in time to the song was a different story.

With the help of spread sheets, stuffed animal stand-ins for the dogs, audio tracks with voice cues, and a metronome, we all learned out parts to this intricate dance.

During the third week of production, we were joined by band members Damian, Tim, Dan, and Andy, as well as Trish Sie, our wonderful and inspiring choreographer. I can tell you first hand that these guys aren't afraid to put in the work required to create something awesome. We practiced. We trained. We rehearsed. We prepared. We revised...and then had to practice again.

In a little over a week we learned how to work with the guys, and the guys learned how to work with the dogs. Then it was time.

The dogs were trained, the band members were practiced (and by now covered with puppy kisses), and we trainers had learned how to cue our dogs on the beat. The choreography was rehearsed a few more times, and at last we were ready to start rolling the camera.

Or should I say, "cameras?" We had three different cameras rolling during each run through; the main camera, a 3D camera (oh yes, you read that right!), and a wide-angle camera set up high above us to catch all of the action going on just outside those frame lines we had taped out on the floor.

We filmed for 4 days. Out of 124 total takes we successfully made it through the entire routine, start to finish, 30 times.

It was almost like a dream. We had actually done it. And more than once! 12 dogs, 4 band members, 2 furniture movers, 12 trainers, and 1 goat repeatedly hitting their marks for three and half consecutive minutes. We were each so caught up in our roles during the runs that taking a step back and actually looking at what we had just accomplished was somewhat mind blowing.

Of those 30 takes, Trish graded 10 of them "excellent." Of those 10, it was take number 72 that was deemed "the most magical." In number 72 the energy and excitement we saw in our dogs' eyes was enough to make the whole crew grin from ear to ear. The attitude the dogs brought to that take was just something extra-special. Without a doubt, that was the one.

What happened afterwards? Well, we waited, anxiously, for the release.

The video premiered on The Ellen DeGeneres Show on September 20th. Within the first 24 hours, the video received over 1 million views on YouTube. Within the first 48 hours? About 3 million.

Are we excited?

You have no idea. :)

Monday, January 25, 2010

Training = Play!

The little crazy-lady has learned a lot - especially on that particular item from my list: "don't eat me." She may still be a little rough around the edges, but I'm very happy with her progress!

Here's a video showing one of the training games we play which helps her learn some impulse-control. The rules of the game are that she must:

- Not eat me (this is very important...).
- Drop the toy on command ("drop it").
- Lay down automatically when I have the toy.
- Stay down until I release her ("okay").
- Have a good time!

This is a training session, but as far as Brandy is concerned, we're just playing....and that's the whole idea. :)

Tuesday, December 29, 2009


Hello, Brandy.

Brandy is the new, and current, foster dog.

She's a Lab/Mastiff mix, about two years old, weighs roughly 70 lbs, can destroy any dog toy in record time, and she's...very energetic.

Right now we're working on important skills such as "don't eat me," "stop eating that," and "spit that out."

She's also learning not-so-important how to weave & do perch-work.

Saturday, October 31, 2009

Happy Halloween!

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Rainy Days

Fall in the Pacific Northwest is easy to identify; it's when the rain starts again.

Our backyard currently resembles a swamp.
The driveway is coated in gigantic puddles.
The trails where we run are underwater.
The "wet dog" smell never leaves the dog...

Rainy days (or rainy weeks, or rainy months...) like these are a good times to do some mental exercise with the pups.

So, grab a clicker, your pooch, and a handful of cookies and go have some fun! :)