Have you ever wanted an easy blueprint to make it in the film business? I know I have. Well, you are in for a treat. I had an amazing interview with Richard “RB” Botto from the online film community Stage 32.com.
Stage 32 is a US-based social network and educational site for creative professionals who work in film, television, and theater. Stage 32 links professionals in the entertainment industry including directors, writers, actors, and entertainment staff.
It caters to film industry professionals with featured bloggers, online education taught by industry professionals, news from Hollywood and filming locations around the world, Stage 32 meetups page, an online lounge, and a film business jobs page that allows members to connect with others on film ventures, along with standard social media functions.
CEO and founder, Richard “RB” Botto, an Orson Welles fan, drew his inspiration for the name “Stage 32” from the old RKO Soundstage 17 where Citizen Kane was filmed. That soundstage is now Paramount’s Stage 32.
Botto states that he created Stage 32 in order to connect, educate, and to increase the odds of success for creative professionals in the film and television industries, regardless of their geographical location.
I sat down and picked RB’s brain about what it really takes to be a Filmtrepreneur and make it in the film business. What came out was a remarkable conversation where you really feel like a fly on the wall. I would’ve killed for the information we cover in this podcast when I was starting out.
So enjoy this fascinating interview with Richard “RB” Botto from Stage 32.
Right-click here to download the MP3
Alex Ferrari 0:51
So guys, today we have a episode that is just so chock full of nuts. I mean, that's by myself. So chock full of information that in such good golden nuggets that I had to call it the blueprint on how to make it in the film business. Because Richard bato from stage 32, and I sat down and had this insane conversation about the film industry about what he's doing and his journeys and my journeys and we all kind of just got together and you literally a fly on the wall in the conversation at the end of it. We even say like, are you? Are you guys still here? We're just talking. So it is an awesome, awesome interview. So sit back and just get ready to take some notes because there's a ton of stuff in this one. Enjoy. rb thank you so much for being on the show. Man. I really appreciate you guys taking the time.
RB Botto 1:42
I appreciate you having me here. Alex.
Alex Ferrari 1:44
Thanks, man. So when I when I, I've been on line a long time looking through our niche as far as independent film is concerned. And when I came across stage 32 I was blown away about what you were able to do with it. So please, by all means, tell people what this amazing platform is.
RB Botto 2:04
Yeah, I mean, it's an online platform that connects and educates film, television theatre creatives worldwide. We've been called by Forbes, LinkedIn meets Linda and Linda is the most popular educational, the biggest educational site on the web. So we're happy with that comparison. I think as far as LinkedIn is concerned, they do think there's a little bit more of a social element to what we do as far as that comparison is concerned. But it is all about connecting and educating film creatives online.
Alex Ferrari 2:34
So then it's basically kind of like like a LinkedIn. But then you also have courses and things like that, that you sell and or give access to.
RB Botto 2:42
That's correct. Yeah, we have what we call stage 32. Next level education which consists of webinars, classes and labs. And a couple of years ago, we also have an element for screenwriters that's dedicated strictly to screenwriters, called the stage 32 happy writers, which we acquired back in 2013. It was originally called the happy writers now called the stage three to happy writers, which provides screenwriters the opportunity to be able to pitch their scripts directly to over 400 industry executives that we work with worldwide. And we also offer studio notes directly from executives, where the screenwriter picks the executive. So those are some of the educational components of what we have on the site. And then of course, there's a whole social element as well.
Alex Ferrari 3:23
And the one thing I noticed about your courses is that they're very, very niche, like, you know how to be a really good first ad, you know, things like that, which you don't find anywhere else, which was really impressive to me, like it's like, okay, they're not trying to like, here's three point lighting. Here's the camera like, no, this is very specific, and also very powerful educational tool.
RB Botto 3:46
Yeah, I appreciate that. And that's something that we pride ourselves in tremendously at stage 32, one of the elements that I wanted to bring into the site from the very beginning was education. It took us a couple of years to build up the network to over a couple 100,000 people's before people before I introduced it. But during that time when I was doing and I should mention that, you know, not just the CEO and the founder and CEO of this company, but I am and you know, I started as an actor, I'm a rep screenwriter, I'm a producer. So I'm just like everybody else that's on this site. And just like everybody else, I'm always looking to hone my craft. And when I was trying to do that, just that in the screenwriting realm back in 2009, I found some really shady characters online oil salesmen when I was looking for classes, so right, it really kind of ticked me off and and I made the sort of pledge to myself that if this network connected with people, that the second phase of it would be to bring in education. So you know, today we work with over 400 educators, educators worldwide, they're all people who worked in the industry, or do work in the industry, people who have climbed the mountain and a lot of them just love to give back. So we try to cover all disciplines. You know, again, we don't want to just cater to the actors and the screenwriters. We want to cater to different Through people and we want to cater to, you know, the craft services people and you know, people working in the back office and things of that nature. So we have classes for just about everyone. And again, we're very prideful about that.
Alex Ferrari 5:12
Now, do you have any success stories about any anybody in the in the community?
