There's no shortage of documentaries that convey what it's like to be an entrepreneur. Which is a good thing because all too often entrepreneurs feel as if they're alone in their experience, or unaware of what it takes to succeed. Here's a roundup of upcoming small business-themed documentaries worth watching, if not for their festival buzz, then for their power to inspire.
The plot: Structured like a television miniseries, Startupland consists of five major plotlines that unfold over multiple episodes. The series focuses on five early-stage tech companies in Washington, D.C. that are enrolled in an accelerator and going through growing pains.
The sell: Interviews with seasoned entrepreneurs such as Steve Case, Esther Dyson, and Alexis Ohanian make for some worthwhile teaching moments (and provide some star power).
Where to watch: Pre-order the series online for $24.99.
2. Print the Legend
The plot: A Netflix original, this South By Southwest Festival-approved film follows the ups and downs of the 3D printing trend and examines what it takes to stand out.
The sell: If access to tech stars like Brad Feld and Makerbot CEO Bre Pettis doesn't grab you, the case study of competition in a saturated market should hold your attention.
Where to watch: Netflix, later this year. The doc will also screen at the Independent Film Festival in Boston on April 27.
3. Dog Days
The plot: The website for the successful Kickstarter campaign, which generated $33,598 in funding in March 2013, describes it best: "An unemployed dreamer and a veteran hot dog vendor take a leap of faith to keep the American Dream afloat in a sinking industry."
The sell: The tensions between restaurants and food truckers take center stage, as an East African immigrant, Siyone, and a neophyte cook named Coite try to diversify the foods offered by D.C. hot dog vendors.
Where to watch: According to its Facebook page, the film is set to premiere on April 15 at the Guthrie Theater for Grove City College.
4. Nothing to Lose: The Documentary
The plot: It's the story of Ryan Blair, the single father of an autistic son, who beat the odds to become a serial entrepreneur worth millions.
The sell: Fans of Blair's bestselling memoir Nothing to Lose, Everything to Gain will enjoy seeing his story come to life on the screen.
Where to watch: In support of National Autism Awareness Month, Blair will donate $1 for every Like, share, or follow of the documentary to charities benefiting autism advocacy and research. The documentary was released on his site on April 9.
5. The Cola Road
The plot: What if anti-diarrhea kits were as ubiquitous in Zambia as Coca-Cola? In August 2012, New York filmmaker Claire Ward spent five weeks shadowing the team from the nonprofit ColaLife to find out.
The sell: The 40-minute documentary is guaranteed to make believers out of anyone who doubts the merits of social entrepreneurs.
Where to watch: The film is currently winding its way through the indie film festival circuit, but should be available to stream online soon.