Responses by Kylie Matulick, director, Shannon Alexander, executive producer and Nick Read, producer, Psyop
Background: When we were approached by Wieden+Kennedy and Travel Oregon on the first “Only Slightly Exaggerated” campaign last year, the goal was to capture the magic and emotion of experiencing the natural wonders of the state by breaking away from traditional, photo-driven tourism marketing and embracing a whimsical world of animation. In doing so, the film became more than just an homage to the state, it became a conduit for people to relive the spirit of adventure and discovery. The response to this film has been incredibly positive and diverse with people recalling their personal connections to the place, as well as others saying the film made them want to visit.
Reasoning: The goal was to portray the many varied natural beauties of Oregon and, more importantly, capture a magical sense of spirit and adventure. In this one-minute forty-five second film, we wanted to push the animation into a more fantastical space—with an even more eclectic cast of characters. It was also an opportunity to revisit and include some of the locations that didn’t make it into the original film and highlight the more intimate, inside experiences within Oregon.
Challenges: Our animation partners at Sun Creature really pushed themselves to make every scene breathe with subtle movement and life. With a technique that is so handcrafted, this can be a very time and labor-intensive process. The cloud giants were one of our most complicated scenes and took upwards of 200 animation hours. The tree character also was a challenge with all the different moving leaves.
Favorite details: The power of animation is how well you can spark the imagination and capture a sense of playful whimsy. It’s something we try to do in all of our work, but we had all the right ingredients for achieving that in this film. The landscape in Oregon is naturally magnificent, but we were able to enhance this with all of our wonderfully whimsical characters. All the artists really poured their hearts into making this film—and it shows in every line, from start to finish.
Visual influences: We were inspired by the golden age of Disney, as well as iconic Japanese animations with their gorgeous painted environments, rich characters and sweeping camera moves.
Specific demands: With such a specific style, we had to work with highly specialized artists who were scattered all across the globe, which actually helped us accomplish more within the timeline. At one point during the production, we were working on a nearly 24-hour cycle with simultaneous teams across Asia, Europe, Australia and North America.