For the Full Show Notes and Audio click here: Episode Page
Who is RB and what is Stage32? [02:30]
What was growing Stage32 like in the early days? [10:57]
How is crowdsourcing more important than traditional advertising? [15:10]
What makes a good Stage32 user? [20:00]
What is a day in the life of RB like and how does he stay juggle so many project? [34:00]
What are some suggestions for first time filmmakers and entrepreneurs? [47:13]
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Chris: [00:00:01] What's up everybody. Welcome back to another episode of the 5 O'Clock Hustle podcast. This is Episode 12 and I'm your friend Christopher List, coming to you from 5 O'Clock Hustle studios which today happens to be in my car, in front of Starbucks, during my lunch break. If you don't know by now, our podcast is for all the weekend warriors, the after hours entrepreneurs, and the hustlers who want to explore their passions and reach their goals outside of their regular 9 to 5 jobs. Today, we have a really great episode for you with one of the most influential people in Hollywood. His name is Richard Botto or RB for short. He's a writer, actor, director producer. He also happens to be the CEO and founder of the social network and education hub Stage32.com. Stage32 is a film industry focused social network with over 600,000 worldwide users and Forbes has called it "Lynda.com meets LinkedIn for film television and theatre creatives." There's definitely some validity to the old adage, "It's who you know." Well Stage32 is where they are. In addition to the social network, they have an expansive library of e-classes and webinars and they even have screenwriting and filmmaking contests. These features are just the tip of the iceberg and I'm really excited to dive deeper into the site myself because I too am a wannabe film producer. In addition RB also has a new book out called Crowdsourcing for Filmmakers - Indie Film and the Power of the Crowd. He details how to put crowdsourcing to use for creative projects and how to build successful crowdsourcing campaigns. You can find the link for Stage32 and his book on episode page, 5oclockhustle.co/stage32. RB's experience and a list of credentials is seemingly endless and we're absolutely honored to have him on as a guest. Whether or not you're in the film industry I know you're going to learn a ton from this episode. I know we did. If you enjoyed it. Remember to leave us a review on Apple podcasts and sign up for our newsletter. You'll get up to date on all our new episodes and a lot of other really cool content too. Now and enough of me; let's get this thing started. Keep Hustlin' everybody and Dre... start the show.
Dean: [00:02:30] So why don't we just start with a little background on Stage32.
RB (Guest): [00:02:35] OK. Yeah sure. Well I mean my background is in writing and in business. Really, it's kind of all over the place in a lot of ways. But it was always, I guess, the connective tissue is the creativity part of it. I think when you're an entrepreneur obviously there is a creative aspect too, that that never ends, and when you're creative in the film industry, no matter, whether you're an actor or a writer or producer there's an entrepreneurial aspect to it. So it's kind of a melding and meshing of the two that I've always been attracted to and I think that's why it's-- you know some people in this business you know they'd be kind of shy away from the business side of it. They just like the creative side. I've always like both sides of it and that's really one of the reasons why I think... I should say I think it's very important that both even if you're not interested in being a producer or being involved in the business side that you understand how it functions because I think if you understand how it functions and informs your pursuits as a creative and I think it's good to know what's going on in the business anyway and how the business operates.
Dean: [00:03:43] So it's a pretty rough business though right? Sorry to jump in on your but...
RB (Guest): [00:03:49] No no no. You know it's funny when people say it's a rough business. Yes and no. I think that it's an endurance business. It's a marathon and not a sprint. I tell people that all the time people always say look, what's the shortcuts. And I always say the shortcuts are patience and perseverance but it's also being aggressive. It's also -- you know it's something that a lot of people don't take a lot of time thinking about, especially people that are just starting out, and that's the relationship side of it. And the building of relationships and how important that is because what a lot of people don't understand, and this happens all the time (especially on social media). You know I'll get hit up maybe 40 50 times, no exaggeration 40 50 times a week, and people who will say you know, "can you read my script" or "I have this great idea" or you know "can you find me financing or will you produce my you know produce my film my short my web series, whatever". And the reality is, is that, and you know it's not just me obviously, it's everybody that has established any sort of foothold in this business. And the reality is whether it's me or anybody else that's been in this business for a while, if we don't have a relationship with you there are too many people that we do have relationships with that, we are going to go to for material that we're going to work with first, you know. It's that old adage with this business that you know when we talk about managers let's say on the screenwriting side the have three piles. They have the pile of their clients work, the pile of people who have been referred to them by people they know. And the third pile is everything else and that their pile probably never gets touched because there just isn't enough time. So, people in there estimate the relationship side of this business. So, when we say it's a tough business, it's tough from the standpoint that it's a business of, no. You hear more no's than you going to hear, yes, of course. But that's OK. Every no you have to can learn something from every No. If you have a takeaway from every no (this is the same thing in business, by the way). If you have a take away from every 'no', if you learn something from every 'no' its going to bring you closer to that 'yes'. So, the competitive advantage that people can give themselves in this business and where it becomes less quote un-quote tough is building relationships learning how to accept criticism learning from every 'no' moving forward at all times, that's really the competitive advantage because a lot of people don't want to do that. A lot of people don't want to invest the time and build in those relationships and everything like that. So that's one of the very reasons why, and one of many reasons why, probably the cornerstone reason, that I started Stage32, was to give people an environment where they are networking and learning from and talking to like-minded people who are looking to do the same thing. And by virtue of being on the platform and working the platform you get to kind of see who's serious and who's not serious who's putting in the time and who's not. And that gives you the ability to kind of sit there and network with those people. Yeah that's really what that's the jumping off point.
