Rage Against the ‘Indy’ Machine

What makes us “Independent” cinema? What is so “Indy” about us?

That’s the question I hope to not answer in this article. Instead, I’d like to rage against the machine. The real question is “WHY are we labeled as “Independent” cinema?” “WHY CALL US INDY?

What does it even mean to be INDY? The Machine says, “My definition of independent: without any sort of financial backing.”

Do we need to constantly remind the audience that we aren’t being given money by a movie studio?

Everyone likes an underdog story, but only when the underdog comes out on top.

Either the underdog succeeds and earns respect thus shaking off the underdog label or they fail and remain an underdog. They don’t then go around bragging about being the underdog.

Where does the label of INDY even come from? Movie studios don’t label their films as “Dependent” or “DY” films. They are just “Films” or “Movies” or “Motion Pictures”. They are promoted for what they are. A piece of art created by a team of people. It’s is a “Paramount Picture” or a “Bad Robot Production“. They don’t harp on the fact that they we funded or not funded. To call our work “Independent” or “Indy” seems out of place as the opposite term is not in use by the other side of the equation. While the fact that the movie has a large backed budget may be an accurate portrayal of the situation surrounding the making of a film of ours, is it really necessary to keep reminding the audience that we didn’t get handed money to go play make believe with expensive toys? We could also remind the audience that we also have regular day jobs on top of it.

Let’s call our work “In Our Free Time Cinema” or “Whenever we can tell the rest of life to fuck off Productions“. Because, after all, we do make this content in our free time.

I could waste time coming up with more witty examples of major circumstances surrounding our work that could weasel it’s way into the labeling argument, but I feel I’ve made my point so far.

Why remind the audience of our financial situation? They’ve got their own financial situation. Who gives a shit about ours except for us? We want to appeal to our audience on a deeper level. We want to captivate their attention, not beg everyone for a dime. Why not label our work with other flowery terms that convey that we love doing this, and we would, (and do) make this without any financial backing.

Let’s draw the audience into the world’s and stories we are creating by creating a sense of wonder or awe. Not remind them of the real life money-less downer that is filmmaking.

Michael Welborn
Independent Filmmaker

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