Dave Cool and Rew (NYC musician at outside of Hanks Saloon in Brooklyn following a screeening)
“This film was inspired by and is dedicated to indie artists everywhere”
Dave Cool (Stand Alone Records) traveled throughout the Northeast in search of the answer. He interviewed indie music experts and artists to discuss the advantages, disadvantages, challenges and rewards of being an independent musician. Through these interviews, he breaks down the subject and redefines it in terms of philosophy as opposed to business. This film is a must-see for all independent artists, fans and industry professionals. “The old model is dead”
“What Is Indie?” is well made and is both informative and fun to watch. It leaves one in a positive state of mind about not compromising what is important to you. That’s something we can all relate to – no matter what our field.
Dave agreed to answer some questions about his filmmaking experience:
Q: Why did you choose this subject / How did you decide to do this film?
It really happened kind of naturally. I’m a music guy and had never thought
of making a film before, but when someone asked me what being ‘indie’ meant,
I realized that it was a good question, so I figured I’d ask some musician
friends on camera what they thought. It was only supposed to be a short
10-minute thing, but it then ended up growing into a full-fledge documentary
film as more and more people wanted to get involved, and I realized that we
had touched on something that had never really been done before.
Q: What did you learn? What surprised you?
My perception of being ‘indie’ really changed after having made this film.
It was specifically after interviewing Derek Sivers, the Founder of CD Baby ,that I realized that my impression of what an indie artist is was very
narrow. I went into the project feeling that being indie meant that you ran
your own record company, DIY all the way, but Derek gave a great example
about an artist named Gary Jules , who even though is signed to a major
label, he considered him to be an indie artist. And with the argument he
gave, I had to agree. So that was definitely the biggest surprise for me.
Q: If you had more resources, what else would you have included? Will you be
making more films?
Ha ha, great question! If I had access to more resources, I probably would
have gone after some interviews with people who were further away, maybe in
Los Angeles or Nashville, but since I didn’t have much a travel budget, I
stayed close to home here in the Northeast. But luckily, the people who are
on the film were some of my ideal candidates for interviews, so it worked
out pretty well.
As for making more films, we’ll see. Like I said, I had never thought of
making a film before this one, but the reaction has been great and I had an
amazing time doing it, so yeah, I think I’d like to make at least one more
to try and improve on some things that I learned throughout this process.
Q: Do you have formal training?
Hmmm, not at all actually! Unless you consider watching “Super-Size Me” and
“Bowling for Columbine” way too many times as formal training!
Q: What are your biggest creative influences?
Definitely the films I mentioned above, as well as many other docs I’ve seen
over the years, but the biggest influence was definitely the artists and
people in the film, who inspired me to really make the film what it is.
Q: What were some of the biggest challenges you faced in developing and
producing this film?
Well, to quote an artist in the film, “Can you say MONEY?!”. Yeah, lack of a
real cash flow to produce the film was difficult, but luckily I had some
great professional people in Ian “Steady-Hands” Graham (camera) and Tim
Rideout (Editor) who worked for almost nothing.
Also, scheduling was tough, just trying to coordinate 30+ interviews, plus
all of the travel arrangements, it was crazy, but it all worked out 🙂
Q: Describe a typical day during the making of this film.
Haha, well, it would usually start out with 8 hours at my day job, a lot of
which was spent sending e-mails and making phone calls trying to schedule
interviews. Then, I would meet up with my cameraman and we would go to do a
few interviews in the evening.
During editing, it was essentially the same, except after work I would go to
my editor’s home studio and do as much work as we could until our eyes would
Q: What do you hope to accomplish with this film?
Basically, I would just like as many artists to see it as possible so that
they realize what an amazing time we’re living in right now in the music
industry. They have more opportunities to forge their own careers than ever
before, and many have felt inspired by watching the film and seeing that.
I also hope it brings about further discussion about the way the music
industry operates and how the old system is really finished, even though the
major/corporate structures continue to cling to it!
Q: What responsibilities do you feel you have as a filmmaker?
I guess the only responsibility I felt I had was to stay true to the people
I interviewed and to make sure that I conveyed their message to the best of
Q: In what ways is documentary film important to the education and definition
Ha ha, wow, that’s a great question! I could probably go on for a while on
this topic, but to out it simply, I think it’s extremely important for
people to know the truth about the world, and documentaries and documentary
filmmakers help in that endeavor.
Of course, we’re all human and have our own prejudices and views, but I
think for the most part documentaries can be great educational tools for
people to learn about new subjects and discover things they may not have
Q: What advice do you have for aspiring filmmakers.
Don’t wait for the ‘perfect’ time or subject to come along, just go out
there and make your movie any way you can! There are a ton of people out
there willing to work on DIY projects just for the experience, so take
But before you start your film, my best advice would be to PLAN. Plan
everything ahead of time, believe me, it’s going to save you a lot of
headaches down the road!
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