Chris: [00:06:56] That's great. Sure. I actually signed up for an account. I dabbled a little bit in the film industry, making a pilot episode for something...you know it's technically still in development but it's not a big deal. I just wish I had an awesome network-- I wish I knew about you guys before we started the project because now it would probably be easier.
Dre: [00:07:23] It's never too late.
Chris: [00:07:24] We kind of bit off more than we could chew but it was a fun learning experience. I was kind of acting as the producer of the film because I was the guy that went to business school, where the other guys went to film school. Yeah, I'm probably going after dive more into Stage32 to find maybe some people that can help us out.
RB (Guest): [00:07:46] No better time than now.
Dean: [00:07:48] RB,can we call you RB? Should we do that?
RB (Guest): [00:07:53] Yeah of course. Everybody calls me that!
Dean: [00:07:54] Ok cool. RB We know we've been going through it, there's so many different tools in Stage32. I mean, how did you get to that? Like how did you come to -- I know that happywriters, for instance, it was an acquisition and then the other stuff kind of probably just evolved but you're just basically solving all the problems that you saw in the industry, is that that how it was working? I mean you've got a lot going on...
RB (Guest): [00:08:20] Yeah, no. That's pretty much exactly right. You know I approached it from the beginning from a standpoint of "twhat am I not getting from broad based social media sites?". And, you know, it's so funny there was an article just today. Oh my god, I think it was the CEO of... it was the CEO of one of these social networks. Maybe it was one of the video networks or video platforms that said (you know because Facebook's getting smashed lately) he came out and he said well Facebook could you go back to baby pictures and just do what they do well. And it's funny because that's exactly kind of the reason I started Stage32. I was on all of these platforms and instead of connecting, you know when I was connecting with people in the industry they were posting pictures of the kids and their food and I was like well you know but you know I'm here to kind of make contacts that matter. So yeah that's exactly right. I started it with the idea of OK let's start building the community first and then we'll add all the features that I would like to see if I was a member which I am and that's I think something that's lost on the public as well sometimes is the fact that I am a user of the platform. I am exactly the audience this platform was created for. We are all-- I don't care who you are in this business or what level of success you've had, you're going to keep grinding. It's a grinding business. You're only as good as your last project and then the next one has a whole new thing. And so for me it was all about OK what do I --Who do I want to connect with? What do I want to learn about? What are the topics I want to talk about? And that's kind of the sections -- the sections grew out of those questions. You know are a lounge which is our version of the forums which now I think has a hundred and ten thousand or so conversations we're seeing, which is insane to me You know it was-- that was really bred out of the idea of, "how do we get talking about these individual topics and how do people that are working in these different crafts and how as we enter into an era which we where -- even five or six years ago, where people are becoming -- you know it used to be people are just screenwriter's people are just actors but now that's not good enough anymore. Now it's you know screenwriter, directors, actor, producers; people are controlling their content more than ever. But it's a learning experience when you break into different-- when you branch out into the crafts. So how do we service everyone, every craft, every aspect of the business and it was a long process and it's something that's still evolving over time but that's how we really kind of got to all these features and how we eventually introduced education which is something I'm extremely proud of as well.
Dean: [00:10:52] Yeah the education pieces, it's huge.
Chris: [00:10:55] I was looking at -- I signed of one of the the free webinars. So just to kind of do a little feeler out there, just kind of see what it was all about but I'm still waiting to do that. I want to kind of bounce back and forth to Stage32 as a business and also just the filmmaking side because, one thing I've learned from a lot of our guests is that, there are so many parallels between the different disciplines in business. No matter what industry it really is. But I kind of want to go back to the, I guess the kind of the-- the beginning of Stage32 and kind of the process of how it got -- just the kind of virality and how big it's gotten like, what was that process like
RB (Guest): [00:11:37] Well it's kind of fascinating because we didn't call it crowdsourcing at the time. You know even though that term or that word had been coined by a couple of writers at Wired, back in 2006. And really -- that term was really associated with development and web site development and things of that nature. But what that's really kind of what we did from the beginning. I went to hundred of my industry friends and colleagues and said, this is what I'm doing-- or actually I'd built it already. I kind of did it backwards I built it first and I just basically said, "if you like what you see, please invite at least five fellow creatives or five colleagues that you work with that you have on your team or on your set or whatever." And that really was a crowdsourcing move and it was the idea being that, it's OK if I go out there and tell you it's great. But if you go to your people and you tell them and you have your champions and these people and these people respect your opinion. Obviously, they're going to listen to you more than are going to listen to me and that message is still there today. If you sign up for an account today, you'll see a message from me immediately on your wall. You know it's the same thing. It's me talking about the fact that I'm no different than anybody else on the site and I'm on the grind just like everybody else is on the grind. And you know-- this is a platform for you right now.
Dean: [00:13:06] For you, by you.
RB (Guest): [00:13:07] Yeah. For you by you that's exactly right. And what I mean by that is that, for you by you-- You know there's two messages kind of embedded in that. One is that you're going to get out what you put in. The second thing is that the more you help it grow and the more that we act as a community to help grow the more people, the more opportunity and the more opportunity, the more success.
