An Interview with Sarah Moshman: The Empowerment Project: a Docu-Series, a Kickstarter Campaign

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Have you ever had someone to aspire to? Some girls and women don’t have the luxury of dreaming big or being inspired to do great things in a male-dominated world. Lately, Kickstarter has been growing in popularity to help make people’s dreams come true and allow other people to help make them happen. Today, girls and women crave for more strong female characters in media and are in need of more every day female role models.

To answer that call, Sarah Moshman (Dancing with the Stars, MTV, NBC, the Food Network, and Bravo) and Dana Michelle Cook (Dancing with the Stars, Design on a Dime, and My Strange Addiction) started a Kickstarter campaign for a docu-series called The Empowerment Project: Extraordinary Women Doing Extraordinary Things. It aims to create positive content for women by shining a light on inspirational, powerful, and strong women in many career fields across the United States. And it’s made for women by women!

Recently, I had the wonderful opportunity to interview Sarah Moshman about the project.

Paper Droids (PD):  What inspired you and Dana Michelle Cook to start the Kickstarter campaign: The Empowerment Project?

Sarah Moshman (SM): Great question! Dana and I have been business partners and friends for several years now and we have made two short documentaries about female empowerment under our production company Heartfelt Productions. When we got the idea for The Empowerment Project, we knew that Kickstarter would be the best way to get our project funded and make our dream a reality.

We are now more than halfway through, and although we still have a lot of work to go, I don’t regret a single moment of this process. I have learned so much about how to market myself, and felt so much love and support from friends, family, and strangers.

PD: Why do you believe there isn’t enough positive content available in the media for women?

SM: Simply put–because there isn’t! These days you really have to search for content on television that supports, nurtures, and inspires women to be the best they can be. Television and film have been male-driven and focused for so long that it’s hard to get things equal.

I do believe things are changing for the better; there are more scripted shows with strong female protagonists than ever before but the statistics remain that women are not represented in the top roles behind the scenes. When it comes to directors, show-runners, and writers, it’s still a male dominated business.

Then you have reality TV which is increasingly popular because it is inherently cheaper to make and the nature of reality TV is not often favorable for women. The best drama comes from women who fight one another or put each other down in some way. I can only name a handful of solid non-scripted television shows that truly inspire me to be a better person. “Oprah’s Master Class,” “The Conversation,” and “Our America with Lisa Ling” I think are excellent shows to watch in that category. Dana and I just want to be a part of the shift that’s happening towards female empowerment and more positive content for women whether it’s on TV or on the web

PD: Why did you make the conscious effort to form an all female crew for this project?

SM: Honestly that is my favorite part about this project! I think that is what truly sets us apart and makes this unique. I have worked on a handful of projects that had an all female crew and those experiences were some of the most valuable in my career.

There needs to be more women behind the camera, so what better way to practice what we preach by employing all women on this project? So when you see the credits of our series you will only see women’s names! I love that.

Jill Soloway

Jill Soloway

PD: How are you selecting the women you are interviewing for the documentary series?

SM: We are looking for 10 inspirational, powerful women that are in various career fields where women are typically underrepresented. We want to find out how these women got to where they are, what advice they can share about their path to success, how they define success, how they balance their personal lives with work, etc.

We are open to suggestions at this point in the process and will actively pursue women to interview as soon as we have completed the fundraising phase of the project.

But we do have a few amazing women interested in being a part of “The Empowerment Project” already – Gail Mancuso who is an incredible TV director, Molly Barker who created the Girls on the Run organization, as well as Rebecca Walker who was named by Forbes Magazine as one of the 50 future leaders of America.

You can send us a suggestion for an amazing woman to interview on our website: heartfelt-productions.com!

PD: What are you hoping to accomplish with this project?

SM: We want to inspire and empower women to go after whatever dream they have whether it’s about getting behind the scenes and picking up a camera or becoming the CEO of a company. We want women (and men) to take away valuable advice, stories and inspiration that they can utilize in their own lives.

PD: What can people look forward to in the documentary series?

SM: People can look forward to a vast variety of women to learn about and receive guidance from. The audience will experience a side of these women they haven’t seen before. They can also look forward to a behind-the-scenes element of the project and see how our all female crew traveled across the US for a month as well as what struggles we face along the way, and how we grow as women, as filmmakers and as friends.

Also, Jane Lynch makes an appearance in our first webisode! All backers will have access to our first webisode featuring Jane once we hit 50% funded.

Sarah Moshman & Jane Lynch

Sarah Moshman & Jane Lynch

PD: What is the best advice you’ve gotten you’d like to share with women of all ages?

SM: A few things stand out I’d like to share:

  • You are on your own path. No two people have the same way of achieving their goals, so it’s important not to get discouraged because one day you will find that your path led you exactly where you wanted to go and it is unique to you.
  • Be your own biggest fan. No one is going to be as passionate about your dreams as you are, so own who you are and own what you are doing.
  • Dreams change. Not many people have the same dreams as they did when they were kids, because you don’t know enough about the world yet! Go towards your goals but be open enough to let your path change to suit who you become.

PD: What would you like to say to potential backers who are still undecided about supporting the project?

SM: Have you ever had a dream you knew you were meant to fulfill? That’s how we feel about this project. I have never felt more passionate about a project than this one and I have this feeling that we are meant to do this, meant to help get this female empowerment message out to people. This is what we would do if we knew we couldn’t fail. This is our way of adding positivity to the world and trying to create positive role models for women, which are very much in need right now. If you can help us achieve our fundraising goal then you are taking part in making our dream a reality for which we will be forever grateful.

Remember, this project will only be funded if at least $25,000 is pledged by Monday May 27, 12:31pm EDT.

If you want to help bring The Empowerment Project to life, help Sarah and Dana out and become a backer!

To learn more about The Empowerment Project, check out Sarah and Dana’s Kickstarter campaign page.

I'm a quiet girl with a lot to say. I'm a self-proclaimed geek girl, book worm, and social media addict. I'm the digital marketing manager for PaperDroids, so you've probably spoken to me on Twitter or Facebook, or if not, come say hi! I also have a book blog called Feisty Little Woman (feistylittlewoman.wordpress.com), where I write about strong female characters and their importance in novels and share my expertise about the publishing world.