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Brian J. McMillan, of Hollywood Animals, is a second-generation animal trainer from England. From the age of fifteen, he studied with animal trainers and behaviorists on every continent around the world. After seven years of apprenticing and assisting with world famous Gunther Gable Williams, he was recruited by Africa USA in Hollywood. Within two years, he was producing and directing new animal shows for Six Flags and Resorts International, where he became the youngest Animal Director. His career continued in various animal parks, live shows and the film industry.
His experiences with animals have not only included animals in captivity, but also in the wild, where he has studied in such places as Africa, Australia, and India. He started his own studio animal company with a desire to put all of his knowledge and experience towards improving the quality of life for captive species. Currently, his company is one of the top animal companies in the industry.
"Animal Training is a university you never graduate from."
After graduation NYU film school Vikki moved to Los Angeles to work in film production. Little did she know that from living in Manhattan she would be living at an isolated exotic animal ranch in Canyon Country. Hollywood Animals started 1987 with just Brian & Vikki & 6 animals on a 10 acre ranch of dust, (nicknamed "Rancho Seco"). As the business grew, so did their collection of animals & the ranch property was developed & made into a comfortable home for Vikki & Brian & their 4 legged family. Now the ranch has three training areas, full kitchen, office, locker room & over 35 exotic animals & an in house staff of 7 trainers.
Seeing the need for a hands on animal training school & the desire of so many people who want to learn about exotics & possibly work with them, Vikki decided to open up a school in 1992 specializing in applied hands on instruction. Her purpose for the school was to start a formal training foundation to produce the next generation of responsible & caring animal caretakers & trainers.
The first few years HA offered just one weekend course. As enrollment continued to increase, new courses were developed. Now 15 years later the school offers three different professional training courses offered year round as well as various one day animal adventures.
Over the years, Vikki together with HA's team of trainers/instructors has designed & develop a comprehensive curriculum & solid basis for evaluating student which has made this school so successful. The key to maintaining safety & a high standard of instruction & education is to keep the classes small with a ratio of 5 students to 2 trainers/instructors. The school is known worldwide with international students from Australia, Japan Europe & Africa & enrollment is open to both the animal professional & the animal lover.
"It is the most rewarding experience teaching our students how to safely interact and work around big cats and bears. Watching a student's expression when she greets a tiger for the first time is one I never forget and continually enjoy seeing, especially under the supervision of myself and another professional wild animal trainer."
Leaving behind a four year career on Madison Avenue in advertising, Eric embarked on a new adventure: Hollywood Animal's, Animal Husbandry and Training Course. Amassing from their school a foundation of knowledge on safety around exotic animals, necessary husbandry for these creatures, and the day-to-day hard work ethic needed for this occupation. Eric joined Hollywood as an intern. Mucking out the elephant barn, giving Nellie baths and watching Brian work with his exotic animal actors. Eric knew this jungle was better than the urban jungle of New York. Brian McMillan's training methods and positive reinforcement meshed with his own ideologies.
Eric became a partner with Brian and Vikki McMillan in 2004. Eric has since been an intricate part of the company both on the set training the animals, and meeting with clients and has brought a new exciting approach to Hollywood Animals' expansion.