I love independent art, if my book wasn’t an indicator of that. It should be known as innovator art, as most innovations in various areas of arts and entertainment come from someone throwing out all the rules, saying I don’t care what anyone else thinks, doing their own thing, and then tragically dying early to never see their work truly appreciated.
Ok, so not ALL innovators and indie makers die tragically early but a lot do.
The first true indie movement would be ‘Art’ itself, painting. Painting, drawing, sketching, or even drawing a perfect circle has never been something I was very good at, though I can LISTEN to a Perfect Circle with the best of them, but I love people who can. Early artists who were stepping outside the comfort zone of most art collectors were seen as crazy, uncouth, or just plain bad. Yet if you look back now at Dali or Van Gogh we know that they were just indie. Doing it because they loved it, not because it was cool to cut off your own ear… errr, something like that.
In music, indie and innovation reign almost once a decade when some group of people decide to play it a different way. From Swing to Bluegrass to Blues to Rock and Roll to Punk to Alternative to Techno to Dub-step there always seems to be an underground emerging into the mainstream. Any true music aficionado will find something they can listen to from just about any genre and are the people who typically start embracing newer styles first, along with the rebellious group who thinks they have something no one else has heard about.
Movies and movie-makers have a love/hate relationship with indie. Indie helped pioneer talkies, stop-motion, monster flicks, Sci-fi, CGI, fantasies, and more. Yet there is always an obvious discord between what a true indie movie is and a big studio take on it. Kevin Smith will tell you he knows his movies aren’t going to be blockbusters yet he can fill an auditorium and just talk for 2 hours. The Coen brothers, Wes Anderson, Joss Whedon, and a large group of actors have redefined what constitutes quality. We don’t need cookie cutters or big budgets, we just want passion, soul, good writing, good acting, and a couple of cameras. This happens across all genres, thankfully, so we have something for everyone.
Comedy, is the subject of this long winded post about entertainment, if you hadn’t noticed by the title. True, I Love You, Man is not a full indie film, yet it is another in a line of new-style comedies that was ushered in by such greats as Judd Apatow and this movies director / co-writer, John Hamburg. One of the big ‘innovations’ in their movies is to get a bunch of good actors, who happen to be really funny people, and a basic script, and let them utilize an amount of improvisation to bring a true realness to the movie.
In I Love You, Man, the basic premise is, guy meets girl of his dreams, guy asks girl to marry him, guy realizes he has no real ‘guy friends’ to have as best men so he sets out to ‘find a guy’. Basically its a love story about bro-mances (Go read Barney Stinsons the Bro Code btw… funny stuff).
This simple premise could get stale really fast, yet this movie continues to keep it fresh by not harping on it, yet also getting the jokes perfect when it did. Of course, the obvious ‘connection’ between lead actors Paul Rudd and Jason Segel don’t hurt either.
Of course, books have been a lot different. Up until very recently it was extremely costly to release a self-published book and make it successful. So writers who thought outside the box had their books at the mercy of publishers, editors, and agents who all thought it should go one way or another. Of course, not everyone ends up with this issue and we’ve seen some wonderful books that might have otherwise never been made. Heller, Pratchett, Gaiman, Vonnegut, Anthony, Adams, Orwell, and Huxley all quickly come to mind. Still, there could be, and are, a large number of other writers pushing the envelope and creating something truly unique having been inspired by these greats but taking it a step-forward.
My book may only end up enjoyed by a relative handful of people, but I’m proud to be a comedic fantasy part of the new ‘e-book indie’ movement. We will see lots of crap, but also see lots of new ways of writing and new styles of comedy, horror, suspense, and more.