[00:13:28] So to me you know the crowdsourcing aspect of that has been something that we embraced in the beginning even though, like I said, we didn't call it that and to be here all these years later and you know-- three four years later and be asked to write a book on film crowdsourcing, that was really --well it was a shock to be asked but it was also very rewarding for me because even though we didn't quite call it that at the time that's exactly what we were doing and I don't think that there is any aspect in being a content creator, being an actor, or writer, a producer, a filmmaker or even film financier, anything, in this business is no more important subject that we should be talking about than crowdsourcing because when you're controlling your own content and with the opportunities that are out there to self distribute and to get your content out there. The most important thing that you can bring as proof of concept outside of the material itself is an audience. And if you can bring that audience with you that is currency that people are not only embracing but it's becoming really almost the most valuable currency out there. So crowdsourcing is so important these days. People confuse that with crowdfunding, they're two different things. Yeah, but you know --but that's you know, along the way you're saying that's what we did from the beginning. But to build it to make it viral and to grow it over a half million people from a hundred, six-seven years ago. But it's also important to put the exclamation point on the fact that that idea of crowdsourcing is just hugely right now.
Dre: [00:15:11] Now did you know --I mean you may have answered this, but was there a certain thing that kind of led you to go that route as opposed to just like, I guess the traditional route of advertising? Or did you see a void in your expertise or in your in your department that kind of led you that way or was it just something that kind of happened naturally
RB (Guest): [00:15:33] No, it's a great question and it's a little bit-- there's a couple of answers to that. One yes, there was a little bit of you know having run-- I ran a magazine before I started Stage32 called Razor and it was sort of the David and Goliath kind of situation. We were a single title publisher going up against Condé Nast and a bunch of the other gigantic publishers out there and we knew that we were going to have an uphill climb because these brands were entrenched. And what we did there was, we did a lot of crowdsourcing as well. We kind of went to our audience and said --our branding was this is for this type of guy. This is the type of guy that reads this magazine, it's not the type of guy who reads Maxim. In fact, we used to joke where-- it wasn't really a joke. We actually kind of used this messaging to say this is a magazine for the guy that's done with his Maxim years and not quite ready for his Esquire years. That pissed a lot of people in the publishing industry off but it gave us an enormous amount of attention. And then what we did was we went to our-- we started getting incredible numbers on the subscriber side and the readership side and at one point we were actually outselling Esquire and GQ which was amazing for us. But we were able to go to our audience at that point and say OK. So, we went to the people who identify with the brand and you know-- who now were vocal and/or were loyal supporters of us--I should say, we asked them to become vocal and we'd basically said look, go out there share this magazine, share the message. And it was incredible. We got-- you know, we did parties around different cities and events around different cities and we asked people to bring, invite you know people-- that fit the sort of Razor man style of life and everything like that. And it was all crowdsourcing and we we grew and we grew and grew. So I took a lot of what we learned from that experience and brought it over to Stage32 but I thought the second reason the second thing you know that --the second reason I guess I should say that made me go in that direction as far as the crowdsourcing angle was concerned is that, I knew a lot of the pushback was going to be (and it still is to this day it's fascinating in a lot of ways) you know, "I'm on so many social media sites like, what do I need another one for?" And I know how to combat that with my messaging. I know how --I know what the answer to that is and I'm really in a lot of ways if you have to be asking that question if you're a creative in this business, then to be honest and to be blunt and I know would probably tick some people off too but I don't think you're serious about what you're doing because I just think that board based social media sites while there is a place for certain things when it comes to branding and it comes to crowdsourcing, it's diluted. It's not a concentrated audience if your efforts are --if you're spending your time trying to build relationships and trying to build a network and trying to build a community of like-minded individuals. It's going to be diluted down. So it was important for me to go to people that were doing this in the business and ask them to spread the message If they saw the worth...to go out and to share that message with everybody else to explain to everybody why it's worth their time. And that has proven to be extraordinary. You know we've seen it not only in that I've --I just want to put a button on this because it's just something that just popped in my head-- but we've seen this not only online but we've done events like, let's say at Cannes, where we have just said --we've gone to some loyal people that we know are going to be a can. Some of our most loyal members that are going to be at the festival and we won't even advertise, the fact that we're having an event or a meet up will say we're leaning on you to invite 10 to 20 people to this event. And you know we did that one year and we had about 150 people and we did it the following year we had over 450 people. And again I don't know we might have sent out invitations on our own and we might not have gotten that number. It was the fact that everybody said, you need to come see this and you need to understand what they're doing and you need to be a part of it. And that's that's the power of the crowd. I mean the second half of my book is called you know crowdsourcing for filmmakers. The subtitle is Indie Film and the Power of the Crowd and the emphasis really is 'the power of the crowd'. And again, there's no better-- there's no more valuable currency than that outside of the actual content today. Not to repeat myself...but to repeat myself
Chris: [00:20:01] Now it really shows you that Stage32 isn't just a social media network, it's really just a community. And the people that are a part of the community are obviously dedicated, at least a portion of them. I'm sure there's people like me who kind of sneak in there and just kind of poking around and kind of feeling it out and where there's other people who are probably really involved with the community. Is that something that you see with your users
