18 September, 2016, a Sunday in Grand Rapids, “Let Us Play”: The season for meeting and greeting as Deanna mulls a Westward Ho and dyspeptic septic. The avatars of animation, finely found and feted thus, with olives oyled and roads less traveled, converged and merged with a pounce of ideals and ideas, with the fate of administrative acumen in a delicately hung balance. Amid the collision of animation and comics came a variation to the gathering’s tradition of the annual commemorative cake drop – an antsy pastry provocation to the whims of nature as a farcical force to reckon and wreck even plans best laid, if unmade.
We made admirational intonations to the works of other ASIFA chapters – the Sketch and Stretch of Portland, Oregon, the “Meet Ups” and Twitter feeds of others, the communications associated with ASIFA.net, and even the prospect of a localized “Dr. Sketchy’s Drink and Draw” for a microcosm of animation practice, if only for the microbrewish atmosphere and mental expansion possible from imbibition’s assailance upon one’s inhibitions.
With juxtapositions in notes from Deanna, our Mobile Morse:
1. IAD is on – we will do it as screenings and perhaps Salon style offer to members. Gretchen told me she already has a disc from Croatia which could be used.. I am checking on the “Best of ASIFA” Reel, and we (Brad) will also pursue Trikfilm as options… The goal is to do this well, of course, but also efficiently. (As a subsequent note, Ian Bobinac of the Surreal City’s KCC site has expressed interest in a corn flakey participation in the event.)
(Gretchen and I also both have a student reel from Cal Arts that might be a possible screener…? But I think not, we should use what was entered in IAD.)
2. In January, we will pay for a reception for Ray Pointer, be a co-sponsor with KCAD for the book event. Ray’s book on the Fleischer Brothers’ patents is a tasty commodity that should be available just in time for Christmas! Jim, ever searching for a reason to squeeze Amazon’s Prime program – something he inadvertently retained past the 30 day trial period – has his copy pre-ordered.
3. We will schedule a one-day retreat for spring. Someone will ask Steve Leeper if he wants to host it, or we can do it here in GR. If we do it in G.R., I am hoping we can do the AWG workshop around the same time…Sir Charles of Wilson will be a Guest with the Best at an upcoming series of presentations for Mr. Leeper and Co. so soon as to taste the powerpoint already. Absorb the contents of Rumpots, Crackpots, and How Are You Mr. Wilson’s Smudge Animation Blog – do so early and often. 9 of of 10 pharmacists recommend Smudge – we don’t talk to the one who doesn’t (that pharmacist isn’t much fun anyway and, frankly, needs to update his wardrobe).
4. Deanna will approach Julie Goldstein and see if she is interested in some leadership position with ASIFA, or anyway, at least to connect with us and get GVSU back in the fold. We will think about other animation folks we might want to approach – include – honor… like Steve Stanchfield, Jason Roth, Matt K., Sean Kenney …? And I would add to that list one Ian Bobinac, a former KCC student who is doing some rather stunning work in addition to taking over Jim’s teaching duties for the animation course in Battle Creek. Jim is trying to massage his former student’s interest in the prospect of an ASIFA in his future.
5. Chuck will share the member excel file with the board so we can email folks notices as a group, and not make him do it. (but please don’t use dropbox. I cannot access files from it for some reason.) Oh the way I wrote it, that sounds like it was a complaint from Chuck, but it wasn’t! It is just me asking if I can be more efficient, and then my complaint about my problems with dropBox. sorry!!! Jim has dropped his dropBox so often now that his is, in effect, a broken droppedBox.
6. We will each see if there are members out of region/state we should correspond with, share our friendship with. Really, we are such an interesting group! We need to spread the wealth.
7. We are encouraging the board to post things on FB and on our new feed with the Website. Self – promotion, yeah, maybe, but it is also information sharing – who is who? What are they doing? For instance, I didn’t know about something each of you talked about today! How can we share that camaraderie with each other? We will also see if our members have something they should post and promote. And, in addition, we will try to post and promote about other animators in our region, even if they are lax at paying their dues! Inclusive, not exclusive.
8. We will try to encourage the remote sites (Iowa, Missouri, etc.) in whatever ways we can – going there for retreat? Supporting their festivals, offering the IAD programs… Animator to animator.
9. Chuck will let us know how Ottawa went… but whenever. And BTW, Chuck, if you write a review, ASIFA.net will want to post or repost it. They just did one from Steve Segal for Hiroshima.
10. Jim – please add to the notes!!!
Ultimately, we examined the overall goals for ASIFA Central as its core active membership scatters or dissipates; with 23 of 24 members on the roster considered “current” we need to explore methods to either increase membership or find resources within the existing membership to perpetuate programs.
Could ASIFA Central represent some sort of accreditation body for programs looking to “legitimize” their animation departments – with the State of Michigan academe not fully understanding that animation is not a licensed profession, and therefore, not necessarily one for the traditional “certification” of “standards” (oh don’t those meetings sound thrilling – spoiler alert, they are the opposite of fun), a UNESCO derived organization could be the source of some sort of “Mark of Approval” for departments struggling to find “legitimacy” to its free-form curricula. Could the group create positive-fund-flow workshops on “methodologies” in 4 or 8 hour blocks to work toward the mutual advantage of community colleges (who need to align programs with the aforementioned, and dreaded, “standards.”)
And Vive la France! – France is being aggressively progressive in promoting animation this season, not just for a day, but for the whole MONTH of October.
And Vive la Shin! Nelson Shin provided the memberships with striking gold and red ASIFA pins, to adorn lapels, even if you have to borrow some from old best-man’s outfits.
And, to round up a fully productive afternoon, the technologically inclined membership (those who came with laptops) gnawed into the underbelly of the ASIFA Central blog and tickled it into a high level of function, access, and update-ability. Such focus! Such determination! Such hangnails!
And as we departed, to fret upon the stalled southbound traffic of US-131, we paused to check the progress of the ants upon the Panera pastries on Deanna’s front porch. They were having the time of their lives – it looked so real, almost like stop-motion….
I am still sort of reflecting on these questions I have been asking myself about ASIFA. Why do folks join, and re-join. It was interesting to hear your comments – about the number of years we have been connecting and re-connecting. And why? Well, one big reason for me is that we share our common love, of animation. We have built a friendship over that love. We don’t have to talk politics, religion, sports, gossip, or … whatever regular people talk about… to connect with each other. We all love, love, love animation. (And we don’t have to really proselytize about it, although we do.) I really value seeing you all; it is always interesting. Thank you for that.
I’ll come back and visit here; I have made this flight so many times., it is easy. United through Denver, 6+ hours. Different prices depends on the day of the week. But you can come visit, too. Open invitation, dear friends. Don’t forget that.
Big hugs again! Deanna
And big hugs from Jim, too!