RB Botto 5:18
Yep, plenty. I mean, in fact, I was literally five seconds before I got on this call. I was on the podcast, I was going back and forth with a filmmaker, his name is David Roundtree, he just won five awards down at a horror fest down in San Diego for his film caught and David used over 30 stage 32 members on that film. And it was a theatrical release played in theaters for a little bit. And the film he made before that was 108 stitches. And that one had over two, I believe is 2324 stage 32 members that he used on that one, and we're seeing more and more of that with where filmmakers are coming to the site to use our job section to cast and crew up their films. Yeah, yeah, no, it's great. You know, and I can go on and on. I could talk about this for the next three hours. We had so many, I mean, I could talk on the bigger level where you know, the stage you have two writers, for example, has had over 200 success stories of people who have either been signed option, or staffed, and then I could talk about it on a more on a more micro level where, you know, we just had a composer in Denmark score a film for a filmmaker in tech was he from from in North Carolina? You know, where she's a internet? Yeah. Well, that's the beauty of this. And this is the reason it you say, yeah, it's the end of that night. And it's funny, because you say, yes, social media, and you put those two things together, I was not a social media guy. When I started this site, in fact, you know, I reluctantly, kind of went on to LinkedIn as a as a, an actor, screenwriter and a producer, and a voice out there trying to see if I could, you know, drum up some work and drama, some connections, and nothing was happening. And I started talking to my friends in the business said, What are you using? And they're, you know, I'm on Facebook, I'm, I'm on Google Plus, I'm like, getting anything out of it? And the answer was almost always No, I'm dealing with people who aren't in the industry. And that's when the light bulb kind of went off. And I said, there's a need here for concentrated networking. For people who are in the business to you know, listen, I'm sure I know how busy you are, I know how you were, we don't have a lot of free time, I don't have a free time. I certainly don't want to waste time on a broad based social media site. You know, and try to maybe drum up a conversation with somebody to talk about my third act problems and have my ad come back to me and help me to get life you know,
Alex Ferrari 7:43
right? Or our mom going into like, you're doing fine.
RB Botto 7:49
It'll all be okay by the fourth of fifth act. Yeah, that's exactly what you get. So, you know, I want to be on a network with people who understand me, I think that you would agree Alex, I, you know, every creative I ever talk to the most important thing, the most important aspect that keeps them going is support. And if you don't have support, you know, a lot of people leave the game this is you know, we do a lot of things in isolation in this business, we write an isolation, we learn our lines in isolation sometimes. You know, it's not it's a lonely pursuit in a lot of ways. And it's not one that's really understood by people who don't pursue any sort of creative endeavor. So to have that kind of support, and that kind of collaboration is so important, and I just didn't feel like that was available on broad based networks, social networks.
Alex Ferrari 8:34
Yeah, we're basically all carnies in many ways you know, we put on a show and it's nice that you know, there's it's a very niche group of people who do it and only we understand what each other's going through. As opposed to people on the outside going what Yes, it's like when I told my parents for the first time I'm going to be a director. And they're like what? Yeah, I'm sure yeah, I'm sure you've got the same reaction.
RB Botto 8:58
Oh, hell man. I had to go to pharmacy school for a year and have a really cool thing happen in a English composition class to finally convinced my dad that Oh, shit he can write. You know, and maybe you shouldn't be putting pills in one big bottle into a smaller bottle. Maybe you should, you know, go go do something, go write something. So yeah, no, I understand that. Absolutely.
Alex Ferrari 9:20
So um, let me ask you, why do you think people in general fail in Hollywood? Like when you know, they're everybody. I mean, literally, the Boulevard of Broken Dreams is real. I mean, you could just go down any street in LA and you could just see people's dreams have been destroyed by this town because it's it's a rough town. It's not an easy town to make it in. But what is one of the some of the reasons why you think people fail here.
RB Botto 9:42
It's Yeah, I don't I don't think it's just necessarily Holly necessarily Hollywood, but the business in general. Yeah, the business in general. And I think it's all I think it's the same no matter where you are. And I think one one is something I already touched on was a lack of support. I think the second thing is that people set unrealistic expectations and You know, don't don't really learn how the business works and don't realize that it's a marathon and not a sprint, and that you know, the biggest stars in Hollywood, they just hop off the bus and have somebody run up to them and go, you know, we're casting you in a $50 million $100 million feature. I think that people again, I think creatives, the idea of having support and having realistic expectations, and being able to have the community around you that tempers those expectations. And it allows you to be connected to people who have achieved enough that they're able to help you temper those expectations, and, at the same time, give you sort of the roadmap as to what you can do what's in your control to, you know, maybe shorten that path, I think those are the things that, you know, beat people down when they don't have those things. And, you know, I think one of the things that we see on stage 32 all the time is creatives will there are certain creators, like let's say, on the acting side, I'll use more specific examples. You know, I just came from an audition and or, you know, I had an audition a few days ago, I thought I killed it, and I just didn't get it and, and they beat themselves down. And you'll get people that align up behind that post and say, Would you learn from it? What's in your control? yoga? Sometimes? It's not sometimes it's just out of your control. Sometimes you're not the fit, and sometimes you're not the right person. But did you take anything away from the experience? Did you have a good experience with the casting director? And maybe, you know, so that they might remember you for the next thing? You know, did you leave a good impression? Did you control the things that are in your control? And I think a lot of times, us we as creatives, and believe me, I've been around this for a long time, and I still get this way, it's not easy, it's easier said than done. We allow that piece of bad news or the or the no news, which is even worse, we don't hear anything to, you know, to to debilitate us, you know, and to prevent us from going forward. And I think that the the creatives that have enjoyed the test of time, even when you talk to character actors in this business, or any, for that matter, they'll tell you that, hey, you know, I had one year I had seven roles, and the next year, I had none. But you know what, I knew that if I kept plugging in, if I kept learning from every experience that the following year, I had the i would i probably or I might have the opportunity of seven again. And it's that perseverance in that mindset. I think that makes the difference. 99% of the time.
