Filmmaking / Directing

The place to discuss, share content and offer advice and tips on all things filmmaking and the craft of directing. From pre-production to on set practices to navigating the industry and beyond, this is your forum

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Amanda Toney
Ask Me Anything with our Fearless Leader Richard "RB" Botto (May 2022)

Hi everyone! I'm excited for our Ask Me Anything with RB! Let me know what questions you want me to ask in the comments section here!

Cherelynn Baker

Ready! Let's go! QUESTION: RB - What would happen if smaller indie creators banded together, like a Borg collective, to pitch at markets or with leaders in the industry?

Danielle Klenak

With the pandemic, how important is it these days to now physically live in L.A.? Should you move before you have a manager, product? Or, can you wait to get a manager and get things rolling, then move?

Allison Johnson

Tuning in from Denver, CO

Maurice Vaughan

Hi, everyone. I'm listening from North Carolina.

Lawrence Whitener

Lawrence Whitener, only one on IMDb, now in L.A.

Andrew Gutierrez

Listening in Huntington Beach, CA

Emma Crookes

Hello, this is Emma from Bath, England. Really looking forward to this session. Thank you RB and Amanda : )

Pete Haase

currently in central Maine. Just in case my question in chat isn't seen: how can a non-union actor with many, mostly non-unions credits, get that first union gig and join the union?

Lee Lennox

Currently watching in Belgian, but I'm a filmmaker/scriptwriter/animator from London UK :)

Kerry F Booth

Let's go! In Denver, CO.

Surina Nel

I am from Port Elizabeth in South Africa, excited to be here

Patricia Gundlach

from Kingston Washington... What do you look for in a Pitch?

Andre Campbell

Hi, I'm in Cambridge, Ontario, Canada

Ian Rodney Lazarus

Hi, I've written a successful novel and plan to convert to screenplay. I have been recruiting screenwriters on S32 and other sites and most have limited track record or experience. I was thinking to use IMDb to find screenwriters of big budget films. Is this worth pursuing or would it be a black hole? Tuning in from San Diego.

Lee Lennox

Hi Richard and Amanda. Excited to listen and learn :) Any help with animation.... I'm developing an animated project, would be suited to a limited series on a streaming platform. it's at early script stage with some animated tests. I'm trying to find an animation producer. Any help/guidance in that area appreciated! Thanks man, Lee

Marie Etzler

Hello from Ft. Lauderdale, FL

Niki Hayes

So excited to hear all the great wisdoms from RB! In Los Angeles.

Swati Chugh

Great to be here and good to see you RB and Amanda ! This is Swati, Writer/Director from India

Carole Ryavec

Producers are all telling me they can't sell my script because they can't sell me since I don't have the right brand.

Murray Wasylnuk

Hi Richard! My documentary has been receiving incredible interest thanks to Stage 32, in fact, I had 2 executives request a proof of concept, which I recently shot and am finishing up post on.

My question is, under the scorecard and requested materials, there is an area to upload a script, but I want...

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Allison Johnson

No-no's for queries to managers? I'm an award winning writer and director, but that feels so douchey to type in a query. How do I get them to see I'm legit without sounding full of myself?:)

Cara Rogers

Hello from Elkhart, KS!

Steve Marks

Hi all. Steve from Thousand Oaks, CA here. Question - "How close to the classic 3 ARC story model does a film script need to be to be viable?"

DiTanya Zamudio-Serrano

Is there a 101 for new screenwriters? A course that guides you through the steps to follow after writing your script... packaging and marketing your script and/or project?

Mike Wilczynski

Are there any professional sci-fi script writers who might have any interest in partnering with a first-time writer who has a quality 3rd draft that has already been reviewed by Stage 32 analysts? How would you find them? Thanks.

Andre Campbell

How would you suggest someone with a mobility challenges, navigate this industry as a writer and actor?

Fahd Aldajani

Greetings from Riyadh - Saudi Arabia!

So happy to be with you :) ..

Nice to see you RB & nice to see Amanda Toney :)

Jason Mirch

Folks - make sure that when you hear something from RB that resonates with you to immortalize it here for the rest of the community. RB drops truth bombs non-stop so make sure that you are sharing the message here and on your social.

