Big Phineas and Ferb fan? Then check out this exclusive Dan Povenmire & Jeff Marsh Milo Murphy’s Law Interview | Life after Phineas and Ferb to see what these cartoon geniuses are up to next. This post is sponsored by Disney. All genuinely positive opinions are my own
Dan Povenmire & Jeff Marsh Milo Murphy’s Law Interview | Life after Phineas and Ferb #MiloMurphysLaw
I met Dr. Doofenschmirtz and Major Monogram. I repeat, I met the geniuses behind the award winning TV show Phineas and Ferb. My kids would have been so jealous to have missed this exclusive Milo Murphy’s Law interview. Dan Povenmire and Jeff “Swampy” Marsh were everything I’d have hoped them to be – entertaining, down to earth, big kids at heart, and so quick-witted, their humor reflected the same humor from their shows. I sat down with the creators to see what life is like after Phineas and Ferb, what makes Disney XD’s Milo Murphy’s Law different than their previous endeavor, and what it’s like working with Weird Al Yankovic.
Where did the concept of the show come from?
I couldn’t imagine creating a whole new show after the success of many seasons of Phineas and Ferb. But it’s what these guy live for. If you haven’t see Milo Murphy’s Law yet, you’re in for a treat. Very similar to Phineas and Ferb, these guys use humor, intelligence, and fun and throw everything into one show. And oh yeah, it’s very similar to Phineas and Ferb. Optimism no matter what life throws at you – it’s a crazy and yet very sentimental feeling that created a whole show. Where did this positive energy come from? Their own backyards.
Jeff: When we started creating Milo, I always thought that the coolest thing about a character like that, is that whatever life’s throwing at you, you go, “Well, I’m going to know how to deal with that. It’s going to make a little tougher, a little stronger, a little more interesting, a little more fun.” Because life’s going to throw stuff at everybody. It’s what you do with it.
Dan: People have asked me a couple times, how did you deal with all of the adversity that happened to you in your career? I always scratch my head and think — did I have adversity? I look back, and there’s a lot of things that went wrong throughout. [But] Swampy and I are both very positive in our outlook of life. So when things go wrong, we just go around it. People often think that you’re going down this path. If you turn this way, it’s success and this way it’s failure. That’s not at all what it is. It’s failure, failure, failure, failure, success. You just have to keep going down whatever path you’re on and you just keep going. That’s what we were trying to do with Milo. Things are going to go wrong for everybody. If there’s anything that we want the kids to know from this, it’s that if things go wrong in your life, don’t let it ruin your day, much less your life. Find the positive spin on it.
Working with Weird Al Yankovic
The voice of the most positive kid around, Milo, just so happens to be played by none other than Weird Al. But finding his voice wasn’t as easy as they thought. BONUS, Weird Al just so happens to do the music for the show too.
Dan: We were looking for somebody to have this very positive voice without sounding put on. And we auditioned hundreds of people for Milo. We auditioned kids, seasoned voice actors, people whose work we love. But when they try to do that super-positivity thing, it’d always come off sort of Pollyanna and false. We needed to find somebody who has that positivity just naturally. And Weird Al came in and it just immediately worked.
It was a great find, and working with him is great. We get to write songs and have Weird Al sing them, it just makes my high school self just, “Weeee!” And the funny thing is, during the course of Phineas there were several songs from the first season that were sort of popular, and then we would write our own Weird Al version of that. That was always fun. We always called it our ‘Weird Al version.’ Well now for Milo, we needed a song. So I took the music from a song we wrote on Phineas, rewrote the lyrics, made our own Weird Al version of a song for Milo, and actually got Weird Al to sing it.
Jeff: When you find somebody who really works, it lets you push the character a lot more than you normally would and that’s been really fun. Also, I’d never worked with anybody that’s that prepared every day, for everything, and especially the music.
Dan: We don’t read and write music. We can play and sing into a microphone, and then somebody else writes out the score from that. So, he’ll come in for a song and he’ll go, “Yeah, on bar 12 here, you’ve got a dotted quarter note. But in the demo that you guys sang, it’s a dotted half note” or something. “Which one do you want to –?” And we’re like, “I think it’s so cute that you think we know the answer to that.”