RB (Guest): [00:20:27] It's totally true. Absolutely. And I think that--again, I think people don't understand that you can't hide online. You know it's... it's the thing that I --like I said earlier, I get so many people that have me up every week look at my, look at my, help me do this and do that for me. Or like you know you know, you know so much and I can't get any traction and I've been doing this for five years. All these things and then I'll go and I'll look at if they're on Stage32, first of all. And if they're not on Stage32, I'll say OK so you're writing the CEO of somebody that created a platform that absolutely will help you and you're asking how do I get help. Or their on Stage32 and they haven't logged-in in a year or they were on Stage32 and they log in but they don't participate in any way. And you know, I sit there and I just say, "look man, this is the problem." You know, you get people that come onto the site and some people that don't, that aren't on the site at all, like people will reach out to me all the time and as I said earlier, some people will be asking me to look at their material or finance their material or produce the material. But you get other people to that are you looking for--They want you to provide all the answers. Even the people that ask me to look at their material and stuff like that I'll go and look and you know the first thing I look for is are they a member of the platform. And it's amazing how often they're not. And when they're not, I sit there and I said OK so they're reaching out to me knowing...and they'll even say a lot of times like. "I know you're CEO of Stage32, that's an awesome platform you created"-- and everything like that. Then I go and they have no profile... They haven't created a profile. So I'm like well how do you know how awesome it is? I certainly know is that you're not taking control of your own destiny. And I think that that's the thing. Very often people will write to me and I'll go and look like I said to see if they have a profile. More often than not they don't have one more often than not if they do have one they're not utilizing it at all. They're in there, they're not networking, they're not contributing, they're not involved in any way. And I kind of equate it to going to a conference. You know you go to a film conference and you just sit in the corner and you don't talk to anybody or you stand outside the lecture hall. And then when it's over, you go up to the person who just gave the lecture and say can you help me? I mean, that's really what you're doing. And there are so many people that, that's what I said earlier too. You know I said earlier that, when you asked, it's a rough business and I said it's really not when you start giving yourself a competitive advantage. And that's one of the ways you get a competitive advantage. If you're signaling to people you know you can't hide on the Internet. It's very easy for people to go look at your social media and out what you're doing, when you're bitching and moaning about the fact you don't have time and then you go on social media and they're making 700 political posts today or you know whatever the hell they're posting about. You know you sit there and go well... If you took that time and you actually put in the time you maybe... Maybe you wouldn't be writing me. Maybe-- maybe you'd be you know further along in your career, I guess. and not looking for these questions and everything like that or we're looking for these answers I should say. So I mean yeah, you do get a lot of people. I can tell you that you know being in front of this and I am obviously very active within the community. The common denominator for the people, and I've seen so many people go on to such major successes, whether they're getting representation or whether they've found financing or the producers put a director or actors have gotten roles or whatever the case may be there's been you know tens of thousands of success stories on the site since we started, on the platform since we started, that we know about that people have told us or written in or we see posted or whatever and then God knows how many more that we don't know about... The common denominator with every single one of them is that they put in the work, they put in the time they're visible, they're active and and in a lot of ways and this is key as well... They're very very selfless. They're being contributors, they're educated on who they're talking to. All these things make a difference. They really, really do and all these things give you a competitive advantage over the next person.
Dean: [00:24:52] Now with the people that we-- actually we've interviewed different forms of artists before, whether it's you know, painters or something it was acting or who knows... Do you think that the reason they're not using the tools that you so kindly given them is because there's this overwhelming feeling of, 'if you're an artist you don't also need to be a business person'? Or do you think, I don't know-- it's interesting to me that someone wouldn't use something that's so clearly helpful to bridge the gap. I don't know. What do you think or what do you think the reason is for
RB (Guest): [00:25:30] Well I think there's a few reasons. I think that the overarching reason is laziness. They don't want to put in the time. Some people--- I think some of it is ego. I think some people think that their art should speak for themselves and in this day and age that certainly does not work. You have to understand there is so much content being created that, you can be brilliant but you have to be able to stand above the crowd and the way you stand up with the crowd of supporters and champions of your work. You can't create art in a vacuum and expect that--I mean you create art in a vacuum but eventually after bring it out of the world and I think that's a big part of it. And then there's some very legitimate reasons. I think that there are people who are introverted who this does not come easy for. And that's something that I speak about in the book. It's something that I get to lecture on quite often, which I'm you know, I enjoy. Because you know especially, writers for example you know. Writers are very insular and they do have a hard time networking and a lot of them do feel like, well you know if I write something great it's going to rise to the top, and maybe 10 years ago maybe that was the case, when you were able to submit. When there wasn't as much-- as people doing it and there wasn't as many legalities to deal with as there are today. And then I think a lot of people don't really-- I don't think a lot of people embrace this idea of branding. You know what's the branding of you. What's the branding of your film. What's the branding of your work, your material. You know all these things matter but you have to be at the forefront of that. It's like I said at the top of this thing like if you're an artist you're an entrepreneur. You really are. You are the entrepreneur of you and your material and you're work. So if you're an entrepreneur, you have to be out there letting people know what you do and gaining champions of what you do. And so I think that, some people have a hard time understanding how to do that. But there is a lot of information out there on how to get by that. And as a ton of articles, I've written a few from Medium that you could find very easily. But I think a lot of the other reasons to be blunt I think you know boil down to hubris, ego and laziness.
