From Feminist to Filmmaker: Celebrating 1 Year of the Dream, Girl Kickstarter

10518976_965238946761_5050090518822131747_nby Erin BagwellFounder of Feminist Wednesday Director of Dream, Girl

[dropcap background="no" color="#333333"]T[/dropcap]his September marks the one year anniversary of our Kickstarter campaign.

This campaign was a bit of a challenge. I decided to go the crowdfunding route because I was ultimately terrified to pitch my idea to investors. I thought I’d be able to more convincingly sell the story I had in my head if I had a trailer. When we launched, I assumed the universe would absorb the power of our positive mission and reward us with funding. I knew it wasn’t going to be easy... but I wasn’t expecting the tumultuous journey that was about to come. The pitching. The networking. Every single day. I essentially became a one woman sales machine, talking up my idea to anyone and everyone who was interested. We did over fifty pieces of press, I must’ve talked to over a hundred female entrepreneurs about their journeys. During that time I would make notes on their company and their stories, keeping track of who my favorites were so we could reach back out to them later to be in the film.

If we got funded.[divider type="dashed" spacing="10"]

[pullquote align="right" cite="" link="" color="" class="" size="1em"]There isn’t any anecdote or quote that sums up the loyalty, support, and power of having a group of fearless women and men throw down on a dream I have had my whole life. But there is one thing I can do, and that’s make a great freaking film.[/pullquote]

[dropcap background="no" color="#333333"]S[/dropcap]even days before our Kickstarter closed we had raised $38,564. We needed to raise a mere $18,436 more in order to hit our campaign goal. It was all or nothing. At this point in the game I remember the sense of hopeless desperation that washed over me. I so desperately wanted this with all my being and soul. The Kickstarter was essentially a business 101 bootcamp that thrust me into pitching our idea over and over again. And every call and every meeting found me falling more and more in love with our mission. I knew this film had to be made. But $18K is a lot of money to raise in 7 days, and I was starting to feel the weight of that money on my shoulders every second. I would possessively guard my phone for any signs of light or noise (Kickstarter would send a text-like message any time we got a backer). It was torture. I remember going to a networking event in the city that week and crying on the way home on the train to my friend Katie C about how this film had to get made and I had to raise the money to do it. But with only 7 days left before we closed I wasn’t sure what to do to make that happen.[divider type="short" spacing="5"]

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[dropcap background="no" color="#333333"]T[/dropcap]hen on Thursday, August 28th at 2pm, I had a call scheduled with Marie Forleo. I reached out to her with a link to our Kickstarter video and she wanted to hear more about the project. We chatted for about an hour about a bunch of things: the film, her story, the universe. I liked how lovely and open she was, I could tell the videos she produced on youtube were coming from a source of authenticity and passion. I was excited to share her story in the film. I can’t remember how her newsletter came up in conversation- but I think I asked to be in it. I knew we were coming down to the last couple of days of the campaign and I knew we needed a hail mary to put us over the finish line. I think I remember her being hesitant at first, or perhaps I was hesitant to ask, but either way she agreed to send out an email blast to her followers about Dream, Girl. I designed a little graphic to accompany the newsletter.

1618132_536322836512557_2979577733145821335_oThe next morning when her newsletter launched, my life was changed forever. The money started to pour in on Kickstarter. My dream of making a feature length film was in motion. My phone exploded with tweets, texts, and notifications. I started sobbing and messages came flooding in from all over the world. We're going to make it. As the number trickled towards our goal of $57,000, Marie called me screaming with excitement. I was speechless, crying over the phone, unable to really process what was happening. We got funded and continued to bring on backers throughout the day. By the end of those 7 days we almost doubled our goal.[divider type="dashed" spacing="10"]

[dropcap background="no" color="#333333"]T[/dropcap]here aren’t really any words I can write that can truly express my thankfulness to our backers for this opportunity. There isn’t any anecdote or quote that sums up the loyalty, support, and power of having a group of fearless women and men throw down on a dream I have had my whole life. But there is one thing I can do, and that’s make a great freaking film.

So that’s where we are, one year later. Deep in the creative den of post production carving away minute by minute to make sure this movie is as gorgeous, impactful, emotional and moving as the story that got us here. And while words can’t really sum up how thankful I feel, I’ll say them anyway- thank you backers, for making our story come alive and my dream come true. You are the reason this film is being made, and we appreciate and honor you everyday while we work hard to make this film crush.11865047_10100220657472961_4411105036052775374_o

Xx Erin

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