Indie Roadtrip Application FAQ
How are Indie Roadtrips different from Green RV Roadtrips?
Roadtrip Nation's Green RV Roadtrips occur during the summer where Roadtrippers hit the Road in our Green RVs and are filmed by our crew, which is produced into a series and may be shared on public television.
In contrast, with our D.I.Y. Indie Roadtrip, Roadtrippers hit the Road on their own time, on their own route, and with their own mode of transportation. We've sent individuals on Roadtrips across the world and in their very own backyards. The Indie Roadtrips are our way of reaching more individuals and getting back to the grassroots feel of the Original Roadtrip, The Open Road. The Roadtrippers themselves document the Roadtrip through film, photos and/or blogs. In return, the Roadtrippers receive a grant to help out with some of the trip's expenses.
The Indie Roadtrips may be shared with others via photos, blogs, and video, on Roadtrip Nation's website. And in sometimes, if our editors see something incredibly inspiring, it may make its way into a pod for the series.
Are Indie Roadtrips paid for?
If selected for an Indie Roadtrip, you'll receive a grant at the end of your trip that will help pay for your gas and food expenses.
How much money do we get with the grant?
That depends on your participation. There are two levels of participation for Indie Roadtrip grants:
- You can photo and blog about your trip and interviews (no filming required). For this grant, you must complete between 25 to 30 photos, three blogs, and at least three interviews. This grant is generally about $300.
- You can apply to photo, blog, film, and edit. This requires you to document your Roadtrip with a video camera, and you will edit your footage into five- to seven-minute segments. If selected to
What do I have to complete for the Indie Roadtrip?
In return for the grant, you'll need to complete your online Roadtrip Profile, at least three blogs, 25 to 30 photos of your trip, and three completed interviews with returned releases. For teams that film and edit, more instructions will follow if accepted for the grant.
What do you look for when selecting people for Indie Roadtrips?
We look for energy, drive, and authenticity–people with the ability to articulate their thoughts and share them via film, writing, or photos. We want to send people out on the Road who are excited to push themselves out of their comfort zones and talk with total strangers about their lives. We want to get behind Indie Roadtrippers that will do everything that they can to capture every aspect of their Roadtrip experiences–from the interviews, to their thoughts and feelings, and those fun, unforgettable moments on the Road.
What are the deadlines to apply for the Indie Roadtrip?
You can submit an application at any time, but we accept applications no more than three months out and no fewer than three weeks prior to your expected departure date. Once you submit your application, we'll let you know our grant availability.
Whom should I talk with if I have a question or problem?
Ray, our Roadtrip Director. He is your mentor and your best friend while out on the Road. His job is to make sure you understand everything to have the best Indie Roadtrip experience possible. Email him at Ray@roadtripnation.com
When will I know if I've been accepted for the Indie Roadtrip program?
We'll try our best to get back to you ASAP. Please give us at least two weeks to go through your application.
When do we get the grant if we are accepted?
After the Roadtrip is completed and you return all of your required material to Roadtrip Nation, you will receive the grant.
How many other people receive grants to go on Indie Roadtrips?
That depends on a few factors, but we usually have one to two Indie teams out on the Road at any given time. The most competitive time to receive grants is during summer and spring breaks. But if you are truly passionate about the mission of your trip and the Leaders you want to speak with, then you should feel very, very good about your chances!
How many people must be on an Indie team?
Doesn't matter to us. You can go solo, or you can pack as many friends into a van. If it is an unusually large team, just give us a heads up.
Do I have to be in college to apply?
Nope. Indie is an all-ages opportunity.
Are all-female or all-male teams okay?
Certainly. And co-ed is good, too.
Can you send me back my Application tapes/video after you review them?
Sorry, application materials are not returned. So, if you'd like to keep your footage, please make a copy and send us the original.
Can we travel in a Green RV for an Indie Roadtrip?
Unfortunately, no. As much as we would be stoked to have everyone driving around in Green RVs exploring and having a good time, our Green RVs are currently only for our Green RV Roadtrips. But maybe one day...you never know.
Can I do an Indie Roadtrip internationally?
Yes, international Roadtrips are awesome!
