Friday, May 18, 2007

The History of Lucky — Part 4

Our process for choosing a short film to produce had started in a somewhat democratic method. As early as November of 2003 we had a pitch meeting at John Hurst’s house. A handful of people pitched ideas. Only a few were for shorts. In December we opened up a private web forum for members to pitch ideas. The turnout still wasn’t as large as we were hoping, but some people did throw their ideas into the ring. Everyone was invited to be a part of Legacy; we were very open to what we were trying to do and excluded no one — a practice that I’m sure led to the quick demise of the studio. A poll set up on the forum for people to vote on their favorites. Lucky was not at the top of the list.

On January 15, 2004, we had our first meeting at our new offices in the Edgewater Hotel in Winter Garden. The hotel was built in the 1920’s so we couldn’t help but think of Walt, Roy and Ub’s humble beginnings. I pitched the ideas for the two stories that had won the voting and the response was less than enthusiastic from what I remember.

David Nethery knew that I was leaning towards Lucky. I also knew that it was all pantomime and the main character was an inanimate object — if we could pull off bringing a clover to life people would notice. In the back of my mind I couldn’t help but think of how Major Studio (see
The History of Lucky — Part 2) had used inanimate objects in their first animated shorts; one even becoming their company mascot. They would surely take notice, I told myself.

But I also thought that the story was very strong. It had a lot of heart and there were certain elements that I felt paralleled the experience of the studio’s closing.

David recounted the meeting in our first entry on our production blog:

It was our first official meeting at the new studio. Twenty people crammed into our 13 x 15 foot story room. It was too small and too hot. Some people had brought their own chairs and cushions and others were sitting on the floor. For many it was their first time seeing Legacy's new home in Winter Garden’s historic Edgewater Hotel.

Eddie stood up and gave an update on what we were doing. Then he briefly mentioned the two story ideas that had been discussed earlier. After that he turned to me and said, “Anything to add?” I said, “Why don’t you just pitch Lucky.” I just felt it was time to pitch the one we most believed in.

What amazes me — and what I most recall about the pitch— is that people got it right away. They were laughing at all the right spots and nodding in understanding all the way through.

It was the perfect story pitch in a lot of ways. And by that I’m not saying that the story was perfect — because the story will develop—I say it was the perfect pitch because it was exactly what was needed at that point. Eddie had them hooked from beginning to end, and when he was done the room broke out in spontaneous chatter.

This was a critical crowd of artists. These people have seen a lot of story pitches in their careers, and many have pitched ideas themselves. It’s immensely encouraging that they got the idea and were so enthusiastic about it.

I had envisioned this silent close to the meeting, people filing out and saying, “Thanks, but…” Instead we had this jubilant crowd of people all very interested in helping out.
Everybody got it.

Lucky is an opportunity to tell a story through pantomime. It’s pure visual storytelling.

The importance of doing a short at this point, is that it’s a confidence builder for everyone involved -— that we have been doing this for ten plus years and that we can continue doing this on our own.

David Nethery
Creative Director