Is it still indie?

    According to Hesmondhalgh the relationship between the institution and the aesthetic in indie is the way that the institution lets the musician do what they want. They let the musician explore more compared to mainstream music. Yet, this usually only happens if the label isn’t under a bigger label company. Since, the bigger company will most likely want to focus on the music that will lead to bigger profit. Causing the musician to change its music sound to something more familiar. 

 

   This relationship, between the music and the institution, compared to the relationship that the film industry and production institution have is fairly similar in the sense that they both stay away form what is mainstream. They let the artist explore and usually try to send a message to the audience. Both try to build a reputation causing them to only focus on projects that revolve around their “theme/ type of indie genre”.

 

    Another similarity is the way that in both institutions of music and film, the independent industries get bought out by bigger companies in order to get more money to produce more and have a wider range in reaching  out to the public. Although they do get bough out they still try to keep their reputation. Some examples of this are Miramax which was bought by Disney for the film industry and Creation which was bought out by Sony. With being under their wing the indie industries are able to go on beyond borders to promote their creations in other countries. 

   

   We tend to categorize indie movies by their aesthetics more than anything.  Yet, indie, music, is now, “…generally used to describe a set of sounds and an attitude, rather than an aesthetic and institutional position.”

 

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Taste of Independence

During the “laboratory period” of 1948-1952, the TV industry was able to get a taste of what independence really was. The main production that changed what the TV industry is today was Desilu, co-owned by Desi Arnaz and Lucille Ball, who created “I Love Lucy”. 

   This production company was able to get the freedom for a TV industry to the equivalent of what you would see now in the film industry.  The production company was able to set the bar of how much freedom a company could have. Yet, after this set period the network industries got organized and limited the freedom of many TV productions.

   The thing that really shocked me about how much power and independence Arnaz had in the TV industry back then, was when he asked CBS to “let Desilu have full ownership of [I Love Lucy] after its initial network showing, instead of the original agreement of a fifty-fifty split between CBS and Desilu”,  and of course CBS agreed. Now you don’t really see this now,  even in the film industry. Many productions sometimes ask their directors to change things from the movie and not the other way around. Yet, they had the control when it came to this series. An example of this was when Miramax asked Soderbergh to change his trailer, but in the end Miramax took full control of the advertisement. 

   Another difference between this company and a film production would be the amount of money that goes into the set work. For instance “I Love Lucy” had a set budget of $19,500 per episode, but because CBS wanted the “live-audience” dimension, they agreed to give more money out, pushing the budget to $24,500 per episode. With this it could be seen that financially the series was well. Now compare this to a film production, where the director is given a budget and has to abide to it, unless it can find extra funds outside of its production company. 

      One of the similarities that you can actually see for both Desilu and a film industry now is the freedom that they have to be creative, Arnaz even said it himself. The only reason he wanted to take full control of the series was to be in total control of the way the series would go, creative wise. As for the film producers, well that is the main reason that they decide to create an indie film. 

   For both the film and TV industries it seems as if they switched roles in independence over the past few decades. With TV productions having to loose much of its freedom and independent film industries gaining demand. 

Festivals don’t always bring success

   When deciding on what films should be screened at a certain festival, the committee of that festival gets together and choose films that may have an impact on the audience that await the list of films. The way it chooses the certain films, for example what “indie” films it should screen that year, is by already having an interpretation of what the word “indie” means to them. With that in mind they are the ones that put a certain label to the “indie” films that will be screened that year. Having been chosen by the committee to participate in the festival is a great honor, since it may open doors to indie directors or newly found actors. It may also start a movement or inspire other people to support them. This in turn shows how Newman’s comment on how film festival committees choose what is considered “exemplary” that year. Saying that the committee has a lot of power. 

    We can see that power in the two film festival examples, the 2012 SXSW film festival and the 2012 Sundance film festival. Showing that by participating in theses two festivals brings some success, but it may also bring misfortune. It also shows how sometimes movies that may be good looking may not always succeed. 

