As I finished my most recent production – Ordinary Days to benefit the Autism Theatre Initiative – I was reminded of one of my ideas when creating this blog. To not only support artists in creating their best work and getting it out there, but to bring awareness to causes that matter and even more poignantly to shine light on actors and artists who are using their work to do the same.
In the past few months, I’ve talked to a lot of fellow creatives about projects at various stages of development to benefit great causes. Have actors always done this and is it simply coming to my attention because of my recent project? Perhaps. But I think it is very exciting and want to encourage the trend to continue.
I hope to make this a bi-monthly feature on my blog so if you or someone has a project percolating, send me an email so that I can share your project next.
On to this month’s spotlight …
Gemma Smith is an actor in NYC and the creator of the web series NYC Pet Tails. This series tells stories about NYC pet owners and shares valuable pet care tips.
I’m lucky to call Gemma my friend, having first gotten to know her through a mastermind group she started. I’ve known for awhile that she was planning to produce a new season of NYC Pet Tails, but was completely blown away when she told me about her plans to tie in the new season with advocacy for pet rescue organizations.
So I asked her to tell me about her experience creating the show as well as animal rescue and how it fits in with the new season.
Gemma, what inspired you to create NYC Pet Tails?
When I first moved to New York, I got a survival job at a veterinary clinic. At the time, I didn’t have any pets…but that soon changed! I discovered a passion for animals and adopted two rescue cats. I created NYC Pet Tails to bridge the gap between my acting career and my love for animals. I especially want to expand my work as an on-camera host, so it feels really authentic to connect these two passions.
What is your favorite episode from Season One and why?
Season One Episode 2: Lion-o + Luna.
Well…I can’t help but be a little partial to the episode featuring my own two cats! They both have such a special place in my heart and I find the how-to by Dr. Dan really informative & useful.
What can viewers expect for Season Two?
With a production team in place, we are ready to film 10 episodes this summer. Viewers can expect to meet NYC rescue pets and their owners along with informative how-to’s by Dr. Dan at Murray Hill Pet Hospital. We will also spotlight local non-profit animal rescue groups.
Can you tell me more about the pet rescue organizations you are featuring in the upcoming season?
You bet! We will be talking with representatives from rescue organizations such as Mayor’s Alliance for NYC Animals to learn about the different programs they provide to help rescue animals. In addition, we’ll be sharing information regarding TNR (Trap-Neuter-Return) programs so that any animal advocate can help stabilize the population of feral cat colonies in New York City.
What inspired you to include these organizations in your season?
I’m so fortunate to have a team of fellow animal lovers. My associate producers and I all have a connection to different rescue groups in the city. Through working at the vet, I’ve developed a personal relationship with Mayor’s Alliance and even adopted my first cat with their help! They truly work tirelessly to find the right home for abandoned animals.
What do you most want people to know about pet rescue?
There are over 2.7 million healthy animals euthanized in the US shelter system each year (taken from ASPCA website about US Shelters) because there are not enough homes. I urge prospective pet owners to adopt an animal in need instead of going to a breeder or pet store. There are so many wonderful cats and dogs currently in need of a forever home!
How can people help?
I’m so glad you asked this question! In order to make Season 2 a reality, we need to reach our Indiegogo goal of $10,000. Donations of any amount are greatly appreciated. (Click here to visit their Indiegogo campaign.) We have some amazing perks as a thank you at each donation level (including tickets to our upcoming comedy show, Applause for Paws! on Tuesday May 26th at 7pm at Broadway Comedy Club).
We also are looking for people to help spread the word! Share this post with your friends and fellow animal lovers. Watch Season 1 and tell us what you think. Be sure to follow us on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram for updates on the project! The more interaction, the more people we can reach!
Any long term goals for NYC Pet Tails?
We would love to connect with other animal advocates and have the opportunity to share our stories with a wider audience. On a more personal note, if this led to more opportunities in the on-camera hosting world, I wouldn’t say no.
What advice do you have for those looking to creating a service based web series in the vein of NYC Pet Tails?
I would say… just start! Don’t over think or over plan, just begin sharing your ideas with others & taking steps forward. Our first season wasn’t perfect. I edited it all myself, made mistakes & learned a lot along the way. BUT without diving in, I wouldn’t have been able to get to the point I am now.
Now it’s your turn. Tell me and Gemma about your pet in the comments below. Do you have any experiences with rescue animals? Any specific questions you’d like to ask Dr. Dan about your pet?
And while you are at it, don’t forget to share this post using the links below on all your favorite social media platforms!