From logistics and stress to entrepreneurship with impact

Ashley discovered her glamorous and exciting career in the film industry, really wasn’t all it was hyped up to be. 15 years down the line, Ashley took some time to reevaluate her career path, went traveling, and discovered the Escape community. After joining the Founding Members program, Ashley found her people, and founded her own video and film company with impact; Do Good Films.


 

When I landed a job in the film industry 15 years ago, I thought I had won the lottery. Growing up in Little Rock, Arkansas I never imagined that was a career I could actually have and I worked like a dog for years climbing my way up the ladder. However, as glamorous and exciting as this industry sounds, the hours are grueling and my job as a Producer was all about logistics and budgeting and massive amounts of stress. Far from the creative side that drew me in all those years ago.

So at the beginning of 2016 I decided to take a step back. I was working too much and was exhausted. I knew I needed to reexamine my career path before the stress did me in.  I am a freelancer, and I said no to a few projects, as scary as that was, and spent some time traveling. I did a lot of wandering, I’m not going to lie. At first I thought I wanted to leave the industry altogether and do something in the travel space. I had a business plan and even built a website! And it was going nowhere fast.

Luckily, this was around the time that Escape announced their New York Founding Members Program. I felt like I had gone as far as I could without any support and was thrilled with the idea of a structured program to help me figure out my next steps. Plus at this point most of my friends thought I had lost my mind and I was desperate for some allies! Through several of the exercises we did at Escape I came to realize that my travel idea wasn’t all that viable and all I was doing was thinking up ways to make video to promote it. It turns out that I really do love filmmaking! It was such a relief when I realized that I didn’t need to completely reinvent the the wheel, just shift my focus.

I decided to teach myself how to do what I had spent the last 15 years hiring others to do. I invested in some camera equipment and took an online editing course. I honed my new skills by volunteering my services to nonprofits who couldn’t afford to pay for video of their organizations. The stakes were low and the reward was high – I got loads of practice and they got new marketing material. I really loved working on videos that had an impact for change. The hours didn’t seem so grueling when I was working on something I cared about!

In March 2017 I launched my new production company called Do Good Films. It is a full service production company – ideation to production to editing to increased engagement! The focus is on creating video and films with impact.

My key takeaway from the ESC program, and one I had to continually remind myself of, is the idea of Minimum Viable Product. Basically, what is the bare minimum you can do to get started. When you are starting something new and coming from a place of past career success you tend to think really big. And it can be so daunting thinking about how to get to that place. But if you really drill down and figure out what baby steps you can take, before you know it you have accomplished a few things and each little thing propels you a little further.

Do Good Films

Do Good Films is in its infancy and I by no means have it all figured out yet, but it is a start and it feels good to work really hard on something I care so much about. I know that so many in the Escape community are looking to launch new businesses or are finding work with companies doing great things and I would love to be your go to resource for video! Please check out the website www.dogoodfilms.com or email me at ashley@dogoodfilms.com.

Ashley Bearden

Ashley escaped 15 years working in the film industry as a producer, to founding her own company, creating videos and films with impact.


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