Dre: [00:27:42] So I'm --like I said earlier I do music. I'm a music producer and you know, I see a lot of that same thing in the music industry. Where you know, it's a lot of ego and a lot of people, they think that they have like the best songs and the best you know whatever. And you know, they'll spend all day telling you how good they are. But when it comes to actually putting the music out there whatever, there's always that underlying excuse where it's like you said, they're lazy or they just you know the ego is kind of getting in their way. Has there ever been a situation where you, I mean, and I'm sure there has, on your platform like where you've seen that happening to a person and you've kind of helped them overcome or kind of steer them? Because, I'm sure people that listen to this podcast are they're dealing with those struggles as well so what, without giving too much away some tangible examples of how you helped someone overcome that
[00:28:42] Well you know it's I have an I don't think it's matter giving anything away. The environment on Stage32 is overwhelmingly positive and inviting. We don't allow trolling. We make you stand in front of your own name so that you know you're responsible for what you write. Responsible for the material you put out there. So you know, by virtue of that we've had very very very little abuse. The community polices itself. We've had the kick off, I think in six seven years, only probably six seven people. And those people were warned repeatedly to reign it in. So I think that by creating a nurturing and an inviting environment, I think we've had more successes than failures as far as people who may have come in from a place of being timid or a place of 'I may not be good enough for this platform,' 'there's too many professionals here,' 'I'm not a professional what can I offer people.' We constantly explain how to use social media as a benefit. And I always tell people the great neutralizers on being online and being on social media is, you know to ask-- first of all, has to be informed. You need to be informed on who you know you're dealing with are you speaking with and know a little bit about them so educating yourself is amazingly important. But then after that really it comes down to just being human. Everybody wants a human connection. It doesn't matter how successful the person you're speaking with are trying to connect with is, the commonality is that you both are human beings. So if you come in from a place of asking questions, giving compliments for good material that's being shared, sharing content on your own. All those things are great neutralizers and great entry points for anybody on social media and anybody can do that and it becomes less intimidating of course when you're doing that from behind the screen. But when you start doing that and you start getting a response to it, and you will, you know you could ask questions of social media people and you might not get a response every time but you'll get a response quite often. You know if you if you handle yourself the right way. You know when you share content, you'll get a response to that when you compliment people on the content that their sharing and thank them for sharing it. You'll get a response to that. And all of a sudden what ends up happening is you start getting people interested in you and what you're doing and that's a very rewarding experience for somebody who you know maybe again intimidated by this idea of being in a community where either they feel they don't have a lot to offer or whether they're new to a certain profession or craft or they are trying to learn, whatever the case may be. I think sometimes people forget that every single person that they're trying to talk to is just a human being, just like them and is trying to achieve the same goals that they are. So I think that's part of it. Coming from the other end of it, when you said the people that feel like that their too good for it. I can't help those people... Those people need to help themselves. I mean the reality is if you are not getting the results you are looking for, if you think your genius is so great but nobody else seems to be connecting with it, then you have a problem. And that's something that you have to figure out for yourself. Because I'll tell you what. I have met a ton of great filmmakers, a ton of amazing writers. I mean I've read some incredible scripts who-- their material falls into the void because they do not get themselves out, did not handle themselves the right way. People don't want to work with you, with your all ego. By the way, I talked earlier about how you can write on social media. I've been in rooms, man. I've seen it on the acting side. I've seen it on the writing side. I've seen it on the filmmaking side, where the people in the room are discussing talent they want to hire and they'll look at the way they handle themselves on social media. And if it's all combative and nasty and whatever they'll go, "nope, next." And guess what, there is a next. That's what a lot of people don't realize, there is a next. There is a next great script. There's a next great filmmaker and as you know a person that has that kind of talent that actually also was a great collaborator. And you know there's a feeling in this business, right now, that life's too short to deal with people that don't want to collaborate or people that want to put their own interests and their own ego ahead of the team. And that's really what this is all about. We do a lot of stuff in isolation. Like I said earlier, actors rehearse their lines in isolation or learn their lines in isolation. Writers write in isolation, do a lot of things in isolation. But when you come out of that room and you step out into the sunlight you're going to be working with a crew and a team and a bunch of people and you're gonna get notes and you're get feedback and you get out and you have to learn how to deal with that. And if people see that you can't deal with that or you are willing to deal with that or your ego is above all of it. Guess what? You're gone man. On to the next...on to the next
Chris: [00:34:01] Now you've obviously created, like I said, this awesome community. You know I see the ending-- by the way don't judge my profile yet because its not complete...
RB (Guest): [00:34:24] Yeah that's why I almost didn't even come on this freakin podcast!
