Independent production company Shibby Pictures has recently revelaed the upcoming release of their love letter to the DIY punk scene, Good Ol’ Punx . Through six short episodes, they invite you for a new funny web series of lighthearted sketches that parody the scene, centering around the common struggles associated with being part of the DIY music scene.
Each episode of Good Ol’ Punx is From the absurd chaos of simply getting punx out of the house, to the unglamorous and sonically challenging reality of tour vans, Good Ol’ Punx is a gritty rollercoaster ride through the highs and lows of the underground. These light-hearted vignettes showcase Kerley’s talent in teasing out the unusual amongst the everyday, and in highlighting the personalities of the musicians, allies, and fans who make up the ‘scene’. He describes the series as”
an affectionate caricature of a sometimes frustrating creative landscape which, like the series itself, is made for punx, by punx.”
To celebrate this unique release, Shibby Pictures have teamed up with us for an in-depth interview on Good Ol’ Punx, independent filmmaking, DIY art, and more!
Run by filmmaker Jak Kerley, Shibby Pictures is a DIY punk film house that’s produced vids for artists including Leftöver Crack, Days N Daze, and Mischief Brew, as well as the acclaimed docs Baseball Punx and Trying It At Home. The independent production house generated over fifteen million YouTube streams and has twenty-five thousand subscribers. Shibby’s videos were featured on VICE, ESPN, and every corner of Punk News, Dying Scene, and other online magazines. Shibby’s films were screened in venues across North America, Europe, Australia and Asia.
Hey Jak! Thanks for joining us! How’s it going? How has 2020 been treating you so far?
Thanks for having me! It’s going quite well- I spend a bunch of the winter travelling and filming as much as possible, and I’m at the point where that’s wrapping up and I get back to my spring/summer job doing video production and entertainment for a Minor League Baseball team.
Before we jump into Good Ol’ Punx, please give us some details on yourself, your background and involvement in DIY music scene. What prompted you to start Shibby Pictures?
My initial involvement in the DIY scene was a fan. I was listening to the bands, going to and booking the shows, then decided one day I should try filming these bands since they are coming to town for shows anyways. The Shibby Pictures as most people know it, I think, started with one of the earlier music videos I did for this band called Benny The Jet Rodriguez. I continued filming bands whenever they rolled through town, while also working on this documentary called Trying It At Home that ended up being very widely viewed, especially considering it was a 45+ minute documentary. I’d always considered myself a narrative filmmaker (and still do) but music videos proved to be a great way to work on my visual storytelling, as most of my stuff up until this point had been entirely dialogue driven. So I focused on music videos for a while, sneaking in a short film or two. I like to think I’ve established myself enough to a point where I can put out whatever I want without it needs to fall under a specific umbrella, but I still get the occasional comment on a new video every now and then about how something isn’t “punk enough.”
NEW! Episode #4 (Crashing After the Show)
A band finally finds a place to spend the night after a show runs a little bit late.
How did you get involved in film?
I’ve always been naturally inclined to filmmaking as a creative output. While I was getting a degree in it, I realized I don’t really wanna work in the film industry, more so just keep making things on a small scale, keeping a complete creative control, and telling the stories that I want to. The specific content I film was always dictated by the people I have at my disposal. Not all of my friends are actors, but a lot are musicians, so a music video is what we would end up making.
People to go films for a lot of different reasons, and mine is to feel less alone. I like seeing down-to-earth, relatable movies that show people going through the same struggles as me, as a way of coping with issues I may be dealing with, which is often connecting with other people. And what I love about being a filmmaker is getting to return the favor, and provide something for other people to go to when they need something relatable.
What is DIY and independent filmmaking to you? What draws you to it and why is it so important to follow and promote DIY ethics?
The DIY scene to me was always about creating a model of the world that you want to see. A world where creativity and community is the focus of everything, not money and power. Maintaining ethics like that in a music scene are great, but it’s really important that you take those ethics and extend them beyond the music scene, and into everything else you do- to spread that positivity to all different kinds of people around you, not just people who go to shows.
Looking at your catalog, your videos for Days N Daze received a lot of praise and generated some serious traffic on YouTube (i.e. Misanthropic Drunken Loner). Were you surprised by how well received these particular videos were looking back? What is it about them that you feel resonated so well with viewers?
Honestly, I’m not surprised when anything I film gets as much traction as that because I do my best to only film quality artists that I personally enjoy. And my choices for artists are very deliberate. Sometimes I’ll be listening to an artist for years before I even have the state of mind to think, “Hey maybe I should holla at them to see if they want to do a video.”
