Posted: November 5, 2014, 8:25 p.m. EST
To celebrate the release to DVD of the new ferret Christmas movie Santa’s Little Ferrets and the completion of the movie trailer, let’s take a peek behind the production of the movie with a Q&A from the film’s director, Alison Parker.
What was the "feel” on the set of Santa’s Little Ferrets?
This was a fun and exciting film to make! It was divided into two parts — human days, and ferret days. The first three days of filming, we only had human actors on set, and the dog. Those days were a lot of fun, especially with the three kids — Emma, Jacob and Erica Tremblay — who are siblings in real life. The last four days of filming was only the ferrets and the dog, no human actors. A lot of laughs and "awww, that was so cute!” moments. A lot of happy accidents. I think everyone was excited to see what the ferrets would do and they didn’t disappoint!
What was your favorite moment from filming?
My favorite moment was the very first shot we did with the ferrets. It’s a wide shot of the living room, and we released the three ferrets near the fireplace and then just waited to see what they would do. First they sniffed around, got used to their surroundings — and then they just went wild! Jumping up and down on the couch, wrestling under the Christmas tree, digging up the homeowner’s plants (much to our producers’ and production designer's chagrin), knocking over lamps, etc.
This was my favorite moment because I’ve always wanted to show people how fun ferrets are to watch. They weasel war danced, they dooked, they wrestled. Everyone behind the monitor (aka, Video Village) was laughing their butts off, even though we’re all supposed to remain silent for sound. It was great. The funny thing is, that wasn’t even in the script. I managed to sneak it into the movie anyway, and it’s a huge part of the film now!
What are the personalities of the actor ferrets Krusty, Booger and Snot?
Krusty is my favorite because he’s the fattest and he loves to roll over on his back and have his tummy rubbed! His personality in real life matched up well with that of his character, Falafel. Booger and Snot (Pretzel and Spud) are typical ferrets — they love to play, eat and sleep.
What did each of the ferrets excel at as an actor?
We ended up using six ferrets to play the three roles of Pretzel, Spud and Falafel. Three ferrets were best at staying still on a mark, and these are the ones we used for most of the close-ups where you can tell which ferret it is. The other three ferrets — also known as the backup ferrets or the ‘B’ group — did most of the running shots. Any time you see a ferret running up stairs, climbing up onto a couch, running out of the room, etc., chances are it’s a backup ferret. Krusty, Booger and Snot were our stay ferrets, but occasionally we would swap in a backup ferret.
Were there any fun ferret moments that weren’t captured by the camera?
I did do one shot that didn’t make it into the film at all. We set up a hallway shot with some shoes, a dog bowl of water and food, and a bag of dog food. Then we let the ferrets go nuts in the hallway for a while. You can imagine what happened. Water and food spilled everywhere, shoes being dragged up and down the hallway, ferrets bouncing off the walls. Unfortunately, I couldn’t find a logical place to use this in the film that worked with the story. Maybe I’ll release it one day online.
How did Rumble the Chihuahua react to the ferrets?
Rumble the Chihuahua had a tough job. The only time he was ever in a shot with the ferrets at the same time, he is supposed to be sleeping as the ferrets run by him. But, like most Chihuahuas, he’s very sensitive to sounds! So he would quite often get up and start barking when he’d notice the ferrets running by him. It was never unsafe though. I can tell you that the dog really had no interest in the ferrets, and vice versa. Both animals were just focused on the getting their jobs done so they could get their treats.
Did the actors and ferrets bond?
Fun fact: the ferrets and the actors were never on set together at the same time. Any time that it appears they are together on screen, it’s either a foot double or was filmed on different days and edited to look like they are together in the same room — but they’re not. However, we did bring the ferrets in one day to take photos with the actors, and everyone was very excited for that photo shoot, including the crew!
© HiJinx Entertainment
Was it difficult to choose scenes to use in the trailer?
It was very difficult to edit this trailer. I spent about a month going back and forth with a few different ideas of how to lay it out. It’s tempting to fill it with ferret footage, but a big part of this story is that it’s about a father telling a story to his children on Christmas Eve, so I struggled with how to incorporate it all together and keep it under a minute. I think it turned out well, though.
What are some of the bonus features of the DVD?
The Regular Edition of the Santa’s Little Ferrets DVD features human bloopers as well as the animal bloopers that are in the end credits. The Special Edition DVD also features my two previous films, Jake & Jasper: A Ferret Tale and The Magic Ferret.
In your two previous ferret movies, Jake And Jasper: A Ferret Tale and The Magic Ferret, you offered only the DVD of the movies. What inspired you to offer merchandise for sale (bow ties and an ornament) related to Santa’s Little Ferrets?
I think Christmas is a great time to venture into the world of merchandise! When we saw how cute those bow ties looked on the ferrets, I knew this would be something ferret owners would want to buy for their own ferrets. And the ferret figurine ornaments make a perfect Deluxe Package when combined with the Special Edition DVD. These are quality products that any ferret lover would love to see under the Christmas tree this year, and they help promote our film at the same time.
What is next for Santa’s Little Ferrets now that it’s available on DVD?
After this Christmas, we will be looking to sell Santa’s Little Ferrets as a Christmas TV Special to various TV networks around the world. We’ll also be looking at other methods of distribution to make the film more accessible — Video on Demand, Netflix, digital downloads, things like that. 2015 will be an exciting year for Santa’s Little Ferrets!
Is there anything else you would like people to know about the movie?
At the beginning of the film, there is a disclaimer asking people to do their research before rushing out to get a pet ferret. This type of disclaimer is traditionally put at the end of a film, but by popular demand of my fans, I put it at the start, so it wouldn’t be missed.
Secondly, the DVD comes with a Ferret Care Sheet insert. This care sheet gives you a heads-up on what to expect if you do decide to get a ferret. Ferrets make great pets, but they might not be the right pet for you. I urge the viewers to be sure a ferret is right for them so we don’t end up with impulse buys and more ferrets in the shelters.
Also, the ferret dooking sounds in the film are real. I know what a ferret sounds like and I will never use a raccoon noise, I promise you that!
Lastly, this was my first film I’ve made without my ferret Falcor who passed away in May. I loved him very much and he is the inspiration for all my ferret movies, so I dedicated this film to his memory and there is a tribute to him at the end of the movie.
Do you want to comment about any possible future movie plans?
I have several movie projects in development at that this time, and I don’t know which one will get funded / made next. If Santa’s Little Ferrets is very successful this Christmas, it will be a big help though, I can tell you that much.
Like this article? Please share it, and check out:
Santa's Little Ferrets Arrives On DVD
Santa's Little Ferrets Is The Birth Of A New Holiday Classic
A New Ferret Movie Is Nearly Here (The Magic Ferret)
Alison Parker Gets Creative To Make The Movie Jake And Jasper: A Ferret Tale
See all small animal exclusives
See all small animal news