Inbal Minin

Hi, we have pilot script for TV series (5 seasons)..We have a deck/bible ready its a high budget project.. Initial interest from Zero Gravity+ few actors showed interest. Were searching for producer and thinking of building a budget with a professional. It can cost around 3-6K.. Is it the right thing to do at this point ? and when it`ll be a best time to have a budget?

Maurice Vaughan

Thanks for taking the time to answer our questions, RB.

Lee Lennox

Are there opportunities in animation for streaming platforms? Finding it so hard to break into that space, it seems very closed and everything is in-house. Would love to develop my project further with an animation producer and get the pitch seen. Collab would also be great, but finding it hard to get off the ground, I'm writing and doing animated tests myself, but struggling to get it further.

Maurice Vaughan

RB's advice about pitching: "You need to know everything about everyone in that room."

Jeff Topacio

Hey Everyone! Jeff Topacio listening from Cerritos, CA

I've written numerous features and a couple of TV show seasons but I wasn't having luck with finding representation through writing contest and query letters, so i decided to just get a cast and crew together and shoot a TV pilot. The pilot is al...

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Karmelina Moore

I am a beginning freelance screenwriter. I have been doing it for several years, but nothing serious has come to fruition.

Inbal Minin

Thanks a lot RB! your answer was very helpful :)

Anagha Asole

Hello Sir I'm Anagha from India..I would like to ask like how can a below 18yrs who don't have any international accounts like how can he pitch the sessions and make his projects public for the producers and directors..

Andre Campbell

I've been writing spec content since 2009 but I haven't been able to "break in" yet

Mike Wilczynski

First-time and only-time sci-fi thriller writer. I'm retired, but created something special to share.

Amanda Toney

Great to have you all here! Thanks for letting us know more about your backgrounds, you're in a safe space to contribute here!

Art Wasem

Been in the Entertainment Business for 40 Years, as Musician, songwriter, Actor, Computer Animator, and now writer. I will be focusing on Writing for the next 20 years. RB, You have built such a great opportunity and platform for emerging writers and filmmakers. If you were just starting out and have a few features and pilots, would you look for Management or executives to pitch to?

Murray Wasylnuk

Writer, editor, director with 12 years of experience from the independent side of the industry.

Patricia Gundlach

I worked in film and TV running the hair dept.for 30 years.. retired now from Hair dept. writing for 20 years. pitching my projects for 9 years. I've written 5 screen plays

Laurie Ashbourne

Produced producer, writer and crew member with many battle scars and credits. Happy to be here and meet others.

Martha Caprarotta

Greetings from Dayton, Ohio! So appreciative of RB sharing his wisdom and industry insights!

Swati Chugh

Hi little bit about me - I am a Director, Producer and Screenwriter and have made 14 short films, won 32 awards and my films have played at 100+ film festivals. We just made a short documentary in London, part of which was shot inside British Parliament. Currently in editing stage. Soon to start work on my debut feature

Kath Kirkland

I have written many scripts and trying to get noticed. Never giving up.

Steve Marks

I have recently self-published my first novel. Am looking to determine if it would be adaptable. The genre is political comedy. But the story also has a serious side, as the protagonist's mission is finding a cure for a life threatening disease. I've also written a screenplay but, as a novice, I kno...

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Patricia Gundlach

writer, director, producer.. I shot a trailer for my project "Vanities " which I currently pitching

Eugene Mandelcorn

I''m a Prodiucer/Writer who ran an International Filmmakers Organization for 20 years and a Sales & Marketing Company for 11. I am now involved in putting together an International Studio Without Borders or Walls. We are looking for talent above and below the line to make projects around the worlld.

Inbal Minin

Is showrunner can work for % of the equity or they take a retainer or a flat fee - a what would be better option for us? (one of them asked us a fee of 10k annually - is it reasonable?) .

Maurice Vaughan

RB's advice: "Read the trades every day."

Amazing Kacee

Relationships are important but when producers you pitched to previously and they loved your work even though they passed on it and you email them to keep in touch and they are negative to you, Just cough it up to them being busy rather than being triggered!

Elitza Gotzeva

Hi everyone! Greetings from Bulgaria! Thank you very much, RB for all you share and the hope you give us.

Kath Kirkland

What's the name of those trades?