Do I have to do this over the summer?
No! Unlike the Green RV Roadtrips, the Indie Roadtrips take place whenever you want, for however long you want–whatever works for you and with your schedule. You can do it over a weekend, two weekends, different days on different weeks–just as long as you're getting out there and speaking to those Leaders you look up to.
Do I have to drive around the entire country?
Once again, no! You're in charge of your Indie Roadtrip route, and you can decide what cities/states you'd like to visit as well as whom you'd like to interview in those locations. Keep in mind you can do this in your own backyard or as far away as another country. That is the beauty of Indie; it's about the power of stories and sharing them.
If I go abroad is it acceptable to have my interview in a foreign language?
This one is tough. Yes, but there are some things to keep in mind: If you are filming and editing your footage, you will need to translate it for our audience, or else that particular interview may not be used.
Is it pointless if I just do it in my state?
Not at all! Traveling and talking to people around your home state can be an incredibly eye-opening experience. Explore towns you've never stopped in before and talk with people that spark your interest.
If we film and edit our own piece, when will we see our Roadtrip online?
It takes time for things to get up online and we have a process to get it there. Please be patient with us–we will get it up as soon as we can. Feel free to email Ray on the status, and he'll keep you posted.
Are there specific start/stop dates?
No. Some Indie trips have lasted two days, some have lasted two months! But we'll ask that you give us your return date before you leave so we can plan accordingly.
What does it take to get my footage on the TV series?
Right now, Indie Roadtrips are shared on our online community and generally not on public television. But there is always the possibility that some incredibly engaging interviews, insightful thoughts, and well-edited footage would impress our production team to reconsider. So aim for it!
Hey! You used to offer Roadtrips where we film and have Roadtrip Productions produce it for us, and now it's gone! What gives?
Yes, we did. We are still producing past Indie Roadtrips and do not have the bandwidth to edit all Indie Roadtrips. So for now, we only accept teams that will edit their footage themselves for the larger grant; or you can simply photo and blog for the smaller grant.
I see online that you had Indie Roadtrippers go to New Zealand and Australia. What is that, and how do I apply?
Every once in a while we have special Indie Roadtrip opportunities, outside of our normal grants. The Australia, New Zealand, and State Farm Indie Roadtrips are just that. So, keep an eye on our Apply page for news of these types of trips. We never know when they will pop up!
How do I Cold-Call people that I want to interview?
Ask your friends, look in the phonebook, research on the Internet...A good tip is to locate the generic phone numbers for their places of business, and then talk to whomever you can to try to get a hold of the person you want to interview.
If you can't find a phone number anywhere, try looking for an email address on the Internet. If you can't find their direct email, look for contact emails in their places of business. But not to worry, all selected Indie Roadtrip teams will discuss this in a pre-Roadtrip phone call with Roadtrip Nation staff.
How many interviews do I need to film?
All teams need to do at least three interviews. If you are a team that is going to edit your piece and/or film, you will need at least three to be filmed to receive the grant.
Are my "proposed interviews" and "proposed schedule" final?
Not at all. This is simply a way for us to get an idea of where your interests lie and whom you would potentially like to talk with. Reality is that you will change your mind, you won't be able to line up those three interviews, or your schedule will vary. No worries. Also, feel free to interview people you meet along the Road–it's all part of the adventure of the Roadtrip!
Do I have to interview famous people?
Not at all! Interview anyone who you think will have a good story to tell. Some of the most interesting interviews we've had have been with people we'd never heard of before like a Louisiana truck driver, a Maine lobsterman, and a Wyoming rodeo clown! Interview people who inspire you and who love what they do. That is what matters.
Can I interview someone who a past Roadtrip Nation Roadtripper has already interviewed?
Try to interview people who haven't been interviewed by us before...unless that person is stoked on getting interviewed again; and you find your own value in interviewing them with your fresh perspective.
What if people I Cold-Call say "no?"
When booking interviews, you'll undoubtedly have to deal with a lot of rejection. Don't sweat! Keep researching and contacting people. You can even ask the people who have said no if they know anyone whom might be interested.
