Talent Agent Is Looking for Some Animal Magnetism

Does Paolo have what it takes to be a star? Silver Spring's Carol Rosen finds out.
Does Paolo have what it takes to be a star? Silver Spring's Carol Rosen finds out. (By Michael Lutzky For The Washington Post)
By Janet Burkitt
Special to The Washington Post
Sunday, March 30, 2008

Carol Rosen manages and finds jobs for some of the most difficult-to-work-with actors in all of show business.

One of her clients just finished a role in a psychological thriller filming in Maryland. Another starred in an Emmy-nominated commercial, and still others have landed work with major cable channels. All this, despite the fact that none of them could read a cue card to save their careers, let alone memorize lengthy dialogue. And if a director started barking unexpected orders at them, it wouldn't be too surprising if some of them barked right back -- or meowed, bleated or squealed.

Rosen, 50, is a talent agent, trainer and handler for animal actors -- one of the few in the area. The Silver Spring resident has trained dogs since she was young but didn't break into the animal talent business until much later. We recently met with her to chat about her business, Positive Dog Training and Animal Actors (301-421-5905, http://www.carolspositivedogtraining.com), and the industry. We also brought along our fluffy little white dog, Paolo, to see whether he has star potential.

What animals have you worked with besides dogs and cats?

Goats. Gerbils. Pigs. Baby pigs, which is the grossest thing I've ever done.

Why?

There were eight or nine of them, and they were so young that they kept pooping, and when one pooped they would all roll in it. And then you had to wash them all off, and they'd scream bloody murder while you were washing them. And then you'd have them all clean and set up to be photographed and another one would poop, and you had to do it all again.

Is there a specific look producers and directors want in a dog?

Absolutely. They want dogs that are more shaggy and warm-and-fuzzy types; they don't like fancy cuts or really short cuts. They like mixed-breed dogs or purebred dogs that look like mixed breeds. They like lighter fur, because they want to be able to see the dog's face and read the expressions; that's very important. They don't like to use black dogs very often because it's harder to read their facial expressions.

Are there breeds that are particularly in demand?

The pugs seem to be popular still. They generally like small-to-medium dogs, but they don't want to overuse a certain breed. Nowadays you'll hear some directors or producers say, "Don't give me a Jack Russell because they're overused because of 'Frasier.' " Or, "Don't give me a Chihuahua because they're overused because of the Taco Bell commercials."

How much will a typical assignment earn for a dog?


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