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  • Writer's pictureDiane Rose-Solomon

Diane’s Diary #29: How Social Entrepreneurship has Impacted My Filmmaking

Updated: May 17, 2021

Note: This is Excerpt #29 in Diane’s Diary. If you would like to read previous excerpts, you can find Diane’s Diary 1-28 here.


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The past few blog posts have been a glimpse into the filming I did in Florida in 2019. What I haven’t written about yet, is that beginning in 2018, I was in graduate school, studying Social Entrepreneurship and Change at Pepperdine University.

I bring it up here for a few reasons.

First of all, I had initially intended on producing a feature-length film but two totally unrelated people in my life suggested that I instead make some short films to get practice and see if I even like filmmaking. I thought it was a good idea.

When I got to school, one of the first concepts I learned about was a Minimum Viable Product (MVP). Basically, it’s a simple rendering of your business idea and then as you get feedback and see what works and what doesn’t you can pivot and iterate. And if it was a bad idea, you can scrap it before wasting too much time, effort, and money. Learning about MVP confirmed my decision to start with short short films.

I also had to write a marketing plan and a business plan and do a Fast Pitch (like a Shark Tank) competition. These were all novel to me. Writing the business plan is a ton of work but it forced me to ask and answer a lot of questions. Even though the plans have changed already, they gave me a starting off point. Plus, they gave me a lot of language that I’ve been repurposing when writing other documents, including grant applications.

Grad school helped me gain a 30,000-foot view of my business. I was also exposed to a variety of social causes that I hadn’t previously thought about much. Yet, the most meaningful gain I had in school was learning from the other members of my cohort. We all arrived with different interests, backgrounds, and stories. We are an extremely diverse group of people and they are some of my greatest teachers.

One of the requirements, other than the business plan and Fast Pitch, is to travel to a developing country and work with a non-profit or NGO for two weeks. I chose to spend a month in India. I worked at an animal rescue and sanctuary in Udaipur and visited another in Tiruvannamalai, traveling the country in between. It was a remarkable and deeply moving experience. You can find that blog here, and I also shared photos of that journey on Instagram (December 2019) which was a great way to share my experiences.

I share all of this because school and my trip to India were remarkable and deeply moving experiences that have continued to impact my work.

The only issue was that any filming work I did while in school was very slow because I was so busy with schoolwork. That said, I am better able to focus on the filming now. Given that we are currently in a pandemic, there isn’t a lot of filming going on, and I’m working on a lot of the behind-the-scenes stuff.

In the next blog we’ll find out which short film came next!


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