WHAT A YEAR!

Those who know me well know that I only like to look in the rear view in an effort to learn from the past. There is always one exception to my self-imposed rule, however — the transition from one year to the next. There’s no better time to take some time to reflect on and celebrate one’s accomplishments. On a personal and professional level, Stage 32 was not only a terrific year for my staff and yours truly, but a banner year for many of our members.

In the hope of inspiring and motivating all film, television and theater creatives around the world to follow through on the chase of their artistic dreams, here is a bit of what my team and I accomplished at Stage 32 along with some incredible tales of success from our remarkably talented members.

Some Stage 32 milestones:

  • We surpassed 500,000 members worldwide!
  • We expanded the Stage 32 team to include Julie Zhou — Jr. Web Developer, Noelle Freeman — Social Media Czar, Joe Mackedanz — Education Coordinator, Erik Grossman — Stage 32 Happy Writers Coordinator and Rosalind Winton — Editor.
  • We launched a complete redesign of the site — Stage 32 3.0! click here!
  • We added a ton of new site features and improvements including more a feature rich and robust Meetups, Lounge, and Jobs section.
  • We were invited by the Cannes Film Festival Marche du Film to be featured in their NEXT Pavilion along side such companies as Amazon and Indiegogo as a one of the leading companies heading the charge in the convergence of entertainment and tech. Stage 32 had the 2nd highest attended panel next to Netflix — click here!
  • We launched our first ever Short Film Contest and partnered with the Raindance Film Festival to screen our winners at the festival. The program has been heralded as one of the most diverse and complete short programs to screen at a festival in 2015. click here!
  • In addition to Cannes and London, Stage 32 was all over the globe speaking at film festivals and conferences including Tribeca, Sundance, SXSW, Austin Film Festival, FEST Festival Portugual, Festival du Film Merveilleux & Imaginaire in Paris and more!
  • We launched a partnership with the Producers Guild of America for the Produced By Conference, plus a partnership with the PGA Women’s Impact Network to find female centric scripts — click here!
  • We partnered with Nickelodeon to find fresh new voices for their upcoming projects! See below videos from Benji Smith for updates!
  • The On Stage with RB broadcast — a FREE online broadcast hosted by yours truly and airing every month reached its 19th show! Our leading industry guests and 2 hour Q&A sessions with the community allowed for us to reach an all-time high in viewership! You can watch any and all On Stage With RB broadcasts for FREE as often as you’d like — click here!
  • The Stage 32 Happy Writers launched some of the most successful industry contests (Feature, TV, Comedy, Search for New Blood) that provided our members access, opportunity and exposure to filmmakers and screenwriters all over the world!
  • We increased the number of industry executives and instructors who work with us to over 500! click here!
  • Both myself and Stage 32 Happy Writers President, Joey Tuccio, were featured on dozens of podcasts that you can listen to for free — click here!
  • We launched the Stage 32 Store bringing you the coolest Stage 32 gear to bring with you on set! click here!
  • Gratefully, we received a ton of press including coverage in Variety, Indiewire, Indiewire: Thompson on Main, Silicon Beach, TechCo, Indiewire and more!

Some Stage 32 Member Accomplishments:

  • We’ve had thousands of collaborations on Stage 32 that have lead to success stories which have changed many people’s lives. Take a minute to see some of them — click here and here!
  • Creativity is Universal: 22 Stage 32 members representing 20 different countries including Australia, Belgium, England, France, Germany, Finland, Netherlands, India, Italy, United States of America, Malaysia, Monaco, Romania, Spain, Switzerland, South Africa, Argentina and Brazil had films screen at the Cannes Film Festival.
  • Michel Merkt’s film IN THE SHADOW OF WOMEN, opened the Cannes Film Festival Directors’ Fortnight, click here.
  • Craig Walendziak landed a writing assignment to co-write A DYING ART with Matthew McCarty for producer David Harris (UnLTD Productions). David Moscow (BIG) is making his directorial debut. The film went into production this year — click here!
  • Luis R. Quintero connected with Pedro Avila on Stage 32. They immediately hit it off and established a wonderful Director / DP relationship. They filmed GUILTLESS this year starring Ed Asner and Danny Trejo — click here!
  • Stephanie J. Castillo, Emmy award winner, searched for a cameraman in Amsterdam on Stage 32 and found Igor Andreevski. Ten days of travel and 11 filmed interviews later, THOMAS CHAPIN, NIGHT BIRD SONG is now in post-production!
  • Brian Jett’s film Fallen Stars was produced by Stage 32 executive Stephanie Marin and opened the Austin Film Festival.
  • The winner of the Stage 32 Short Film Contest, Matt Kazman was screened at the Raindance Film Festival, featured in Variety and had meetings with The Weinstein Company and the producer of SHORT TERM 12! He is now directing a soon-to-be announced MTV show!
  • Glenn Forbes, was signed to Infinity Management International and his script THE WRECKAGE has just been optioned by Glider Films. Glenn won The Stage 32 Search for New Blood Contest.
  • Frank Ponce has been signed to 3 Arts Entertainment and his script has been picked up for development by Atlas Entertainment (THE DARK KNIGHT, AMERICAN HUSTLE). To read Frank’s Blog Update — Click Here.
  • Marni Sullivan got a writing assignment with Apex Entertainment’s Dorian Connelly.
  • Here’s a compilation of Stage 32 member successes from all over the globe:

Ian Simpson signed with Industry Entertainment:

Benji Smith met with Nickelodeon and Meridian Artists:

Heather Ostrove met with Lionsgate, ICM and Dimension:

Michael J. Shapiro signed with Marilyn Atlas:

Benjello Jacob signed with APA and Platform:

Jenna Palermo and Brittni Brown met with executives from SONY, Lionsgate, Universal, Warner Bros, 3 Arts Entertainment and Gotham Group to name a few:

Stage 32 Happy Writers helped over 200 writers and filmmakers get optioned, sold, staffed or in development with their projects. Here’s s compilation of some of them:

Incredibly enough, that’s just some of what went on around here over the last 12 months! I’m thrilled to say that not only do we have some members on the cusp on terrific things which should be announced early in the new year, we also have some incredible features and resources planned for Stage 32 in 2016. The best, truly, is yet to come.

Here’s wishing you a happy, healthy and creative 2016!

Richard Botto, known as RB to his friends, is the Founder and CEO of Stage 32, the online platform dedicated to connecting and educating film, television and theater creatives. The network currently has a half million members from across the globe. FORBES has called Stage 32 “LinkedIn meets Lynda for film, television and theater creatives.”

RB is also a repped screenwriter, actor and producer. His script, THE END GAME, is currently in development. He has spoken and instructed around the world at festivals, conferences and schools such as Cannes, AFM, SXSW, Tribeca, Raindance, Winston Baker, and Columbia College on social media, crowdfunding, crowdsourcing, screenwriting, filmmaking and the entertainment business. His book on film crowdsourcing will be published by Focal Press in 2016.