The Stage 32 Blog
Hello 32’ers…Hope you are having a creative week.
I wanted to share some updates we recently made to the Stage 32 Lounge. First and foremost, we’ve streamlined the Lounge category menu. You can view it here.
The new menu will make it easier to find your favorite Lounge topics and simplify the process of moving from one topic to another.
We’ve also added three new Lounge topics:
Inspirational and Industry Quotes – Have a favorite motivational quote? A go to saying that gets you through the day to day? Perhaps a quote about your craft from one of your favorite stars? This is the place to post…
You’re The Critic – Many of you have requested a place to write capsule or column reviews of films, plays, or television shows. We’ve heard you loud and clear. All critics welcome, as are fans or critics of the critics.
Remember, for general film, theater, and television discussion – for example, to start a season long discussion as to how Breaking Bad is going to end or what plays you are anticipating this fall – head over to the Film & TV Discussion and Theater Discussion sections of the Lounge.
We have also added a new section to the Lounge called Spotlight. Lounge categories in this area include:
Introduce Yourself – Although we have our Introduce Yourself Weekends every 3rd weekend of the month, the Introduce Yourself section of the Lounge is always open. Stop in and let everyone know who you are, what you’ve done, and what you’re planning to do…If you’re a veteran of the Stage 32 community, be sure to check in and give some support to the new members of the network.
Stage 32 Meetups – Want to set up a Stage 32 Meetup in your town? Grab the attention of others in your area by posting here. Thousands of our members around the globe have taken their networking to the street by forming writing, acting, and filmmaking groups or just setting up informal get-togethers. Don’t forget to post pictures of the event!
Stage 32 Success Stories - Find work or representation? Cast your film or project? Secure funding? Made a career altering connection? Maybe Stage 32 just kept you in the game?! Help others in the community by sharing how you used Stage 32 to find success!
So how can you best use the Lounge to your advantage? What habits will lead to the best results? Some ideas:
- Participate! Man, this one seems obvious, huh? But you’d be amazed how many members of the Stage 32 community spend their time browsing instead of posting (We know…We have access to the stats)…
Post instructional content…or, for that matter, recreational content… Begin a (healthy) debate…Reply to someone asking for advice…Comment on a member’s content…
Be active, not passive…No one can see you when you hide behind a wall…It’s a social network, be visible, be heard!
- Like! We recently revamped our Like interface (read more here: http://www.stage32.com/site-updates). It is not only easier than ever to Like content or a post, but you can now see which members of the community are liking material.
It seems so simple (and therefore so easy to pass up), but pressing Like is a vote of confidence, it’s spreading positive energy, it’s showing support. And, as a creative, what’s better than the support of your peers? Plus you earn Karma points! So you got that going for you, which is nice.
If you see a good Lounge post, if you like someone’s response, if the material inspires or motivates you, give it a Like...
- Share! You can share any Lounge post on Facebook and Twitter simply by clicking on the respective icons beneath any post (next to the Like button). We also offer a Permalink (next to the Twitter icon) in case you want to share the link of the post on any other social media or via email.
So, if you come across a post you like or if someone posts content you relate with, share it with others in the cyberworld.
We hope these changes and tips make the Lounge easier to navigate and participate. Over the next few months, we’ll be rolling out other improvements and additions to Stage 32 which we believe will help not only enhance the user experience, but assist in making more members of the community take further steps toward their goals.
In the meantime, I’ll see you over at the Lounge. First round is on me.
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The big buzz around town this week revolved around the comments made by Steven Spielberg and George Lucas regarding the future of the film industry during a talk at the USC School of Cinematic Arts (see The Hollywood Reporter's coverage of this story below).
There are those who find the griping of the two icons as hypocritical considering that they were at the forefront of the summer blockbuster movement. But let's remember, Jaws, even though it was based on a best seller, was a bit of a risk. And no one wanted to touch Star Wars. Today, studios are playing it much safer. Most summer tentpole films are based on existing content with built in audiences. Further still, they are critic proof. Man of Steel, the new Superman film, is sitting at 58% on Rotten Tomatoes. Where I went to school that would signify "F" material. Still, as I write, the film has grossed more than $21 million domestically in less than 24 hours.
In theory, I can see where Spielberg is coming from. A half dozen or so $250 million dollar flops would certainly cause the studios to rethink the model. But when even comedies which get killed by critics - I'm looking at you, Identity Thief with your 20% Rotten Tomatoes ranking - gross over $100 million ($134.5M to be precise), is there really a chance we'll see such a string of tentpole flops? Hard to envision.
I've also seen people laughing off the idea of $25 ticket prices and Broadway-eque experiences. On the surface it seems outrageous, right? But mere hours after Spielberg and Lucas tossed the idea around came this from Paramount (courtesy of Deadline Hollywood):
Paramount said Thursday that it will offer the film world's first "mega ticket" for an advance screening of the Brad Pitt zombie actioner World War Z Regal theaters around the US. For $50 - that's a $75 value, mind you - a moviegoer with said golden ticket from Fandango gets admission to the June 19 3D showing of the flick, a download or stream of the film when it's released on home video, custom 3D glasses, a limited-edition official movie poster and a small popcorn.
Strange days, indeed.
I, for one, hope there is some sort of implosion. Although I don't necessarily agree with Spielberg and Lucas as to how it will happen, I do believe everything is cyclical. These days, the industry rejects great filmmakers, established filmmakers, with stories to tell (See: Steven Soderbergh, Behind The Candelabra). And even though the expansion of the internet has made it easier for a novice filmmaker to attract an audience to their work, he or she has little chance receiving widespread distribution. That needs to change. When a film that wins Best Picture at a festival as well regarded as Sundance only received a five screen commitment in New York and Los Angeles, the system must be questioned.