Alex Ferrari 12:19
Yeah, I was I was interviewing Robert Forster, an amazing, he's amazing. I worked with him on a project and I sat down and interviewed him. And he was he was just he's just this wealth of information about actors and like, just gotta keep plugging along. Just be grateful that you're working actor and and the best advice I heard in that was he said, no matter how small the part, no matter what you're doing, just bring the best you've got to it that day. That's all you can control. And that goes for every discipline, whether that be writing, directing anything, but he said, just praying the best you could do, because if you do your best, you don't know what can open up other doors. But if you just found it in that opportunity, just my fade away, and it might not lead to other opportunities.
RB Botto 13:06
I had such great advice because I mean, look, it applies to his career, right? I mean, he had that down. Yeah, that down turn and he was doing you know, a lot of B and C if you want to call Sure. And then, you know, Tarantino comes calling and it changes the whole game for him again. But Bryan Cranston, I was reading constantly would have an interview with him or watching an interview with him. He said almost the same exact thing. He said, my career changed. He goes when I realized that things weren't in my control. And if I just brought everything I had, every time that something was in my control, that things would work out. And he said, and that's when things started turning for me. And I think that's true. For anybody who's a creative, I think that you have to bring the best that you have, you have to always be willing to learn. You have to always be taking it upon yourself to learn because I think another mistake that people make is that they don't consistently own their craft. There's a ceiling, there's never a ceiling. Oh, no, no, I've ever, you know, and you know what might not have worked today might work tomorrow. So you just have to persevere and do the best you can.
Alex Ferrari 14:09
Now on a business standpoint, a business note, you used to run a magazine called razor correct? Yep. So what did you learn about publishing that magazine? That what what lessons did you learn by doing that experience to bring it to stage? What did you bring to stage 32?
RB Botto 14:25
Well, the first thing I learned is never to do a freaking magazine.
Alex Ferrari 14:28
I was gonna say I was I was gonna start indie film hustle magazine next week, but thank you,
RB Botto 14:33
at least not on a national scale when you're a single data publisher, but that's reserved for another we actually did very well we were we used outsell GQ and Esquire we did very, very well in the space but as a single title publisher was top but what I learned that I that I brought over the stage 32 is we had a very very fervent following with razor people understood what we were doing and what what the razor guy or the razor man as we used to call him, what that embody And people loved that sense of community and that's that the positive nature that we brought to the magazine every month and that idea that you know gentlemen still exists there are real men still out there and you know not all laddie boys at the maximum you know mentality was start was promoting and you know even though it was might have been like a certain segment It was a very very loyal for it yeah loyal and fervent like I said earlier so one of the things that I carried over to stage 32 was that I wanted to have this sense of positive community and you know, go online you know, there's a ton of trolls you're going to make a post within five seconds you got five people tearing you apart hiding behind an alias of it, you know, name and everything like that. So what I wanted from the beginning was I wanted to defuse the cynicism and that was something I wanted to do a razor as well, because there is a sort of cynicism though that was even back then. That people didn't want anything besides like let's say Maxim and there wasn't as a place new in the marketplace what we were trying to do, but we found that there was and people bought into it. Same thing with stage 32 I wanted people when they signed up to things that I wanted people to understand first question of course is why should I be on this site and not on Facebook or LinkedIn or one of the broader base networks and I we saw I had a welcome letter that kind of explained why you know about the concentrated networking on the site. The second thing I wanted people to understand was that I was really it was the first thing I should I should reverse these but the first thing was I wanted people to understand that I was just like them and that was the same thing I did with razor my editorial at the beginning like the editors letter was always about, you know, the mission and what we were doing and what we you know, keep the community aspect and being very positive minded and everything along those lines, so I wanted the community to know I was just like them, I wasn't just some CEO in an ivory tower, I was you know, scratching and clawing just like you are so there was that then there was this idea of community I mean, the idea of concentrated networking and then the final thing was this sense of community that we're all in this together and that has served us very very well on the side for a couple of reasons one, people do come in a little bit more optimistic after they read that letter and they do realize that there is a really active and vibrant community and then the second thing is is that there's no there's no negativity on the site like there's everybody has to stand in front of their own name there's no alias as you can't put your company name and then the second point about it is that you the community police's itself because there's no negativity you're letting me know healthy debate is fine. But being an asshole about it is not you know, we've had in five four years of doing this we've only had to kick five people off the safe of being abusive, that's out of a half million members and those people were warned at least a half dozen times so we're very proud of that as well but that that sense of community and that sense of being all in it together in the sense that I am just like you is something that we kind of carried over from the razor days and I actually have some people that work with me now that work with me a razor so that mentality carried over even in the workforce.
