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BOSPOAT - Best On Set Photo Of All Time: In The Trunk

Posted By Administration, Tuesday, October 17, 2017


Producer and PGA member Jack Sojka has worked with ostriches (temperamental), flamingos (unassuming), tigers and lions (who pace a lot and can make you nervous), horses (easily spooked), bulls (don’t wear red) and cobras (just really huge snakes, ‘nuff said), but says that working with an elephant was “magical and inspirational.” Every day when he was standing next to Thai, the animal star of the forthcoming Saving Flora, he would look right into her eyes and talk to her. “She would move her trunk ever so slightly across my face,” he recalls, “bat her long curly lashes, tilt her head, flap her ears and raise her trunk letting me know she was listening to me.  Being next to Thai was like being in a different realm as she emitted tranquility and a sense of happiness.” The bond between producer and pachyderm was close and affectionate enough to result in the between-takes “hug” that we feature in this issue’s Best On-Set Photo of All Time.

By Jack’s accounting, elephants make for terrific colleagues on set; it’s your fellow humans who are more likely to be the problem. “Plan ahead,” Jack warns. “Every vendor and every location we went to was always taken aback that we were shooting a full day’s schedule with an elephant. We had to have additional insurance coverage, and some payroll companies turned us down. I asked why, and one company actually said because the elephant could turn quickly and her trunk could swing and knock someone over, resulting in a worker’s comp claim. Really? An elephant moves as slow as molasses!” Clearly some uptight payroll company reps need to spend more time with Thai.

To be sure, working with an elephant isn’t exclusively composed of affectionate hugs and deep inter-species communion. “Be sure to have a big bucket and shovel ready at all times,” Jack reminds us. “Elephants don’t announce they need to ‘go.’ They just drop it, in a very big way.” But long after the bucket-and-shovel work is done, his time with Thai is something he’ll treasure. Special thanks to Jack for submitting this photo and to his production coordinator Rebecca Keszycki for snapping the pic. It’s an on-set experience he’ll always remember. And if the proverbial wisdom is right, so will Thai.


We know what you’re thinking. “Best of all time? No way. I’ve got an on-set photo way better than that.” If that’s the case, we dare you to prove it. Submit it to BOSPOAT@producersguild.org. Before you submit, please review the contest rules at producersguild.org/bospoat. Because no matter how great your photo is, we have no desire to get sued over it.

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