Saturday, March 16, 2019

The View from Paris - 1973

For less than $400 you could get 8 days, 7 nights, in France in the Spring of 1973.  A king's ransom to a 17 year old saving for pharmacy school, but I figured it might give me a memory or two.  Also brought along a new Bolex Super 8mm camera, so I still have at least two memories, attached:

"The Students are Revolting" (and they were - a quarter million took to the streets to protest the mandatory draft while we were there.  I took teenage liberties with the edit.)

And we'll see if the other memory can be uploaded:

Sunday, March 10, 2019

ASIFA Central - notes on Board Meeting Wednesday, March 6 2019

After some entertaining log ons and sound loss, the meeting began, with illumination guiding the proceedings ---

ASIFA Board Agenda and Notes for March 6, 2019
Present: Deanna, Brad, Jim, Julie, Chuck, Steve, Chris


1. ASIFA Website Needs:
Launch date? We didn’t decide on a launch date, though we’re still making some changes beforehand.
** Maybe launch it after Brad updates the heartfelt welcome on the home page? Deanna (that would work -- Chuck)
Where should we place new information: ex. Newsletter Archive - 39 pdfs of the previous newsletters are ready!  This should be along the top of the site - “events” and “join” banner - make a new page and off you go to the races! - other newsletter archives are being gathered at ASIFA East by JJ Sedelmeier (he may even have all the ASIFA Central newsletters in his collection, if we are missing any issues or cannot find them in our digital scans)
Is there a basic tutorial for posting on the website that Julie can recommend?

Brad writes something for the home page - overall vision and goals for this year, mentioning some of the things coming up, and we can look it over, toss in our ideas, we can approve it and then start letting folks know what’s going on! (ie St Louis in July).  This will also be in our spring newsletter.

2. Next Event planning?
-Gretchen was going to check the cost of renting the facility - weekdays are likely less expensive
-DIA has some programs coming up - if someone wants a drive to Detroit...that has some options for activities
-Tom Sullivan - Jim will reach out to Tom for availability and what he’s able to bring - his requirements/needs; it may be a draw for local GR folks, more difficult for at-distance students (even Allendale to Grand Rapids journeys can be a challenge) - some students become so entrenched in their own projects and challenges that they don’t leave their workbenches - Jim will talk with Gretchen for available dates.

- School reels - and “open mic” from schools - drop box student films from the past 2 years that can be passed along (April 26-28 - Chris’ Kinematifest) - deadlines are pretty informal - April 1.
- Nina Paley: Seder Masochism feature-length animated film
- Ann Arbor Film festival is March 26-31. See below for some selected programs that feature animation…

3. Newsletter: Deadline for articles and how many newsletters we doing this year? Four issues per year is the goal - Jim will send some lists of PD music and open source software for comments.  The next newsletter release will be by April 15.  Taxes and Animation!
Topics for the next newsletter - Brad’s Presidential insights, thoughts from members’ blogs (Chuck’s ongoing reviews and adventures), IAD AniJam (10 participants so far, based on the yet-to-be made public poster for the 2019 October IAD), Public Domain music and material, and open-source software (Storyboarder/Blender 2.8alpha, Grease pencil, etc.) - probably an ongoing examination of available material out there at low cost.

4. Open Projects:
- Call for Writer/Researchers: Deanna and Brad will help Submit in April ?? till Sept.
- Summer Retreat - July 20 and 21 in St Louis - place that on the website with info TBA - Chris will build a promotional for the retreat, now in development
RETREAT Committee: Chris, Gretchen, Bob  details by next meeting
- IDEAS for RETREAT: Pixelation exercises and explorations, TED talk/tech talk/microtalk type presentations (ie, animation history), student involvement - Chris DeWitt from Indiana may be a - Ray Pointer from Michigan - invite the Chicago animators to show their work
- Cut out weekend workshop “Lizzo” the seamonster - replacement animation project - couple pixelated humans with cartoon objects that can be swapped out
- A wall that can be drawn on, with people pixelated in front of it (increase participant involvement)
- The ever popular Show and Tell (Symposium?) - or something that sounds like an Academic Report for the faculty folk

5. Member Enrollment numbers
- We currently have 36 members.
- Julie will review ad Google dollars and opportunities (Corey Francis-Parks -sp) (ASIFA has worked this, using membership size to instill interest)
- Confusion email with the ASIFA international group has dropped considerably - We are .org, they are .net - we have a stealth launch….

