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Balls of Steel™: The Social Media Stage

What happens when two men enter a bar full of frustrated filmmakers?

Don’t get your hopes up. This isn’t one of those jokes.

Meet Richard Botto, co-founder and CEO of Stage 32, a new online network of filmmaking, television and theater creatives, ranging from make-up artists, to screenwriters, to editors.

Let’s rewind to that bar…

Curt Blakeney and Richard "RB" Botto

Curt Blakeney and Richard "RB" Botto

Richard and his Fair Warning Productions partner, Curt Blakeney, attended American Film Market (AFM), trying to put together a project. In between networking, they sat at the bar listening to people from all over the globe lamenting about the same thing – the difficulties of selling films.

Botto shares, “Listening to their stories of woe, we realized, absent of living in L.A., there’s no way to make connections unless you travel to conferences or festivals. But once there, if nothing happens, you’re back to square one. Just like these other filmmakers, we wanted to find a way to connect 24/7/365.”

With that idea, the stage was set. Blakeney and Botto co-founded Stage 32.

Before you yell at your computer screen, “Oh no, not another social media site,” I assure you, Stage 32 is no ordinary time-suck beast where people post what they had for breakfast. It’s packed with valuable information for a price that’s right – free.

It’s no secret, I’m a Twitter girl, but using multiple social media platforms is essential to gaining exposure and expanding your network, especially if you’re trying to break in outside of L.A.

A common analogy I hear is LinkedIn is your mother, Facebook is your spouse, and Twitter is your lover. If that’s true, Stage 32 is your manager.

In only five short months, the site has attracted over 43,000 members and connected people from around the world, launching new projects every day. Botto even spoke of one project consisting entirely of people who met on Stage 32. Beyond group results, one screenwriter, struggling to break in for the past 10 years, earned three paid writing gigs to keep her busy for the next 18 months.

Imagine networking like that from your living room, without spending a dime or even needing to shower.

That’s my kind of community.

Beyond connecting with like minds, the site has amazing guest bloggers, including Doug Richardson (Die Hard 2, Hostage, Bad Boys), Rex Pickett (author of the novel Sideways), and most recently Danny Rubin (Groundhog Day). Reading other writers’ experiences is a fantastic learning tool.

When you need industry information, there’s a “Buzz” section where the latest news is posted. It’s one-stop shopping.

But best of all is the ability to post current projects, resumes, scripts, photos, videos, and loglines. Once you have your profile set, skip over to the “Find Work” section to see if you match anyone’s needs.

Because I’m a skeptical, hands-on person, I tested the site’s power by posting my own short film, Impasse, and within the hour had several actors reaching out wanting to audition.

Filmmaking is a collaborative medium. Community is what we need, and Stage 32 has it in abundance. It’s not a site with people killing time at their day jobs. It’s full of talented artists eager to connect.

Climb on the stage and let the curtain rise on your career.

For more information on Breaking in Outside of Hollywood, check out my On Demand webinar available at the Writers Storeand find me on Stage 32.

Email questions or topics you’d like addressed in future Balls of Steels columns and follow her on Twitter @jeannevb.