Posted by Richard "RB" Botto
Welcome to the weekend everyone.

I’m down at SXSW mentoring and gearing up for our panels and party with Pond5. If you’re in town, be sure to stop by. Information under STAGE 32 NEWS.

Under ENTERTAINMENT NEWS this week: Big loss as Simpsons co-creator and animal activist Sam Simon passes at 59; the Midnight Rider sentencing is finally upon us – I have all the coverage; Christopher Nolan goes to bat on behalf of film; an Oscar winning screenwriter rings in on why he prefers TV to movies; the handicapping of next year’s Oscar race is already underway; an uncensored look at the history of Mad Men; a look at the future of film distribution; the Apple watch has arrived and Hollywood is paying attention; The New York Times and Kickstarter have joined forces to shine a light on documentary filmmakers; more virtual reality demos will be happening at Tribeca this year; why Twitter followings are becoming more valuable than actual talent and much, much more.

Under TIPS, I have filmmaking, film financing, screenwriting and acting info.

Under VIDEOS, the origins of the auteur, the best slo-mo scenes from recent films, Kate Winslet’s Titanic screen test and the trailers for Dark Places and the new season of Veep.

Under POPULAR AND INTERESTING LOUNGE discussions you’ll find a plethora of cool conversations and content across all disciplines. Under STAGE 32 NEWS, everything happening around the network including our latest educational offerings.

We’ve launched our new STAGE 32 MEETUPS section and we’re damn excited about it. Down below, you’ll find all the meetups happening around the globe.

And finally, it was another terrific and inspiring week for many of our members. Check out the tales under STAGE 32 SUCCESS STORIES!

Remember, I welcome remarks and healthy debate in the Comments section below!

Have a wonderful and creative weekend!




This year Stage 32 is taking SXSW in Austin, TX by storm! For those who will be at SXSW, we invite you to join us for food, drinks, networking and two incredible filmmaking panels at the Stage 32/Pond5 Filmmakers Lounge! The lounge opens at 4pm - you will not want to miss these expert panelists discussing all things independent filmmaking! 5pm starts the panel on Making A Film On A Budget and be sure to stay for the 6:30pm panel on Putting Together The Perfect Pitch. To read more about the Stage 32/Pond5 Filmmakers Lounge at SXSW and learn more about the panels, click here: Stage 32/Pond5 Filmmakers Lounge at SXSW

Introducing the new Stage 32 Meetup Section! No longer just a category within the Stage 32 Lounge, with the new Stage 32 Meetups section you can now create a meetup in your area or browse meetups going on around you. Whether you are the Meetup creator, someone choosing to attend or if you just know someone who might be interested in attending a scheduled event, you can invite not only people from the Stage 32 network, but people outside of Stage 32 as well. There's already over a dozen Meetups ready to go, so, what are you waiting for? Go connect! To read more about the incredible new features of the Meetup section, click here: Stage 32 Meetups

This month, we are holding our 1st Spring member drive. We’re asking all of our members to take a look at their contact lists, their social media followers and friends, their acting, writing or other creative groups or the cast and crew they’re working with at the moment and send them an invite to Stage 32. Every person who joins Stage 32 helps strengthen the community by inspiring more communication, more opportunity, more jobs, and more support. To send your invites, click here: Invite Your Friends!


Today, Friday 3/13 at 1pm PDT Stage 32 Next Level Webinars presents 13 Tips To Produce A Micro-Budget Horror Film hosted by Nick Phillips, studio and independent producer for nearly 20 years (Halloween, Hellraiser, The Crow, Straw Dogs, The Roommate, 30 Days of Night: Dark Days and the Project Greenlight film Feast). In this webinar, Nick will show you how to see your horror film through the entire production cycle, from script to screen. From the logistical aspects of hiring crew and finding locations and equipment, to the creative side of producing which involves the development of the script, the casting, the design and the look of the film, he will touch upon every aspect of the micro-budget horror filmmaking journey. To read more about the webinar, see a video from Nick and to sign up, click here: 13 Tips To Produce A Micro-Budget Horror Film

Saturday 3/14 at 11am PDT Stage 32 Next Level Webinars presents The Real Reasons You're Not Getting Signed hosted by respected literary manager Lee Stobby. If you’re looking for a sugarcoated opinion on why you haven’t been signed yet, this webinar isn’t for you, but if you’re serious about wanting to take your career to the next level and can handle the blunt and honest truth, buckle up and get ready to learn! In this webinar, Lee will provide insight into how he as a manager looks for material and clients. He will discuss the most common turn offs and red flags that kill his interest, even if he liked your script or writing (such as not in LA, “bad” personality, not having a script that is ready to go, or soft concepts). He will then go over ways to overcome these things and accent your strengths, plus much much more. To read more about what Lee will cover and to sign up, click here: The Real Reasons You're Not Getting Signed