Alex Ferrari 18:08
You know, I think generally like filmmakers and I've been doing this for a long time as well and I just noticed cynical like filmmakers are and filmmakers actors writers Everyone's so cynical now yes so based online it's worse oh yeah online because there's no defense I mean there's no there's no you can you can hide you can hide online so it's just so silly there's so much cynicism in the world and I think it's also because you know, filmmakers and creatives as a general statement are beaten down so much by whatever business that they're trying to get into whether that be writing screenwriting are whatever but I think that your the community like yours for specifically for our niche is is wonderful to have that kind of positive thing and that's what I try to do with any film is I try to create a breed of positive and informative place from like you know, I always say from I'm like I'm giving you the info from the streets because like I live in it I'm this is what I've gone through this isn't this is not what they're teaching you in film school.
RB Botto 19:04
Yeah, it truly comes across I mean it comes across in the podcast comes across in your blogs the all the stuff you write and that's it i mean you you've been you know, you've been through it you know what it takes not only from a professional standpoint, but from a psychological standpoint shows that shows in not only your interviews, but in the writing
Alex Ferrari 19:24
oh I pray I really appreciate that man. Thank you. Thanks. So since they started to is all about networking, Can you discuss a little bit about the importance of networking not only online but in the real world and tips on how to do it correctly?
RB Botto 19:37
How much time Yeah, absolutely. I you know, it's very interesting. I just got back from the Austin Film Festival, which is a screenwriting centric festival with the whole conferences surround is compiled the people, screenwriting conferences, and screenwriting classes and things of that nature. And I was speaking on social media for screenwriters, but it's the same for all creatives and it always amazes To me the people that say they don't have enough time or I'm too busy writing and you know it's that whole you know if a tree falls in the forest you know, let's make a sound of a screenplay sitting in a drawer does it ever get read you know, and I you know, we get these questions all the time and the reality is, is that's vitally important and I'll use my my personal approach to it as an example First I will say that, you know, I, my I landed my screenwriting manager, I have a screenplay and development, I would produce the movie to went to Sundance, I have another film a documentary I'm working on a couple of acting things that I've been invited to be a part of, all of them have come through working stage 32 not because they were on it, but because I went out there and I made contacts and did what I needed to do. So right there and they're right there and then I could I could state that none of this would have happened for me without social media without working it. So for me every day, you know, I hone my craft I write or I you know, I do something on the acting and producing side and I spend at least an hour or two, working social media, I treat it as a job because I think it's vitally important. As far as best practices are concerned, like I said, this, you know, down at the conference, and I've said it a million times, you know, in other areas, and even over rain dance a few weeks ago, the most competitive advantage that you can give yourself on social media immediately they'll put you at a 70% of the pack is one to realize that you're that it's social media that you're not there to broadcast you're there to communicate, okay, it's the biggest mistake people make is they go on social media and the broadcaster's The second thing that people do is that they don't ask questions, okay. They don't they think they have nothing to offer. Okay. They think that, you know, what am I What do I have to say, How do I connect with other people? Well, one of the great equalizers and one of the great ways to invite conversation, of course, is to ask a question, and to make it more about the other person than about you. So that's the second thing you could do. A third thing is to share content that you think would be relevant to your community to the people who are following you. The all these things are so easy to do, and will give you such a unique advantage over so many people that are out there doing it wrong. And I can tell you because I used to run the stage 32 account, which now has about 140,000 followers on Twitter, I can't tell you that I can tell you that probably 70 to 80% of the posts that were made to the ad stage 32 Twitter account per day were post acne as it relates to you know, you know, saying look at my help me, you know, fun my all this stuff, and I never got my attention and it shouldn't get my attention because if you met me in a room you wouldn't walk up to me and and do that.
Alex Ferrari 22:39
So throw movie poster on you, like here, promote this or walk up
RB Botto 22:42
to me in Yelm a year ago, hey, support my crowdfunding campaign, it wouldn't happen, you wouldn't do it. Okay, so don't do it online. So those are the best practices, the biggest mistake that people make as far as what they can control beyond the actual posting is not using the biographical and or other fields or upload fields that a service provides for you. For example, on stage 32, you can put your bio, you can upload your reels, you can upload your screenplays, you can put in your credits, you know, there's a million things to let people know exactly who you are, where you've been, where you're looking to go, and so on and so forth. So many people don't do it. And what ends up happening is if people will looking at you or if people want to come You know, if you say to somebody, hey, you know, I'm an actor, I'm really great, and they go to look at your profile, and there's no reels or anything or head or head shots, they're gonna they're not gonna know how good you really are, and they're not going to go chasing around the internet to try to figure it out. So a lot of people make those mistakes, or make that mistake not using I see it on LinkedIn as well which I'm on there as a CEO and as a founder of a tech company more so much more so than I am as you know, a creative but I see it all the time when people will come to me and say hey, I want to connect you and I go and look at their profiles and there's nothing there. I go, Why do I want you as a contact? What you know, what's the purpose? So it's a little bit more than you asked for. But yeah, I mean, the whole thing is, is definitely fill out your bio completely and use all the you know, all the fields and all the areas that people provide the platform provides. But then as far as best services, you know, you want to be a communicator, you want to ask questions, you want to share content.
