Cooperative Filming: Music to Indie Ears

Story by Andrew Vogel Guest Columnist

“We are evolving into providing services at the Co-Op for almost no cost. For us to make these services available and cost-effective for filmmakers in New Orleans is a really big deal,” said David Cole, IT support for the Tipitina’s Foundation and program enthusiast.

The Tipitina’s Music Office Co-Op reveals itself as not only a wonderful resource for local musicians, but also a gold mine for independent filmmakers. Through the efforts of the Tipitina’s Foundation, there is now a place where filmmakers and musicians alike can work collaboratively with each other to accomplish their artistic goals in an efficient and inexpensive way.

“If you need some cost-effective music for your script, there will be someone within the Co-Op who can write a score,” said Cole. “Now you have some terrific local music for your film, and you’ve helped a local musician feed his family. It’s a win-win situation.”

Although the Co-Op is not an established filmmaking group or collaborative, it is certainly fertile ground for one. A film collaborative could provide an amazing way to kick-start any individual career by allowing an artist to be involved, in some way, on virtually every film being made. With such a large pool of skill and talent, a group would produce a higher volume of high-quality films than any individual.

“We all drift from set to set and from group to group. There is no one collective place where filmmakers can all get together, except maybe Facebook. There has to be a cooperative thought process for indie filmmakers,” said Cole, expressing the need for a more collaborative film community.

David Cole and Mark Fowler

The Co-Op is a way for local independent filmmakers to put their talents and resources together to build the ever-growing film empire in Louisiana. Cole describes the near future of this organization as a place where collaborative auditions could be held for multiple independent films and a place where film crews are community cultivated and readily available.

“We offer free legal assistance for contracts, release forms, property trademark, LLC formation, and things of that nature. That alone is invaluable,” stated Mark Fowler, manager of the New Orleans Co-Op. “Ashlye Keaton [her practice] focuses specifically on entertainment and intellectual property law. She donates her time and expertise to help members on a weekly basis.”

This is an organization designed to help local artists succeed. The small fees that members do pay are largely to maintain the community and allow artists to feel invested in their work.

“The people who run the Co-Ops are very gifted and talented individuals. Part of their idea for this unique program is to give back. So they host classes on everything from recording to playing an instrument to editing,” said Cole. “You can request assistance from members as well as staff, and they will do what they can to help you. That’s what you are joining when you become a member of the Co-Op.”

The Co-Op provides digital and audio recording tools, computers equipped with high-speed Internet and editing software, Web design tools, business plan resources, legal consultation, tutorials, workshops, and of course, community.

“You might have the greatest idea in the world, but if you don’t have access to resources and people to work with, then the idea doesn’t become a reality. This is a place that helps turn your idea into a reality,” said Fowler.

With such an incredible resource at the fingertips of local filmmakers, the sky is the limit here in Louisiana. The Co-Op now has branches in New Orleans, Lafayette, Shreveport and Baton Rouge. Please visit for more information.

The Tipitina’s Music Office Co-Op is just one of the wonderful ways that the Tipitina’s Foundation is contributing to the vibrant artistic culture in Louisiana.

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