Richard “RB” Botto founded Stage 32.com (called “LinkedIn meets Lynda for film creatives” by Forbes) in 2011 by inviting 100 of his industry friends to join the community. Seven years later, with over 500,000 members and over 1,000 hours of online film education taught by over 500 industry executives, Stage 32 is the largest online platform connecting & educating film professionals and content creators worldwide. RB is a working actor, producer and screenwriter. The films he has produced have played at dozens of festivals including Sundance, Raindance and Cannes. His screenplay, “The End Game,” is currently in development at Covert Media. RB is also the author of the groundbreaking and best-selling Focal Press/Routledge book – The American Film Market Presents: Crowdsourcing for Filmmakers: Indie Film and the Power of the Crowd. It is also available for FREE on Audible here. Full Bio »
RB will be going over all things film, TV and digital! Bring all your questions related to the craft and the business!
Hello, Creative Army. It's been a busy few months around the Stage 32 offices and for yours truly as it relates to my personal projects. I'm excited to share with you what I'm hearing, what I've learned, and what I've experienced since we last got together. As always, my AMA's are always free! Watch as many times as you'd like. Cheers! RB
“I have some notes” is perhaps the most dreaded phrase writers hear. “Here it comes… they want to change everything; they want to destroy my masterpiece!” And yet, you the writer, asked for these notes. “They read and they didn’t pass! They want to work with me!” Or, “they read – and yeah, they’re right, I need to rethink this, it will be better if I change it.” Film and television are the ultimate collaborative medium. You write alone (or in a team), but to make the final product, the work of dozens to hundreds of people is required, and they all have some contribution to make. And the work is a product to be sold to buyers and an audience, and they get a say in what they want to purchase and consume. Screenwriting is also the ultimate iterative process. No script is ever perfect on the first draft, and scripts evolve and grow even during production itself. So you will be receiving notes – lots and lots and lots of them. Some you will ask for, perhaps pay for: notes from other writers, professional consultants, managers and agents. Some you will hope for: producers, executives, directors and stars. Some you will agree to: showrunners, studio and network executives. And some will remind you that necessity is the mother of invention: from line producers, casting directors, set dressers, and costume designers. But what should you do with those notes? How to take the sting and how to accept them as a gift? How to think about executing them when you agree, and what to do when you don’t? And most importantly, what do all those terms mean? Some of them sound like some sort of spy code: expo dump, let it breathe, contrived, mining, building, leaning, rules of the universe, on the nose and come in later – say what? In this webinar we will pull back the curtain on the notes process, discuss how to take notes, how to begin to address them, and what notegivers really mean by all those terms.
Learn directly from Jessica Sitomer, Acclaimed International Entertainment Industry Speaker, Career Coach, and Actress, as well as Producer of three TV shows, author, produced writer and development associate! As episodic season is about to start, so are Casting Director workshops. They are a great way to learn and improve your craft, and if you approach them correctly, create lasting relationships with the CDs who teach them. Instead of performing, leaving and sending a thank you note, usually never hearing from the CD again, learn how to stand out in the room and make a lasting impression! In this Stage 32 Next Level Webinar, designed exclusively for this community of actors, host Jessica Sitomer will reveal how much more value you can get from Casting Director workshops than you’re currently getting. You will learn unique questions to ask during the Q&A portion of the workshops, how to brand yourself for the specific CD in the room, how to know when you’re annoying a CD, Jessica’s proven campaign follow up strategy and her “Casting Director Attractor” relationship building strategy. You will leave this webinar knowing how to get the most out of any and all Casting Director workshops you attend! Jessica Sitomer has coached thousands of people worldwide and is proud to see her client’s names on almost every TV show and film she sees. She’s here at Stage 32 to pass on her knowledge and experience to you, to make your acting journey a comfortable ride.