Alex Ferrari 24:19
You know, the The funny thing is that we met basically through Twitter. Yeah, you tweeted out that you saw that you listened to a great interview I did with Suzanne Lyons, and you just went Hey, great. They like Oh, and I knew who you were. And I was like, Oh, hey, Richard, and then I and we started talking a little bit and then I'm like, hey, I'd love to have you on the show. And you're like, Yeah, sure.
RB Botto 24:40
Look, if that doesn't capsulize exactly what I was saying. Yeah, you know, it's it's, it was complimentary to you without you. And you know, which which was genuine completely genuine, though. You did an amazing job with Suzanne. And you know, you responded to that. And a lot of people will say to me, Hey, would you look at my Twitter get like I'll do these like conferences. Like I said, people say, well, would you look at my Twitter account and tell me you're looking at what I'm doing on stage 32 and tell me what I'm doing wrong and you look and you go Where do I start barking at people there's no biographical information there's no headshots there's no that i mean you know it's just not painting a picture you're not the whole idea of social media is to paint a picture of your personality of who you are, what you what interests you what you're looking to do and you do that by sharing information but also being inquisitive about other people and you know in sharing content and things of that nature you're painting a full picture of who you are.
Alex Ferrari 25:33
And if I could take that to the next level it's basically you're building a brand you're marketing yourself 100% and that's what and that's what people don't get people don't get that look you are a brand you know Woody Allen is a brand Martin Scorsese is a brand you know, the Will Smith is a brand but they're but they they're obviously huge brands that have been around for a long time. But that's where you are you have to build yourself up as a brand so you've built your your brand up with stage 32 and all the work and other things that you're doing outside of stage 32 I'm building up my brand through what I do, and people don't get that even on a smaller scale you don't have to have a stage 3200 indie film hustle to kind of build a huge brand or anything like that, but you could just just do the basics of like, this is who I am this is what I'm about and just start start creating that brand on Twitter on Facebook on stage 32 on any of these platforms
RB Botto 26:24
you couldn't be more right i mean you couldn't be more spot on and the other part that people don't realize is that it's a marathon and not a sprint. No it doesn't you're not going to get 50,000 followers overnight you're not going to get you know on stage 32 you're not going to get you know 100 network requests a day until you start going out there and branding yourself and showing people who you are now you know like I said earlier you know I start I used to run the stage straight to Twitter account that's since been passed on we have a social media I call it a social media as our and I only created my you know but people knew that that account was me I was the one posting it was clearly you know delayed that you know and disseminated that that was make it your flavor yeah it was my flavor but it also said you know post by our beat man poster Richard I'll be bought or whatever. Now about a year ago I started my own Twitter account and that one I made a little bit more I'm still sharing all my interests and it's still sort of on brand for who I am but what I didn't do on the stage study to account which I do do now on on the on the RV walks into a bar account is
Alex Ferrari 27:31
great that's great by the way great title great says better handle well and that
RB Botto 27:35
alone tells you a little bit about me you know that alone makes me a little bit fine and it's you know it's it's
Alex Ferrari 27:41
but that's a that's a brilliant branding thing and that's something as simple as that is what I always preach and I yell about from the top of the tower you know, or from the ghetto from the crowd or wherever wherever you want to say but I'm always yelling about this I'm like look at that small detail RB walks into a bar that says volumes to me about your personality, your sense of humor the kind of person you are on a very superficial level but at least it gets me interested I would much rather go look and follow a guy RB walks into a bar as opposed to RB or Richard both like anybody it's just it just makes it more fun and that's branding that's branding yourself and so I
RB Botto 28:22
you know and I don't want to be again I'm not the stuffy CEO guy I'm not and I'm the creative guy you know I do that as well like I said and I want this to be you know a fun account but I also want to give a little flavor of who I am my photo on there is not me and you know when to shoot wood it's hard you know it's it's you know it's a more fun picture and it's something that somebody took that said that has to be the photo for every works with the visor fine and but even this stuff I share you know I do share obviously a lot of film stuff because it genuinely interests me because I'm in the business but I do share you know about my match my my calm sorry about that yeah. But you know that you know, like my other interests like well you know about you know, exercising and you know, places I'm going and you know, I'm on this trip on that trip and to make it more rounded and to make to make it more three dimensional and to make it more interesting and to make it more fun, but to also make it more human and relatable. And that's really what it's all about. You want to be relatable on social media. You know, the great sort of equalizer that social media has presented in this day and age is the fact that you can reach anyone anywhere if they're on a platform you know if you're on Twitter and you want to tweet to Jon Stewart you're going to tweet to Jon Stewart doesn't mean he's going to respond to it doesn't mean might not have a handle there but you never know you know I never know you don't know and I know a filmmaker who I spoke with that ran dance who you know tweeted out to a very I'm not gonna say who it is cuz I don't want this guy to get bombed but tweeted out to a very, very popular English actor and said, you know, really would reciate if, you know maybe you see this film, or if you do they make they form the relationship first. But the guy said, what do you do, and I say, made this film. And he wrote back a couple days later, because I saw your film, it's amazing. And he started tweeting it out all over the place. And all of a sudden, there was all this interest in the film. I mean, you just don't know. But it's all about your approach. The one thing I do know, is if this gentleman would have approached this actor and said, Look at me, and he wouldn't have gotten a response that would have never happened. So it's all about approach. And it's all about realizing that, with accessibility comes, great responsibility, so to speak.
