One day early in February I headed to Laika Studios outside of Portland, Oregon. “Laika” means “friend” in Russian, and it is the former Will Vinton studio–a claymation house that had a good reputation for producing short animated films.
Many years ago I wrote to Will Vinton, describing to him how he could produce stereoscopic movies from stop-motion, by using a single camera and translating it through a few millimeters to take a second shot. At that time I was involved in what were the beginnings of StereoGraphics Corporation, and it wasn’t clear what the focus or the applications of our technology would be. I never got an answer from Mr. Vinton to my overly-complete and passionate plea for him to produce stereoscopic films that would, in all probability, have no means of distribution.
At Laika I was visiting Henry Selick, who had directed a film for StereoGraphics something like 20 years ago. It was a video of Marty Balin of the Jefferson Airplane singing a ballad. Henry used an early camera and video system that I had helped design. We shot a test for View-Master under the supervision of Gary Evans, who was the brilliant Creative Vice President of that company. Henry went on to direct the features Nightmare Before Christmas and James and the Giant Peach.