Bill Farmer gives us a behind-the-scenes take on adorable new IT’S A DOG’S LIFE show for #DisneyPlus
After our first tease of the new IT’S A DOG’S LIFE series (coming to Disney+ this Friday) we had a feeling it would be the perfect cross section of “animal lover” and “Disney fan” and — unsurprisingly — the show is exactly that!
Whether you’re a long-time animal lover or a new pet parent as a result of the uptick in COVID-19-related adoptions, this adorable new series should be perfect for you and your new companion.
What is it?
Disney Legend Bill Farmer — the iconic voice of Goofy and Pluto for more than 30 years — steps out from behind the microphone to meet his favorite characters…. dogs! The goal is simple, he crosses the country meeting dogs doing all kinds of incredible jobs that make our lives better.
Each episode of IT’S A DOG’S LIFE features two working dog segments plus Pluto’s Pointers with tips and tricks for your dogs and Goofy’s Hometown Heroes which highlights some PAWS-itively amazing dogs around the country.
Sit and Speak!
After the opportunity to preview the first two episodes, MouseInfo had the opportunity to hear from Bill himself!
One of the most interesting things he shared was that most of the dogs featured on IT’S A DOG’S LIFE are actually rescue dogs! From high energy herding dogs to yappy barking rescue dogs, the traits of these “unadoptable” pups are not always compatible with home pet ownership but instead are excellent traits for working dogs of all kinds. “A lot of the dogs are very high-energy dogs which may – if you’re a sedentary person, you may not like that too much, but it’s perfect for dogs that have to run for hours trying to find people in a collapsed building.”
Tons of Heart
While the show never set out to be educational, Bill let his curiosity lead the way. The goal was to offer a “fun show that incorporates learning for both adults and kids, and I asked the questions that I wanted to know. And so, I just – I tried to satisfy my own curiosity, and that was about it.”
Educational or not, one thing Disney excels at is storytelling (and pulling at the heartstrings) so can we similarly expect some emotional terrorism in this show?
SPOILER ALERT: The answer is yes.
“The stories just kind of came out.” Bill shares. “We just went for stories that we thought would be interesting, and we didn’t think, ‘Oh, this is going to be a tear-jerker‘, or, ‘This is really interesting‘, and we didn’t know the dogs until we got there, so it was a big surprise to us.“
How did it all come to fruition? Bill’s friend, Steve Duval, a camera operator for 30 seasons on “The Amazing Race,” invited him to host a local piece on fox hunts at an Equestrian Center in Reno and the rest, as they say, was history. “They had about 30 walker hounds. And the footage we shot of me hosting just kind of jumped out at us and said – ‘Maybe we ought to do a show about dogs.'”
While the show’s beginnings were serendipitous, the production still had its challenges. But the biggest hurdle? “Staying warm!” Bill recalled without missing a beat. The entire series was shot over the winter — from 24 degrees during the Pet Detective episode, to being buried under the snow for the Avalanche Dogs segment. “The physicality of it was a little more than I had imagined, just being used to, the last 30 years, going into a studio, and talking into a microphone, and going home,” Bill explained. “We did 11 states in four months, and that was a lot of travel that I wasn’t used to, so — it was a good workout for me.”
A Family Affair
Disney is known for bringing families together, and that was no different for the show’s own host. Bill shared, “I talked to my wife who’s directed and produced and was a script supervisor for 20 years. It’s much easier to use someone you work live with – they’re always available!”
So Bill, Jennifer, and Steve developed the plan. But one thing was missing. “We needed a theme song,” Bill continued, “My son’s a composer, an audio engineer, and a professional drummer. We said ‘Hey, come up with something.’ He came up with a great title song and Disney liked it!”
If he’s blessed with a Season Two, Bill would love to take the show internationally. “It would be fun to go to Great Britain and do a Scotty in Scotland, an Irish Setter in Ireland.” Another relevant story he’d like to research in a second season? “There are dogs now that are being trained to sniff out coronavirus, and I hope they can do that because we certainly need that talent.”
On the creation of the show, Bill reflected, “Who doesn’t like dogs, and who doesn’t like cartoons? And Goofy? And Pluto? We thought we had a winning formula, and I hope we do.”
You do Bill, and we can’t wait to see more!
See it for Yourself
But Wait, There’s More!
Hungry for a sneak peek? Here’s a first-look at the first episode!