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Behind INDIE ALASKA: Metalheads

This week’s Indie Alaska video has caused somewhat of a stir in the Anchorage metal community. So much so that we had to issue a comment on our Youtube account…


So what happened? Essentially, we stretched our production way past what we normally do (where one person is the subject and it’s mostly about just them), to a video featuring 5 people. The result was a lot of people who figured if we’re going to do a video on 5 people talking about something more than just themselves (like an entire music scene), why didn’t we interview 5 or 10 more people for a more complete picture?

So yeah, we thought we were making a more complex episode for our fun weekly video series. The audience saw it as us attempting a documentary that fell way short of what is expected of a full-on documentary. It’s a conundrum.


I met Bret Maness at Tap Root during one of the Metal Monday shows, and asked him about making an Indie Alaska video about him. He was game, and I was pretty excited about the shoot. My one concern was Bret only performs one song with the band Terraform, so our b-roll was going to be very limited.

So when Travis and I got to the show, I approached the opening band and asked if we could also interview one of the band members the following day. That way we could cut in b-roll of their performance, and also have a nice juxtaposition of a metal veteran (Bret) and a young up and comer (one of the Famine band members).


The concert shooting was really fun. We set up a static wide-angle camera in the front center, and Travis and I were on shoulder rigs for a variety of other shots. We got the sound board audio, and later multicam edited several Famine songs together, as well as the one Bret Maness song.

The next day, we interviewed Bret at his place, and then I headed over to Eddie’s place (the lead singer) to interview him. But Eddie and his bandmates stick together, so when I arrived I suddenly had 4 interviews to do!


The interviews turned out really great, and every person had quite a lot of good responses. I got about 1.5 hours of interview total (for a 7 min video with music!), so to make editing smoother, I decided to transcribe all the interviews initially, and then put a story together that weaved in everyone’s thoughts.


Transcribing interviews is brand new to me, but for this project it was so essential. I had a USB pedal to start/stop Final Cut while I typed in a Textedit window, and then later I bolded the good parts of each interview.

And then came the story edit. Would it be about Bret? I asked the Famine guys a few questions about Bret and the metal veterans. Or would it be about the young up and coming metal bands? Bret did talk a little about them and how proud he was that the metal scene is being reborn because of the new blood.

In the end, it was a little bit about both of them, as well as the Alaska metal scene in general. And that’s where I wish we could have done a much longer video featuring several other bands and metal veterans, from different camps. But at 7:07 this was already the longest Indie Alaska episode we have done, and to do something longer would have just been a different project altogether.


So in the end, I think what we came up with was as good as we could have done with shooting a couple hours of footage and turning it around in a few days. And I definitely got a new appreciation for metal, and for the really dedicated fans and musicians within the scene.


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