Whenever the term ‘indie’ is heard, the brain subconsciously shouts out “Cheapo!”. Indeed, the expenses included in making an indie film might appear as an ant in front of the mammoth sized expenses bore in mainstream films, but that doesn’t mean they’re inexpensive. Studios are involved in making a mainstream film and with ‘great studios come great investments’. The investments involved in an Indie film usually come from families, friends and other close associates of the filmmaker and sometimes, loan sharks! So, if juxtaposed, Indie films might sound cost-effective and few even dare to call them “Minimal Budget” films. But, in reality, these are just few norms which are nothing but misconceptions. Filmmaker Robert Rodriguez made himself a lab rat and volunteered for a medical experimentation to raise fund for his debut film ‘El Mariachi’. The capital involved in making an Indie film has always been less in figure; but it’s the things that indie filmmakers do to raise that ‘cheap’ fund which is beyond our imagination, purely out-of-box!
An Indie filmmaker has to know about all the other crafts involved in making a film. Because, the crew involved in the project are usually amateurs with little or no experience at all. Nobody in the crew is stuck to do a specific job in an indie film, everyone does everything! In rare cases, the actors assist in directing or vice versa. An indie filmmaker’s hardest task is to figure out a way to shoot the shot they visualized. Sometimes, all the equipment they carry is just ‘a camera and a tripod’. They have to devise a trick or many to make the shot look professional. Many filmmakers use rolling chairs to shoot tracking shots indoor and vehicles are used outdoors and tapes are used to rack-focus.
Initially, working in an Indie film coaches you better than any studio film. Working with a studio is like cooking a fine meal but all the ingredients and even the recipe are already present right in front of you, someone already prepared everything and all you need to do is cook! Whereas in independent productions, you need to figure out the recipe first, then you need to figure out the ingredients! everything’s on you; you’re on your own; you’re the risk bearer!
If you look back in time, all the masters and their masters of filmmaking were indie when they began! They didn’t need to convince or appease a studio to produce their opus. They gathered the funds themselves, few asked, few were gifted and few went beyond all hurdles, put their lives on the line just to make a film! Just to narrate stories visually!