A FAIRLY COMPLETE FILMOGRAPHY - with links as they come available
(a less complete listing on the difficult-to-update IMDb - IMDb for Jim Middleton
Student (high school) works: "It's A Dog's World (1970), "I, A Wizard" (1971, https://vimeo.com/656761687 ), featuring my phenomenally talented and tolerant brother David, "The Miller's Tale" (1972), Miller's Tale on Vimeo "Good Garbage" (1973) Good Garbage on Vimeo - some Kodak teenage filmmaker awards, lots of lectures on how expensive movie film was, shouldn't I be saving for college, and do I have to have those #@!! lights on and heat up the house!
"Self Made Man" (1978) -- 2D animation, awards from Jacksonville and Ann Arbor film festivals. Shot in a very hot attic apartment near Pontiac, Michigan. Vimeo: Self Made Man
"Daydreams" (1982) -- homage to Little Nemo -- awards from Ann Arbor, Toronto, and Los Angeles film festivals; aired on France's Antennae 2 network (I think they still have my print) Vimeo to Daydreams
"Alpha" (1985) -- awards from Ann Arbor, Toronto, Lisbon, Tunis, and Melbourne film festivals. This collection of 2500 cel and paper background drawings saw more of the world than I ever will. When it played in Tunis, there was Arafat--when it played in Lisbon, there was an earthquake-- when it played in Brazil, there was economic collapse...perhaps I need to bring it out for the festival circuits again! Alpha on Vimeo
"A HyperRomantic Expectation" (1987) -- part of a master's thesis on dance for the University of Michigan...not my master's in dance – that was a project of a sweet wisp named Melissa Trombley who was recovering from a broken back. So she figured it would be less traumatic to do something to a specially-created animation background. 700 cels painted, shot on 16mm under such a tight timeline that I received the seven minutes of film from the lab, spliced the reels together, and had it to the stage setup in time for the dress rehearsal four days before her performance. Excerpt of Performance Here
"Cereal Symphony" (1991) -- Stop-motion and 2D paper animation synchronized to The Poet and Peasant Overture, ca 1917, for Arts Council promotion for Battle Creek, which ceased to exist shortly thereafter. I saved so many cereal boxes. Link to an excerpt
"Channel Surfing" (1994) -- Promotional animation for a Chicago-based Fox television pilot. Here's a lesson--get it in writing. After working on a pilot with Kevin Matthews (then enjoying well deserved popularity at WLUP) for nearly six months on project, the whole plug was pulled when the affiliate wanted the two of us to take on all legal fees for them. So we have a great 45 second sequence of a transsexual promoting pre-lubed jewelry and the opening animatic. Live and learn! The Jim Shorts Cavalcade of Sports FOR YOU did eventually appear on the local Sports Network, running from 1995-1997, with existing episodes on archive.org. It was nominated for a regional Emmy and cancelled the same week. Oh those wacky 1990s! Here are four episodes on the archives: https://archive.org/details/jim-shorts-76-78-79-80 (others are at the same site if you want to consume them all)
"Who's Got the Keys?" (1997) -- Opening credits and animated links for video musical satirizing the effects of managed care on the hospital workplace – the entire film is available in various segments on YouTube, shot during its brief premiere run at the Disneyland Hotel; I made noises off-stage. It was part of the Journal of Nursing Jocularity franchise. Five of the cast, including publisher and editor Doug Fletcher, were killed in a horrific automobile crash in May, 1998. A clip from the musical is here, featuring Bob Diskin, who also perished in the accident : https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SZ8_Ts14W-c
"Rush Job - Sfumato #0" (1998) -- 2D animation project, 1803 drawings completely rendered onhttps://vimeo.com/580558731
"Flute Solo - Sfumato #1" (1999)--2D abstract animation synchronized to a flute solo recorded in 1905 by the Edison studios; finalist, 15th World Animation Celebration, June 2000. Opened for a Limp Bizkit internet concert the same year. Very odd set of circumstances in the early days of "streaming internet" experiences. My tribute to the style of Oskar Fischinger. This was also created using the DOS-based version of Autodesk Animator, then synched in their early version of the software for Windows 3.1, which ran the film at 15fps and the sound at 18fps, so there were some challenges in the process. Autodesk Animator was eventually scrapped, Flash became dominant, and then when Flash was disbanded, it became Autodesk Animator again. Plus ca change ... https://vimeo.com/637240323
(Note - the Flute Solo entry in the Sfumato series was reworked into the spectacular setting of SFUMATOSCOPE - and here's the link! - in 2023)
"Chippewa Projects" (1999-2004)--2D animation for children's day care series, casino promotions, PSAs, Chippewa creation legend... all together, it came to about 4 minutes' worth of animation. It was an interesting exercise in committee creation. I kept the drawings. Something else, some other project, someday!https://vimeo.com/580557044
"Political Asylum – Sfumato #2" (work in progress 2001-2023 [?]); every 30 years or so, I think any animator should get nice and cranky and make some futile political gesture that will expend lots and lots of time and energy and not really make any impact since most of the viewers will be perfectly content to watch reruns of F-Troop. Not that F-troop was a bad show, mind you. A peek at a few seconds of the work in progress - https://vimeo.com/821106438
"Seule Tod - Sfumato #3" (2021) - an intentionally created "festival film" that was done during three Cs of my life - cancer, covid, and cataracts - and was pretty therapeutic in the process. Note that Sfumato #3 was finished before #2. Life is just one game of catch-up after another. 6500 drawings rendered in Flash CS5, adjusted in Photoshop CS6, and rendered in Sony Vegas. I discuss the "online festival" experience in the blog. Trailer at - https://vimeo.com/674140232 and final film at https://vimeo.com/636665327 Winner of several awards and FilmFreeway "laurels" as described in THE BLOG.