Anagha Asole

Hello Sir, I'm Anagha from India. I would like to ask like how can a below 18yrs can pitch and sell projects and make public for the producers and directors to notice . The thing is that they don't have any international accounts and like how can they pitch????

Mary Waireri

Listening from London - I'm an emerging writer at the point where I'm starting to book meetings and getting low-level development and option deals but still working towards my first credit

Nina Martina

Hello, I'm an actor who has written and produced content. I recently wrote a tv pilot that I have three media companies reading our script and pitch deck. Hopefully I'll get a chance to pitch to them. I still love acting but during the pandemic have steered more into writing.

Mary Waireri

Question: As a new writer getting initial deals and still figuring things out, how much should you sacrifice (in terms of low fees, giving away 100% rights etc) to get your first credit/your script made? I want to sign a deal but I also don't want to cheat my future self!

Pete Haase

Kath, the 3 he mentioned are: Deadline; Variety; Hollywood Reporter

Amanda Toney

@kathkirkland - The trades are Deadline, The Hollywood Reporter, The Wrap, Variety.

Anagha Asole

Hii. I'm Anagha from India. I would like to ask like how can a below 18yrs pitch and sell and make his projects public for the producers and directors to notice. Like They don't have any international accounts like how can they ???

Maurice Vaughan

RB's advice: "Don't be discouraged if you don't get a response every time."

Allison Johnson

"I'm the CEO of me." Love that, RB!

Christopher Charles Murray

I'm an experienced European filmmaker getting back in the business in the US...How do I determine the price of my completed teleplay for an international historical 6 episode limited series? Is it a percentage of the budget? Do I negotiate it with the Exec. Producer? Do I need an Entertainment Atty to do the negotiation? Can a screenwriter expect to get a share of the profits after expenses? Thanks, RB. I'm a fellow NYer.

Carole Ryavec

you can get connected to the trades if you are on IMDb Pro

Kath Kirkland

Thanks

Swati Chugh

Love this line - We are artists and we are nothing without support ! Support system for creativity is life blood !!

Maurice Vaughan

I'm an experienced screenwriter and a Community Thought Leader in the Screenwriting lounge. If I can give anyone screenwriting advice, let me know.

Shelly A Battista

From VA, in LA for a couple of weeks. Screenwriter, been writing for years, now I'm submitting and pitching wherever I can. And rewriting. A lot.

Cheryl Scheurer, PhD

Hi Rich....Dr. Cheryl here.......Do you expect the Industry to remain the same for years to come that was created by Covid?

Siddhesh Jalatkar

Hi, this is Siddhesh from India. (Actor, Writer)

Sílvia Menéndez-Cahué

Barcelona, Catalunya, Spain. Casting Director, here :) Salut!

Maurice Vaughan

Thanks for the pie cart, Laurie.

Emma Crookes

I love writing, and have written pieces before, however, I'm a first time screen writer as far as really committing to writing a pilot and finishing another episode. I have a clear idea of my protagonists stories where the series is going. I'm about to work on the pitch deck. Taking one step at a time in what feels like a very overwhelming business.

Art Wasem

It's been years in the making. Lol. Wonderful answer RB. Thanks.

Debbie Ellis

I agree, don't sit by the phone. Keep creating.

Maurice Vaughan

RB's advice: "Write your next thing. Film your next thing... Keep going... Don't just sit back and wait."

Amanda Toney

Follow RB on Medium here: https://medium.com/@RBwalksintoabar - he has great articles about how to stay motivated, etc.

Carole Ryavec

Rejection is not failure. OK I'm repeating that. again and again.

Maurice Vaughan

RB's advice: "Rejection isn't failure."

Tia Araminta Plott

Thank you so much for this! With book publishing, you really have to have an agent to get traditionally published. Starting out as a screenwriter, should getting a manager be a primary focus?

Martha Caprarotta

@Laurie Ashbourne, isn't the Business (reading the trades, etc.) the third part of the pie? Because networking and relationship building are the same thing. I wrote down the three parts are writing (craft), networking (building relationships), and the business (reading the trades, etc.)

Maurice Vaughan

RB's advice: "Rejection is an opportunity. Learn from that rejection."

