PORTLAND, Ore. — Oregon’s stop motion animation leaders gave Governor Kate Brown a unique gift. They made a short movie of her touring the state, in stop motion.
It took 550 hours to create.
Lourri Hammack is a partner in a studio called HouseSpecial that made the Governor’s movie.
“For us, it’s a celebration of all things animation in Oregon,” she said.
How is the TV and movie industry going in the state? Turns out business is booming.
Eight different TV series recently finished shooting in the state, including Pretty Little Liars: The Perfectionists.
You'll see more than a few Portland area scenes in that one.
The state started courting movie makers about 14-years ago with incentives that include a cash payment of up to 16 percent of the money the production spent in the state.
“It’s been growing very steadily over the last 14-years now,” Tim Williams said.
He runs the state office that courts the production companies.
Williams said that first year about $5 million was spent in Oregon. Last year it was more like $200 million and not just in Portland.
“So what I’m really happy about is they're utilizing the broad diversity of locations that we have in this state and how accessible those things are and that’s always been one of our selling points,” he said.
Stop motion animation, like the movie involving the Governor, is a painstaking art which involves shooting one frame at a time.
When most of us think about stop motion, we think of Laika Studios in Hillsboro. The studio recently put out a movie, Missing Link, which the critics loved, but the mass audience did not flock to early on.
But those in the business say that does not mean there is anything wrong with that studio or their industry.
“Missing Link is a wonderful movie and actually is so fun and so funny and actually is a great cast,” he said. “You know, it didn’t do what they hoped it would do but that doesn’t mean it’s not gonna do well on streaming or on DVD or pay-tv or all the other outlets they have.”
Lourri Hammack said the animation industry in Portland now involves a handful of companies and a lot of work.
“There's a lot of different influx of financing and support here. We're getting ready to launch a project with funding out of one of the major networks.," she said. "So, it’s not just Laika’s the only film studio in town. They do fantastic work. But there's a lot of opportunities- there's so much hunger for content right now."
HouseSpecial is about to announce a major new project and is hiring at least 30 people to help create it, according to Hammack.