Indie Girl: From Starting a Band to Launching a Fashion Company, Nine Ways to Turn Your Creative Talent into Reality


Are you a girl who’s tired of waiting for someone to design the perfect skirt? Bored by what adults think makes great "teen literature"? Insulted by the onslaught of fluffy spring break movies? Good—then you’re on the right track. The next step is to take matters into your own hands.

A fun and comprehensive guide for young women, Indie Girl contains all of the information you’ll need to start independent creative ventures, like dance companies, rock bands, art galleries, fashion...

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Are you a girl who’s tired of waiting for someone to design the perfect skirt? Bored by what adults think makes great "teen literature"? Insulted by the onslaught of fluffy spring break movies? Good—then you’re on the right track. The next step is to take matters into your own hands.

A fun and comprehensive guide for young women, Indie Girl contains all of the information you’ll need to start independent creative ventures, like dance companies, rock bands, art galleries, fashion companies, and more. Inside you’ll find out how to shoot a new TV show, cast and produce a play, pull together a poetry slam, make your own zine, and even build a float for a parade. You’ll also read quotes from teen and professional artists, receive technical and creative advice from pros, and get a better understanding of why and how women should be working together in the arts.

Indie Girl shows you that when girls get come together to be creative, there’s virtually nothing they can’t do!

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
“Jam-packed with insider tips and quotes from teenage and professional artists, Indie Girl will both challenge and inspire you to do something out of the ordinary this summer.” — Seventeen Magazine Online
School Library Journal

Gr 7 Up

A feisty guide for teens to bring their creative impulses to fruition. Fresh and fun in their approach, Johnson and Macklin walk readers through the basics of publishing a zine, mounting an art exhibit, forming a dance troupe, organizing a parade, filming a TV show, staging a play, and hosting a poetry slam. Each chapter is sprinkled with suggestions from successful professionals and other "insiders." The chapter on mounting an art exhibit offers good, practical advice. The competition (and drive needed) in these fields is fierce. The accessible text also works hard to give readers a fuller understanding of why and how women can work together in the arts-that when there is collaboration, the possibilities are endless. There's nothing new in terms of the advice, but this is a good guide nonetheless. A great choice for readers as they think about their futures.-Elaine Baran Black, Georgia Public Library Service, Atlanta

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780979017339
  • Publisher: Zest Books
  • Publication date: 4/1/2008
  • Pages: 136
  • Sales rank: 1,295,020
  • Age range: 12 years
  • Lexile: 1160L (what's this?)
  • Product dimensions: 7.20 (w) x 8.90 (h) x 0.60 (d)

Meet the Author

Karen Macklin is a San Francisco-based writer and editor. She has written for more than a dozen publications, including The New York Times, San Francisco Weekly, and Yoga Journal.

Arne Johnson has been a film journalist and filmmaker for nearly 10 years. One of our favorite works is Girls Rock!, which has been screened at several film festivals around the world. He has written for The Onion, San Francisco Bay Guardian, and the San Francisco Examiner.

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Read an Excerpt

Indie Girl

From Starting a Band to Launching a Fashion Company, Nine Ways to Turn Your Creative Talent into Reality
By Arne Johnson

Zest Books

Copyright © 2008 Arne Johnson
All right reserved.

ISBN: 9780979017339

Table of Contents

  1. Start a Band
  2. Publish a Zine
  3. Put on a Play
  4. Film a TV Show
  5. Create an Art Exhibit
  6. Form a Dance Troop
  7. Launce a Fashion Company
  8. Hold a Poetry Slam
  9. Make a Parade


Start a Band
"In our history, as an all-female band, we have faced some discrimination in the music business. Before we would play shows people would ask us if we were the girlfriends of the band playing, or if we actually played our instruments. Sometimes the assumption is made that other people write our music or that we don’t have a hand in the business side of things. By self-managing, booking our tours, and writing our own music we hope to dispel some stereotypes in regard to women in music."

— Mona Tavakoli, drummer for Raining Jane

It’s hard to imagine a life without music. Music defi nes everything in our lives, from

the clothes we wear to the posters tacked on our walls to the people we hang out with. And iPods, iTunes and iMboredWithRadio make surrounding ourselves in someone else’s music really easy. But have you ever considered making your own?

A lot of people think music is something magical that only someone famous can make — that "normal" people don’t have the skills to create melodies and rhythms on their own. But the reality is that you don’t need prodigal talent or a father named John Lennon to make great music. You just need soul — and a little motivation.

The Beatles are a perfect example. This historically famous foursome, which most rock critics consider the greatest musical geniuses of all time, couldn’t read a lick of music when they started out. They picked up chords by watching other bands

and friends play. In fact, their arrangements are so simple that, if you have a basic knowledge of chords, you can go to any tabs website (where they have arrangements of songs for the guitar) and in about five minutes learn to play some of the top Beatles songs. It could take more effort and time to decide whether to buy the new Britney Whoever or Hilary Icouldntcareless CD than to learn how to play some of your favorite pop songs. And once you have a few songs down, you’ll be writing your own in no time. Then, lo and behold, your best friend will reveal that she has always wanted to play drums and — voilà! — you’ll have a band.



Rehearsal space

Performance space



Merch (T-Shirts, stickers, paper, printer, computer design program)

"Music is a form of expression, and you can put into your music what it is hard to say in conversations. And that energy you get when you perform is like no other feeling in the world. It is truly amazing."
— Una Rose,13, singer/guitarist for Blübird


Look here for info on this Portland-based rock camp, locations of other rock camps

that might be near you, and more inspiring information.

A thorough website with guitar tabs and chords for just about every song in existence.

Free editing software.

Go to this site to download GarageBand, a free editing software program.

An excellent, easy-to-use website where you can make and sell your merch online.

First Things First
First Things First:

What to Play

K, so you’re feeling the power within you, the need to kick out the jams. But then it dawns on you — "I don’t know how to play any instruments!" No problem. Sid Vicious learned bass after he joined the Sex Pistols. The Donnas, an all-girl rock group that emerged in the ’90s, organized their band when they were in eighth grade and taught themselves how to play as they went along. You don’t need to already know how to play — but you do need to choose an instrument. Choose the one that most appeals to you, and choose it for the right reasons. For instance, don’t pick bass because it seems easier or opt to be a vocalist because some people think girls shouldn’t be drummers. A musician’s relationship with her instrument is an intimate and powerful one, and you’ll never be happy in a band if you aren’t playing an instrument that sings to you.

Not sure where to start? Well, how about trying out an instrument to see what it sounds and feels like. Go to your local music store and ask if you can test the drums or strum a guitar. Don’t get intimidated by male clerks who may assume that you don’t know what you’re doing. Bring a friend along for support, and assert your right to rock out! And don’t let your outside appearance defi ne what you play — you might be the shyest and gentlest girl in school, but that doesn’t mean you can’t thrash on a drum kit with the best of them.

If you don’t want basic rock/pop instruments — like guitar, bass, drums, keyboard,

or vocals — pick something alternative, such as adding distortion to the flute you play for the school band or programming beats on your computer. JD of Le Tigre programs much of the band’s music, and Mona of Raining Jane will often play a wooden box and other interesting percussion. Most important is that you play what you like and you like what you play.


Excerpted from Indie Girl by Arne Johnson Copyright © 2008 by Arne Johnson. Excerpted by permission.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

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