Surina Nel

I sent a short script to a company. After about 3 weeks, they e-mailed me and said that they are considering to produce my script, but that they are still discussing. I replied with a thank you for the update. Heard nothing for the next three weeks, after which I checked in. They said they are still in discussions. How long should I give it, before checking in again?

Mary Waireri

"Rejection is an opportunity" - This reminds me of Julia Cameron's idea that we should "metabolise pain as energy"

Susan Flakes

We have a pitch deck that we've been told we need to enhance.. How do we do that? We're looking into a graphic artist to work with us. Is that the right thing to do?

Augustus Rylands

Thank you for all your advice. You often mention that we should do our research about what people are looking for. Forgive me if this is a naive question, but where do you go to find out what people are looking for? Their website?

Lawrence Whitener

On last year's "Ask Me Anything" RB answered the question; "What do you do when your significant other not only doesn't support your writing, but actually discourages it?" RB's response, "You have to make the tough choice." I am now divorced and in L.A. pitching my little heart out thanks to Stage32...

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Andrew Gutierrez

Great advice to have several irons in the fire! Don't just sit on one idea.

Susan Flakes

A while back you did a seminar on filmmakers writing memoirs. I've completed a memoir, which includes a lot of exciting material on some great actors that I wokred with. Who do I go to for publication?

Ari Frankel

Coming from award-winning music/sound design career, penning a serious, contained drama script, complete with an original soundtrack(!).. Are there shortcuts to pseudo-solicited submissions? It is a strong stand-alone, doesn't really need a manager, more a bonafide agent, not gatekeeper.. Any tips on websites, programs, that can "vet" seriousness/worthiness?

Toni D. Holm

Richard, I so respect and appreciate what you have created in Stage 32. Its reach is farther than international; Stage 32's reach goes deep into the hearts and minds of creatives who have joined and been given the opportunity. Thank you sounds so simple, but my thank you runs deep. Really, so appreciate your work to create opportunities!

Frank Detrano

Is it true that when enter a pitch meeting network execs are not just reviewing your concept but also interviewing you?

Bruce Fennell

Coming in from the World Series champions Atlanta! Sorry not sorry to anyone from Houston

Augustus Rylands

Thank you for the great answer!

Evelyn von Warnitz

A nicely warm good evening from Germany! Thanks to RB for taking his time!

Gabrielle Nehring

Early in a career, it is better to focus on one script/genre that you perfect and pitch, or to build a portfolio of quality scripts to seem more versatile?

Maurice Vaughan

The Open Writing Assignments in the Writers' Room are great!

Inbal Minin

Is showrunner can work for % of the equity or they take a retainer or a flat fee - a what would be better option for us? (one of them asked us a fee of 10k annually - is it reasonable?) .

Suzy Miller

Still learning my craft in a screenwriting masters and being English, I’m setting my my features and TV series in the UK. Should I be resetting them in the US to increase the opportunities of them being picked up?

Marie Etzler

It's great to hear that the open writing assignments help writers get attention. I recently submitted to two. In the meantime, I'm working on my next script.

Daniel Latteo

Daniel from Italy & Stockholm... Working full furce and full time on my Horror first feature film project.

Kimiko Wojtena

I'm a screenwriter who aspires to be a TV staff writer and showrunner. I'm presently show running an indie animated series, and we're heading into the pitching phase to try to find financiers to aid with production. We're slowly building a social media presence, and I was curious whether its worth s...

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Ktenidi Evangelia

I m from Greece, so it's far away from USA... Let's say that Netflix wants my series... How much of my physical presence is needed there?

Susan Flakes

How do I find financiers?

Tia Araminta Plott

And Jason is wonderfully responsive, answering no matter what I ask! :)

Jason Mirch

Hey folks! Jason here - drop me a note at j.mirch@stage32.com - I am the Director of Development Services and the Host of the Writers' Room at Stage 32. Please feel free to hit me up! I am excited to hear from you all!

Shelly A Battista

Never too late. Only too late when you're dead. That's my motto. LOL

Meryem Ersoz

Is there any advantage/disadvantage to shooting a pilot/proof of concept for streaming/episodics? Or just stick with writing and pitching scripts?

Tuning in from Colorado. Thanks for chatting with us!

