“Richard RB Botto”
Founder and CEO of Stage32
By Patrick Donovan – Author/Screenwriter
US Navy Disabled Veteran – 1980 – 1991
Seattle, WA (The Hollywood Times) 04/02/2020
“From his humble beginnings to Stage32, Richard RB Botto shares how it all began, what it took to launch Stage32 and how Stage32 is screening films for SXSW and other festivals impacted by the Coronavirus outbreak.”
– Patrick Donovan
Stage 32, The World’s Biggest Online Platform Connecting and Educating Film, TV and Digital Creatives and Professionals, To Screen Films Affected by SXSW Cancellation
With March 6th’s cancellation of the 2020 SXSW festival due to concerns of the health and safety of attendees and the Coronavirus, Stage 32 the world’s largest online platform connecting and educating film, TV and digital creatives and professionals announced today it will give officially selected SXSW filmmakers the opportunity to showcase their projects on the Stage 32 platform beginning in April.
All filmmakers and content creators accepted into SXSW 2020 are welcome to submit their films for screening. Stage 32 will provide access and promote the films to its global community of over 600,000 creatives, professionals, and industry executives. Filmmakers will have a choice whether to screen privately to Stage 32’s community which includes distributors, buyers and sales agents, as well as managers, agents, financiers, development execs and producers who already serve as mentors and educators for the platform, or publicly to anyone in the world wishing to view the film or short form content. There is no fee to participate.
“As filmmakers, producers, screenwriters and actors ourselves, all of us at Stage 32 are devastated for everyone impacted by the cancellation of SXSW. Given the sad reality that the Coronavirus will likely cause more festival cancellations, we want to assure that these filmmakers and their connections get the exposure their work and efforts so richly deserve. Our goal is to not only shine a light on their incredible talent, but also to facilitate connections to sales agents, distributors, buyers, managers, agents, and other professionals who have the power to showcase their work to the largest audience possible and also make a significant and positive impact on the path of their careers,” says Richard “RB” Botto, CEO of Stage 32.
About the Screenings:
Interested filmmakers can visit Stage 32’s screening registration portal at www.stage32.com/screenings. Filmmakers and/or producers can submit their request to screen their project up until March 23, 2020. Stage 32 will begin screening the films for their exclusive audience in early April.
RB is a working actor, producer and screenwriter. As a producer, his films have played at dozens of festivals including the Sundance award-winning feature, Another Happy Day, starring Ellen Barkin, Demi Moore and Kate Bosworth and written & directed by Euphoria creator Sam Levinson, What Lies Ahead, starring Rumer Willis & Emma Dumont, the documentary Crutch and the upcoming Rain-Beau’s End. As a writer, he has two features and a TV pilot in active development. As an actor, his latest film On the Corner of Ego and Desire premiered at the 2018 Raindance Film Festival.
Additionally, RB’s book Crowdsourcing For Filmmakers: Indie Film and the Power of the Crowd, was published by Focal Press/Routledge under the American Film Market Presents banner and quickly became one of their best-selling titles. It has hit #1 in 6 different film and business related categories on Amazon and Audible. The book can be found at the Focal Press/Routledge booth by AFM badge registration and on Amazon and Audible, where it has garnered over 90 5-star reviews.
A sought after speaker, teacher and mentor, RB has been a keynote speaker and panelist at such festivals and conferences as Cannes, AFM, Tribeca, Sundance, Raindance, Austin, SXSW, Cinequest, ITVFest, Portugal FEST, Trinidad and Tobago and Winston Baker. He has also taught at institutions such as Harvard, USC and Columbia University on the subjects of filmmaking, producing, film finance, screenwriting, social media, crowdfunding, crowdsourcing, entrepreneurship and business.
Founded in 2011 by Richard “RB” Botto, Stage 32 works with over 500 industry professionals and executives worldwide who provide education, instruction and professional opportunities for members of the platform. Stage 32 currently has over 1,200 hours of exclusive film, television and digital craft and business education in its library. Members of the Stage 32 community use the platform daily to build their network, incubate projects, take online webinars, classes and labs, find work, cast and crew their projects and for other professional pursuits. Stage 32 members range from talent on the rise to Emmy, BAFTA and Academy Award Winners.
