While many people know that Facebook was conceived by Mark Zuckerberg in a dorm room at Harvard and Bill Hewlett and Dave Packard started their iconic company in a garage in Palo Alto, the stories of female entrepreneurs are not nearly as well known. With women starting 1,200 businesses a day, Erin Bagwell set out to change this with her documentary film Dream, Girl.
The film features female entrepreneurs who share their stories of gaining legitimacy, overcoming their fears, and redefining what it means to be a leader. Through their innovation and perseverance they show all women—young and old—how to dream big.
After seeing the trailer for Dream, Girl on Kickstarter, female entrepreneur Komal Minhas contacted Bagwell and the two immediately hit it off. They partnered to form the Dream, Girl production company, with Komal managing strategic partnerships and distribution and Erin working with Adobe Creative Cloud apps to bring the film and company identity to life. Together, they both embody and champion the message that female stories matter.
Adobe: Where did the idea for Dream, Girl come from?
Bagwell: A couple of years ago I was working full time as an interactive designer, while also working on my own feminist storytelling blog, Feminist Wednesday. Through my work interviewing really incredible women throughout New York City and coming across entrepreneurs on an almost daily basis I realized that nobody was telling their stories.
I made the decision to quit my job and focus on telling the stories of these women who owned large private companies and smaller startups, on their own terms, who were doing really incredible work. I started a Kickstarter campaign and raised more than $100,000 in 30 days, galvanizing over 2,000 Kickstarter backers. Kickstarter showed me that I wasn’t the only one craving more authentic stories about real, ambitious women.
Adobe: What is the focus of the film?
Minhas: The film follows female entrepreneurs across New York City, looking at what it’s like to be women who started their own businesses and what led them to where they are today. In addition to focusing on fun parts of their stories like building their companies and communities and the excitement of innovation, we also look at the heavy stuff around sexual harassment in the workplace, what made them work in the private sector, and how leading a company as a woman is different than leading a company as a man.
Adobe: Komal, how did you get connected with the project?
Minhas: I started my own media production company, KoMedia, a few years ago. I was a one person production studio and consulting firm, figuring things out day-by-day. When I saw the Kickstarter trailer for Dream, Girl I just felt so seen. These other women were doing similar things and they were being portrayed in such an incredible way. I reached out to Erin almost immediately and convinced her to let me not only invest in the film but also come on board with her.
Adobe: What role did Adobe Creative Cloud play in making this film a reality?
Bagwell: I learned Final Cut Pro 7 when I was in college studying film and graphic design. When Apple introduced Final Cut Pro X, I decided it was time to move on to system that offered more flexibility and integration with other applications. I’d heard great things about the ease of use of Premiere Pro CC, so I chose Adobe Creative Cloud as my hub.
The cost and accessibility of Creative Cloud worked well for us. We shot the film on the Canon 5D and C300 cameras and Premiere Pro CC recognized all the footage so we didn’t have to transcode. I designed all of the motion graphics in Adobe After Effects CC, edited the trailer and then the entire feature film in Premiere Pro CC, and used Adobe Photoshop CC for some of the graphics. Dynamic Link let me easily share media between After Effects and Premiere Pro, which helped us keep the project in-house.
Adobe: What other Creative Cloud apps do you use?
Bagwell: The Dream, Girl journey wouldn’t have been possible without Creative Cloud. In addition to Premiere Pro CC and After Effects CC, we use used Photoshop CC for some graphics and Illustrator CC when we wanted a more illustrative look. We also used InDesign CC for our business cards and our print collateral. It’s been so nice to have all of the Creative Cloud resources available to us whenever we need them.
Adobe: Tell us about the premiere of the film and your distribution plans.
Minhas: We’ve continued to grow our audience and were lucky to get the attention of the White House Council for Women and Girls. In May, we premiered the film at the White House. A few weeks later, we premiered it in New York City at the Paris Theater to a sold out audience of 600. Since then, we’ve been taking the film coast-to-coast and around the world. We’ve had 100 screenings in seven different countries, including New Zealand, Australia, and Singapore.
In addition to galvanizing this movement, we also want to show that as a company we’re profitable and revenue is being generated. A lot of our business model is focused on our distribution strategy. We have licensing fees to host events – everything from living room screenings to public events that Erin and I attend for a speaking fee. We’re also looking at doing a live monthly streaming event of the film that people can pay $10 to watch live and ask questions. In this era of free content, as artists, creators, and entrepreneurs it’s really important for us to show the value of what we’ve created.
Adobe: What are your plans for the future?
Minhas: Our dreams continue to be big. We would love to make another film within the next couple of years, and we have some ideas percolating. I personally would also love to write a book. In the short term our focus is on making sure as many people around the world see the film as soon as possible. It’s important for us to continue promoting the vital message of this film.
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