Chris: [00:34:24] I do see you interacting a lot on the platform, just by looking a little bit and I see you on there. Which is really cool because at such a high level to be engaging with the average user is a really neat thing that you do. But also, it tells me that you're doing a lot of things over there. You're running... You're running this company. You know, you're also producing films and writing books... Like I just want to kind of switch gears here a little bit and-- What's a day like for you? Because, productivity is a really big thing especially for, you know, the 5 o'clock hustler or the person who's you know going and you know they're working nine to fives and they're coming trying to --trying to make another...basically another life for themselves after they get off work. So what does it what does it like for you
RB (Guest): [00:35:17] Yeah jeeze, its controlled chaos. I guess its the you know the term-- I can't say that any two days are alike. I mean I try to start the day as kind of the same way. I read the trades in the morning and you know try to get on top of what's going on in the business. It's been a habit of mine for a while. I usually do my workouts and exercise and in the morning get it out of the way and to kind of get my head straight. But then after that it really is a lot of controlled chaos because it's a lot of meetings. I'm trying to-- I hate the word balance. I really do. But I'm trying to, lets say, juggle. I'm trying to juggle my Stage32 responsibilities and the business of Stage32 which I think a lot of people that are on the platform, I shouldn't say a lot of it, but I do--There are quite a few people I don't think understand just how much it goes into running a platform of this size and were a very small team. So there are a lot of responsibilities there not only in making sure the community is ok but building the actual business and taking meetings on the business and then you know on top of that, there's my personal projects. Obviously the writing, the producing, the acting and all that. So I mean you know a perfect example is today, there were four different meetings today. I was running around L.A. on and two of them had to do with writing, producing and film business-- you know, film industry kind of business and then the other two had to do with initiatives and partnerships for Stage32. So it's always controlled chaos and you know you try to constantly be on the move, constantly on the grind, constantly on the hustle and you know, if I find five minutes here, I'm at Starbucks and I'm picking up a coffee. Yeah I hop on the app and I'll respond to some people on the site. One of my tech guys told me about that I've made something like 320000 posts on this site since you started and a lot of those are just replies to people and everything like that but it's an enormous amount. I feel like it's a practice what you preach kind of thing. Like, I said earlier that people are lazy and people don't want to put in the time where I want the people who are putting in the time to know that they--to see that it's worthwhile. I'm very obviously active on Twitter and Instagram as well to show where it's not--Yeah, it's leading by example. It's not really-- it's not an ego thing. It's more of like here's what I'm doing. I want people to understand that six, seven years ago, I had barely any contacts in this business. I had barely any relationships in this business and a lot of people think that some of the good stuff that's happened to me is because I'm the CEO Stage32 and I've got to tell you, if I could curse on this show, it's bullshit! Nobody is going to take the time to --people aren't meeting me because I'm running this platform. People are meeting me for film business and for producing opportunities or because they want to read my screenplays and stuff like that, they're not gonna waste their time because I'm the frickin CEO Stage32. They're taking the time because the content spoke to them or the project speaks to them and because quite bluntly I built those relationships. And I work those relationships every day. And you know you part of what you said, "what's day in the life like?" Certainly almost every single day of my life, without question, there's at least an hour dedicated to building relationships and networking. And I treat it like a job just like I treat everything else like a job and that and that keeps me committed to it. And that has paid enormous dividends for me it's how everything has happened to me and I got to tell you you know 98 99 percent of those relationships started on Stage32. I work the site just like everybody else should. But I work the site as it was intended to be.
Chris: [00:39:25] Well that initial 100 industry friends that you're referring to must have been a good 100.
RB (Guest): [00:39:33] You know it's funny because they came from all walks of life. The people that I work with on --people I even volunteered on projects for, people that you know-- some of them were pretty well accomplished and some of them were kind of on that early grind like I was and you know it's just you never know. It's really the reality of this business. You never know who, you know the P.A. on the film today they meet on a film today could be the lead producer on a 20 million dollar movie tomorrow. You just it's just the nature of this business. And that's why no connection is a bad connection. That's why you know you do work your relationships. That's why you know you treat it like a job you really, really do. You know-- it's just can't be--It can't be overstated. It's everything comes down to-- everybody wants to like each other in this business so the people in this business get a bad rap and certainly there are some people that are you know as we're finding out from the nefarious people and some people that are just all about themselves and you know egotistical but I'd say a lot of those people fall to the void. You see it. It happens more and more and it really is the people that kind of create this sort of grassroots group when this starting out together and stay in touch with one another and everything like that that a few years later are making incredible art and doing it together. And because the other reality in this business is that people want to work with people that they know and they want to continue to work with people they know because it is a hard enough business. And when you're able to go from one project to the other without much of a change in the casting--in the crew let's say and the people you're are producing with and the people you're working with, it makes it infinitely easier because everybody is on the same page and you don't have to go through that feeling out process anymore so ,again, that's why it's so important to these relationships to build a team and to form Writing groups and form mastermind groups and these are all things you can do online these days you don't have to be in L.A. and you don't have to be in the middle of everything to do it. I mean, I know so many people that create a virtual mastermind groups they meet once a month together over you know some sort of conferencing software and then they break out and they meet once a month you know individually on like Skype. And that's incredible. You could do that with anybody around the world and --but you know like I said some people take advantage of it and some people don't. You I'll tell a really, what I think is a very inspiring story. Yeah I got a network across from a guy in India. And why the hell do I want to connect with the film maker in India now? Well you know I built relationships with a bunch of people who lived around the states and one of them introduced me to a filmmaker in India and we got to talking we just you know nothing was coming up, we were just kind of stayed friends I introduced him to a few people that I thought could help him with a project. You know things kept going on and on and you know one day he brought this short to me and said you know it's really important messaging and I really think it's going to be great. And you know, I helped them produce the short and bring some of these Stage32 to members that I thought could help them move post-production, with composing with all this together and they made the film in India and now it's playing-- it just we just started getting out to film festivals and it's played in film festivals, and this is the early stages, across like 17 countries already. And that's amazing. You know that's all just by --that's just by building relationships through an online platform. You know what I mean. And again if that doesn't inspire you to take control of your own destiny if that doesn't inspire you to understand that the world is so wide open you know to be active or to be inactive, its a choice and my choice is to always be active.
Chris: [00:43:40] There are so many tools now and that's one of the reasons why we-- why I did my little projects. Like I said its still in editing, in th editing bay right now. I don't know what's happening but.
Dean: [00:43:53] Get your ass on there an finish it up.
Chris: [00:43:55] The director is the editor and he's also a nine to fiver but just the fact that when things-- like you know like the crowdfunding came out. Maybe we didn't do the whole crowdsourcing part right. But just the tools to be able to actually go out and make those connections and actually be able to make your thing like that and actually get people to give you money. There's so many different ways to do it now, including you know with your platform you know making those connections is just as there is just so many tools there's no excuse, there's no excuse.