The audio interview:
Transcript of the interview follows:
Patrick: Hi, Richard. Thank you for joining me today. It’s a pleasure. Welcome. First off, how are you and your family in the Stage32 team doing during this COVID outbreak?
Richard RB Botto: Uh, I appreciate you asking and that we’re doing well. Uh, my family is doing very well, um, you know, we’re making sure that, um, my mom, my stepfather, my stepmother, that everybody is being extremely careful.
Obviously, immediately we took action at Stage32 with our staff and were all working from home. And, uh, so far everybody has managed, uh, to Dodge uh, you know, the, the, the big issue. Um, but everybody’s being very, very careful and I hope everybody on your side is doing well as well.
Patrick: Yes, sir. My mom is 85 she’s in Webster, New York, doing really well, you know, and, uh, my aunt is in Florida and she’s hunkering down. She’s my mom’s sister and 90 so I’m keeping praying that she’s going to stay okay. And you know, she’s doing what she needs to do. Well, thanks for asking.
Richard RB Botto: Yeah, and that’s it. I hope everybody that is listening that last, the last thing that you said is, you know, doing what they need to do and I hope everybody is, and I hope everybody is being, uh, you know, aware and safe and, and practicing social distancing of course, and, and being careful when they have to go out for necessities, for groceries and so on and so forth. So hopefully everybody is taking care of themselves.
Patrick: Yes, sir. Good. Thank you. I’m glad we got that. First of all, um, I’m going to ask you something about your early beginnings because people never talk about that. And, uh, we only know about actors and actresses and people like yourself in the adult form mostly. So let’s talk about what were some of the high and low points of the early beginnings, where you went to school, college, did you serve in the military and what got you interested in the entertainment industry?
Richard RB Botto: Great. Yeah, sure. Um, well, really, honestly, it all traces back to a love of film. I at a very young age, and I mean, I’m talking, you know, five or six, it was just something about film and movies and, and watching movies, you know, of my family, my dad that um, it was always magical to me. I hate using that word because a lot of people always, it sounds so cliché and so corny, but it’s true.
I wanted, it seemed like another world. It seemed like… something not of this earth. And it was just something that interests me, interested me. And over time, you know, I really wanted to learn about the artistry of making films. So I, you know, I used to read, I grew up in New York and, and I used to read all the New York papers.
We had them all delivered and the first place I would go was the entertainment section and read film reviews and, and read interviews with directors and, and just grab onto any material I could. And, and my father worked in Manhattan and I was living in Brooklyn, Staten Island for most of my childhood and I would go into Manhattan with him to his office.
And that was about the only place where you could find Variety and the Hollywood Reporter and you know, so every time I went up to go hang with him at his office. That would be one of the things that we would do. We would go down to the local news stand and pick up, you know, a Variety, Hollywood Reporter and, and, uh, anything else entertainment wise, so I could just read and learn and, um, you know, from there in high school, well, even before high school, I went to some acting camps, theater camps, um, which were a lot of fun for me.
And then, um, once I was in college, really turned my attention to writing. I still was performing definitely was doing some theater stuff, but, um, also started writing and I was actually going to pharmacy school in college cause my father was a pharmacist. My brother was a pharmacist, it was in the family. I was actually working as a pharmacy tech in New York at the age of 16, which technically is illegal, but I was doing it and, uh, knew, you know, just knew the inside out of, of the pharmaceutical. Field and business. We had, you know, those types of magazines, medical magazines around the house, always you’re reading them and you know, it was just a natural fit, but it wasn’t in my heart and wasn’t in my soul.
And I took a lot of elective English elective type classes in college. And as these stories normally go, there was always one or two people in your life that come into your life and ended up being champions and voices of reason and I had not one but two college professors that came to me and basically said, you’re wasting your life if you go into pharmacy, you need to be creating you need to be writing.
And that changed the entire trajectory of my career and my life. And, um, you know, so I started writing more. Started, you know, looking into producing that a little bit sidetracked, although it ended up being a, um, a complimentary thing to what I’m doing now, which was, I started a magazine called Razor, which was a men’s lifestyle magazine that competed against GQ and Esquire and Maxim.