Alex Ferrari 30:36
We'll be right back after a word from our sponsor. And now back to the show. Yep, I have a friend of mine who actually tweeted out to, to a, an Academy Award winning screenwriter and wanted him on his podcast show. And he's like, Sure, yeah, no problem. And you would have never thought like, and he had literally just won the Oscar, like a few days earlier. Wow. So it was just like, it just happened to be and you know, again, I don't want to say what happened, who it is, and everything, but same. It's just like, I'm like, really? That happens. It's like, yeah, it happens. You just never know. It's kind of like that shot in the dark with that with that kind of stuff.
RB Botto 31:19
Yeah, but you increase, I think, what everything you do that is, you know, proactive against, yeah. And that gives you that, that that advantage, the advantages that I spoke about, or the advantage of spoken earlier, you know, the idea of being selfless, you know, I have a rule on social media that you ask three times before you as something as somebody else, you know, you ask them what you could do for them three times before you ask them to do something for you. And I think it's an important rule. You know, I met with an Academy Award winning producer the other night, a documentary producer, and you know, he's had a couple of challenges and I have some contacts the first thing I said to him was, you know, if there is anything I can do for you, and it put him on his heels because he literally said to me, he goes, I get I get asked all day I can't believe you know, I get so that this is a friend of mine and he was still on his put on his heels. You know, it matters it matters that you make the attempt it matters that you make it about the other person it matters that you show interest, but it's got to be genuine. Yeah, and
Alex Ferrari 32:17
I think a lot of people don't understand is that they think that just because you've reached a certain level in the business that you know, you they get bombarded daily, like by everybody like, gimme, gimme, gimme, they're like leeches constantly. Can people come in? I don't mean that in a bad way. Like, I don't know. But there's people that are just constantly trying to suck from them. You know whether Can you give me a kick? Can you give me a meeting? Can you give me this? Can you do this for me? Can you do this for me? And I can imagine that's why you're saying like your friend was completely taken aback by someone's like, What can I do for you? Yeah, and it's so powerful.
RB Botto 32:48
It is powerful. Can I tell a quick story? Sure. Go for it. So I'm at the Austin Film Festival a couple of years back, not this, not this particular trip. And you know, one of the cool things about being at Austin is a lot of the people that speak there, they bring down a lot of really big names. And what's cool about is these people don't just come and speak and disappear. They actually hang out at the Driscoll which is the hotel in downtown Washington says famous old hotel, they hang out in the bar, the bar is gigantic, and the whole court and the bar, it's kind of they feel like it's their way of giving back. So anyway, this is Academy Award winning director and screenwriter that everyone on this podcast that's listening to this podcast knows and knows very well. And he's standing, I happened to be sitting next to him as I was talking to him. And a bunch of people came up to came up to like, kind of mob him and he said, Go, let's go one at a time in line. You know, I'll give you guys like five minutes each come up. And yeah, it's fine. But this happens all the time. And it's fine, because this is it's a festival there. They expect this, but I just happened to be in kind of on the flank. So I got to hear this rig and see it firsthand. And so the first guy comes up, and he launches into his screenplay, and what is the other thing in the whole thing? And you can see, you know, I didn't know the personality of this guy a little bit. So I could see that he was, you know, just waiting to come in for the kill. It's kind of his person. He's just waiting and biding his time. And finally the guy stops and he goes, he goes, did you need to take a breath? He goes, are you done? And he says, done. And he goes, so five minutes, he goes, and you didn't even say hello to me. I don't even know what your name is. And the guy said, the guy just looked at me said no, he goes, Okay, I want to speak to the next person, the next person, but the next person in line was not in earshot of this, okay? They want to blow back. Oh, no. Next person comes up. Woman, very, very client, and she says to him, Hey, I wanted to ask you. Movie x is one of my favorite movies. And there's that one scene where this happens. Did you write it like that? And then what did you write it differently and then film it a different way? Or did was that the way it was intended to be? Or did the actors find that in the scene or did it just you know, and he said, The He goes that's a great question he does thank you for asking that. And he answered it very nicely. And then he said to me, so what do you do? And she said, Well, I'm a writer. So he goes, he reaches into his back pocket he pulls out a card, and he says, I give out three of these a weekend. He goes, you send me whatever script you like me to read, and I'll read it and I will give you an honest critique. And that if that doesn't illustrate the difference, I don't know what does awesome story Yeah, and that is what happens all the time. So this you know woman female, a woman screenwriter who was you know, very sort of you know, semi she had done some really good work so it was I knew her and but she had a hard time getting access to anybody ended up getting a read by us Academy Award winning director and screenwriter who ended up getting her meeting with an agent you has that
Alex Ferrari 35:57
and that's the Yeah, that's the definition right there. Oh, yeah. And that's but that's the that's maybe half a percent and the rest of the rest of the people are the ones who are doing that yelling and screaming and barking out and there's that one bit that get it and that's and that's sometimes I get it they get
RB Botto 36:17
it that's it and that's why I say for the people that are listening to this podcast that say social media is not for me, I don't get anything out of it. And I'm telling you go on to the platform, fill out your bio, upload your headshots and anything else that you could do on that particular platform and then go out as questions share content and and just be a participant and not a broadcaster and you'll you'll reap the benefits
Alex Ferrari 36:38
you know I'll tell you what I mean I opened up I've only had an indie film hustle now for about about three months or so. So it's not been it but it's grown dramatically very very fast and I before in the film I saw wasn't a big social media guy because I just same thing like ah you know, what am I going to do I'm going to post some funny cat videos oh there's a Star Wars trailer you know and that's what I would do and like anytime I would see something funny I would just kind of post it on my my personal site and that would be it but then opening up any film house I'm like well I'm gonna have to get into this so then I started learning about it and really working it and it's fascinating I'm having a conversation with you today because
RB Botto 37:17
of it I listened I see the way the again if you listen to this podcast check out the way Alex runs his his social media runs Twitter and everything like that i mean it's it's exactly that right? But I mean it is your you communicate your you're putting out great content you ask questions, I mean that's why it's growing so fast and you're you're building interest because you're putting out very interesting material and putting it out there in a way that's not you know, pompous and looking me and egotistical you know, speaking to you know, you speak to your experience in a community kind of way like I want to give back a little bit as opposed to this is my experience Listen to me that's the there's a big difference
Alex Ferrari 37:57
there I do appreciate it I honestly I appreciate that because that's the first time someone said that to me because that's just the way I naturally am I'm I always wanted to be give back and it's funny that you say that because I could I could easily see how it could look the other way because there are people out there going Ah, this is the way watch me Look at me and you know, I have 40 years of experience you have to do it this way you know and and I'm I'm just like, like, this is what I've done is and this is how you do it as well. Like look, this is this is what's working for us.