If anything, I’m more surprised by the videos that don’t get heavy traffic. I think the thing that most people resonate with honestly, is whichever song is in the video. Like with Misanthropic in particular, I think that song was destined to be a hit no matter what, I’m just lucky I’m the one that got to film it. Surely no one is going to watch that video and say, “Oh check out this shot on a GoPro of Jesse buying beer,” they’re clicking that video to hear the song. And as I get better as a filmmaker, it’s my goal to make sure I’m making a video that is as good as and compliments the song.
Ok, so tell us a bit about Good Ol’ Punx and how this new project came into fruition.
An inspiration for this web series was constantly seeing Hard Times articles, and thinking, “Man that would make a real funny short film.” I’d been kicking around the idea in my head for a while, but when I was on tour in Europe a bit over a year ago, my friend Sydney said she was surprised I haven’t done something like this yet, and that I should be the person to do it. At that point I’d already had episode ideas in my head, but was scared to start working on it without a title for the project. My friend Brandon (who appears in episode 2) suggested the name “Good Ol’ Punx” which was just so perfect and exactly what I was looking for, I knew I had to get started on the project immediately.
The common struggles of DIY bands you portrayed in the series are presented in a very funny, but also accurate way. These episodes have a huge viral potential.
Certainly- while I think that anybody could enjoy watching these, I think the people who will truly pick up on just how accurate a lot of the events in this series are the people who go to shows and go on tour. It’s easy to laugh at a scene where someone asks for a show and place for 11 people to sleep on 2 days notice, but I know it really hits home with bookers because that’s probably happened to most of them. When I was in the writing phase of the series, it was all very hyperbolic and blown out of proportion, but when it came to filming and editing, the series really took on a tone of its own by remaining true to experiences myself and others have certainly gone through. Which really falls in line with my overall ideology of filmmaking, which is that life as we know it is dramatic and entertaining and comedic, and that we don’t need to punch up jokes on real life. If it’s true and honest and self-expressive, people (even if not everyone) will relate to it.
Did you have more ideas for additional episodes? What other aspects of DIY touring and DIY bands would you nominate for follow-up videos?
Oh yeah, I’ve already got a word document full of ideas for more episodes, and possibly follow ups to a previous episode or two. One is a promoter being ghosted by a band he’s trying to book on a show, and one is the opposite of the episode of crashing at an annoying house- staying at a house that is too nice. I really want to do one of a door man collection donations of ridiculous things at a donation based/pay-what-you-want show. There’s so many different places that this series can be taken, and that definitely doesn’t have to be limited to punk.
What means of promotion do you plan to use to let people know about this series?
I’m really relying on word of mouth for this. Initially the plan was to drop all of the episodes at once, but after thinking on it for several months, i think it made sense to space out the releases to let it pick up some momentum and people share it around. Which I think is off to a great start because episodes 1 and 2 already have a lot of comments asking when the next episodes will be. So if you’re reading this, the most helpful thing you can do is show it to everyone you know!
As an independent filmmaker, what are some of the larger hurdles in getting your film to a wider audience?
You know what is wild about putting out films, is just how much there is out there- and how content people are watching whatever is simply the most accessible to them. Like there are small-to-medium release films out there that I think are masterpieces, and the stars of those independent movies will be models who have literally millions of followers on Instagram, and I literally don’t know anyone else that’s seen that movie. There’s not even as much as a Reddit discussion thread about it. And it’ll have made anywhere from $20,000 to $200,000 dollars at the box offce and be considered a failure. Booksmart, my favorite movie of last year, made $25 million dollars (a massive number in my opinion, but understandably small for a wide-release film) and people were talking about how much a travesty that was.
As a filmmaker, a lot of the times you can’t help but think, “If that film can’t get the word out, what hope is there for mine?” It’s very important to keep that perspective, and realize just how much luck plays into getting films seen, and what you consider successful. You have to absolutely cherish and value every single view you get, whether it’s 5 views, 500 views, or 1 million. I make it a point to read most of the comments on my stuff, and respond frequently, whether it’s to thank someone for watching, or just to talk shit. There’s SO MANY things out there for people to watch, and I am incredible thankful anytime someone chooses to watch my work.
Do you already have a creative idea for a non-music-video production this year?
For every video of mine that you see, there’s probably 10 different ideas that came before that one that fell apart for one reason or another. I usually try not to talk about projects too far out in the future because not everything comes to fruition. But one idea I’ve been playing around with at the time is a documentary about break-ups. It’s something I’d really like to explore that because such a frustrating and dramatic emotion, and it could be fun to dig into the concept of why you just cant connect with everyone on the level that you wish you could.
Alright, I guess that’s it. Thanks so much for your time. Feel free to add your final words.
Connect with people around you. Be honest. Don’t use alone. Cede space to marginalized artists. Listen to Courtney Barnett.