I mean, although we were more in the, we were what we used to like to say that we were the magazine for when you had done with your Maxim years and not quite ready for your Esquire years. And, um, we really did well. We were, you know, we outsold GQ and Esquire for a little while and Details for a little while, but we were a single title publisher after 9-11 where print was starting to die and the internet was taking over.
And, uh, even though we had a huge web component before any of our competitors, it was just very, very difficult as a single title publisher to really break in…well, not the break in we did break in and put to sustain and to win those advertising accounts that , you know, we’re locked in or loyal to the Conde Nast and the Hearses world. So from there, I moved through the relationships that I made. I moved into producing, writing, um, and then started Stage32. So that’s kind of a little bit of the backstory.
Patrick: Oh, that’s interesting. You led in to my next question. Why the name Stage32 where did you get that from?
Richard RB Botto: It’s a great question. I get asked this all the time. And um, you know, when I was toying around with what the name of this thing, so many tech companies, you know, use the misspellings, you know, the spellings of the cute spellings, or I didn’t want any of that. I wanted something that had some weight and some meaning, uh, to it. And the idea behind Stage32 first and foremost is collaboration.
That’s sort of the central theme to everything and it is certainly, um the lifeblood of how the film, television and digital content industries work. It’s, it’s relationships and collaboration. So, um, I, I was a big Orson Wells I still am a big Orson Wells fan, and I am one of those people that think, you know, Citizen Kane deserves all the accolades and Magnificent Andersons and Touch of Evil and On at Lake Shanghai, on and on and on.
The one thing that time a time hasn’t been friendly Orson Wells, he, you know, is now kind of looked at as if he’s not looked at the guy who was peddling wine at the end of his career you know, overweight and peddling wine at the end of his career, he is looked at as somebody that was sort of a dictator and in his way of handling, uh, his producing and, and his directing.
And, and if you read anything about him that, that couldn’t be further from the case. Um, a lot of people don’t realize that when Orson Wells was doing radio and War of the Worlds and the RKO Radio Show that when he was hired to do Citizen Kane, um, or when RKO brought him in under that contract and said, “Okay, go make, what you want,” he decided to make Citizen Kane, he took almost all of his radio actors with him and uh, put them in the movie, even though they didn’t have much film experience or on-camera experience. And the reality of the situation was that Wells was enormous collaborator and often deferred uh, to people he felt knew better.
And, um, he filmed, so the long winded way of getting me home here, but the, he filmed state, he filmed, uh, Citizen Kane on the old RKO 17. Which is now Paramount Stage32 and if you go to paramount Stage32 today, if you go take a tour, if you have any business over there, be sure to go to the Stage32 and you will see right by the, um, the studio doors there is a plaque that has the films that, and there’s only been a few of the big films that have been filmed on Stage32, and you’ll see that Citizen Kane is one of the top ones. The original King Kong back at 1928 is another one. Uh, Chinatown is another one and, uh, for those comedy lovers out there, Mel Brooks, history of the world, part one is another one. So that’s where Stage32 comes from.
Patrick: Amazing, because I’ve been to Paramount in 2014 January and did the table read… oh, my dog is barking in the background great I need that.
Richard RB Botto: Love it.
Patrick: Yeah, I know. This is home, man.
Richard RB Botto: I love it. Love it, a dog lover.
Patrick: Yeah. I’ve got three. We’ve got three dogs, three cats. So we’re a zoo. But anyway, it’s crazy. So I was, uh, at Paramount and we did the table read for my screenplay in 2014 January at the Lucille Ball Bungalow and let me tell ya…
Richard RB Botto: Oh, really? Great!
Patrick: Yeah. Huh?
Richard RB Botto: Yeah, that’s awesome. We actually have a bunch of executives that we work with, including the guys at Open Road, uh, are in the Lucille Ball Bungalow.
So a lot of the executives that have production companies are actually in that because, you know, now they’ve broken up. When Lucille ball was in a, she had the entire building, now they’ve broken it up into these tiny little offices and there’s, you know, probably 20 or 30 production companies taking up that building and we work with quite a few of them. So I’m in that building very often. That’s really cool.
