Martin, a stay at home dog, questions whether his life matters or not. Martin struggles with all the complexities of life that we humans do but through the eyes of a dog.
Everyone has thought about it at least once, what’s going through your dog’s mind on a day-to-day basis, and what would he talk about if he were able to speak? The brilliant folks at Animal, an ad agency with a long range of creative talents, including making commercials with animals, decided to dig deep into a dog’s mind (and mouth) and bring us a different perspective at how pet are portrayed on television. The short subject has been turned into a television series that will air on ABC (MAY 17 9:30|8:30c on ABC : abc.go.com/shows/downward-dog).
After being involved in working with animals for commercials I (Michael Killen, director) wanted to create something that hasn’t been seen before when it comes to putting an animal on screen. Samm Hodges (writer) and I wanted to push against the tropes and traditions that usually follow animal material and do it in a way that carries humor and emotion.
Miles away from the telekinetic speaking animals we’ve been used to seeing in films, Martin (the dog) in Downward Dog actually has a voice with synchronized lips thanks to the animation created by Animal, by using a process that they developed starting with the Taco Bell Chihuahua. The entire piece was shot on RED with the DP Stephen Hunter who was integral in the design and feel of the piece.
So much of the original team stayed intact thanks to our partners at Mosaic, Legendary TV and ABC. Samm and I have been able to remain as the creators, I got to direct episodes, Samm and I are on as writers, Stephen Hunter DP’d them, Animal did the VFX, Kathy Dzuibek, Samm and myself are Executive Producers (along with Jimmy Miller, Sam Hansen, Kat Likkel and John Hoberg). We got to show the first four episodes at the Sundance film festival as the first network television show to ever premier at Sundance.