Tuesday 3/17 at 1pm PDT Stage 32 Next Level Webinars presents Global Tax Incentives, Locations, and Benefits From Around The World: How To Choose The Right Locations For Your Project hosted by Simon Graham-Clare and Ricky Margolis from Future Films USA. In this webinar, Simon and Ricky will demystify global tax incentives and highlight some of the many other factors to take into consideration when looking at different locations. They will look at current example incentives from around the world and also enlighten you on ways these incentives can trigger additional investment into your project. Filmmakers will learn more about international independent film financing and how tax incentives are a key element to the business plan and can open doors to a slew of potential partners, helping to plot a ‘road map’ to production. Writers will learn why they need to be thinking about the locations in which they set their stories, and how it affects the attractiveness of their scripts to producers and financiers. To read more about the webinar, see a video from Simon and Ricky and to sign up, click here: Global Tax Incentives, Locations, and Benefits From Around The World: How To Choose The Right Locations For Your Project

Thursday 3/19 at 1pm PDT Stage 32 Next Level Webinars presents Writing The Psychological Thriller hosted by Steve Desmond, professional screenwriter who has worked on projects with Davis Entertainment, Imagine Entertainment, Treehouse Pictures, and more!  In this webinar, Steve will help you build your suspense from the ground up. Together, you’ll study some of the masters of psychological thrillers, and he’ll share what he’s learned in the trenches from working with other writers, producers, and executives. From the anatomy of a suspense scene, to how to build compelling characters, to how to hook the reader’s attention early, to the power of murder in a story, all the way to crafting a twist ending that no one sees coming, this will be a fully immersive experience that will leave you excited, inspired and ready to tackle your next project. To read more about the webinar, see a video from Steve and to sign up, click here:  Writing The Psychological Thriller

Saturday 3/21 at 11am PDT Stage 32 Next Level Webinars presents How To Write (And Produce!) A Festival Darling hosted by Maren Olson, President of Independent Production, Packaging and Sales Company Traction Media (Short Term 12)! In this webinar, you will learn what kind of independent film project goes on to become a “Festival Darling” and what you can do to better position your independent film for festival success, from script to screen. Host Maren Olson will deconstruct both the writing stage- from the major components of a festival-friendly story idea, to what to consider regarding location and characters, all the way to how to incorporate thinking about the budget when writing your script- as well as the production stage – from how to make sure your film gets properly considered by the right people, to which festivals you should submit to and when, all the way to the common ways festival friendly scripts turn into a film that no festival wants to play. To read more about the webinar, see a video from Maren and to sign up, click here:  How To Write (And Produce!) A Festival Darling

Starting Tuesday 3/17 the Stage 32 Happy Writers brings you the 4 week online intensive class How To Write A Fresh Stand-out Comedy hosted by Melissa Daykin Cassill , Vice President at State Street Pictures. With so many different types of comedies in the marketplace, it is becoming the toughest genre to break into. In this hands on 4 week course, you will learn the importance of the emotional crescendo of a comedy script, how to balance the comedy with the humanity of the characters, and how to pitch your comedy script once you're ready, all while molding your pages under Melissa's supervision. With interactive lectures and weekly homework assignments directly geared towards strengthening your pages, this class will help you craft your writing into a fresh stand out comedy script that will grab executives' attention! To read more about the class, see a video from Melissa and to sign up, click here: How To Write A Fresh Stand-out Comedy

Starting Wednesday 3/18 the Stage 32 Happy Writers bring you the 4 week online intensive class How To Write A Unique, Commercial Horror Script hosted by Stuart Ardbury, Creative Executive at Dimension Films (Halloween, Piranha 3D, The Mist, The Amityville Horror). If there's one thing we continuously hear in our Online Pitch Sessions, it's that the number one genre most executives are looking for is horror. In this hands on 4 week course, Stuart will walk you through the fundamentals and advanced layers of horror screenwriting as well as how to pitch yourself and how to market your script. This class will cover the spectrum from choosing a concept, picking an antagonist, strengthening the emotional crescendo and amping up the scares in your project. This 4 week class will help you embrace your twisted side and write a horror script that will delightfully scare executives! To read more about the class and to sign up, click here: How To Write A Unique, Commercial Horror Script



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