Patrick: That’s cool. We should talk after this and tell you more about it, but, uh, yeah. Well, let’s wait until after and then I’ll get your information. But, you founded Stage32 and 2011. Tell me about the process, what it took to fire it up. I mean. You know, uh, aye. Yeah. I’d like to know the details about that, if you don’t mind.
Richard RB Botto: Yes, sure. Uh, you know, the idea, the embryonic idea that was, uh, occurred in 2009 and it took two years for me to convince myself to actually go forward to do it. And the idea really came from me understanding the power of social media, but not necessarily wanting to be on Facebook or seeing the benefit of Facebook to me as a creative and as a producer. And what kind of fed into that was, I went to a bunch of people that I was working with in the industry, or who I knew work in the industry, who were friends of mine, colleagues. And I asked them if they were on Facebook and almost, you know to a man and a woman, yeah, they were, but I, the second question was, what are you getting out of it as a creative? What are you getting out of it as a producer or you know, a development executive? Are you finding material? Are you getting work or are you finding financier’s? Like what are you getting out of it?
And the answer almost again to a man or woman was nothing, not getting anything out of it. You know, basically to people that I know that are in the business that are on there that I’m connected with. You know, what, basically sharing pictures of us at the beach or you know, or dogs or cats or babies or salads and you know, nothing is really coming of it.
So I have add a little bit of a tech background, especially the tech part of running Razor where we really got into sort of, how do we service our audience and our demo, you know, and, and narrow down our demographic to the point where, you know, we’re giving them the best material, did a lot of work with, worked with a lot of people, um, that specialize in analytics and, and, uh, data science and all that.
And it just seemed to me like the natural progression of broad based social media was going to be niche, social media, social media, and that if we were ever going to have a platform that would benefit everyone above the line and below the line all over the world and make the world a little bit smaller and make everybody understand that you don’t need to be in LA to be making feature films or digital content or even to write a TV pilot, the only reason you need to be in LA as if you want it right? If you want to write for TV, and even that’s changing now. Um. There needed to be a platform where everybody could go and that were like-minded people could come together and be with their own. And then there was also the element of, I wanted to create an environment as creatives and as people who work in this business, the one thing that, you know, if you’ve been in it for more than five minutes, is that it is a relationship business and it is about collaboration, and it is about who you know, and it is about winning champions and you know, for a lot of people that live remotely, they don’t have access to people where they can win those champions or where they can get their work in front of people, uh, that can help them.
So, that was sort of the impetus for the, I, you know, for, for Stage32 in general. And then it took about two years, like I said, to convince myself to do it, cause I knew it was going to be a monster undertaking and I didn’t really want it to take me away from my creative pursuits and my, uh business pursuits within the industry as a producer.
But I was producing a film, I was part of the producing team of a movie called Another Happy Day back in 2011, which was Sam Levinson’s first project. Ah, that’s Barry Levinson’s son and we had this amazing cast. Yeah. You know, Ellen Barkin, Thomas Hayden Church, Demi Moore, Kate Bosworth, uh, Ezra Miller, uh, George Kennedy in his last role, Ellen Bernstein. I mean, it was an amazing cast, and we were filming in Michigan and we were using all, for the supporting cast, a lot of local Michigan actors, and, and for the crew, of course, a local Michigan crew. And you realize when you’re doing that…that, you know, it’s, it’s one of these summer camp type things where everybody’s connected and, but then everybody leaves and, and you know, kind of goes on with their lives.
And in this particular instance, the tax incentives had dried up in Michigan and a lot of these people were completely out of work and they were trying to figure out where the next paycheck was going to come from, where the next job was going to come from. And that really spurred me to say, okay, this needs to happen.
We need to make this you know, global network where people who aren’t maybe at dead center in LA, uh, can make the connections that they need to, you know, continue to…continue to force their careers to continue, to continue to stay in the game, to continue to stay inspired and motivated and, and not get down and that was finally the sort of last straw that made me go, okay, we need a, you know, got to build this thing.
