Friday, January 21, 2022

Inspired by True Events - Use of "Laurels" in On-Line Film Festivals

 After going through almost two dozen online festivals, I note a trend emerging - scant communication (despite "reviews" to the contrary), anonymous winner notices (if any are given at all), and a general preponderance of "laurels" in lieu of tangible recognition (where printed certificates can cost $35 or more, or a "trophy" can drain a few c-notes from your next film's already nonexistent budget).

So if laurels they can give, well, so can anyone with a keyboard, to wit (albeit slightly witless):  

all "laurels" (cc) 2022 Jim Middleton, The Animating Apothecary - but be honest, you can make up your own examples, likely better ones too, pretty easily

(all put to some level of use in a different post...during a cold winter, keeping one's typing fingers warm is essential!)

Tuesday, January 11, 2022

Uh-Oh -- More Tests -- Nothing Good Can Come of This

In retirement, folks (ok, my brother) seem very concerned that I'll have too much time on my hands, so random assembly projects keep appearing in a (futile) attempt to keep my noggin active.  OK, this was the first, about 150 pieces, and it has been sitting on the shelf for about 25 years.   If I'm going to put something like this together, I'm going to "do something" with it.  Here's a test (fear not, it's open book):

                                        (cc) 2022 Jim Middleton, The Animating Apothecary

Seule Tod's Festival Progress - A Learning Curve (evolving discussion)

A learning curve, for certain -  the film I completed in October of last year, Seule Tod, has been making the rounds of Film Freeway online, and the results are mixed, but I'm learning a lot about the process.  It has been since 2007 since I've had any real connections with festivals (the truly delightful KAFI experience in Kalamazoo being the last, helmed by the indefatigable David Baker, now of FSU), whether contributing to or serving as judge or presenter (oh, the powerpoints!).

Nonetheless, Seule Tod is being seen,  I believe, and has been earning "laurels" (those leafy things one sees frequently at the start of many independent bits of animation) on occasion, even if they can give the impression of a participation prize ("Hey, his Paypal came through, better give him something or he won't submit things again!").  

It has been entered in over 40 festivals so far, and yes, that's a bit of an overkill, but again, it's a learning curve.  I'm summarizing my observations for a future issue of the ASIFA Central newsletter.  Some of these online festivals stand upon a very questionable foundation.

So far - 


I have found this particular competition to be about the most honest experience so far - they get 100 or so entries, assign each one a number, throw the numbers into a bowl, and pull out 10-11 for the showing.  Sight unseen.  The audience becomes the judge, and at three or four minutes into the showing, you get to let it continue or "Scream It Off Screen."  And if it's a scream, they go to the next film.  It's raunchy, rowdy, frequently funny, and occasionally a very good film appears - overall, it's reminiscent of a frat party where there is beer and extremely cheap pizza.  I was lucky to share screen time with two excellent short films, "Housecat" by Kate Costello and "Oldboy's Apple" by Brad Hock.  It's nice to read the "live commentary" to see what does and doesn't work, and if various references are recognized.  It was a pretty savvy audience.  When it is over, the video of the evening is on Youtube for a while - ie, for January 14, 2022 -  (Seule Tod is #10 at about 1:35 in)

This is the first one I sent the film to, and it was pretty disingenuous with its name - it is not in Phoenix, Arizona, but someplace on the outskirts of Ottawa, Ontario. 

I notice that the website for this film award program has not been updated for a while - Twitter notices seem to have ended in 2019.  But it is a cool name.  

But wait there's more!  In 90 minutes, it went from "Official Selection" to "Finalist" to "Winner." 


The one at CMU is nearby, with the possibility of attendance, but 60% of the inhabitants around here are just mutating petri dishes, so it'll likely be virtual again - an adventure for February:

I'm thinking of making a film with a lot of these laurels for the opening credits, then have a two second bit of "Boogie Boogie Boogie" and the end title.  I wonder if that would win an award?

2022 - Bring On the Mayhem! Or Aprilhem! Or Ahem!

                                          (cc) 2022 Jim Middleton, The Animating Apothecary

January 11, 2022 already...

We're all hoping for a better 2022 - get vaccinated, make smart decisions, and stop tilting at windmills (or wind turbines, as is the case locally).  These are your good old days at this point, and well, couldn't we do a little better?

As an aside, the old site has been decommissioned - it was in a clunky html format that isn't always to every browser's liking, and the update process (admittedly, the last attempt was 2014) was fairly convoluted, albeit certainly secure.  If you really miss my early 21st century attempt at going digital, it's still clogging up valuable real estate on the cloud managed by, a phenomenal site, one deserving praise and support, which has the entire internet backed up. is an easier way to get lost for hours of browsing, even moreso than my other favorite distraction,  

As a result, the commercial end of The Animating Apothecary has suspended its operations - this is the "official notification" - although it has been primarily a service of education and consultation to pharmacies for much of the past decade.   I know more about the MAPS program than anyone should.

I will continue developing print-on-demand projects (lulu press seems to have "lost" my earlier files, so another service is being sought) and keep film projects and animation announced here or on (as in ASIFA Central group projects, , or ) through several uploaded files being updated and "restored" after 20 plus years (a sobering thought to consider that, by the time Walt Disney was my age, he'd been dead almost two years).

I still do Facebook postings, with increasingly less enthusiasm for that platform as it becomes its own trope, Twitter on occasion, and even shove occasional material on Instagram.  More often, it seems I have more interesting things to do.  Like sending postcards.  

Thanks for checking in.  I'm approaching 500 posts here, so perhaps you'll find something of interest!  "I take requests."