Be sure to convey your desire to seek advice and the authenticity of Roadtrip Nation's cause. People generally warm up to the honest intentions of a student just looking to talk to someone to get some advice on life.
How long should each interview be?
Aim for about an hour. If it's shorter than that, don't worry; some of the best interviews were only a short-and-sweet 30 minutes. This is not just sitting down and asking questions; your Leader could show you around their offices or studios, and share some of their personal works.
How should I plan my Roadtrip so that I have enough travel and interview time?
Plan everything ahead! Create a detailed schedule before you hit the Road. And don't overbook yourself! Traveling and interviewing are both time and energy-consuming activities. Aim for one to two interviews per day, and try to allot your team a two-hour block of time for each interview (to set up, interview, break-down, b-roll, etc.).
Where should we hold the interview?
Try to pick a location that is convenient and comfortable for the person being interviewed. If possible, try to select a setting that reflects their careers/lifestyles (i.e. their offices, their homes.) In terms of filming, it's best to conduct the interview in a well-lit (but not back-lit) area that visually showcases what they do.
Help! I don't know how to film an interview!
Don't stress! We have a filmmaking guide just for you! If you are on a team that is filming, we'll teach you how to film on the Road, frame shots during an interview, mic someone, etc. We'll show you everything you need to know to capture the experience!
Should I write down Leaders' answers during the interview?
Taking notes may make the interview seem too formal or journalistic. We just want you to sit back, ask some great questions, and enjoy a good story. The key to a great interview is that you LISTEN, and take in what they're saying and respond accordingly. Make it a conversation.
Should Leaders "sign the Green RV ceiling" for us (like how they do in the TV series)?
Definitely! Many of our Indie Roadtrippers have "team traditions" on the Road. For instance, the Green RV teams have everyone they interview sign the ceiling of the Green RV with some last words of advice. Some Indie Roadtrippers bring along a Roadtrip Nation poster for their interviewees to sign. Feel free to create your own "team tradition!"
I don't have a camcorder. How do I get my hands on one?
For $300 to $1,000, you can buy yourself a camcorder (which we definitely believe is a good investment!). If purchasing one is out of your budget, try borrowing one from a friend or from the film department at your school. We use the HD-HC9 Sony Camcorders, but feel free to use one that suits you. You can also purchase a Flip Cam or a Bloggie for around $100, and the footage comes out pretty well.
If none of those options work for you, we may be able to loan you some filmmaking equipment. Contact Ray@roadtripnation.com for more info.
Does it have to be a digital footage?
At the moment, we only accept the final edited footage in mini-DV format, DVD, or CD.
Does it have to be a professional camera? Or will my handheld work?
Your handheld camcorder will definitely work. Don't worry about making the next Oscar-winning documentary! We like gritty, grassroots filmmaking–as long as the audio is good! Make sure your camcorder has an audio outlet to plug a lavaliere microphone into.
Speaking of mics...if you don't already have one, you may want to look into investing in a lav mic or a shot-put mic. Without audio, we have nothing.
What about sound?
For our purposes here at Roadtrip Nation, sound is absolutely the #1 most important element for filmmaking. If we can't hear the audio from your interviews, we can't use the footage and/or you will have nothing to edit! So, we strongly suggest you use an external mic when filming your interviews.
Do I need a tripod?
You don't need one, but it's definitely a big help. If you can't get a hold of one for your interviews, try setting a camera on a chair or table so that you can get a steady shot of the Leader.
Can I make copies of my tapes?
If you'd like copies of your footage, you'll have to make them yourself before you send to Roadtrip Nation. Please send us the originals.
Can I edit the footage myself?
If you are chosen for one of the filming/editing trips, you will edit it yourself! You will need a little editing experience and access to iMovie, Final Cut Pro, or Windows Media Maker. You'll also be given tips from our staff if you're selected for an Indie Roadtrip.
Do I have to transcribe these interviews?
You don't need to transcribe each interview. But blogging about at least three interviews is required!
Can I do an Indie Roadtrip more than once?
Sorry, at this time they're a one-shot deal.
Can I get college credit for doing something like this?
That depends on your school. Contact your school for more information regarding college credit. If they agree to it, we can provide your university with certification that you successfully completed and documented it.