Nearly every executive that has come in to hear pitches through Stage 32 is looking for thriller features. It's one of the few genres that can translate internationally. Having a solid, unique thriller in your portfolio is something any manager or agent will appreciate. Thrillers like Gone Girl, Taken, The Boy Next Door and Non-Stop have profited more than quadrupled what their respective shooting budgets were. But writing thrillers comes with its own challenges. A writer has to make sure the characterization is strong throughout the story without letting the action sequences overshadow it. But those action sequences must be thrilling enough to fuel the story forward and the pacing must be thriving and building in every scene. Stage 32 Happy Writers is excited to bring you our exclusive 3-week online intensive class How to Write a Compelling, Commercially Viable Thriller taught by the creative executive of Mandalay Pictures, Patrick Raymond! In this hands-on course, you will learn what it takes to write a compelling, fast-paced thriller and how to successfully pitch it to production companies. With interactive lectures and weekly homework assignments directly geared towards strengthening your pages, this class will help you craft your writing into a thriller that will stand out. The objective of this course is: To learn the rules of writing a page-turner thriller with a unique hook. To prepare you on how to pitch your completed thriller. To elevate your writing and story to a more marketable level. You will leave the course knowing: Tropes used in thrillers to avoid and tropes to embrace. How to commit to tone from page 1. How to option a book or article to establish an IP. The difference between the subgenres of a thriller (including blockbusters, psychological, erotic and art-house). How to prepare your pitch document for your completed thriller. About Your Teacher Patrick Raymond, Creative Executive at Mandalay Pictures Patrick started his career working as an assistant at Gersh, where he was able to learn the business from the ground up as well as make solid connection in the town. He worked primarily in the production department but gained lots of exposure to the literary world, working with writers and story. He utilized his experience and passion as leverage in a transition to work as a producer’s assistant. LD Entertainment became his home the next three years, where he was eventually promoted to a creative executive, working with writers and helping build scripts and acquire ideas for new projects. After three years, he had the opportunity to work for Tate Taylor on a James Brown biopic entitled, Get On Up. He learned a lot about assembling large studio films. He has transitioned back into more of a creative executive position at Mandalay Pictures, where he gets to go back to my passion: cultivate amazing stories and working with great writers. Class Schedule ( 6/20, 6/27, 711) Week #1 (6/20): This is an all inclusive look into the world of thrillers. This will offer you a behind-the-scenes look on what executives look for when reading thrillers and some common mistakes writers make that disrupt the reading process. This class will also cover: Concepts that sell and concepts that don’t. Market trends (i.e. female driven thrillers, the state of erotic thrillers after movies like The Boy Next Door). Tips on making sure your first 10-15 pages pop and hook the executive. Stereotypical tropes/cliches writers use to set up their characters that turn off an executive. Tips on creating and layering your antagonist. How to make sure your protagonist is relatable and engaging. How to create a stand out catalyst and a sharp break into act two. Week #2 (6/27): This week will focus entirely on the engine of your story. This week will cover outlining and writing act 2 and act 3. Topics that this will cover include: How to write a thrilling action sequence. Description to dialogue ratio. Making sure you are incorporating set pieces that complement your sub-genre (i.e. what specific set pieces would you include in your second act if you are writing an erotic thriller). Tips on how to outline your heightened set pieces to make sure the emotional crescendo of your story is always escalating smoothly. How to make sure your characterization is strong throughout act two and three while keeping the tension hight. Overall tips on how to outline your script. Week #3 (7/11): This week will cover tips on how to end your script with a lasting final image and what happens after your first draft is completed. This week will include: Some of the most common elements that are rewritten after getting picked up by a production company. How to avoid development hell. Tips on how to pitch your thriller. Typical elements that can be found in a pitch package. How to decipher which companies are looking for what.
Just going to film school doesn’t prepare you for the endless obstacles you’ll face trying to make it as a filmmaker. You learn that pieces that come together to make a movie in school but this is the film industry and it's totally different. From studios to independents, your host Aaron Wolf has learned some secrets of the trade....come on the journey! You can’t find this stuff in school or in a book. You have to live it. And Aaron has. From being a student at NYU to being a part of The Groundlings, to working with FOX, Warner Bros. and Disney and dealing with film festivals and independent distributors, Aaron has seen it all in a short time. He wants to share the secrets with you. Just going to film school doesn’t prepare you for the endless obstacles you’ll face trying to make it as a filmmaker. Just getting a job in LA doesn’t prepare you. Creativity comes in many forms. One form is creatively navigating the business so that YOU can live your dreams. With his recent film, Restoring Tomorrow, being acquired by Seventh Art and featured in Variety, Aaron has learned through trial and error on how to make a living as a filmmaker. Join him in this exclusive Stage 32 webinar as he discusses what he's learned, and what you need to know for your own journey! Twitter: @TheAaronWolf Instagram: @TheAaronWolf Facebook: Aaron Wolf
Learn directly from award winning non-fiction producer, Jim Young, who's produced 8 films based on books, including Lovelace (James Franco, Amanda Seyfriend), The Man Who Know Infinty (New York Times best Seller), The Catcher Was a Spy and Layover Some of the recent best feature films were based on books, including Hidden Figures, Lost City of Z, Unbroken, American Sniper, Inherent Vice, Wild, The Imitation Game, and The Theory of Everything. Some of the top recent television series based on books include Game of Thrones, True Detective, Pretty Little Liars, The Leftovers, Boardwalk Empire, Justified, True Blood, Dexter, the upcoming Fresh Off the Boat. As you can see, great books often make for great films and TV programs. The first step to beginning an adaptation is to find a book that lends itself to being turned into a film or television project. Discovering an adaptation-worthy subject can be as simple as stumbling across an interesting title at a bookstore or airport newsstand. Another way to find possibilities include reading the magazine Publisher’s Weekly, which profiles new books hitting the market each week along with short synopses. Many other magazines and newspapers give mentions of new titles each month as well. In this on-demand Stage 32 Next Level Webinar, Jim Young will go over how to adapt a book into a film or TV series! Jim will cover everything from acquiring the rights, to script development, to pre-production, to production, all the way to the finish line. Having produced films such as Lovelace (starring James Franco, Sharon Stone, and Amanda Seyfried) and The Man Who Knew Infinity (starring Dev Patel, Jeremy Irons, Toby Jones, and Stephen Fry) and the upcoming The Catcher Was a Spy (directed by Ben Lewin and written by Robert Rodat) and Layover (written and to be directed by Toni Kalem) all based on books, Jim knows how to adapt a book into a film and TV series from start to finish. Jim Young is an independent producer and the president of Animus Films. He has produced over eight films, with upcoming productions including Cut Throat City, directed by RZA. Young is currently developing many other film and television projects with independent companies including Lynda Obst Productions, Ruby Films, Tollin Productions, Tribeca Productions, Underground Films, and Pressman Films.