Posted by Karen "Kay" Ross

Stage 32 hosts online forums, called Lounges to encourage like-minded professionals to communicate and collaborate. As I've become more familiar with these lounges as the new Stage32 Community Manager, the more I liken them to V.I.P. Filmmakers' Lounges hosted at film festivals. These are the exclusive rooms where creators can step away from the pomp and press to find other professionals… and a stiff drink. These are the "networking opportunities" that so many in the industry scramble to attain. Here on Stage32, we host our own V.I.P. Filmmakers' Lounges year-round, totally free and B.Y.O.B.

Better yet, we have individual lounges for every hat, occupation, discipline, or interest you may have in the entertainment industry, including Acting, Animation, Filmmaking/Directing, Cinematography, Composing, Distribution, Film Financing, Producing, Post-Production, and more!

So, how do you begin to meet any of these super-cool, working professionals? Start a conversation or join a debate – virtually! Below are five ways you can find or start those networking lounge discussions.

1) Join Conversations on Your Homepage Scroll

So, you're on your computer, you've typed in, and if you're still logged in, you land on your home page. By default, you will be looking at your "feed."


5 Ways to Explore  Network in the Stage 32 Lounges


The series of posts in your feed is composed of all the posts from your immediate network and from lounges with which you are subscribed. This means, without navigating to any of the individual lounges, you can scroll through your feed and comment on established conversations in every lounge. How do you know which lounge a post has been posted in? In a post, it goes Name, Title, Lounge – so just look at that profile picture, and you'll find the "posted in" tag!


5 Ways to Explore  Network in the Stage 32 Lounges


But what if you have a fresh post you are dying to start? No problem! On that same page, click on "Post to Wall" to share with only the people you've connected with or click on "Post to Lounge" to share with like-minded creatives per topic. There is even a little dropdown menu so you can choose what lounge to post to! You didn't ask, but I can sense the impending question: You do not have to be subscribed to any lounge to post on it. Subscribing just ensures you see posts from that lounge in your feed. Basic Lounge Surfing? CHECK!


5 Ways to Explore  Network in the Stage 32 Lounges


2) "Join the Discussion" from Your Homepage

Okay, you've scrolled through your feed, but it's just not doing it for you. Where are the juicy topics? What's popping? I want to go where the people are! Hold up – you're already there!

On the right side of the home page, there is a curated selection of popular topics from your subscriptions labeled "Join the Discussion." You can even "show more" and "see all" if you want more to dig into. The best part – you only get the title, so there is an excellent opportunity for discovery with this version of "Lounge Exploration."


5 Ways to Explore  Network in the Stage 32 Lounges


3) Join "Trending Lounge Discussions" from Lounge

Let's hover for a moment. If we're exploring lounges, let's hover over "Lounges" at the top and see what we can find. Oh! Speaking of popular discussions, let's find the party at "Trending Lounge Discussions"! 

This will read just like your home page feed, but now it has weeded out any posts that are not getting as many responses. It also only pulls from the lounges to which you are subscribed. This is a fantastic option if you're looking to really engage in active chats, as there will assuredly already be comments on the topic for you to respond to. If you want to jump in on the hottest conversations, this is the place to go!


5 Ways to Explore  Network in the Stage 32 Lounges


4) Use the Search Bar on the Lounge Home Page

"Hey, Kay? I have a question that I'm sure lots of people in our vast global community could answer. Still, I feel silly posting it because I'm sure someone has already asked it. Can't I just look up previous posts to save myself the embarrassment?" Yes. Yes, you can.

Lurkers, hold on to your butts… Did you know you can click on "Lounge"? Or even "All Lounges" under "Lounge"? Yep! Welcome to the Lounge Home Page! This is where you can access all of the lounges, confirm your subscriptions, add or change your subscriptions. The subscriptions, however, is not why I bring you here. Check out that Search Bar at the top right corner, just below the red Writer's Room button. Yes, you can search through all posts. All of them!


5 Ways to Explore  Network in the Stage 32 Lounges


Your best bet is to find a single keyword and run with that. "Manager" will bring up both "looking for a manager" and "what is the difference between a manager and a lawyer" conversations. "50mm Lens" will bring up posts with just "50mm" and only "lens" in them. Of course, this is an exploration, so play around and see what you can find!

5) Join Lounge Posts from Network Profiles

The final way you can explore the Stage 32 Lounges? Isn't it obvious? Okay, I won't use the "s" word, because it's creepy, but how about pursuing lounge conversations through individual profiles? Chasing? Hunting?

Let's say you've hit it off with a fellow Stage 32-er, but you don't know what else to talk about. Why not find out what they're already talking about? No need to become a Stage 32 stalker, but you can totally visit a member's profile, and click on Lounge Posts.


5 Ways to Explore  Network in the Stage 32 Lounges


There, you can scroll through the conversations they have both started and participated in. It's like hitting it off at a networking event and following your new buddy into another circle of people.

Yes, you may also explore that person's Wall. But remember, some of those posts will be exclusive to just that person's network, which means you won't necessarily meet new people.

Now that you know how and where to find lounge discussions, it's time to jump in and get social! What kind of conversations do you want to start?

After RB's most recent "Ask Me Anything", I've started a series of Town Hall posts for Acting, Animation, Cinematography, Filmmaking, Post-Production, and Producing. If you have suggestions on ways our Stage32 Community can support all aspects of filmmaking, jump in on our little virtual Town Hall Q&A! I look forward to chatting with you in the Lounges!


About Karen E. Ross

Find Your Community on Stage 32

K. Ross is a graduate of Colorado Film School and Regis University in Denver, Colorado. She’s a screenwriter, director, and producer based out of Los Angeles. Originally from the DC area, she’s written and produced several short films, hosts a podcast called “The Pre-Pro Podcast” aimed at teenagers interested in media, and is currently developing a slate of new material, including a coming-of-age TV Pilot set at the Renaissance Festival and a feature film about how "compassion fatigue" affects everyday people. She enjoys acting, directing, and being interviewed, just like her fun-loving mentor, Kevin Smith. She loves opportunities to work with inclusive, diverse, and driven professionals.



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