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The Creator Economy with Richard Botto

George Grombacher February 20, 2022

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The Creator Economy with Richard Botto

LifeBlood: We talked about the creator economy, how traditional barriers have come down, how to make valuable industry connections, and how to get the skills you need to work with major platforms, with Richard Botto, Founder and CEO of Stage32, screenwriter, producer, mentor, actor and author.  

Listen to learn why you need to be a great curator of your time and attention!

You can learn more about Richard at, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, YouTube and LinkedIn.

Thanks, as always for listening!  If you got some value and enjoyed the show, please leave us a review wherever you listen and subscribe as well. 

You can learn more about us at LifeBlood.Live, Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram, YouTube and Facebook or you’d like to be a guest on the show, contact us at contact@LifeBlood.Live.

Invest in yourself. Bring it All Together.

Work with a coach to unlock personal and professional potential.

Our Guests

George Grombacher

richard botto

Richard Botto

Episode Transcript

Come on Bob Leffler. This is George G. And the time is right welcome today’s guests strung apart for Richard bottle. Richard, are you ready to do this?

Richard Botto 0:19
I am ready, my friend. Thank you for having me.

george grombacher 0:21
Yeah, I’m excited to have you on Richard, better known as rb to his friends is the founder and CEO of stage 32. He is a screenwriter, a producer, an actor, a speaker, a mentor, and the author of crowdsourcing for founders. Richard, tell us a little of my personal life’s more about your work and why you do what you do?

Richard Botto 0:41
Sure, yeah. Well, you covered a lot of book my day to day as far as being an actor, producer, writer, and running stage 32. And stage 32 is, you know, think of it as the Lincoln LinkedIn meatspace book for the film industry, the global film industry. We’re the largest network social network for people working in film, television and digital content. We have the largest elearning library or elearning platform as well, with over two hours, 2000 hours I should say, of education for people working in film, television, digital content, partners and bar Netflix, the American Film Market can bunch of others. And I do what I do, because one, I love people, and but chew, you know, I started this platform, a lot of CEOs will tell you that they identified a need and they filled it. I think that’s true stage 32. But in a different way, I feel different myself, because I understood the or built it for myself, I’m filling the need for myself, because I recognize the fact that to be a success in the film industry. You need contacts, you need relationships, and you need access to people that can make decisions. So that was the impetus behind building the platform. And I felt like if it was if it would help me, it would help the masses.

george grombacher 2:04
And and it has

Richard Botto 2:05
added as we’ve grown from our original 100 members over almost 900,000 Today worldwide. Wow. That’s awesome. Yeah, thank you.

george grombacher 2:15
How What’s What’s the timeframe, Ben,

Richard Botto 2:18
we just celebrated our 10 year anniversary. And, you know, we spent a bunch of years building the community and then building our relationships to be able to have these partnerships with, you know, the streamers like Netflix and HBO and things like companies like that. And then of course, with the 3000 executives who work with we had to build up that goodwill, to get them into the platform and to get them to see the value of what we were doing. And ultimately, we’ve become a marketplace more or less connecting content creator with decision maker. And we couldn’t be more proud of that the success stories rolling every day.

george grombacher 2:52
Nice. Certainly it was a different world 10 years ago than it is today. Or, or maybe it really isn’t.

Richard Botto 2:59
No very, I mean, especially on a team and yeah, very much. So I mean, we, you know, I certainly saw this convergence between tech and entertainment coming from a mile away, we thought we were ahead of the curve. And we were we will kind of way ahead of the curve, because we thought maybe by 2014 15, you would have these streamers creating their own content on a much larger scale than what HBO was doing. Because eventually what would have would have to happen and it is happening is there’s only so many content libraries that you can buy. So eventually, if somebody like Netflix or you know, HBO, you have to double down with Disney plus, you know, right now, you have to double down on your content. You know, what your content spend, and create original content. So we wanted to be there when that happened and be a pipeline for those streamers and for those studios. And we couldn’t be more thrilled. Certainly the pandemic accelerated things massively.

george grombacher 3:54
Yeah, fascinating. Is Is there enough original content? Is there too much right now?