RB Botto 38:25
Yeah, well, I'll tell you there's a famous Silicon Valley investor he's very well known and you know, not only up there but kind of globally you know, for some of the bets he's made along the way and he wrote a bunch of books and you know, when he first got on Twitter if he put up you know, I'm sitting down to eat it would get like 6000 retweets and what ended up happening was he actually took that approach for I am right this is the right way this is the way it gets done. This is an at first you know, because he was who he was, people would line up behind that and again, he would still get all the retweets and the favorites and all this other stuff and on and on and on. Now you see this guy post and it's crickets because a lot of very very influential people have come around come behind him so to speak and said over his shoulder and sent to the mob, you know what I mean? First of all, it's not the way to talk to people second the wall. This isn't the only way third of all you know, you don't if you're this rigid in your thinking, how can you be successful long term and then of course, you took a couple of hits. And now all of a sudden, without even when he posts you know, excerpts from books he's writing or lines or books, or inspirational tweets or anything like that. Now it's down to 20 and 10 and eight and you know what I mean? So, you know, people tune out it after a while, there's, you know, there's a lot of noise out there and people don't want to be barked at you know what I mean, they want to have the soothing sounds at them as opposed to being barked at and there's too many people barking, you don't know which dog is provided to make a pack of dogs, you know, it's those making the noise.
Alex Ferrari 39:56
Right, exactly. So I wanted to talk a little bit about Writing with you Um Can you tell me the about the first time you were actually paid to be a writer?
RB Botto 40:07
Um well I got right I did get paid for journalistic pursuits sure as a screenwriter I still have not I've had you know I'm wrapped I have a script that's over a web right now it's being read by directors and things of that nature you know, the free option thing never interested me because I know enough to be dangerous in this business all the time. So I don't do the free option thing. So you know, I've written four scripts and one of them independently I was producing and you know, it was a $3.5 million scope to get 2 million into before everybody went completely bonkers and the whole thing fell apart.
Alex Ferrari 40:46
I've never heard that I've never heard of that I know.
RB Botto 40:49
I know it's shocking it's
Alex Ferrari 40:51
I've never it's generally that when the money's supposed to drop it drops I don't understand why he
RB Botto 40:55
wasn't even so much was wasn't even so much the money it was that the guy with the money and the guy with division decided to play a little game of you know whose wide is bigger you know?
Alex Ferrari 41:06
It also never heard of that story. Yeah, that's
RB Botto 41:09
another shocking story too. They should make a movie out of that Yeah, so So to be honest, no I haven't been I have not been paid for a script yet but you know hopefully hoping that that email or that phone call comes
Alex Ferrari 41:22
maybe then and that also tells people like look man I'm struggling we're all struggling I'm struggling to be a director I want to make I want to make my movie and go out there and you know, try to make I haven't made a feature yet. I've made a ton of shorts, and they've been successful and so on and so forth. But now I'm next year I'm, I've put the gauntlet down that I have to and I've been promoting it on my podcast a lot. Like I'm going to do it next year. So I've got a right
RB Botto 41:45
now. Yeah, I really got to do it.
Alex Ferrari 41:47
I got I got to have it done next year somehow. So do you have any advice on pitching a movie idea to a producer or executive?