Patrick: It’s amazing. And the story you told, and George Kennedy is one of my favorite actors when, uh, in an airplane, he lives out in Idaho, or he did, and I think he’s still alive or dead, or what is the, I can’t remember. But, um,
Richard RB Botto: No, he’s passed away now,
Patrick: He’s passed away, right. And great actor and um, one of the top, like George Peppard, you know, A-Team, fantastic!
Richard RB Botto: He was great.
Patrick: Um, so I’m flipping the next question, second one first. How hard was it to make introductions, get investors, advertising, etc… for your venture? And then let’s get into the number of people in stage should be to the classes you offer, pitch sessions, contests, and the like.
Richard RB Botto: Okay, sure. Yeah. Um, well, we didn’t take on, I didn’t take on any investors. I bootstrapped this entire thing myself. Uh, I put my money where my mouth was and said, okay, I’m going to build this thing. I, you know, I did it the opposite of anything they would teach you in business school or any of these entrepreneurial classes that they’ll, that you take online.
I built it and then went out to people to tell them to use it as opposed to going out to people and saying, “This is the concept. What do you think?” And there was a reason why I did that. First of all, film industry is people that work in the film industry, especially people that have been in it for a while and I think everybody sees this today with the studio system and what a lot of the old guard, they are not welcoming, uh, to change of any kind and I think that’s putting it kindly. Uh, they, they don’t like the norms being upset or disrupted and what we were, or, you know what I was suggesting, it was pure disruption in a lot of ways.
So what I did was I built the first phase of it, which was more or less the communication part, the networking part of the platform. And, uh, when we got done with the first phase, I went to a hundred of my industry friends and said, look, you’re going to use it and you’re going to tell me what you like and what you don’t like.
And I got a ton of feedback and they did use it. And then we use crowdsourcing techniques that are still in place today to try to expand the audience by saying, if you like what I’m doing, invite at least five fellow creatives and help me build this network because ultimately rural on this together.
And we went from a hundred people to 5,000 within three months. And now today we’re over 600,000 members across the globe and we’ve done no advertising we’ve taken on no investment money it’s all been by word of mouth and by our members getting out there and, and you know, helping us build the community because they are getting a benefit out of platform. So that’s pretty much how we got it off the ground.
Patrick: That’s truly cool. I mean, word of mouth is always the best way to gain business, and I totally get it, man. Um, so let’s, we get to move a little bit quicker, but I wanted to still ask you about the classes you offer, pitch sessions, and then get into, um, the South by Southwest and why you decided to take on the films that were done would be shown there.
And are you getting into the streaming business now, and do you see Stage32 as a potential eighth streaming service or out there? And if so, will you screen all films or just festivals?
Richard RB Botto: Wow. A lot of, lots of unpacking there.
Patrick: Okay. Love. Let me, let me go and start over again.
Richard RB Botto: No, no, no, no. It’s totally cool. I got it. I got it. I got you covered. Let’s start with, um, the, you know, what, what sort of Stage32 is and, and the education and all that. Okay. So Stage32, there are basically three divisions to Stage32:
The first division would be the networking social media aspect of it, which is free, obviously for all members to join. You joined Stage32, you create a profile, you upload your reels, your log lines, your screenplays, your films, whatever the heck you want to, whatever you have, you’re going to upload it. You’re going to put your bio out there, your resume, your awards, IMDB link, whatever you need to put out there to put your best, uh, face on, you know, forward facing look on so that people understand who you are, where you’ve been, what you’ve accomplished, and where you’re hoping to go. So that’s the first division, Stage32, all the networking, connecting.
The second division of Stage32 is education. One of the things that I’ve always wanted to do from the beginning when we launched Stage32, it’s not enough to me uh, I never understood this about LinkedIn and, uh, you know, they built, they ended up buying Linda. Well, after the all, we put all this in place, but the thing I never understood is, okay, you’re connecting all these people, but you’re not training them. You’re not teaching them. They don’t, you’re not only not teaching them the craft, but you’re not teaching them all this stuff that’s going on within the industry and all the things that they need to know how to navigate the business.
Everybody can learn the craft, you know, the craft and everything like does a million places do that, but how do you learn about what’s going on in the business and who are you learning from? So one of the goals from the beginning was to have an enormous library of film, television and digital content, craft and business education.
