Indie Spotlight: ‘Rooftop Sessions’ Takes Live Music To The Sky

By 04/12/2013
Indie Spotlight: ‘Rooftop Sessions’ Takes Live Music To The Sky

We receive a ton of tips every day from independent creators, unaffiliated with any major motion picture studios, television networks, new media studios, or other well-funded online video entities. The Indie Spotlight is where we’ll write about and shout out to a select few of them and bring you up to speed on the great (and sometimes not-so-great) attention-grabbing series you probably haven’t heard about until now.  Read previous installments here.

You know what’s cooler than live music? Live music several stories off the ground. That’s the philosophy behind Rooftop Sessions, a web series started by three enterprising music fans. It’s a look at the local Chicago scene, lifted in the air and perched on the roof for all to see.

Rooftop Sessions is the brainchild of Joel Hoover, Daniel Panol, and Mikel Pickett, who love their hometown almost as much as they love little-known indie bands. To celebrate both, they starting filming on rooftops around the city, with a different band performing in each episode. One of the most unique episodes features Heather Smith, the frontwoman of a band called Bone & Bell, as she plays one of her songs while taking a ride on Navy Pier’s famous Ferris Wheel.


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While Rooftop Sessions’ status as a creatively-filmed discovery engine is appealing, its self-financed origins are equally admirable. The three producers use their own hard-earned money to fund the series, and shoot episodes entirely in their free time. Their day jobs as self-described “a/v geeks” provide both the income and experience they need to make their passionate side project a success. In an era where everyone seems to be reliant on fundraising campaigns to create web series, seeing a trio of creators who do it all themselves is as refreshing as a rooftop breeze in the Windy City.


  • I’m Gonna Eat Your Lunch. Puppets staff an ad agency in this cross between The Office and The Muppets. If you like this one, be sure to note its active Kickstarter campaign.
  • The Outs. A comedic series about a gay man and his intertwining romances. Alan Cumming shows up in the season finale. Hi, Alan Cumming!
  • Flat3. Want to see an example of the international presence of web shows? Look no further than this one, about a trio of Asian Kiwis who share an apartment.
  • Famous FarrahThis is the kind of slice-of-life comedy that I love to feature on Indie Spotlight. Its titular heroine is going through a “quarter-life crisis” at age 26.

Got a series you’d like to see featured in the Indie Spotlight? Be sure to contact us here.

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