RB (Guest): [00:44:29] So one of my very good friends is the head of film at indiegogo. And so he gets a lot of the projects--they come right through him and him and I were just talking the other day and he said it's the same --he deals with the same thing over and over again. He said when he said it but it's even more difficult now he said because when he started there were people that were kind of afraid of crowdfunding so they were the questions were legit. The questions were like you know what, "why our project and what do we need to do to attract people to our project?" And of course he would talk about the idea of crowdsourcing and building that cache and that cadre and that army of people before you ever launch. You know he said the problem today is that people have gone from being afraid to do it. Now everybody thinks they could do it. And he said there's only so big a pot money out there. Yeah, for better or for worse. Right? And he said there's a pot of money out there he said, right? If you think about that he goes and gets dispersed in a certain way. He goes, well of course the bulk of that is going to go to the people who are putting in the time who are understanding that raising financing through crowdfunding is really no different than doing it through traditional means of the old style means of finding financiers. It's just that you're doing it on a mass level. And these people have more projects to choose from than ever before. So how do you rise above that? How do you create a name yourself.? How do you create a brand for you and your film that people care about and who are you approaching? What people, what groups, what individuals are going to care about that messaging and are you targeting in the right way. He goes, you know to try to make people understand that these days he goes, everybody just wants to just put it up. He said you know everybody just thinks and then they come to them they go why is it failing Indiegogo. The platform is terrible everything sucks and he's like No no no no no no, you didn't listen. You didn't put in the time your not putting in the work you have this if you build it they will come mentality and that just doesn't work. It just doesn't work.
Dean: [00:46:38] If you build it they will come but you also need like a deadly natural event to push them all to the boat. But in this case, it's like you gotta put yourself out there and put the work in and the you've got to build it and you got to make them com.
RB (Guest): [00:46:53] Yeah. No doubt about.
Chris: [00:46:55] We're getting pretty close to an hour here. And you know you've been so generous with your time even though we've had a lot of interruptions but I'm not sure you're on time but I don't want to keep you too much longer. I do want you. --I just want to dive into--- you know we talked about the you know a lot about the business portion and a lot about the crowdsourcing. But when it comes to that you know-- the actual filmmaking process. What has been your experience with just the --I guess the production aspect what? Because, you just keep thinking about my own experience and I've you know like I said I wish I had a platform like yours so I could reach out to somebody people to help me out. If you were, you know, someone who was you know relatively new to say filmmaking because there's a lot of people who are like I wish I could make a film is just you know it's just getting the guts to do it really. What would be some suggestions that you could give to some of those people And that's a pretty broad question. I know.
RB (Guest): [00:47:57] Yeah yeah. No it is. It is and it's actually even more so now because you know again there's so many different types of content being created. Short form content, proof of concept content has become bigger than ever before. Obviously, we're living in a sort of a renaissance and really you know a gold rush of television content being created produced and being purchased. I mean there's so many scripts that are getting purchased that aren't even making its TV. Or making it to air, I should say. But this really starts with finding great material, material you're passionate about. I mean I really think that's it. Me as a producer, it really really has to speak to me in some sort of way or if it's not something I'm completely passionate about then I have to kind of look at it from the business end and say if it's something I like or it's people I want to work with and I do like the material. How can we--does it have other assets attached to it and that could be obviously finance, financing. It could be talent. It could be-- it could be a crowd. I mean it really can. If this is something that's being produced-- I mean something is created and maybe there's some talent attached that has a built in audience for it. That's something that's very appealing and it's becoming more appealing to producers everywhere. And even for production companies and studios everywhere, that's something that they're looking at these days. So those are some of the things that I would look for. I think if somebody is looking to control their own material I think ,again, what's the endgame? If somebody is looking --if you're just starting out and you're looking to produce a feature film my suggestion might be to if you can't, if you haven't raised the money for that or you need a certain amount of money for that that seems excessive at this point in the game for you than I would say. Why I do it as a short first as proof of concept. Sort of take that route that Damien Chazelle took with Whiplash. You know he made it as you sure raised the money as a short got it into Sundance. You know they basically came in and Bold Films said to him, "What do you want to do next?" And he said, "I wanted to do a full length version of this." And they said OK. And he's not the only one. Obviously a ton people out there that had done shorts either as proof of concept for longer a longer form version of that material or proof of concept for their talents. And so I would say you know if you're a filmmaker starting out you may want to think about that. You know doing something a little short form something that's not going to cost arm and a leg.
Chris: [00:50:42] Concentrating your resources.
RB (Guest): [00:50:45] Yeah and also figuring out where you can get those resources from. I mean again not to dive back into crowdsourcing again, but I mean a lot of people I know that create short films that you know let's say it's a fifteen thousand dollar budget. You know I've met so many people especially since I wrote the book who love to tell me their stories and I love hearing them about how they took like a 15000 dollar budget and a budget and turned it into like 5000 because they were able to crowdsource the equipment and crowdsource the locations and crowd sourced some of the crew and you know. So it's being resourceful as well it's you know trying to make the film look like a million dollars but you know make it for 5000. But I think that's the way to start. It's you know it's a great question too because I just had the opportunity last night to watch some of the-- we do a short film contest every year on Stage32 and we screened the program at festivals around the world which is great so we know. This year we're showing it at Raindance and at Holly's shorts in Hollywood which is one of the only Oscar qualifying short film festivals in the states and so we're really really proud of it. And every year the two years we've done it the program has been incredible.