And we launched that in 2014 and we only hire, or we only work with, I should say, the, our educators are only people that are doing it right now. We don’t want the person that did 30 years ago god bless you, congratulations, that’s great and you know, you’re probably going to accomplish… you probably accomplished more in your career than I ever will.
However, you’re not in rooms today, you’re not taking meetings today. We need the people that are in the rooms today, or the people that are taking the meetings today, or the people that are making the decisions, financing the films, producing the films. Uh, you know, setting up the television shows, being showrunners on television shows those are the people that teach for us. So since 2014, we have now built up a library of over 1200 hours of film, television and digital, uh, craft and business education. We had the education partner of the American Film Market we are the education partner of Cannes, were the education partner of dozens of, um, film commissions and film festivals around the world. And we’re recognized right now as, as the leaders in online education for film, television, and digital. So that’s division two.
Division three, the third division of Stage32, is our script services. Our script services are for writers, producers, financiers, filmmakers, and it is, they include everything from direct access to industry executives where you get to pick the executive for mentorship, for a script breakdowns, for script notes, for consultations, for line budgeting advice, producing advice, financing advice and so on and so forth.
So it is a full on service where you, where we connect you, we were, and again, this will be, have a roster of hundreds of executives that we have listed on the site, and you get to choose who you want to work with and we connect you with them so that you can get the results you want and that, you know, there’s full transparency, you know exactly who’s covering your work, exactly who you’re talking to, and we work with everybody. I mean, we have executives from Netflix, Amazon, Hulu, all the way to the studios, all the studios. We have executives that work with us, all the independent producers, uh, sales agents, distributors, managers, agents, we work with them all. And, uh, so that’s the third division. And now I could jump into screenings if you want, or do you have any questions on that?
Patrick: Actually, I wanted to go into the South by Southwest stuff that you into.
Richard RB Botto: Yeah.
Patrick: And then, which leads into the screening. So why did you decide to take that on and tell our readers and listeners, um, you know, and also, let’s get into the Tribeca and Telluride Mountain Film, Documentary film festivals, because this all ties into the same thing.
Richard RB Botto: Sure. So what we’re talking about now is we just launched an initiative called Stage32 screenings. Um, just to be, you know, just so everybody understands, like we have, we’ve had the capability and this is a lot of the ways that our members have had success, uh, or one of the ways, uh, you know, our, our members have that success is we’ve always had the capability for our members to upload their films. And, you know, executives can look at them and of course, many of those filmmakers have gone on to either secure financing, get produce, get a manager, get an agent through our efforts on the site.
But what we wanted to do when, when everything came down with Covid-19 and festivals started getting canceled, you know, it hit us that, all of these filmmakers that we’re about to screen were now being displaced and you know, all these people who had worked so hard on their films for so long, uh, now had really no home for them.
So what, the idea was, okay, let’s set up Stage32 Screenings, and we started with South by Southwest, or films that were affected by the cancellation of the live screenings of South by Southwest when they canceled the film festival, the live film festival. Um, and the idea was to give these filmmakers the opportunity whether they were feature filmmakers, short filmmakers, documentary filmmakers.
Uh, the opportunity to come on to Stage32 and screen their films directly to our roster of thousands of, you know, all of our executives, plus all the people that we have that work in distribution and sales and you know, who are managers and agents so that they have the opportunity to hit the goal.
Like if their goal is to get sales and distribution for a feature, fantastic. You’ll screen for all sales, sales agents and distributors. If your goal is to, if your goal is a short film maker, is to use your short film as a calling card for a future, fantastic. Then you’re going to be in front of financiers managers, agents, and so on.
If it’s the display your work and display your talent, fantastic. You’re in front of managers and agents. So the idea was to give you a concentrated audience that you know, not only helps you or would benefit people, obviously that lost their screenings, but would give you a more concentrated audience that you then you would ever get at any film festival because you’re going to be, you know, you’re going to be in front of all of these executives at one time. Now we’re giving filmmakers two options: one is to view, one is to have a private screening and one is to have a public screening. If you choose the private option, then your only screenings are executives to all the people that I just mentioned and just talked about.