Dakota and Cavendish: a sneak peek of what’s to come
Did Dan Povenmire and Jeff Marsh drop a huge sneak peek of what’s to come for this season of Milo Murphy’s Law? In one word, YES. You may recognize some familiar voices in this series. Dan Povemire and Jeff Marsh couldn’t resist playing the voices of some new characters in Milo Murphy’s Law. Be on the lookout for some new twists that have never been done in Phineas and Ferb.
Dan: What this series has that Phineas never had is the guys who are protecting the pistachios [Dakota and Cavendish], that becomes a bigger story by midway through the season. It starts to become a big arc that actually goes through the whole season and culminates in a big season finale with a big climax to that story. And we’d never really done that in Phineas, where we kept a story going through not only several episodes, but through the entire season. We wanted to introduce all of the characters first. And in the very first episodes you only see those guys in the very background of things, and then they start having lines, and, then…
Jeff: …start planning the season out. We covered three or four rooms with Post-It notes trying to make sure everything actually connects and works.
Dan: Luckily, because it takes so long to do animation, sometimes we’ll be in episode 16 and we’ll go, “Oh. We’re doing this here. Be cool if we planted something earlier. What episode has not shipped overseas yet, or what episode can we put a line in that’ll tease that, and makes us a lot smarter than we actually are?”
Dakota and Cavendish — that whole concept of that came out of the writers room. That wasn’t part of our original concepts. “We need somebody to cut away to.” They were used to doing Phineas and Ferb, and then cutting away to Perry and Doofenshmirtz. They pitched this idea of these time travelers. When I drew it, I sort of was drawing it with thought of me being that guy, and you [pointing to Jeff] being Cavendish. That’s just been a fun thing to do. And we get to be in the record room together, which we never did. He was Monogram and I was Doofenshmirtz, and there were only like three episodes where they even had a conversation because they were usually separated by distance.
Jeff: Now we just put two mics in the room. And we can just sit and play around and ad lib. It’s a lot of fun.
A piece of advice for future animators
Dan Povenmire and Jeff Marsh are thrilled when they hear that their fans want to become future animators. Considering that Jeff Marsh got a late start in animation (at age 28), it thrills him to no end to see kids dreaming of being creative. He offers this really amazing piece of advice to help them reach their dreams:
Jeff: Throw away their erasers. I always see people or kids that are drawing or trying to create perfect drawings or beautiful drawings. Somebody much wiser than me once said, “There’s 10,000 bad drawings. Your job is to get them out as quickly as possible. You only do that by doing more drawings.” Filling pages. When I started in animation, David Silverman was one of the first guys who helped teach me. He said, “You should just draw with a Sharpie. It’ll keep you fiddling with stuff and fussing with stuff. It forces you just to make bold shapes.” And for a year, I didn’t draw with anything other than a Sharpie. It had a huge, positive impact. You can’t erase it. You can’t fiddle it. And I started filling books with drawings. More drawings, no erasing.
The bottom line
Dan Povenmire and Jeff Marsh continue to create shows that bring the family back together. There’s something for the adults, there’s something for the kids. And there’s always something that stirs up conversation between the two. They’ve only got one rule when creating television:
Our only rule is, if the adult in the room laughs and the kid asks what they’re laughing about, that conversation can’t be an uncomfortable conversation. It just warms our heart, that we’re bringing back family viewing to the family. All of a sudden there is that shared humor, those shared jokes, those shared lines, that those families will have forever.
I was thrilled to meet the creators of Milo Murphy’s Law, Dan Povenmire and Jeff Marsh. It was a hilarious and heart-warming experience. Have you been following along our #BeOurGuestEvent journey? Catch up here:
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Ready to get your whole family into Dan Pouvenmire & Jeff Marsh’s newest show, Milo Murphy’s Law? Be sure to catch all-new episodes of Milo Murphy’s Law all throughout the month of March on Disney XD.
Does your family love watching Phineas and Ferb? Are you excited to check out Milo Murphy’s Law?
I was invited to attend an all-inclusive press trip, sponsored by Disney. Be sure to follow Raising Whasians via Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest and YouTube for more Disney insider information, movie updates and entertainment!