Dream 10 Profile: Sal Mastrocola
by Kylie Kendall
The Dream 10 is a group of extraordinary people and organizations who have invested in the Dream, Girl premiere in New York City on June 9th, 2016.
When you start a business, the people closest to you inevitably become your co-founders. And when they’re musicians as talented as Sal Mastrocola, Dream, Girl director Erin Bagwell’s husband, they also become your in-house musical composer. Sal wrote 35 original compositions for the film’s soundtrack (10 that found their place in the film)!
Since the very beginning, when Dream, Girl was just an idea scribbled in Erin’s notebook, Sal has been one of the film’s biggest supporters. He’s a great example of what an ally looks like: someone who uses his own work to amplify the voices of women who need to be heard.
And he’s entrepreneurial in his own career, too, as the creator of the band No Nets. As a musician, Sal knows the hustle of self-promotion, networking, and, ultimately, selling a product that means something to the people who buy it. Here, we chatted with Sal about his musical writing process and his unending support for Erin and all female entrepreneurs.
Tell us about the process of writing the Dream, Girl soundtrack!
It was a process that we had to go through a few different times because there have been a few different iterations of the film. The first cut of the film was very vignette based, so I wrote songs that were essentially full-structured pop songs that had beginnings, middles, and ends and there was a lot more music in that cut of the film as a result. And that was what I was used to, so it was really easy and really fun. But as Erin reworked the film, we realized that wasn’t the best way to do it, because there was no room to breathe. It was just music everywhere, and you weren’t able to fully grasp the emotion that was happening. As Erin reworked the film to be more character-driven, I realized was that what you really need from music in a film is for it to almost be invisible. It should just kind of sit in the background and it should allow the viewer to feel whatever emotion is being shown on the screen more deeply.
Hi Beams — the song that closes out the film — was a really fun one to write. It’s very much lyrically inspired by Erin and Komal’s journey. I wanted to write some lyrics that are about how an entrepreneur might feel when they’re first discovering their passion: being kept up, being unable to sleep at night because you’re just so excited about this new thing that you’ve discovered. The idea of ‘high beams’ is the idea of being surrounded by all this dark, but having this powerful guiding light that’s emanating from you and moving you forward. There’s this lyric in the chorus — “I wanna get carried away” — which, when I wrote that, I knew that I had to finish the song and I got really excited about it, because I think there are so many ways you could interpret that. We tend to see it as a negative when someone gets carried away with something, but you can also be carried away by your passion or by something really positive, something that’s bigger than you.
As a musician, you have to be really entrepreneurial yourself. What’s your favorite part of the entrepreneur life?
My favorite part is getting to play great shows, and the way you get that is by forming connections with people. There’s a lot of cold-calling and emailing into the void that you need to do as a musician in order to get yourself on shows, in order to get yourself on blogs, in order to people to listen to your music. Most of it is just cold-calling, and I really hate that aspect of it. But when you do make connections with other musicians, it’s extremely rewarding. And that’s probably my favorite part of the side of it that’s not physically making music. It’s playing a show and finding another band that you really connect with. I’ve found that when you find people who you really do have a connection with, they are very supportive and they’ll help you out. They’ll let you sleep on their floor when you go to their city to play a show. They’ll blast out your music to all their friends who run blogs. So I’ve found it hard to make those kinds of connections, but when they are made, they’re incredibly rewarding.
Why is it important to you to support female entrepreneurs?
Running your own thing and doing your own thing is such an empowering feeling. Just having anything that you’re passionate about, anything that keeps you up at night — going into that, I don’t think there’s anything more empowering in the world than spending all your time doing something that you’re deeply passionate about. And I think anything that encourages people to do that or encourages people to choose that feeling, especially women, who I think have been told not to do that in a lot of ways by society, anything I can do to associate myself or support that is going to change that narrative is extremely worthwhile.
What would you like to see for the future of the Dream, Girl movement?
I want to see Dream, Girl on a million screens across the world, because I think this film that Erin has made deserves to be seen by everyone. And it’s not just a women’s film; it’s not just an entrepreneur’s film. It’s a film that I truly believe everyone can pull something meaningful from and everyone can be emotionally affected by and inspired by. I just want as many people as possible to see it. Part of it is just me being so proud of her — I’m so proud of everything she’s done. I want everyone to know how hard she worked on this and everyone to see the fruits of her labor. I want it to get out there.