The Best You Never Expected: Luck Director Peggy Holmes on Good Luck and Bad | Interviews

Can you tell me about a time when you felt lucky?

Oh God! There are two things about the film that I feel lucky about. A) that we could continue to work through COVID. We made this whole movie about Zoom and B) regarding the movie, the cast. We feel so lucky to have this amazing cast on this film.

You have an unusual background in animation. What does your career as a dancer and choreographer bring to this project? How does that affect the way you view instruction?

I’m not an artist at all. I am not trained in visual arts. I can’t draw. I can’t do any of the things these amazing artists do in animation. But what I can do is bring this idea of ​​rhythm to the table. I just look at everything as a dance number, so I’m really able to bring a certain rhythm to sequences that maybe someone else wouldn’t approach that way. I love dance, I love movement, I love bodies moving in space. For many films I worked on as a choreographer, I would choreograph a sequence that didn’t look choreographed. We would design each and every move to help tell the story of whatever was going on in that song sequence. And that’s the kind of nuanced work I love. When I realized that I could take that kind of work and put it into the world of animation, I thought, “This makes perfect sense to me.”

When you are a choreographer, you move human bodies in a world of consistent gravity. In this movie you create movement for many non-human bodies and sometimes where gravity is not consistent. We know how a cat moves and the cat moves very realistically in this movie. But you also have a dragon and a unicorn and rabbits that do things that rabbits don’t. What do you do to make it believable within the framework of this fantasy world?

One thing we do is we talk about shapes. So we work with the story artist before we even animate. And what was a great tool for us is looking at all the different sizes in the film and the cast. You have Jane Fonda, this character, a dragon, 40 feet tall, and she has to have a conversation with Sam, who’s only five-foot-four and human. Suddenly you know you have to get this kite from all the way up here to way down there. So it’s a matter of really just playing with those body shapes and introducing the idea that you don’t just have to come straight down, you can lead with your head and then bring her neck around, something that would look more dynamic coming down. to Sam’s level. That’s the fun of really just playing around with those kinds of shapes to figure out what’s going to tell the best story.

What makes a good voice actor? Someone who can do it all without relying on movement or facial expressions?

It’s really a matter of bringing them into the process early enough that they understand what their character is doing physically. We would show them the storyboard sequences. I think that is super, super important. And really it’s a matter of just passing on the importance of energy to them. They have to take all that body movement and that physicality and make it come out of their voice. It is very hard. It’s really just a matter of being by their side and supporting them so they can just get that energy up to give you that performance. And they can’t move while doing it. They have to stay on the mic, so it’s very, very challenging. But they did a great job. And I have to say, our actors were crazy about doing a lot of takes where we all felt like it was. It was what we needed.

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