As Ojai singer-songwriter Rain Perry was musing about the current state of her chosen profession, she began to fixate on a curious conundrum.
“Everybody can make a record now,” she thought, “but nobody can make a living. Is there a problem with that?”
To find the answer, she decided to make a film.
She’s calling it “The Shopkeeper,” and her goal is to “explore the collapse of the music business while celebrating Mark Hallman,” an “unsung hero of music” who owns the beloved, but struggling, Congress House recording studio in Austin, Texas.
Perry has made three records with Hallman, a musician-turned-producer who has helmed albums by Carole King, Eliza Gilkyson, Sara Hickman, Will Sexton, Tom Russell, Slaid Cleaves, Iain Matthews and many, many others.
The film will feature footage shot at Congress House — including its 33 1/3 anniversary this fall — as well as interviews with Gilkyson, Hickman, Russell and others who will explain, Perry said, “why we should care what becomes of a little studio in South Austin.”
"I think Mark can hear a person. He can hear your voice and he knows what to bring to your voice to elevate who you are, instead of smothering it and covering it — which is what a lot of producers want to do," Hickman says in footage shot for the film. "In Mark's mind, you're already perfect and beautiful — he just wants to color it a little bit."
To help fund the film, Perry has launched an Indiegogo campaign. Her goal is $28,000, which will be used for color correction, music licensing and other expenses. To help, visit tinyurl.com/rainfilm.