We couldn’t be more excited to debut our first September Spotlight on this fabulous filmmaker and Feminist Wednesday founder: mover and shaker Erin Bagwell. And it couldn’t be more timely – the kickstarter campaign for her first feature film, “Dream, Girl” ends today. Read on for more about her inspiration behind “Dream, Girl,” why she took on redefining what it means to be a boss, and how sharing stories from female entrepreneurs will change the future for women.
SALTED SPOTLIGHT: Erin Bagwell
There’s been a lot of talk about being a boss and what that means. “Dream, Girl” is described as a documentary “redefining what it means to be a boss.” What inspired you to take that on?
When I first moved to New York City I worked at a startup, and was introduced to a lot of startup companies that were owned by men. I thought that was just the way it was. But about a year ago I started a feminist storytelling blog called Feminist Wednesday and all that changed. I started meeting dozens of inspiring, ambitious women and I felt really motivated to tell their stories on a larger scale.
The film focuses on the stories of various female entrepreneurs. How did you come up with that concept and how did you get started on reaching out to these women for interviews?
Through Feminist Wednesday and my personal life I was able to grow a sizable network of female entrepreneurs, so I just started asking around and seeing who was interested. All the women you see in the trailer from the cafe scenes to the office scenes are women who run their own companies. I just emailed and asked, “Hey! I’m going to be in the LES filming tomorrow, can anyone make it?” They did!
There’s a lot of competition in the startup/entrepreneurial world which tends to create a lot of separation. Do you feel it’s important to establish more unity within the “sisterhood” of female-led businesses? Do you think your film will help with that?
Absolutely. The one thing I have noticed while talking to so many female founders is that they know it’s harder for them to start companies – from getting seed money, to mentors, to day-to-day help, they are on their own for the most part – which seems negative but is actually blossoming this really amazing community of women entrepreneurs who are helping each other. I go to breakfast clubs, happy hours, and networking events for and by women who want to help share contacts and advice across industries. It’s a really supportive culture and I want to capture and promote that in the film.
What’s been the hardest part about making your own film so far? Is this your first?
This will be my first feature length film, although in college I made a 30 min documentary my senior year and have been editing since I was 16 years old. The hardest part of making your own film, but something I am now learning to enjoy, is the marketing side of the production. To garner interest in the documentary I took meetings and calls with anyone who would talk to me, so I had to be the sales person for the project. Being an introverted creative (I work from home and am an independent contractor who mostly does animation work) it was a real challenge to get myself in a headspace to pitch and speak to the film’s mission and production. Now I am starting to enjoy it! It’s become an interesting part of my job.
What’s been the most memorable or rewarding part in the process so far?
I love listening to women’s inspiring stories and journeys. It really pushes and empowers me to succeed, and I love all the conversations I get to enter about women and business. I think it’s really important to acknowledge there is a problem with the way we view women in our culture but there is also a solution. “Dream, Girl” (for me) is that solution.
Were there any particular hard to reach female entrepreneurs you weren’t sure you’d secure but finally did? Was there anyone who didn’t make it in the film you would like to include, maybe for a part 2?
Well lucky for us we are still in production so we have 5 spots left open for more empowering stories. I have a couple of really big names I am announcing in the next upcoming weeks but am super excited to officially say Marie Forleo has joined our team of girl bosses.
As a go-getter and entrepreneur yourself what are two pieces of advice you’d give to someone wanting to branch out and launch their own business or project?
Start! Make yourself a business card today. Start talking and telling people about your idea, then modify as it grows. Also remember that businesses will take time to grow and develop. The biggest companies in the world didn’t go viral in a day, you need to work at your dream and watch it grow!
Watch the Dream, Girl” trailer below and check them out on kickstarter.
Erin Bagwell is the Founder of Feminist Wednesday and an award winning videographer from Buffalo, NY. She loves reading business books, talking about feminism, and taking selfies with her cat Lucy. Follow Feminist Wednesday on Instagram and ‘Dream, Girl’ on twitter!