So good for Spielberg and Lucas to questioning the very system which has supported them for the last four decades. It's been said that it's easy to shout from the top of an ivory tower, but it's much easier - and safer - to sit quiet in luxury.
PS - What say you? Time for the brilliant minds of this community to chime in. I love hearing your opinions, so let's discuss in the Comments section below.
Steven Spielberg Predicts 'Implosion' of Film IndustryGeorge Lucas echoed Spielberg's sentiments at an event touting the opening of a new USC School of Cinematic Arts building, saying big changes are in store. Steven Spielberg on Wednesday predicted an "implosion" in the film industry is inevitable, whereby a half dozen or so $250 million movies flop at the box office and alter the industry forever. What comes next -- or even before then -- will be price variances at movie theaters, where "you're gonna have to pay $25 for the next Iron Man, you're probably only going to have to pay $7 to see Lincoln." He also said that Lincoln came "this close" to being an HBO movie instead of a theatrical release. George Lucas agreed that massive changes are afoot, including film exhibition morphing somewhat into a Broadway play model, whereby fewer movies are released, they stay in theaters for a year and ticket prices are much higher. His prediction prompted Spielberg to recall that his 1982 film E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial stayed in theaters for a year and four months. The two legendary filmmakers, along with CNBC anchor Julia Boorstin and Microsoft president of interactive entertainment business Don Mattrick,were speaking at the University of Southern California as part of the festivities surrounding the official opening of the Interactive Media Building, three stories high and part of the USC School of Cinematic Arts. Lucas and Spielberg told USC students that they are learning about the industry at an extraordinary time of upheaval, where even proven talents find it difficult to get movies into theaters. Some ideas from young filmmakers "are too fringe-y for the movies," Spielberg said. "That's the big danger, and there's eventually going to be an implosion - or a big meltdown. There's going to be an implosion where three or four or maybe even a half-dozen megabudget movies are going to go crashing into the ground, and that's going to change the paradigm." Lucas lamented the high cost of marketing movies and the urge to make them for the masses while ignoring niche audiences. He called cable television "much more adventurous" than film nowadays. "I think eventually the Lincolns will go away and they're going to be on television," Lucas said. "As mine almost was," Spielberg interjected. "This close -- ask HBO -- this close." "We're talking Lincoln and Red Tails -- we barely got them into theaters. You're talking about Steven Spielberg and George Lucas can't get their movie into a theater," Lucas said. "I got more people into Lincoln than you got into Red Tails," Spielberg joked. Spielberg added that he had to co-own his own studio in order to get Lincoln into theaters. "The pathway to get into theaters is really getting smaller and smaller," Lucas said. Mattrick and Spielberg also praised Netflix, prompting Boorstin to ask Spielberg if he planned to make original content for the Internet streamer. "I have nothing to announce," said the director. Lucas and Spielberg also spoke of vast differences between filmmaking and video games because the latter hasn't been able to tell stories and make consumers care about the characters. Which isn't to say the two worlds aren't connected. Spielberg, in fact, has teamed with Microsoft to make a "TV" show for Xbox 360 based on the game Halo and he is making a movie based on the Electronic Arts game Need for Speed.
Let's discuss! What say you! All opinions, remarks, and comments welcome!
- Hangin' at the Stage 32 Lounge...
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- A Kid Who Just Wanted To Make Movies and My Aha Moment in SCHIZOPOLIS (Part II)
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- A Decade's Worth of Lessons
- Pursuing Your Dreams - What Have You Done Today?
- ...good intentions.
- Acting Saved My Life; Like a Fish Needs Water
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- Is This My Audience? (Part II)
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- 10 Tips to a Successful Crowdfunding Campaign (Part II)
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- Simplifying the Crowdfunding Marketing Process
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- For the Love of Acting
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- ACTOR MUSCLE: Handling "Rejection" & "Failure" & Surviving Yourself (Part II)
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- The Power of "No"
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- My True Romance with Tony Scott.
- Introduce Yourself Weekend a Smashing Success
- Q&A with acting legend Terence Stamp
- Six Degrees of Stage 32, AKA - It's a Small World After All
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- Inspiration from a Slaughterhouse
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- Hollywood's Best Just Oughta Hang Out at Stage 32
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- Fade To Black - Now What?
- Even more power of networking...
- The Power of Networking
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- Chatting with Chris LaMont of the Phoenix Film Festival
- The Silent Majority
- Writer Held Hostage (Part V)
- Writer Held Hostage (Part IV)
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- Postscript to "My Life on Spec: the Writing of Sideways"
- My Life on Spec: The Writing of Sideways (Part VI)
- My Life on Spec: The Writing of Sideways (Part V)
- My Life on Spec: The Writing of Sideways (Part IV)
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- A STAGE 32 EXCLUSIVE - Rex Picket: My Life on Spec - The Writing of Sideways - Foreword by Richard Botto
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Richard "RB" Botto is co-founder of Stage 32 and CEO of Fair Warning Productions. In 2010, he was an Associate Producer on Sam Levinson's first feature, Another Happy Day. Previously, he was the founder, publisher, and editor of Razor magazine. His latest screenplay, Rocket's Red Glare, was a top 10% finisher in the 2011 Nicholl Screenwriting competition.