Bruce Bishop

Hi from Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada - Stage 32 has been invaluable in my screenwriting education, with its free webinars and its paid consultations. Thanks for being a part of the industry to which I continue to aspire!

Jason Mirch

Hey folks! I am the Director of Script Services at Stage 32 and the host of the Writers' Room. You can always reach me directly at j.mirch@stage32.com and be sure to send me a network request here if we're not yet connected.

Murray Wasylnuk

I turned 50 a few months ago and I am just recently receiving incredible feedback and seeing my projects gain serious traction... so NEVER GIVE UP. The best is yet to come. :)

Maurice Vaughan

RB's advice: "Don't create no's for yourself. Don't put yourself in a box."

Matthew Ross

Hi RB! I wanted to ask you, when a manager signs a screenwriter, does the screenwriter have any say regarding who they send their script to be read by? I hope you and everyone at Stage 32 are doing well and having a great day!! You are so inspirational!!!

Laurie Ashbourne

Woo hoo - RB's relationship column next up on medium

Christin Finch

That is beautiful. Choose yourself and your dreams, and invite along those who want to come along and support you.

Andre Campbell

Is there a formatting style guide for media companies like Netflix?

Amanda Toney

Inspiration. Aspiration. Motivation.

Lawrence Whitener

My own story how I got from there to here is on Stage32 as "I had, HAVE...a dream." How I became a writer with over 300 awards on IMDb in just the past six years.

Rachel Amy Ritchie

Any advice for funding a web series?

MB Stevens

RB: “Failure is quitting.” Extremely wise words. Onward and upward.

Nina Martina

Do you think that with these virtual writer rooms possibly being the norm, that the creativity, chemistry, magic, energy can be as good as in person? I know you kind of answered that some like it either way... what do you think and prefer?

Amanda Toney

@andre - check out the Netflix webinar where we go through their pitch format: https://www.stage32.com/education?search=chris+mack#:~:text=Edit-,Stage%......

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Pete Haase

had a bit of fun designing LOL but here's a downloadable pie chart of RB's Rules:

Dropbox or Google: https://www.dropbox.com/s/64wxnujdnv6xhsl/RBsRules.png?dl=0https://drive.google.com/file/d/1DosciyY-dNi4vEehTWvJHNjRSeeFdDJ_/view?u...It may take a moment to load. Were those the 3? :) Can edit if no...

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Lawrence Whitener

Hey Amanda, I read RB's book and used it to make all my 9 short films. I dropped it off at your mail station when I got here for his autograph. I can pick it up whenever its convenient, but I would like it back to follow his suggestions more. Thanks!

Maurice Vaughan

Great pie chart, Pete. Can we use it (post it on Stage 32 and other sites)?

Amanda Toney

Pete - that is awesome! Can you put Stage 32's logo and @rbwalksintabar on it? I'll get set up as a download when I send out the video

Pete Haase

Absolutely, Maurice. Thanks for asking!

Laurie Ashbourne

I would just like to say, that this platform has so much to offer if you take the time to get to know the members and the staff. I cannot count how many opportunities I have gotten and continue to get through members and recommendations. These all come through the relationship building RB mentioned,...

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Lee Lennox

Thanks for your time Richard! And Amanda :) Any advice for animation? All ideas seem to be developed in-house, therefore it's really tough to get my pitch deck seen. Any advice? Lee (UK based Filmmaker/Animator/scriptwriter)

Pete Haase

Yes. Will update... with a couple of options

Debbie Ellis

Who knows, maybe it would be your film/screenplay that helps create the next Blumhouse, etc.

Daniel Latteo

Thanks a million for your answer to my question RB!! I am going to keep more avenues open for me... As many as I can, in fact!

Maurice Vaughan

"I also know that when I need to add something to my arsenal that I can find it here, whether it's a webinar, specific pitch or lab." Laurie, Stage 32 is like a superstore.

Amazing Kacee

Producers usually do not care what you did in the past or how many awards you won, they usually only care about what you are doing now and if your series will be successful, but everyone is looking for that successful series/film they want to help you get made., so keep plugging along until you find the producer/studio who believes your script is the story they want to tell.

Matthew Kent

Thanks for putting on this webinar RB I Love you guys!

