So, many of you might think to yourselves, “I really want to make an indy movie, but I just don’t know how!” Well, that’s why I’m here. Perhaps you just feel overwhelmed by the deceptive enormity of such a project, or perhaps you’ve never given it much thought. If this is your first time or last time, it’s guaranteed to be a great time if you follow these five simple guidelines!

  1. Quaint is good. In the indy (short for independent to those in the business) movie business, you want your characters to be really flat and plain. A good rule of thumb would be: the quainter, the better.

  2. Awkward is good. In the indy movie business, awkward is better. Try to minimize the amount of “chemistry” (how well the actors naturally interact with each other) present between your actors. This way, when the awkwardness comes (and believe me it will), it will feel more natural, and will relieve a burden of acting from your actors (related; seek actors with no innate acting ability). Some suggestions for awkward scenes would be as follows: long stretches of silence while you pan across the character’s faces, prolonged dinner scenes with no sound except forks clacking against plates (optional is face panning, with the actors looking, naturally, bored), and finally, perhaps most importantly, is just simply awkward conversation. A true indy film writer will make Seinfeld look like Emily Dickenson poetry. And the best way to make sure that your movie truly embodies the spirit of the awkward indy movie, monitor your audience’s reaction. Check for signs of self consciousness and physical discomfort.

  3. Use atypical compositions in your filming. A good example would be to have people off of camera center during the scenes of awkwardly panning from face to face. Shaky camera syndrome is really effective as well. Try loading the camera man up on barbiturates and pain killers. I dare him to be able to stand steady! Remember: in the indy film, no camera technique is wrong, so experiment and go wild!

  4. Art. Some people say that art is a window in humanity’s soul. If this is true, you want people to assume that humanity is a retarded 7 year old when they look through your window to humanity’s soul. “What do you mean retarded 7 year old?” you might (and should!) ask. Let me stop being esoteric: throughout time, people have been artistically creative, slowly over time being capable of representing human experience and emotion more and more accurately, with greater levels of detail and drama. Do away with all of that. The fewer elements you have, the better off you’ll be. Do away with things like Basic Human Anatomy, and an Understanding of Structure and Layout. Pretty much, you can just wing it, and you can’t go wrong!

  5. This is the final and perhaps most important element of the indy film: crappy music. Remember that to be truly indy, you have to have music by bands that no one has heard of, and chances are that the fewer number of people that have heard of the band, the worse they are. A few things to listen for are an acoustic guitar with simple, detuned, repetitive “melodies,” and a singer who doesn’t know what a “pitch” or a “melody” is. If emo kids think it’s genius, by Jove, you’ve gotta have it in your indy movie, because it’s guaranteed that no one else will!

Indy film makers have been getting rich for years and weaving whole wardrobes made from dollar bills by following this simple formula! So just remember to be quaint, awkward, utilize the shaky camera, have sub par art direction, and terrible music and people will be flocking to see your movie just to prove their own totally unique and independent indy pride!

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