insight & inspiration in entrepreneurship

The Documentary

We've all heard and seen stories about the legends, the giant tech IPOs, and the sudden billionaires. But it isn't often that we hear the stories of the regular people who have seen opportunities in the marketplace and have succeeded in carving out a space for themselves, to earn a living, employ others, and improve some aspect of their customers' lives.

Real-life entrepreneurship, the engine of the world economy, hasn't been adequately addressed in the documentary film medium, and we think it's time for this story to be told.

Think of when you were a child, and you wanted to have a lemonade stand, a play, a circus, or a club (and a treehouse where that club could meet). Think of all of the planning that went into these endeavors. The tickets for the circus: Will they be on construction paper or maybe unused gift tags from Christmas? How will we get the audience to our play and how many seats do we have? Is 25 cents too much for lemonade, or can we charge 50 cents?

What adds up to the person who takes the risk of setting out to start something new?

Could it be true that the desire to create new and better things and then sustain them is baked into our psyche? Is it more nature or nurture? Why does Montessori education spawn more entrepreneurs than traditional schools? Why do 40% of all entrepreneurs indicate a learning disability? What are the parallels between the artist and the entrepreneur? What are some of the defining characteristics of a successful venture?

How do people do this?

At Founders Films, our goal is to make this career path more accessible to everyone, and so we need to find an answer to this question most importantly. The barriers to entry on virtually all industries are crumbling. We applaud the Silicon Valley story that was shared in Something Ventured but we believe equally compelling stories exist all around the globe and we would like to share these stories.

The Team

Producer Matt Terrell has dreamed of making this film for years and will do whatever it takes to share this story. In May 2012 he set a goal to create the series as a minimum viable product. A subscriber of the 'action trumps everything' approach, he films 2-3 shoots every month while managing multiple businesses and teaching. This project requires vision to recognize the opportunity, teamwork to collaborate and hustle to implement action. The team is now assembled to execute even more action.

Director Zach Phillips won the Carol North Schmuckler Award for outstanding achievement in film upon graduating from Syracuse University's Film-Drama program in 2005. Since then he has worked in all aspects of production from writing and directing to graphics and compositing. He currently owns and operates the Kitchen, a film production house in Wilmington, Delaware, creating short films for clients in the corporate and non-profit worlds.

The Plan


We will seek compelling stories from all over the country, told by seasoned veterans and new faces.

We will track the entrepreneurial mind and act through all stages of life, from children through school to college and into retirement and beyond. We will speak with experts on the relevance of education, play, nature vs. nurture.

We will talk to first-, second-, and third-generation immigrant business-owners and try to determine the current state of the Land of Opportunity in the world at large.

We will explore the history and data around this practice through the use of beautiful, compelling, and engaging infographics.

We will capture the imagination.

We will inspire this generation of entrepreneurs to go and make something.

Distribution and Exhibition

This film will be shown at festivals and conferences, in classrooms and on the web.

Get Involved

Please share your ideas on Twitter @MattHats or send us an e-mail at Vision Creations to join us in launching this project.