Fade in at Stage 32

A correction has been made to this article - Sept. 13, 2011.

It’s not what you know, but rather whom you know that counts – a familiar career adage in the film industry.

The “who you know” is becoming broader with the advent of Stage 32, a social networking site that links professionals in the entertainment industry.

“We thought it would be great if we could create a virtual meeting place for everyone involved in the film community,” said Curt Blakeney, co-founder of Stage 32 and ASU alumnus.

Stage 32, found at stage32.com, is a virtual assemblage of directors, writers, actors and other entertainment staff, totaling about 7,400 members and growing, Blakeney said.

“We are trying to make this a social network uniquely populated with the most creative people on Earth,” he said.

Launched in July, the site incorporates features that users are familiar with on other social networking sites, such as the ability to invite others into a personal network, profiles and private chat.

Stage 32 is tailored to film industry professionals with featured bloggers, news from Hollywood and a projects page that allows members to post their film ventures and connect with others who want to get involved.

“It is going to open up a whole slew of projects they wouldn’t usually have access to,” Blakeney said.

Forging business relationships can be daunting for fresh graduates, Blakeney said, but Stage 32 will give them a head start.

“Stage 32 seems like it will be perfect for meeting other people interested in film and finding ways to work with them on future projects,” said film production junior Megan Whitney, a new member of the network, in an email.

Lynette Carrington, president of Carrington Entertainment, has been a member since the site was first launched this summer.

“I was so excited to become a part of such a vibrant community of artists, seasoned professionals and those just getting started in their career,” she said.

Carrington has been successful in linking her clients with projects and finding acting coaches through Stage 32.

Networking aside, Stage 32 co-founder Richard Botto said the site has a larger mission.

“We want to change the way that Hollywood thinks,” Botto said.

Trying to break through the barriers in Hollywood can be nearly impossible for new professionals, Botto said, and Stage 32 can help by promoting independent filmmaking.

Independent films have dominated the Academy Awards in recent years, but Hollywood has been reluctant to fill that niche, Botto said.

“There are so many voices out there that are brilliant, and those voices toil in independent film,” he said.

Botto conceived the name Stage 32 and the site slogan: “Fade in.”

“Every script begins with fade in, and I think every career begins the same way,” Botto said. “You have to start somewhere, have to be willing to take that first step.”

 

Reach the reporter at lghuffer@asu.edu

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