Become a Fan

Join the mailing list

  • Sign up today to get announcements, free goodies and updates on our new film, In-World War.

    * required


Hey dude, why does DIY filmmaking suck?

  • Yes Beavis, DIY filmmaking literally does suck.

    Let me tell you about my experience producing Quality of Life.

    Each day, I worked a full-time day job and then put in 4 - 8 hours more on the film at night. I still declared personal bankruptcy during pre-production.

    Then I was fired from my job for focusing on the film too much instead of my work.

    My girlfriend nearly left me since she never saw me.

    My friends stopped returning my calls for fear I'd ask for favors for the film.

    And in the end, the entire "indiewood" film industry basically ignored us. Sundance, the speciality distributors, the major indie film press outlets and of course just about anyone with money couldn't be bothered.

    And that was all before we decided to self-distribute the movie and things really got rough.

    So listen up: DIY filmmaking is not for the faint of heart. It sucks.

« Phases of editing: assembly, rough cut, fine cut and pic lock | Main | Don't be an indie film bullshit emitter »

May 13, 2010



Creative Commons is the way to go. I have written here exactly how this works, and how you can get it for free. All you have to do, is just credit the artist in your credits, and make sure you only download CC-BY music, not any of the rest of the kinds of CC music.


I think the HTML was stripped above. Here's the URL, email me if it still doesn't come up:


I agree that there is little exposure to be expected from Indie films. At the same time I don't think there's much harm in licensing your music for films that won't make any money anyways. A good compromise would probably be a contract with a clause like "If more than $X dollars are made from the film, then the band gets Y% of all revenues above X." or similar.

Regarding Rebecca's comment on CC-licensed music, the best starting point would probably be, a site dedicated to CC-music only. Plus, if you have a few dollars left and feel guilty about using the music, you can easily make donations on their site, too.'s netlabels might be worth having a look at, too:

If a wee bit of money is available, then Magnatune is another option. They have fairly simple licensing procedures.


As I mentioned above, it's best to only hunt for Creative Commons "Attribution" tracks only (CC-BY). The rest of the CC licenses are not suitable for filmmakers. Also, make sure the Attribution is done correctly. Apart from that pain, it's the best choice IMHO.

Royalty Free Music |

Yeah, Real songs by real people are so much more engaging than canned royalty-free music.

Dean Berry

Check out some great kickass music: Time to stop messing around. Yeehaw!

Debra Russell

As an up and coming filmmaker (that is your intention right?), you want to be creating relationships and partnerships that will serve your career in the long run. Using royalty free does not do that.

Creating a relationship with a composer whose work you love and respect, negotiating small up front and larger back-end percentages on gross is a much more pro-active and powerful way to build your career as a filmmaker.

Rising tides lift all ships.

Royalty Free Music |

The royality film mucic is a great work.


As a publisher of royalty free music, I would like to chime in on the subject. The author makes some good points about canned music sometimes being stale (there are some awful libraries out there), however I think there may be some misconceptions here as well.

With regards to the comment "Real songs by real people are so much more engaging...", I think it is worth pointing out that MUCH of the musical content at royalty free music sites is exactly that. They are songs created by indie artists and then licensed by a royalty free music library who works hard to generate licensing revenue for that artist.

In our particular case, we have a mix of that type of music as well as tracks composed by guys who make a living composing music for film and television. Isn't that what an indie filmmaker is looking for to begin with?

The royalty free library simply takes a lot of the leg work out of tracking down artists and negotiating a license.

Finding a local band is a good idea too. It's just a bit more work.
Scott Meath

Royalty Free Music

There are definitely too many "muzak" tracks on many stock music sites. As a distributor of royalty free music at, we vet all the tracks on our site to ensure that they pass the "muzak" test and sound authentic and emotive. Generally, I believe the quality of stock music is increasing as many passionate musicians are offering their tracks for use in film and video. We certainly have a bunch of great musicians on our site.


here is another good royalty free music site

Tony Koretz

Here is another royalty-free music website with top quality songs, many of which are not available anywhere else. It's not the biggest library out there, but what's there on the Rocksure Soundz website is high quality and uses "real instruments" played by "real Musicians" and not just boring loops.

Dirk Prysby

Check out Rubber Clown Car ( for a different style of pop-rock. Available for indie film makers.

Yannis Kirimkiridis


Also involved in the royalty free music business,i would rather disagree with the opinion that royalty free music sounds cheap. There are many providers of this licensing option and each library has its own positioning in terms of pricing and quality.
The Royalty free music business has grown dramatically in the last years attracting professional composers that seem to be interested in this distribution channel for their great music. There are also tracks that were once custom made , and now (always legally) are available for further sunc licensing through stock music libraries.

As industry grows the quality of content is rising as it attracts quality of human capital (composers /producers)

Thanks / Yannis Kirimkiridis

Aaron Poehler

Funny that no one but people involved in the royalty free music business would disagree that much of it sounds cheap and generic.


My band, Pitch Feather, is constantly searching for opportunities to collaborate with indie film makers.

Feel free to check out our music:

Do drop us a message if interested. Cheers. :)


Filmmakers please consider MONKEYSHORTS music for your next project.

The comments to this entry are closed.

DJ Bad Vegan Tweets...

    follow me on Twitter

    Make your damn movie.