Richard Botto 4:01
It’s a great question. We get asked that question all the time, when’s the saturation point gonna come? But I think that we become such creatures of consuming content and consuming it, you know, through every device that we have and being on it be kind of tethered to a device all day, that don’t necessarily think that there is enough, I think it’s more how do you create something for everybody? That’s certainly the way Netflix is approaching it. You have other platforms that are going more the prestige route like HBO, although they’re, you know, they’re doubling down a little bit on their content spend as well. So I don’t know when we’ll hit a saturation point, I’m sure we will, I’m sure before we hit it, we’ll have a consolidation within the industry. You know, some of these streaming platforms probably won’t make it. Others will probably, you know, be acquired and or, you know, eaten up. But right now, for if you’re a content creator, or producer, you’re in the right place at the right time, there’s been no better place and no better time in history to be a content creator than right now.

george grombacher 5:00
Yeah, that’s fascinating. So 900,000 users on the platform and 3000 executives, so these executives, these are folks like that, that have platforms, and they’re looking for the next hit the next great piece of content the next creator.

Richard Botto 5:18
Yeah, it’s well, it’s it’s managers, agents, development executives, producers, finance years, you know, executives at the studios, executives at the streamers, executives, at production companies, everyone is looking for content, they want to cut down on the time that it takes to find great content. So they’re looking to us, you know, because we vet a lot of this content through the services that we offer, the cream rises to the top, and we’re able to present those top people, to these platforms, to these executives to these reps, to help accelerate these people’s careers, but also accelerate the process for them to find great material in a short period of time, if you think about what Netflix is trying to do, by creating content all over the world local language content, and to have billions of dollars in content spend per year, they don’t have the time or the staff, or you know, just to sit there and sift through material. So they’re using our platform not only to train the world, for them, that’s our that’s our partners, you know, with Netflix on to educate people all over the world on how to produce content, for Netflix, to create content for Netflix, but also that, you know, to help create a pipeline to the best content that fits their needs.

george grombacher 6:33
Fascinating, What a brave new world that we’re living in. So Netflix says we want to provide amazing content in local language, even local dialect. How in the world, are we going to do that enter stage 32, or you raise your hand and say, well, that’s something we’re already sort of working on. And so you come together, and you’re teaching folks who happen to speak that language or that dialect, and they have a desire to create content? Here’s, here’s how, yeah, exactly.

Richard Botto 7:01
And, and, you know, for Netflix again, you know, for them to do it at scale for anybody to do at scale, there is an education process, there is a vetting process. And a lot of people that watch television may not realize, they certainly probably realize how much time goes into producing a show, and how much lead time there might be. But you might not realize how long the development processes. And you know, a show could be in development for two, three years before it actually builds, there might be another six months, eight months, 10 months of post production, before it ever gets to your screen. So to go through that entire process, you know, and be able to find material to kind of put into that pipeline. It’s not easy, it’s not easy to find that quality content. But it’s also not easy to find people who are well versed in how to do it. And you know, for them to expand all over the world, we are not dealing with people in LA or New York or in Atlanta, let’s say are in the UK, where a ton of filming is being done. And where there is an industry that has been embedded for years and years and years to go to other locations where maybe they’re the the concentration of talent isn’t as vast, they have to train. And they’re using us to help do that. And then you know, once you train, then you also have to be able to develop and produce that material.

george grombacher 8:19
Right. Right. A lot of parallels to certainly some some other industries. But it’s fascinating. So as as I’m thinking about the, the way that we used to receive content, to the way that we’re currently getting content to what the future is going to hold it’s one thing for somebody to become a an absolute YouTube sensation and star and an influencer who’s who’s having this massive impact, but they’re just using their cell phone. Right? That’s not really what we’re talking about. We’re talking about professionally produced shows, or is it all of it?

