Hi All– I’m the new intern here at the Governor’s Office of Film & Television. I love all things film and Oregon, as well as baking and studying communication theory. If you want to talk about the entertainment industry, I’m practically a walking IMDb.
Have a good one! -Katlyn Prentice
You can learn quite a bit by the clothes you wear. Walking around my campus in Boston, sporting my new Portlandia sweatshirt, I learned a lot about the impact that Oregon filmmaking has on rest of the country. I can’t count how many times my sweatshirt has been commented on—how people love the show and think it’s pretty cool that I’m from the last leg of the Oregon Trail, namesake of their favorite elementary school video game.
To those people, Oregon is often described as a myth, a place that only exists in history texts and dysentery jokes. A good friend of mine once said, “Or-gone isn’t real, it can’t be. It’s just the Or-gone Trail.”
Well, it seems that Oregon is becoming more and more real to the rest of the country.
Oregon has been around in the filmmaking world for a while now. Such classics as The Goonies, Kindergarten Cop, Animal House, and One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest were all filmed in Oregon. Not a lot of people outside the state realize that, and it wasn’t until Portlandia took off did Oregon (or at least Portland) start to be recognized as an actual place that wasn’t filled with cowboy hats and flannel-only dress codes.
The film and television industry is lifting Oregon out of its mispronounced obscurity and into the big leagues of desirable states for filmmakers. An increasing number of companies want to come to Oregon to film. The reasons are clear: two hour flight from LA, beautiful locations, no sales tax, beautiful locations, crews and amenities, and of course beautiful locations. Oh, and the people are pretty chill, too.
We have hipsters and hicks and everyone between. From coastal forests to high deserts, our landscapes vary just as much as the weather (“If you don’t like the weather now, wait five minutes”). Drive an hour or two in any direction from Portland and you can be at a rocky beach, arid desert, lush farm, or snowy mountaintop. Oregon is versatile, adaptable. It seems that other people are starting to realize that.
With the success of Portlandia, Grimm, Leverage, and several smaller films that come to Oregon to film each year, folks from around the country are beginning to adapt their views and see Oregon as not just a pioneer town or hipster commune, but as a place where anyone can find a place that suits them. There’s something for everyone, and aside from driving down I-5, the most accessible means of finding that place is seeing it on the big screen (or little screen for all you smartphone TV watchers). Oregon’s film industry brings a name to the state that has otherwise only existed in schoolhouses and hiking brochures. Through film and television we are crafting a new perception of the state, and with that positive perception comes increased tourism and industry. With more tourism and industry, you have more jobs.
Oregon’s impact on the film and television world may be small, but the film and television industry’s impact on Oregon is big. Every time someone quotes Portlandia or watches The Goonies for the twentieth time, is a moment when Oregon is being advertised, not with commercials, but with it’s own uniqueness and desirability. Our state motto is alis volat propriis: “She Flies With Her Own Wings.” How fitting for a state that aims to be an indie filmmaking and television capital… and loves to ‘put a bird on it.’