6. DRAFT :  Call for Writer/Researchers (Deanna will send out general information to the membership; is someone within ASIFA Central a possibility - letter of intent or note of interest?)
- ASIFA/Central USA has announced a call for writer/researchers to compile and write two pieces for two separate projects.
- Honorarium $400. (for each project)
- Letter of intent with writing sample April 1
- Draft presentation deadline July 1
- Final deadline Sept 1
- To apply, please indicate which project(s) you are interested in pursuing, and send a writing sample or link to previous writing to Deanna Morse (
- The material would be used in some manner to celebrate the 60th Anniversary of ASIFA, in 2020.


ASIFA/Central USA has announced a call for writer/researchers to compile and write two pieces for two separate projects.
Honorarium $400. (for each project)
Letter of intent with writing sample April 1
Draft presentation deadline July 1
Final deadline Sept 1

To apply, please indicate which project(s) you are interested in pursuing, and send a writing sample or link to previous writing to Committee chair Deanna Morse (

The material would be used in some manner to celebrate the 60th Anniversary of ASIFA, in 2020.

Project 1 – ASIFA PRIZE
The ASIFA Prize has been awarded since 1985 to a person or organization that has made “a significant and innovative contribution towards the promotion and preservation of the art of animation”.
We would like to complete a document that gives background on the previous awardees. This material could be printed and also downloaded from a website.

ASIFA has about 40 active chapters around the world, including 7 in the USA. We would like to compile an overview of activities that chapters are undertaking, similar to the articles that profiled chapters in the former series “Who is Who in ASIFA.” For this project, we would like to create profiles of the most active chapters, including the seven in the USA.
This material is useful for chapter to chapter communication, and would also be presented on an ASIFA website, and possibly published in some manner.

For more information on these writing projects, please contact Deanna

8. Ann Arbor Film Festival - Some Animation Programs, although animation is in pretty much all the Competition screenings - Thursday March 28
Juror Presentation: Stacy Steers: Animation and Surrealism
1:00 pm | Michigan Theater Screening Room | Free
Stacey Steers presents four short animated films spanning 20 years of process-focused filmmaking. In her handmade films, Steers experiments with new forms of animation in the surrealist tradition, using found footage in a novel way to create provocative narratives. Her mesmerizing films move with a stream-of-consciousness fluidity and summon disquieting dreamscapes drawn from allegory, myth, and archetype.

- Friday, March 29
Films in Competition 8: Animation
9:15pm | Michigan Theater Main Auditorium
Recent animated films from near and far: Quasi and the Quackadero (Sally Cruikshank), TV (Richard Reeves), Confidence Game (Kathleen Quillian), HEDGE (Amanda Bonaiuto), Intermediate Landscapes (Richard Negre), 32-Rbit (Victor Orozco Ramirez), Sun Zoom Spark (Gina Kamentsky), Cow Palace (Julian Gallese), Silver Seeds (Kim Collmer), Rabbit Tracks (Luke Jaeger), Smoke's Last Thought (Miranda Javids), Shape of the Moment (Mateusz Sadowski), Maze of Noumenon (Tianran Duan), Under Covers (Michaela Olsen).

- Saturday, March 30
Wada’s World: Wrestling with Existence - Special Program
9:00pm | Michigan Theater Screening Room
Wada Atsushi is one of the top animators in Japan. This is not that highly conventionalized and capitalized animation also known as anime. Rather, Wada presents his own strange, wonderful, and instantly recognizable world through his .3mm sharp pen. In Wada’s world, humans enjoy a peculiar relationship to the living things around them. His drawings of the animal kingdom may look relatively realistic, but his creatures emit an uncanny sense of anthropomorphization from deep inside their feral forms. Wada writes, “I like animals that give me space for thinking.” Space – or ma in Japanese – is a central concept for Wada’s practice. His visual space has the twisty-turny cyclical structures of Escher, and his soundtrack is punctuated by empty blanks inspired by composer Takemitsu Toru. Thus, ma in Wada’s oeuvre is not a cultural essence, but rather something arriving from Wada’s own artistic sensibility; one can recognize Wada’s world in the first few seconds of a film. Curated and presented by Markus Nornes.

