Website Sets the ‘Stage’ for Film Students to Network in the Entertainment Industry
Published: Friday, June 29, 2012
Updated: Friday, June 29, 2012 14:06
Making it in show business is all about who you know, so why not introduce yourself to 55,000 people in the industry? All it takes is a visit toStage32.com, a global social networking site for those in film, television and theater.
Stage 32, the brainchild of founders Curt Blakeney and Richard Botto, was launched last September to help film students, actors, directors, screenwriters, producers, crew, agents and other industry members network and collaborate. It has spread to more than 180 countries all across the globe but the registration cost remains in a student’s budget range to join -- free.
To foster connections, the site features chat rooms, industry news updates, private messaging and listings for projects and jobs. Members can upload photos, videos and projects, and follow other projects they’re interested in. The site can be found online at Stage32.com, Facebook.com/Stage32 or on Twitter at @stage32online.
Blakeney took some time to chat with College Times about the start of Stage 32, how to navigate the site and why film students and graduates should sign up.
College Times: Where did the idea for Stage 32 come from?
Curt Blakeney: We were out in Los Angeles at the American Film Market, which basically is just a big conference of filmmakers around the world. They get together over this week in Los Angeles and everyone’s pitching their projects. You have filmmakers from all around the world come in -- you get people from Europe, from the UK and from Asia. You have one week to make your pitch. Once they’re done, they go back to wherever it is they’re from. We thought it would be great to create a website where people can network with other members, other filmmakers around the globe, year-round, 24/7.
Why is it important to connect this way with people in the entertainment industry?
Making a movie has so many different moving parts, and it involves so many people, I can’t stress enough how important it is to network. There are so many pieces to the puzzle, and what we’re trying to do is help fit those pieces a little bit better. You’ve got a screenwriter, a director, you’ve got actors and your crew and all those people have to come together to make a movie. There’s no person who can make a movie by themselves. Let’s say you’ve got a book that you want to make into a movie, you could find a screenwriter to develop a screenplay and then you could find your director, a producer, your crew, your cast all on Stage 32.
What makes Stage 32 different from other social networking sites?
There was nothing out there that was specific to film, theater and television industry. You’ve got the broader social networks to connect with friends, and it’s great to get in touch with people you went to school with. But as far as furthering your career in the film industry or theater or television, we thought it would be great if there was a niche social network where people can do that. LinkedIn is out there, but you don’t get that same interaction that you do with our site.
How should a new sign-up start interacting with people on the site?
You can search our database of members to see if there are people in your city, add those people to your network, then you have different methods to communicate with them. We have an open forum, called Stage 32 Lounge, where you can communicate with everyone on Stage 32. Filmmakers can post their projects on Stage 32. If you want to see what projects people are working on, and maybe see if there’s a common interest, you can reach out. Before, it was difficult, because how did you know someone was working on a project in your town? Or that this particular filmmaker was looking for an actor? So that’s what we do. We’re keeping that communication constantly flowing.
Why should film students sign up?
Stage 32 is great for students and recent graduates of film school because it gives them the opportunity to start networking not only with other film students but also with people who have some experience in the industry. It’s so important to stress to the film students -- network, network, network. More so than any other profession, networking is the number one thing you have to do. It’s not what you know. It’s who you know in the industry. You can still use traditional means to find work in your chosen profession, but why not get a head start and why not network with as many people as possible? Get your name out there and start meeting people.