Katie Brock Interview

By: Sindy

Katie Brock is the woman behind the animal scenes in Nim's Island. She trained all the animals that appear alongside Abigail Breslin in the upcoming adventure movie about an imaginative girl who lives on an isolated island with her scientist father. Kidzworld sat down to talk to this animal trainer, so check out the interview right here.

Sindy: Tell us about the work you did for the upcoming movie, Nim's Island.
Katie Brock: We did all sorts of prep training with Abigail with the animals. In most scenes, she's interacting between sea lions or bearded dragons. She's got a fair bit of interaction with those animals, so we trained with Abigail and helped her get a rapport with the animals prior to filming because it's very important to make sure the animal looks comfortable with the actor, and more importantly that the actor looks comfortable with the animal.

Sindy: Did Abigail Breslin interact well with these animals?
Katie Brock: Abigail was an exceptional gift! She was fantastic with the animals. One of our hardest jobs when we work with animals and actors is having the actor put the effort and time into getting to know the animal. We can train the animal, but the only person who can sell the relationship with the animals is the actor, so Abigail put a lot of time into the prep work. The producer of the film realized that was important, so he got her out to the set early. We had a good month of prep work, which is really not that much at the end of the day, but Abigail enjoyed it, so that makes a difference. She was calm, natural, confident and always supportive of the animals, and she couldn't have been better!

Sindy: Since Nim's Island takes place in Australia, did you use a lot of animals that are indigenous to the country?
Katie Brock: Yeah, most of them. We used two male Australian sea lions, five central bearded dragons and two Australian pelicans. We also had some dogs and some goats, and a whole myriad of lizards, which were indigenous to the area.

Sindy: Was it tough to train the animals?
Katie Brock: The animals were acquired though Sea World Australia, so they were highly trained animals. But they had never worked on a film set before, so getting them used to going to different locations and sound stages took some time. The whole idea of a film set is very different from what most animals experience in their lifetimes, like repeating things many times over for different takes and from different angles, and working with an actress. It takes a lot to get used to.

Sindy: Do you have any tricks to get animals to act on cue?
Katie Brock: We train the animals and do lots of prep work to hopefully ensure that the behaviors will happen on the day. We went through many of the scenes with Abigail. Of course, they were never shot the exact same way we thought they were going to be shot! We have to try and get the animal to be able to do it in any situation at any time, and quite often, the animals do 100 percent of their behavior on cue, but it's very difficult when you're far away and the camera's between you and there's a rain or wind machine and things are flying everywhere and somebody's yelling at the top of their lungs, "Action!" and there's lightning strikes. So we had to prep these animals with that and they did a great job.

  • Click here to get Katie Brock's advice on how to get into the animal training industry!
  • Related Stories:

  • Animals in Captivity
  • Animal Cruelty or Population Control?
  • World Wildlife Fund Profile
  • Check out More Interviews on Work It!

    latest videos


    Favorite Animal Movie?

    • Two Brothers.
    • Charlotte's Web.
    • 101 Dalmatians.
    • Nim's Island.

    related stories

    Dear Dish-It in the forums

    EndlessDream posted in Friends:
    Hmmm....Then she mustn't be necessarily "using" you, if she is not getting something in return ( As far as we know of). However, It does sound like she is being extremely unfair. That just might be how she is. Not exactly loyal to anyone. Well, try to talk to her about it and tell her how you feel. And, if it doesn't work out, then she might not be a great friend to hang around with, and maybe you will find someone else who enjoys your company. I hope this helps, and good luck :)
    reply about 14 hours
    XxIHateMathxX posted in Friends:
    No not really. Like I said, one minute she's all smiley and then she doesn't even look at me. Most of the time I see her with Daniela and Andrea. Today she was asking me if I was going to hang out with her, Daniela, Andrea and Luisa during recess. When I told her that I was 'going to have to think' she was like, "Whatever." and ran off to catch up with the Threesome. Thanks. :)
    reply about 14 hours
    EndlessDream posted in Friends:
    Is she asking you to do things for her? Like help with homework, carry her books and so on?
    reply about 14 hours
    XxIHateMathxX posted in Friends:
    This is gonna be long:   I have this 'friend' Amelia. She and I bonded really fast last year and we've become inseparable.   But lately she's blowing me off and my other best friend Belen told me: Amelia is actually using you. She does this to new kids at school, especially from foreign countries. She thinks because you're Chinese and the Chinese teacher's daughter, you'll help her. She's also using you as a backup friend - a substitute. There's this new girl Daniela, who Amelia thinks is her new best friend. She thinks that when Daniela stop hanging out with her, she'll have you.   The thing is, Daniela is pretty nice and she probably doesn't know all the trouble she's causing. Belen's old 'best friend' Andrea is doing the same to her.   I also learned that Amelia is seemingly the 'most popular girl in school' because she's mean to everyone. She always passes by the little kids' classrooms and hugs them & stuff. They seem to love her, but now I know it's because they think if they're nice they won't get bullied.   Maybe she WAS using me but I dunno. Belen says that each kid in the entire school has a bad story about Amelia and something she did to them. I said, "Then how was she so nice to me last year?" Then Belen was all like, "She was using you."   I don't know if she's telling the truth. She and Amelia are deadly enemies and she might be making up the whole Amelia story just to get back at her. Although Amelia has been dropping a few signs that she IS using me as a substitute friend.   Sometimes when I walk in, she'll be like "OOOOHHH! CASSANDRA! HI! HOW ARE YOU! C'MON, LOOK AT THIS! WE'RE GONNA HAVE SOOOO MUCH FUN TOGETHER ..."   And other times I'm like, "Hey, Amelia!" and she says, "Oh. Huh? Yeah, hi ..."  Once during PE we had to sit down and on the way to the gym, she was chatting with me in a BBBBFFFF way. But then when we had to partner up she said with Andrea, Daniela and someone else who I forgot.   I don't know what to do. It's just so weird. Even though now I know she MIGHT be using me (I'm not sure if she really is) it just seems WEIRD. Even for a supposed ##### she was my possibly fake best friend for the whole of last year. It's WEIRD to suddenly switch.   I don't even know if this should be happening. We've only just started 5th grade. Doesn't this WEIRD #### start happening around middle school? Thank you, everyone who will help in advance. P.S. Please include flirting advice. - A Girl Who Might Just Lose Her Possibly Fake Best Friend
    reply about 15 hours
    Okay I have school today and my hair is not sitting how I want it to. But my mum says it is sitting fine WHEN ITS NOT! SHE IS NOT LISTENING what do i do?
    reply about 16 hours

    play online games