[00:52:03] Last night I watched a couple of films that I mean I have to say I was floored by and I went to one of the filmmakers and I said one of the producers actually and I said what did you make this for? Because it looked like. I mean this thing looked like a you know like a fifty thousand dollars short, easy. And they made it for under ten. And I said How the hell did you make if for under ten? And he said everybody sacrificed, begged borrowed and stole everywhere we could. We did everything that we needed to do to keep it under and we put the money where it mattered, which was in certain equipment, in our sound and in our post. And you know I was like Man, if that isn't the most textbook perfect response I don't know what is. But that's why it's so incredible. I mean they they really did it. They got the right people, they got the right actors, they got everybody the sacrifice and everybody donate their time and buy in on the project and everything like that. But again you know it's funny because it's like every one of these answers is sort of course pollinating with everything that we said before. I said How did you get all these people to do it and he said relationships, we all have relationships. And that's really where it comes from. I mean again, it comes back to that.
Dean: [00:53:18] It sounds like the true the true definition of community and something that Stage32 available to everyone its really neat and it's great to know that there's so many parallels between different worlds of business. I mean everything you're saying applies to every industry. You know how do you be successful when you're just starting something. Create proof concept, create some success --you know be realistic in how you can create that success and then show it to everyone that you possibly can have them buy into it engage with them and then and then broaden your scope and then really that's you know that's the key to success generally. It sounds like you have a really strong handle on that. It's really cool to hear.
RB (Guest): [00:53:58] Well and you just defined everything --you know it's a perfect kind of full circle thing because you just define what an entrepreneur does. Right? And again you know if you're a producer if you're a writer if you mean like I said you are an entrepreneur and all of those things that you just said I mean all those things you just laid out that strategy that you just laid out is exactly right. And you know the people that succeed get that and embrace it. Some people will takes a little bit longer than others but most of the people that you know you see kind of bow out, bow out because they either don't want to accept that or they just don't want to put in the time because it does take a lot of time and effort. It's work. You know I have a friend of mine who's a very successful producer was speaking on a panel with me at a film festival and somebody asked them. She said you know she was what's the difference between a success --What would you say is the one aspect that makes a successful producer as opposed to somebody that just can't get it done. And he said. Frankly goes everything in this business he goes Its work, because some people want to put it in and some people don't want to put it on because you know and it goes quicker you learn that it is the more successful or the what are the path to going after success. And it's it's true. Well it's true I mean a lot of people say film business film business nothing but fun at the fun. People forget that the second word is 'business.
Dean: [00:55:26] Such a good point.
Chris: [00:55:28] Well, RB You've you've inspired me I'm going I'm going to crank up my profile I'm going to make some connections and I hope everybody listen to this does the same thing and signs up for an account especially their interest-- Well mostly if they're interested in the film industry but be like me too and try to find those parallels for whatever venture that you're doing. Is there any --anything else that you'd like to throw out there before we wrap this thing up.
RB (Guest): [00:55:54] I mean you know just take action. You know every day take action every day. You know if you start doing things and start creating habits for yourself to go out and do it and to be repetitive in the strategies that you put in place that you feel are going to bare results and adjust accordingly. You are going to make progress you're going to see the results that you want. So just get out there and do it and do it every day and you know results take time. You know, results do take time but as long as you're putting in the effort every day you will see those results I guarantee you that and then as far as you know just invite everybody to stay in touch with me. Obviously you sign up for stage 32 you'll get me on your wall immediately and I respond to everything. So if you want a drop me a note you can. If you want to connect with me on any other social media I'm on Twitter and Instagram @RBwalkintoabar. That's exactly how it sounds. My initials R-B walks into a bar that's on Instagram. It's also Medium. If you want to read my articles a Medium.
Dre: [00:57:08] I Love that name.
RB (Guest): [00:57:11] Yeah I gota give credit. There was a little contest thing that somebody did. In fact they did a contest they did a little thing on Twitter where they unbeknownst to me I found out I was out I was actually out at a bar and somebody said to me you should go check Twitter it's pretty funny right now. I checked it and it was a whole bunch of my friends and people from the Stage32 and they were doing 'RB walks into a bar and' and they were going to pick a winner and one of my friends came with RB walks into a bar and no one walks out.
RB (Guest): [00:57:38] So yeah. So, you could find me on Twitter Instagram Medium or RBwalkingintoabar and obviously on Stage32. And finally I'll just throw out shameless plug, Crowdsourcing for Filmmakers. I fought my publisher on the title of this book because it's you know crowdsourcing for Filmmaker makers but it really truly is Crowd sourcing and Film Creatives and it really truly is Crowdsourcing for any entrepreneur or any business person. It's all about how you identify engage and move an audience for the brand of you the brand the projects the brand of your company. All of it and it's available on Amazon.
Chris: [00:58:20] Everyone you can find all those links that RB mentioned on the episode page at 5oclockhustle.com/Stage32. Thank you everybody for listening. RB thank you so much. You've been awesome you gave us so much value here it's so much information. We're going to be able to use. I'm going to listen to this thing back again and I gona have takes some more notes. But thank you again so much for coming on and giving us your time. It was really awesome.
RB (Guest): [00:58:52] Well you guys have been great man. Thank you for having me on.
Chris: [00:58:57] Thank you. All Right