Richard Botto 8:59
Well, in a weird way, I think it is a little bit I mean, for for certainly for the HBOs and the Netflix’s and all that there is maybe more so for like the HBOs were a little bit more prestigious, there is more of a desire to still be in the star business and to you know, to still to take these movie stars that were, you know, mostly feature film and bring them on to TV now and give them limited series and all that. I don’t know what the definition of a movie star is anymore when it comes to film. I don’t think anybody does really. Certainly, you know, the value the way movies used to be put together based on star power. That’s pretty much gone away. Right? So have these influencers become the new stars? In some ways there is a bleed over in that respect. Are they getting, you know, major shows or anything like that? Maybe not but they’re getting but they are getting deals and there are many platforms that host these types of shows and these types of this type of talent that I think is going to make You know, continue to evolve. These are the new stars in a lot of ways. These are the new people that are producing content that, you know, the masses want to consume. So I think there will continue to be a bleed over. But for the time being into the next few years, I think you’re going to continue to see pretty much what you’re seeing right now, which is, you know, Netflix going out and not necessarily having to have stars and every movie they produce or every show they produce, but trying to reach as far reaching and mass audience as humanly possible, certainly to find local language product that will play in America, because that’s the way they’re going to expand their base is by getting new memberships overseas, but then they can have these shows play well in America, she thinks squeak game, blue pin sabara Narcos and shows like that, and I think HBO will continue to, you know, go to proceed route. And everybody was kind of stick to that brand in a way. But some of these brands are creating sub brands as well, to kind of compete in those areas. They don’t want to wreck the prestige brand, but they want to have the mass brand. And so you’re starting to see that as well. So again, I think what we’ll see is a ton of consolidation. And certainly some expansion within certain brands with like I said, you know, creating sort of these offshoots, but and I think in those offshoots, I think that’s where you’re going to see the influence of talent and and the talent that people are seeing on social media. Maybe you get that expansion into a wider audience or a more global audience through a platform or other streaming platform, let’s say.

george grombacher 11:38
Got it. So I am somebody who is a creator, I fancy myself as talented. And I say, You know what this? I mean, why wouldn’t I want to do this? How, how do I do that? How How would you counsel me? Is it get on the site sign up and matriculate through the material?

Richard Botto 12:00
Yeah, well, I mean, we offer you know, so much free content. So depending on whoever’s listening, depending on your discipline, and depending on what you’re looking to do. And you know, these days, of course, there are what we call multi hyphenate. You know, actors that now want to become writers that can control their own material. writers that want to become filmmakers, they can use they control control their own material, a lot of filmmakers and writers that want to become producers so that they can put together a package for their own material. So there’s more and more of an opportunity to never control your own content. To me, everything comes down to two phases, its relationship and continuing relationships and continuing education. This is a very tribal business. People like to work with people they know, it is definitely a relationship business, you will see constantly people championing other championing other people, and it matters. So your relationships matter. And this is why for any creator, any artist, or any entrepreneur that might be listening to this, it’s why it’s so important that you embrace the long game, because it none of this happens overnight, you know, you put yourself in the best position to win, I will say that the path to success has become shorter, by virtue of the fact that you have the opportunity to control more of your path than ever before, you didn’t have to always rely on the five or six places where you could take a piece of film, let’s say, or you know, the 15 places where you can take a show. Now, there are so many more opportunities, and so many more ways to control your destiny. But it all really begins with relationships and understanding the education part, understanding how the business operates and how to navigate it.

george grombacher 13:40
Got it. Nice. All right. So is there a cost to be part of the platform? How does all that work?