If you choose a public screening, then you’re going to be screening to all the people I just spoke about and then our 600,000 members and anyone else that you want to invite to watch the film. So obviously if you screen at a film festival, you don’t have the potential the screen in front of 600,000 people at once ,you certainly don’t have the potential to screen in front of. A ton of executives at once, or, or certainly not the amount that, you know, we plan to bring to the table. Um, and that’s where that whole thing was bred from. So now we have all these other cancellations happening and we have just decided to, uh, accept films that were impacted by the cancellation of the 44th Telluride Mountain Film, Film Festival, which is one of the oldest documentary film festivals in the country, and by the postponement of Tribeca so we are starting to get those films in now.
And then to answer your question about where’s it going. You know, we do want to, we are going to start accepting more festivals. We are inundated with filmmakers we probably heard, and in fact, I’m not going to say probably, we have heard from over a thousand filmmakers and or cast and crew associated with films that have been impacted by cancellations with film festivals across the world. We’ve heard from over 50 film festival directors who want to help that their filmmakers who’ve had their festivals canceled, they were had that or had to cancel their festivals who want to be involved with what we’re doing. Um, so we’re working with them as quickly as possible, uh, to see which ones we’re going to take on and, and you know how quickly we can do that. But yes, this is, I wouldn’t say that we’re going to turn it, we are, we’re, the idea is not so much to turn this into a streaming network.
Stage32 is always been about, connecting access and opportunity and what we’re creating for these filmmakers and what we’re going to continue to create for these filmmakers and certainly we have visions on, uh, something else that is going to be bigger and even greater for other films…filmmakers that maybe didn’t make it into a festival or made it into a festival and then, you know heard crickets or you know, it’s been six months and nothing has happened. We want to give everybody the opportunity, the greatest opportunity, to have the potential benefits that should be associated or connected to the amount of work and effort that they have put into their films.
Patrick: Fantastic. We’ve got about eight minutes left. Less than that actually, and I want to do a uh, homage to the late James Lipton and step inside the Actor’s Studio. Um…
Richard RB Botto: I love it.
Patrick: I know he died on March 2nd this year. And so tell me, what is your favorite word?
Richard RB Botto: Um… Yes!
Patrick: What is your least favorite word?
Richard RB Botto: Can’t!
Patrick: What turns you on.
Richard RB Botto: [pause] Selflessness.
Patrick: What turns you off?
Richard RB Botto: I guess selfishness.
Patrick: What sound or noise do you love.
Richard RB Botto: Well, that’s a good one. Um, I like the sound of light waves crashing in the surf.
Patrick: What sound or noise do you hate?
Richard RB Botto: Leaf blowers? [laughter] Anything electrical. I mean or any of those gas powered or electric.
Patrick: Leafblowers, that’s good. What profession other than your own, would you like to attempt other than pharmaceuticals?
Richard RB Botto: Uh huh. Um, probably center for the New York Rangers or a Short Stop for the New York Mets.
Patrick: [laughter] What profession would you not like do?
Richard RB Botto: Oh man. Anything with death or digging graves, performing autopsies, anything like that.
Patrick: [Italian accent] So being an Italian hitman and not going there and taking out people is not a good thing?
Richard RB Botto: Yeah. Wow. That’s a whole other…
Patrick: I’m Italian, I’m Italian.
Richard RB Botto: That’s a whole other, that’s a whole other thing to unpack.
Patrick: Yeah, it’s right. That’s getting into the refuse business and taking out the trash, right?
Richard RB Botto: That’s right. That’s all right. That’s a whole other [laughter]
Patrick: Yeah, we don’t want to go there. If heaven exists, what would you like to hear God say when you arrive at the pearly Gates?
Richard RB Botto: Oh, man. Um, okay. You know what? Not bad brother. The Bar’s inside to the left.
Patrick: Nice, nice.
Richard RB Botto: Not bad, the bar’s inside to the left… [ laughter]
Patrick: And now I’m going to turn the rest of the time over to you. It’s about four minutes. Um, say anything you like to our readers and listeners about your career life, anything you’d like with the remaining time we have.