More about the retreat
Next event - opportunities with Tom Sullivan - Jim to check
Next newsletter - April 15
Brad - something for the home page
Website notes - incorporate info from Deanna’s email
Next meeting - Brad will DOODLE

9. International ASIFA news - Deanna’s report
Here is where we are at - the new Executive Board was elected, and the next thing is to elect the Directors of Special Projects - listed on this page as functional directors. These will be three year terms.

It is taking some time to finalize the positions, but I have put stars by the ones that seem to be open/vacant...
If any of these starred positions interest you, please email me directly for more information...

Director of New Chapter Coordination – Vesna Dovnikovic (As Secretary General, she already does this)
***Director of Festival Liaison – Nancy Denney-Phelps (will be multiple directors)
AWG President – Anastasia Dimitra (Elected by AWG)

?**Directors of News and Information: Tsvika Oren, Camille Selvon Abrahams (Thomas may have folks in mind)
?**Directors of Marketing and Public Relations: Jamie Kezlarian Bolio, Annegret Richter (Thomas may have folks in mind)

Special Projects:
IAD Curator – Brad Yarhouse (No one wants a change here. He's great)
ASIFA Prize Curator – Agnes Li (No one wants a change here. She's great)
**Director of New Projects – Deanna Morse - will focus on 60th anniversary celebrations. then new projects

** Position probably eliminated -- Director of Ethics/Audits – Anastasia Dimitria
Director of Technical Operations – Corrie Francis Parks (No one wants a change here. She's great)
**? Probably will be Nelson Shin and someone else Director of Administration and Archives – Sayoko Kinoshita

Agenda and notes assembled for online posting.
Jim Middleton, ASIFA Central Sect’y.
10 March 2019

Saturday, March 09, 2019

Really Rough Pencil tests

Experiment with importing, exporting, and editing - using inexpensive and outdated software, knock-off technology and wrinkled, yellowing tracing paper, because after all, I'm cheap.... an upcoming group project in the guise of an AniJam.

Version #1:

Work process:
The original image is a painting, on canvas, that has been roughed out in 3D for a 10 sequence template.  This permits a right-to-left tracking shot for the project.
It was provided as an mp4, with a 1920x1080 resolution.
I wanted to make the contribution a 2D animation, so.... some work-arounds....
In keeping with my habit of doing things in the most convoluted, irrational method possible with outdated technology, I was able to dissect the animation template provided by inputting it into Sony Vegas (v14, I kept that somewhat up to date), then exporting it as sequential images in four formats (JPG, PNG, TIFF, BMP, just to have all bases covered), then importing those images into (gasp) FLASH CS3 to build a reference layer.  In effect, a panning motion rotoscope.
My use of FLASH these days is not to build a "Flash Animation," but rather, to construct the animated sequences for input into Vegas or some other video editor (I have used Premiere in the past, but it went a bit wonky on its codec, a problem that has reportedly been corrected from Those Who Know Better, but I'm at a stage where my time is spent more in doing instead of twiddling....)
An additional layer atop that was created, with the intention of drawing my 3-second sequence as a test using an "Artist 12" digital tablet.
The tablet worked well, at least for the higher-resolution FLASH environment the project required.  The FLASH pencil tool was used for this portion of the project.
Scribble time - about 90 minutes.
The under-neath, background later will be removed on completion, to create a "green screen" with an export of the Flash sequence as a series of 1920 x 1080 images.  That'll go to the ASIFA coordinator for assembly,
And, after this, ready to collapse by 9pm, such a party animal am I!

Test #2 - first clean up

And, finally with some more detail and color:

And, some more details while experimenting with color splashing at the end:

And some more details:
And some background tests for the second sequence --
After this, time to shuffle frames, adjust timing, and do a Photoshop run on the drawings....

And this should be "it" - 18 May, 2019

Well, there are ALWAYS retakes, you know....
Like this one, so Andrew Z's segment doesn't get obliterated....

And, for the final product, assembled by the phenomenal W. Brad Yarhouse, here is the Vimeo link to cut and paste:

or click on the bit of linkery below!

Vimeo Link to ASIFA Central AniJam for 2019

Or a dumbed-down mp4 version that may play below: