Monday, May 30, 2022

1978 - The Self Made Man - Reconstructed from Fragments

Eight years after my first animation attempt, with 4+ years in pharmacy school as an interruption, I made use of my attic apartment in southeast Michigan as a re-training ground.  At night, I filled prescriptions for the nocturnal wanderers of the area, and for a few hours during the day, until I couldn't stand the movie lights, I held 1200 drawings in place with a wood frame and masking tape as a guide.  Rotoscoping was accomplished by a mirror reflecting a short film clip, projected from beneath onto a frosted glass pane.  Then to the lab, then to view, then to edit, then to the lab again for a soundstripe addition, then to ... you know the drill if you've tried this with 8mm film.

Anyway, it was all random, it was all without a storyboard but a lot of sketches, and I sent it off a year later to a couple of festivals I read about in Super 8 Filmmaker magazine, and it was graciously given recognition in Grand Rapids, Ann Arbor and Jacksonville.  France's Antennae 2 included it with a student showcase for a brief moment as well.

Then an odd mold began appearing on the emulsion, and it became rather unviewable - and the soundtrack was a mix of Ellington and Henderson materials that were hardly in the public domain (things were a bit more casual in the 70s, because nobody made squat with their little films back then), and the lack of a cohesive narrative (even for me) relegated it to a storage bin while I worked on other things (and moved out of southeastern Michigan).

48 years later, I gave the mold a light scrub, sent the ruins out for a digital transfer, and edited out the more damaged portions with a different soundtrack, using an acoustic version of Petrushka from 1924 as an audio distraction.  

Here is the result.  The file is a bit large for the blog, so it's posted on my Vimeo page:

1978 - The Self Made Man - reconstruction

(c) 1978 Jim Middleton, The Animating Apothecary

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