Richard RB Botto: Oh yeah. Okay, great. I think that, you know, I think if I can impress anything to anyone, to everyone listening, is that, you know, I came into this business about 10 years ago with very few connections and certainly with the connections I had, they knew me as a magazine publisher and editor. They didn’t know me as somebody that could produce or write or even my acting past or anything like that. In fact, when you know, I would tell them that I wanted to get into the business or that, you know, I was going to start writing or producing ,it was, you know, you get that reaction that’s like, you know, “That’s nice kid. Yeah. You and everybody else,” and you know, you see that and I, and somebody once said to me when I was first breaking in, that this business is all about bringing value and it’s all about making the connections that matter and you make connections that matter by bringing value.
And there is so much truth in that and it is the number one, uh, in my opinion, mistake or overlooked, uh, aspect that most people who come into this business just, they don’t, they don’t observe it. They don’t, they don’t understand it. They don’t put the time into it. 10 years later, you know, I’m running this platform and you know, I certainly built it for myself and I use it to, you know, make connections and almost every single, if you go to IMDB and you look at my credits, almost every single thing that’s on there has come through connections on Stage32 or the reps, you know, the reps and, and anyone else I work with the financing, is all come through contacts I’ve made there because I understand the value of it and I understand the value of working the platform every day and I understand the value of winning those champions and bringing value to people and being selfless and giving and giving, and giving. Um, it works and it really works.
And, and you know, here I am, 10 years later which so many, I’m, I’m turning down projects. There’s so many things that are being laid at my feet, and there’s so many things that I want to do, and there’s just not enough hours in the day. And that’s a high class problem to have when you’re working in this kind of business.
So I would just encourage everybody, if you’re listening today and you sit and they go on, you know, man, but I don’t have those connections. I don’t, it’s in your control. In fact, there is so much more in your control than you realize. And that includes listening to the right voices. Spent, you know, I mean, the right voices doing your research, making sure you’re not listening to Joe one, two, three, four, five on Twitter uh, because he says the industry has gone sleep right now and nobody’s working, that couldn’t be further from the truth. Um, you know, listening to the right voices, getting feedback from the right people, uh, connecting with the right people, giving of yourself, to people that are in need or people that are looking for help.
Uh, being present, being visible. If you’re an introvert, doing everything you can to try to break out of it and to get outside of your comfort zone a little bit by posting things and being visible to other peoples because other people, because if you’re not, you’re just operating in a vacuum. All these things matter, and it really is all of it is fully in your control.
Cut out the negative voices, cut out all the people that don’t support you. Take care of yourself, you know you are all knowing of you. This is an entrepreneurial pursuit, whether you’re an actor, a writer, a producer, a financier, if you’re on the creative end or on the business end, it is still an entrepreneurial pursuit.
It is your, your life. It’s your career. We may work with other people. We may come together to make something, but that may have to go our separate ways and go do it again. And it becomes a hell of a lot easier to do it again and again and again if you have the connections and you have the relationships and you build up those connections and relationships and win champions of you and your work, because then you, you know, you get, you get suggested to other people, your work gets suggested to other people.
People say, you know what? You got to work with him or her. You gotta! Unbelievable person. Unbelievable talent. You know that’s where you want to get to to brick by brick approach. You’ve got to put the work in every day and you got to embrace the long game. Don’t put time limits on yourself. Don’t put that added pressure on yourself this is hard enough as it is. Just get after it. Control what you can control today. Wake up in the morning and say, this is what I’m going to do today, and lay your head on the pillow at night going: I won. I won today!
Patrick: Fantastic advice. Thank you so much for your time, Richard.
Richard RB Botto: Thank you.
Patrick: I appreciate it. And, uh, this has been a lot of fun, my friend.
Well, I appreciate you and I appreciate you having me on. And, uh, all the interest in what we’re doing with, you know, not only the platform, but with the Stage32 Screenings it means a lot. Uh, like everything else we’d done, we’ve, we’ve done where we’re. You know, asking everybody to carry the word for us and, and everybody has been amazing and, and you have as well,
Richard RB Botto: Right? Thank you.
Patrick: Thank you.