   In the 2012 SXSW film festival two movies “ The Tall Man” and “Girls against Boys” showed to have been successful by getting distribution deals. Yet it did not do very well in the box office. SInce “The tall man” was only able to get 5.2M after having a budget of 18.2M. and “Girls against Boys” ended up getting only 7.5K in the box office. Showing that not always being at a festival bring success to the movie. Even though both movies had known artist playing the main role. 

   As for the 2012 Sundance film festival two movies that stuck out for me were “Safety not guaranteed” and “The invisible war”. Both were low budget, but had a different impact. “Safety not Guaranteed” premiered in the film festival and won the ‘Waldo Salt Screenwriting Award’ and also ended up grossing more than 4 million dollars after having been made with a 7.5K budget. It showed that even though it was very low budget, it ended up gaining great success. As for “The Invisible War”, the movie won the ‘Audience Award’. Having been screened at the festival it was able to influence the Department of Defense, two days after its screening, creating a plan on how to help the sexually assaulted survivors. 

 

Predicting Buffalo ’66

Having been submerged into more mainstream movies I usually go into the movie knowing what is going to happen. Yet, when I started to watch Buffalo ’66 it made me realize that sometimes even indie movies have a somewhat clear path that you can look into.

All throughout the movie I was in an emotional roller coaster, I mean I am pretty sure there were other people in the same position as I was. While watching the movie it was very interesting relating back to what Newman had said about the aesthetics of Indie movies and how they differ from Hollywood movies.

Newman’s “Form is a Game” is absolutely right with Indie movies. Since, in the movie we are given little information about Billie and why he is coming out of jail. Yet, later on in the movie we are given more and more information about what it is that makes Billie a bipolar person (of course we don’t know this as a fact, but I jumped to conclusions on this idea of mine).  Anyways, the way that we are given this information is by the random flash backs and by random I mean, the way that they are shown, cutting through a scene by popping up the flash back in a small square rising to the top until completely covering the previous scene.

We also see how they dramatize the focus on one person. Like when Billie’s father is singing to Leila. How the spotlight hits him and helps set the “mood” in that scene when he sings.

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Also when Leila decides to tap dance while Billie waits for his pinballs to rearrange. It is very unique in the way that you typically don’t see this in movies. Maybe animated movies like a princess movie where the spotlight is on the main character and she brakes out singing. Going back to what I had said before about Leila I actually thought that they would make her sing, but of course I was wrong.

 

tap dancing

Going back to how the director makes us see Billie and changed our opinion on him is greatly directed by the realism that his character is. Like the way in the beginning he is given a jerk type of character, but later on we realize that he acts the way he does because of the environment in which he was raised in. The creator of this person, in my opinion, wanted to show us many types of situations that people may go through and cram it into one character. Giving us something to relate to.

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The way that I related to Billie was in how he had a one sided love for the longest time. I am pretty sure there are other people out there that have gone through the same situation or know of someone that has had that problem.

Yet, the way that I would interpret the movie and Newman’s ideas is that we don’t really have a clear view of what Indie is, but we do know that it tries to go above and beyond to give us a social message that we wouldn’t really see in Hollywood movies. They try to give us characters that we can relate to and sometimes if we are lucky we are given plots that we can kind of depict and know how the movie may end up like.

Breaking the Language Barrier

I was born in a multicultural environment. Having only spanish music to listen to when I was young and having friends that listen to english music was really confusing at times. My parents were never the ones “in” with trends. They liked artist that were not too known to other people. My dad would listen to some spanish rock, not much. Yet, I still remember looking through his CD collection and getting my hands on an album from Cafe Tacuba. I was intrigued by the music and that was what sparked something in me.

I absolutely loved their music. They were the cause for me to get more into spanish rock music during my middle school years. I was able to get to some really strange corners in Spanish Indie, ranging from Nortec Collective to Amanditatatata but it was really fascinating.

Yet, at one point in my life I decided to break off from it and explore the “American” music culture. I was surprised with what America had to offer. Of course at first I was intrigued with what was on the radio, but later I got tired and wanted to see what else was out there.

It wasn’t until I got sirius XM ( it came with the dish package so I was really happy) that I was able to see the talents of other artists. Also living in a city like Austin, which is filled with Indie everything, I was able to expand my knowledge in music and was also able to meet some pretty cool people.