The film started with a simple question: “Why do people consider software so mystifying?” I wanted a film that
was a love letter to the industry that has given me so much. But as I started filming, a lack of representation
became obvious. Looking back at my own career, I realized that I had never worked with an American woman
programmer and very few black or Latinx software developers. I realized that my experience wasn’t an aberration.
I realized that instead of a love letter to the tech industry, I had to tell the story of my own role in lack of
inclusion and diversity.
I pivoted the film to focus on the exploration of the industry’s lack of inclusion. This includes the history of
software that started with eight key woman who wrote the first software, and encompasses the changes that led to
it being so dominated by white, straight men. While the film is still steeped in my love for the coding, it is
driven by the goal of encouraging women, black and Latinx representation.
By focusing on the wrongs of the past and the benefits of the future, I’m hopeful that the film will do its part
to increase representation. It does this by telling several key stories. These include explaining the
generationally changing benefits of being a software developer, telling the story of how lack of diversity not
only makes for inequality but also has led to bad software design, as well as chronicling the changes that have
to happen in primary and secondary education to make the industry more inviting.
During the process of making the film, we’ve been very lucky to have an encouraging community of people that
have helped make it happen. This meant raising funds through a successful crowdfunding campaign and building an
audience for the film. With this we were able to build a mailing list and get the word out via Twitter through
our 20K+ followers. Adding to this we had two successful test screenings in Atlanta that helped my editor, Randy
Hill, and I cut a lot of the fat that was left in the film. The finishing step was to work with Peggy Still
Johnson’s excellent team to complete the sound design, soundtrack and theme song. I think the finished film is a
result of putting together such a great, passionate group of people. I can’t thank them enough.
My hope is that the film fulfills the goal of making a difference even if it is just a small part of that
- Shawn Wildermuth, Director