Mary Waireri

RBs comment on the 'gold rush' rings true to me. In any case, having an abundance mindset is incredibly freeing to creators. If you believe there are opportunities, you'll seek them out

Allison Johnson

Thank you so much, Amanda and RB. This is wonderful! What's your take on shopping agreements if option money isn't available?

Art Wasem

Rapid Fire. What is your favorite book on writing? Except for yours. Lol

Susan Joyce DuBosque

Thanks RB for answering my budget question! So important to know where to go. Much appreciated.

Art Wasem

Props to Amanda. Great job!!!

Augustus Rylands

What do you think of screenwriting competitions as a way to get your script out there? Are they an effective tool?

Maurice Vaughan

Thanks for your time, RB and Amanda Toney.

Shout out to the Stage 32 staff, Netflix, and all of the execs, producers, agents, etc. in Stage 32's Script Services and Education.

Andre Campbell

Amanda Toney - Thanks for the response and link!

Amanda Toney

Thank you for all you do Maurice! We love having you in the community and we love your positivity :)

Susan Joyce DuBosque

Thanks Maurice Vaughan! You are generous.

Matthew Kent

something happened and the webinar dropped out wanted to take snaphot of RB

Maurice Vaughan

RB's advice: "The only way you're going to build that company -- the company of you -- is to put in the time."

Martha Caprarotta

Making me hungry for pie, LOL!

Maurice Vaughan

What's your favorite pie, Martha?

Shelly A Battista

The Writer's Room is well worth it. Lots of great interaction and info.

Ari Frankel

not seeing the today-only discount code..

Cherelynn Baker

Come to the Producers lounge! (read that in Vincent Price's voice )

Susan Joyce DuBosque

RB, what is your definition of paradise? Amanda, thanks for being such a fun, nimble juggler with information!

Martha Caprarotta

@Maurice, blueberry or cherry!

Gabrielle Nehring

Thanks for taking the time RB! I feel invigorated listening to your thoughts and stories! Thanks to everyone in the lounge for their time and questions as well.

Wendy Jones

Thanks for an informative and inspiring webinar!

Art Wasem

Won't be this year but I love the Ritz Carlton. Stayed there for Midem.

Amanda Toney

Today's special code: RBAMA50

Dianne Janis

Thank you so much for an incredible 2 hours!!

Martha Caprarotta

@Maurice, was that a trick question? Guess I should say it's RB's Pie chart for success?

Allison Johnson

I'm not going to Cannes, but my daughter stars in a short film premiering at the American Pavilion at Cannes:) It's called "The Errand". Logline: when a 10yr old girl is picked up hitchhiking by a 30yr old man, who gives whom a ride.:)

Maurice Vaughan

Check out the Open Writing Assignments and the Vault in the Writers' Room, everyone.

Maurice Vaughan

Rapid Fire: Who is your favorite actor and actress, RB?

Tia Araminta Plott

As a screenwriter, not a film maker, how do I figure out what a budget for my script would be? Using film comps?

Christin Finch

Top 3 books?

Eugene Mandelcorn

I will be in Cannes this year. Who, on this call, will be there?

Maurice Vaughan

Blueberry and cherry sound great, Martha. I think my favorite is apple.

Susan Joyce DuBosque

Thanks RB for this valuable webinar!

Don Dobrez Jr

What is your favorite "pump you up" song?

Cherelynn Baker

Adding "Good to Great" for the book reading list

Eugene Mandelcorn

Do you ever write in the "solution genre?"

Gabrielle Nehring

Are you watching The Offer about the making of The Godfather? Any thoughts on it?

Shelly A Battista

Thank you so much for sharing your time today!

Jack Binder

Great Job!! @rbwalksintoabar @stage32 - Thanks for the wonderful insights!!

Cherelynn Baker

Thank you RB for everything! So generous to share so much with us!

Carolyn Bliesener

This was fantastic. Thanks so much RB. You are incredibly inspiring.

MB Stevens

Great job Amanda and RB. Thanks for keeping us in the loop and encouraging us on our creative journey.

Carole Ryavec

Many thanks to you Amanda for keeping the show running! Brava

Emily J

I feel personally attacked with the "real housewives" mention hahah

J. Edward Betancourt

Let's put the "ACTION!!" in motion and make movies non stop!! : )