"27 Days - Sfumato #3.14" (2022) - a promotion for the film Uvula (in production), marking down the 27 days represented between productions (promotion time for Sfumato #3 above). Here 'tis: https://vimeo.com/672565831
Academy Countdown - Animating Apothecary Version (2022) - 10 Seconds on Vimeo!
Animation for the documentary, "Home" (release expected in 2023) - produced by Jim Schaub of GVSU to celebrate the summers of fun created by the vaudevillian family, "The Three Keatons" at Bluffton, near Muskegon, Michigan. An example - https://vimeo.com/796085457/16a55992f8
ANIJAMS with ASIFA Central and assorted, very motivated, members, 2015-2021 - this one was at the 2021 Grand Rapids Art Prize: https://vimeo.com/580914319 (with Deanna Morse, Gretchen Vinnedge, and Suzanne Zack) - with a peek at the installation itself - Watercolors Aquarium Gallery
Non-animated Productions (actor/director/writer)
"A New Pharmacy Film" (1976) - the departing dean and assistant dean decided they needed to update their old pharmacy promotion film, and I needed a reference to get a job interning at Searle in Skokie that summer. Thus, I was given the "great opportunity" to write and cast a new promotional film. I wanted to use actual film, since editing on video then was only when "live" in a studio, and never in post-production. I was told no to film. I also had some animation set up for the credits and was also told no, "We don't do animation." So I snuck in on a weekend for camera access and animated the closing "End" title on 16mm, and transferred it to the 1 inch video master. The 15 minute result was more Mel Brooks than educational, and when the final title appeared, someone asked, "Where'd that animation come from?" "I did that," I said. "We don't do animation," was the response. It played for that summer at school while I was in Skokie, and when the new dean saw it, well, the only thing that remained was the 3/4 inch reel-to-reel dupe I made on the sly. After getting this faded, mylar flaking master transferred to VHS and, ultimately, to mp4, I was finally able to edit the thing to its intended seven minutes. Also wrote and performed in several short "commercials" encouraging fellow students to study their "Morrison and Boyd" organic chemistry tomes. I did a very bad Groucho Marx in one of them. The Ruins of Video
“Your Pharmacist” (1988) - A PSA for the Michigan Pharmacists Association...the 30 second opus is still floating around, and I got to play a pharmacist, how 'bout that! Produced by Kalamazoo's Lawrence Productions. MPA PSA 1988
“Radio Play” (1989) – Suzanne Zack and the late Chuck Peterson assembled this incredible document, using linear video editing, of a week in Grand Rapids when David Ossman of The Firesign Theatre directed some two dozen sonic hopefuls. See here for this bit of magic when we all could do impossible things before breakfast....my brother David and I got to make funny noises. Here is the 20 minute document from 1989 - "Radio Play" (1989)
"1961" - (1991) - The Grand Rapids Radio Players performed a 30 year anniversary tribute for WGVU-FM, and my brother David and I made more funny noises, and they let me in front of the microphone with some of my own material. All of that was all cut before the broadcast. Sigh. Odd to think, too, that this broadcast was for a 30 year anniversary, and now, in 2021, it has been 30 years since that commemoration. Whoosh!!! A clip of the rehearsal and some of the cut performance is here: "1961" rehearsal and show
"The Battle Creek Idea" (1992) -- film about Dr. John Harvey Kellogg, medical director at the Battle Creek Sanitarium and originator of modern day breakfast foods. Based on my 1992 radio play (reprinted in the blog) performed by members of the Grand Rapids Radio Players. Linear Edit Version from 1992
"Behind the Counter" (1993) -- a pilot for a pharmacy promotional series for the Michigan Pharmacy Foundation; script, direction, production, and edit; also portrayed a doctor (gee, every pharmacist's dream...yeah the budget was that tight...) More Crumbling Video!
"The One Dollar Miracles of Battle Creek" (1993) -- a look at the patent medicine industry in Battle Creek, based on an article (see another page here) Video version linked here
"The Kellogg Brothers" - A&E (1994) - performed research, made connections, taped early exercise recordings, and even appeared on camera as a "local historian" (nobody else would answer the phone!)
"Joy at the Speed of Light" (1995) -- documentary about individual contributors to the art of animation--Kids! Try this at home! https://vimeo.com/807277228
“The Mill Race of Battle Creek” (2009) – made in collaboration with my animation class at Kellogg Community College, completed post production and animation https://vimeo.com/580560707
"History Detectives: Sweatin' to the Oldies" (2013) - helped solve the pressing mystery of the man behind the scenes of the first recorded exercise routines...(spoiler alert - it wasn't Dr. Kellogg) - PBS is my favoritest network! Hear pieces of my mp-minus-one collection! https://www.pbs.org/video/history-detectives-fitness-flappers-and-phonograph-records/