A Gal's Guide to Making a Movie, Part 6: The Money


A Gal’s Guide to Making a Movie is a written series by Erin Bagwell the director of Dream, Girl and the founder of Feminist Wednesday. To view the whole series click here.

Part Six: The Money

On August 29th I rolled out of bed with mascara streaked across my face.

After my dinner date with Sal we went out dancing. And when I say dancing I mean dancing. It was one of those nights where you just try to leave it all on the dance floor. Like a whirling dervish summoning energy for the DJ to change my luck. And my luck was definitely about to change.

When we last left off I was a gal out $20K dollars to make her Kickstarter-feminist-documentary dreams come true. I was just about ready to roll out of bed and face the day when I hear it.


My phone vibrated and lit up like a Christmas tree with Kickstarter notifications. What was going on?

I looked in my inbox and there she was. An email from Marie Forleo to her 300K person newsletter.

All of a sudden the world felt like it was shifting. The numbers on Kickstarter actually increased in real-time as I watched my campaign get closer and closer to reaching it’s goal. During that time I felt two things simultaneously: joy and loneliness.

My Kickstarter team was small. There were three gals that helped me film the trailer- two of whom actually didn’t like working on the project and we wouldn’t work together in the future (more on that later) and one whom I just met and loved named Mary Perrino (who I would later hire as our Director of Photography). But we weren’t very close yet, so I felt this pang of emptiness of not being able to share this joy with anyone directly related to this project, outside of Sal.

Reflecting on it now, I think that’s why I love my team so much. The base of the Dream, Girl’s production team would expand to include six women on set, and four women full-time. They would become sisters to me, and every step we would get closer to completing our film would feel more meaningful because we were doing it together.

But I also felt something else on that crazy afternoon in August, and that was joy. Pure, unexpected, overwhelming joy. In the form of many tears.  I sat with my laptop on my couch and balled. The stress and the anxiety of the last twenty days washed away as the number kept increasing. Aside from my phone getting millions of notifications from Kickstarter, I was also on a massive group thread with my friends who had been watching the campaign.

For three blissful hours I watched the screen until we were $50 away from making our goal. Then my phone rang. It was Marie.

“OMG WE ARE ALMOST THERE!” She yelled into the line. I was speechless. There were no words. Through the phone she yelled at her partner to donate the last $50 to make our goal. I shook as tears streamed down my face and tried my best to say “thank you” to a woman who had just changed the trajectory of my life.

Later that day the number would keep climbing, and over the last four days of our campaign we would go on to double our goal and raise over $100K to make Dream, Girl.

Before being on set or building the business I had work to do. I needed to hire a crew.