Richard Botto 13:46
No, the platform is that platforms entirely free. So think about it in terms of sort of LinkedIn or you know where we are, the social network aspect of it is completely free. And we offer a ton of free resources and a ton of free education. We do a premium education library. I mentioned earlier that 2000 hours of education is premium, our development, development services division, where we act as that marketplace between content creator and decision maker, or the person that could fund your project. There is a cost associated with some of those services. We offer mentoring services. We’re the only platform in the world that where executives come in to us say that they’re available and they’re looking for this type of material, that type of material. And we could put that we put that roster online, and you could come in and choose that executives so you there’s full transparency on who you’re working with. So to give you an example of that, if you want to work if you have a line budget, and you’re trying to figure out how to put it together. We have executives that you know line by line producers that you could go to from top films top shows everything like that. You have a horror script and you want to be mentored on how to make it airtight or how to make it great for Blumhouse we actually have the development executive from Blumhouse that you could, you know, have read your script and you can get on a phone call with. So we facilitate those relationships, that’s the marketplace part of what we do. It’s been, you know, an enormously successful thing that unbelievable success stories come out of there. And that’s why these executives come to us because again, they’re getting to see material ahead of everybody else. You know, this business was known before this existed this business was known for you know, the haves and the have nots Great. Went to the top, they went to the studios, they got passed on, you can filter down mid ages and pass on it couldn’t push down. And eventually, you know, all the shit would go downhill so to speak. And, you know, people would end up with with horrible material and nothing that they could put into development that change dramatically with a platform like this, where they’re getting first access based off of what their needs are.

george grombacher 15:55
Love it. Incredible. So many cool things out there. So many cool people working on so many things are big. Yeah, so

Richard Botto 16:04
exciting time. I mean, yeah, if you’re an entrepreneur, if you’re, like I said, a content creator, I mean, it now is such a, it’s such fertile ground, to be creative. And you know, the access that you have these days to education, that you know, you probably would have to go way out of your way for or you may have to get on a plane, really, you know, and go and sit live. All that is available online now. And then of course, the access to just, you know, the Create, I mean, the content creation market has never been more open.

george grombacher 16:37
Nice. Or be people are ready for that difference making tip, what do you have for them?

Richard Botto 16:43
Okay, difference making tip. This is one I’m going to say that since being in the new year, this is one of these things where you kind of wipe the slate clean. And for me, it’s there’s so much noise out there that people are on social media, I see this in the entertainment field all the time. People are listening to the wrong voices. They’re they’re putting themselves they’re not putting themselves in a position to win. You can’t give everybody on social media the same you can’t think that they have the same amplitude amplification. Okay, everybody, you have to do your research into people and see and listen to trusted voices, put yourself in the right circles. I see threads on Facebook and on Twitter some times that I’m sitting there and the person that’s starting that spread and who’s the authoritative voice in the thread has never accomplished anything in the business. And if you’re listening to that advice, all you’re doing is setting yourself back so my advice is the difference making tip is curate your feeds curate your life curate your relationships. Make sure you’re surrounding yourself with people that have the knowledge and the experience shoot that have earned the right to be listened to earned the right to be listened to Okay. And then surround yourself just as important because you know going through this pandemic, lot of mental health issues a lot of people feeling alone and isolated. Get rid of the negativity Surround yourself with positive voices so curate your feeds curate your life, curate your friendships, curate your family relationships, period everything. Surround yourself with educated people and people who are positive minded.

george grombacher 18:19
Why think that that is great stuff that definitely gets caught. Thank thank you so much for coming on. Where can people learn more about you and how can they engage with stage 32?

Richard Botto 18:30
Sure, so stage 32 Very simply a stage 30 If you want to connect with me when you sign it’s free to sign up like I said and create a profile you will get my mug on your wall and I will admit that the first message is automated but everyone after that and everyplace else you see me is me responding so if you write back to me or you send me a DM you will get me and then on I share so much free content on Twitter and Instagram I like to say to my brand is inspiration aspiration, motivation. That’s what I live by. You could find me on Instagram at RB walks into a bar my initials are B walks into a bar and the same on Twitter RB walks into a bar. And again if you write me there or leave a job a comment or anything you’ll get me

george grombacher 19:15
love it. Well if you enjoyed this as much as I did show our be your appreciation and share today’s show with a friend who also appreciates good ideas, go to stage 30 and find our B on Instagram and Twitter. I’ll list out all those in the notes the show. Thanks get our b Thank you. And until next time, keep fighting the good fight. We’re all in this together.

Transcribed by

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