It was last summer. A dear friend of mine who works on the creative team at PetSmart corporate emailed me randomly asking if I could send her any samples of my work that included pets. Not thinking much of it, I collected what I had from my lifestyle work and sent them over to her. She mentioned that she would be sharing them with her team and that we would see if anything came of it. I didn’t think about it again after that. Until last October.
I get a call from an Eric of East-West Productions inquiring about an upcoming shoot with PetSmart and if I might be available for it. They were still making final decisions on who they were hiring, but needed to know availability. After discussing details and what is expected he told me that they would be in touch. Be in touch. It’s what professionals say when they want to politely end the conversation without crushing your dreams. Right? ‘We’ll be in touch’ is like the universal phrase for ‘thanks, but no thanks’. I hung up the phone and promised myself not too hang too much hope on the opportunity.
Fast forward a few days and I get a call. It was Eric. Telling me that PetSmart chose me. At that moment I was staring at my very first large-scale commercial job. And I had no idea what I was doing. I really wish that I was able to play things cool and like I had it all together, but the certainty of the unknown and the fact that I had nothing on my resume that sized up to this – let’s just say I was a wreck.
The next week involved scouting locations with the team, casting calls, pre production meetings – the entire time I was just hanging on. And loving every single minute of it. To know what goes on behind the scenes, the amount of work and detail planning that happens… it was all such a learning experience and I hadn’t even stepped foot behind the camera yet.
Then came the shoot. A full two days. Pet talent. Human talent. Set stylists. Locations. Wardrobe stylists. Tech team. On-set RV. Police escort. Again, so much involvement to make a shoot happen on this scale that I was never aware of. I walked onto the set that day and was blown away. From feeling right at home and being completely supported by the technical production team (a ridiculously big thank you to Steve, Chris and Jason for taking such good care of me) to being infused with confidence and cheered on the entire time by the creative team (Miss Amber and Miss Jaci – you both are incredible!). Everyone involved were amazing and truly allowed me to be creative, work and direct the talent as I needed all while making me feel as confident as possible. Like I said, it was an amazing experience. And one that I can only hope to have the opportunity to do again. And a final and most important thank you to my dear friend Lauren who took a chance and threw my name out there. The girl has guts.
Now that you know the ENTIRE background of these images and the story of how they even came to be, I would like to share the collection that PetSmart chose for their new grooming campaign and that can be seen in their stores and online. And maybe next time I can play it cool like I have done this before and simply just post images. Probably not.