RB Botto 41:55
Yeah, let me just back up on the on the getting paid thing. I mean, and and the scratching and clawing thing. I think that's the big misconception anyway, with a lot of people is that people think that, you know, you see somebody with a credit are two or you know, and even people, you know, and they just think that it's easy it or that you get a manager and it becomes easier. Listen, I have a very, very good manager in this business. He's somebody that's been around the business for a very long time reps and gigantic writers. I still have to be my own best advocate for everything I do. I still have to go out there and network I still have to go push things. He works Don't get me wrong. He's working on this one project. He's one that got to me and he's that he's the one that's got to push around to a lot of that's being rebellious 20. Directors, it's great. But I still have to be my own best advocate and I still have to go do the work and I still have to go do the networking. And because it matters, you know, it matters. I like telling people like, you know, Spielberg had to go to India to get money for Lincoln. Nobody,
Alex Ferrari 42:47
I always tell that story to like what like if frickin Spielberg and he
RB Botto 42:51
had to go listen, and the movie Scorsese is making right now silence this is a movie he's wanted to make since 1976 nobody would make a movie with make him give him the money for it because it's a smaller film. And it's not a very, very commercial film and or commercial story. And, you know, so he had to wait 30 years to find the money for that so we're all scratching and clawing and it doesn't matter how big you are in this business. It's still a battle and I think it's a lesson that needs to be learned. So you know, I just think that at the end of the day, you always have to remember that no matter who you out have out there champion champion championing for cause excuse me You know, you're still your own best champion.
Alex Ferrari 43:34
And that's one of the one of the reasons I call this indie film hustle is because I truly believe that everybody no matter how big you are, is hustling at one level or another. You know, James Cameron went to Fox and hustled avatar, and you know, and mind you it's a large hustle was like probably like a $500 million movie and now he's doing God knows how many more of them, but but he still had to hustle. Spielberg has the hustle, Scorsese so if these guys have to hustle, and these guys have to work, Who the hell are you? Not to? Exactly right it's that and that's what I always try to tell people I'm like you guys and that's all that one one other big thing and I think this is something you preach as well is. This is not only it's not enough sprinting a marathon and it's a lot of work. Like you gotta love this man. Because, you know, I'm gonna make an aside No, no, a lot of people don't know this about me, but I used to own an olive oil company. Ah,
RB Botto 44:26
just went up 10 more notches.
Alex Ferrari 44:29
I used to own an olive oil company here in Los Angeles. And I owned it for three years with my wife, it was a family business. And, you know, we you know, I if I tell you the stories of who I met, I used to work farmer's markets. And if you want to talk about some rough work, that's Oh man, that's when I was doing it because I was trying to build up my company and everything. But you know, I, I sold olive oil to the biggest celebrities and the biggest directors you could imagine. Which is so funny. I could tell you stories about it, but my point is that I was I had a one upside and all this stuff. And I there was only so many articles I could write about olive oil. Right? Like there was, at a certain point, I could not it, I liked it. It was wonderful. It's delicious. It was party and I, you know, obviously I had some sort of, you know, I really liked doing it. But at a certain point, you just have to go. I just don't, I can't wake up in the morning, write more articles about olive oil, where in with the complete opposite indie film, hustle, I have too much content, like I have, I have content lined up probably for the next three to five months. Like that. That's great. I just have so much of it. That and I don't want to release it daily or weekly, because it just, I mean, like daily, which I just I'm only one person. So but I have so much content already. And I'm like, and my wife's like, how are you doing? Like, oh, I've got, I've got podcast for at least another three months ahead, already. And it's and then I have articles that I'm writing. And I get pissed because I can't, I can't release work. But it's because I love doing it. I love doing what I'm doing. And that's something that people don't get like if you're gonna get into this business for being rich or famous. But yeah, I was talking to john Reese the other day. And john gave a great, great analogy of like Sundance and the lottery, the lottery mentality, which I'm sure you're familiar with. And you shoot and he's like, Look, there's 50,000 feature films made a year in the United States, out of those 50,000, maybe 20, I think it's like 20, or 30,000 gets submitted to Sundance, out of that 15 or 13 are picked for competition, out of those 13, one or two might get picked up. And out of that one or two that might get picked up, we'll probably never see a dime pass the initial money that they get paid.
RB Botto 46:50
Yeah. And john, yes, I love john, very well, John's gonna be featured in my crowdsourcing book. You know, I think it's, I get where he's coming from completely, I do think and I get where you're coming from completely, you gotta love what you're doing. And I think that that's, that kind of goes back to the famous Michael Jordan quote, when they asked them, you know, 1012 years in why he was still in the gym, you know, two to three hours a day. And he said, because if I'm not somebody else is, and I love that line, great. But I do think that there's, you know, it's part of a bigger conversation of all these films and everything like that. And we're, like, what the paradigm is now and how everything is shifting right now and why it's becoming a DIY world. And again, what you can control, like, how you can control what you can control? So I think that, you know, I think the paradigm is or I think that maybe even to take away a little bit is that yeah, if 50 to 60% of these films are being submitted to Sundance, there's probably, you know, if that's, let's call it at 50% at 25,000 films, there's probably 24,000 people who are being completely irrational. And that probably should, you know, take it to another path. I mean, that might not be a Sundance Film, maybe it's a directed distribute, you know, a direct the platform film, I don't know, whatever your maybe it's the genre, right? Who knows, but I mean, you know, again, it's, that's a matter of educating yourself as a filmmaker, and that comes back to it or as a producer. And that comes back to being being the guy that works the next guy and learning the right places to submit to and, and giving yourself the best odds to succeed. And I think that in this day and age, one of the things that we're losing, and it's another reason why you need to be on social media is that no matter what you're doing, as a creative, you're a business person now to because you have to know you have to know the business. You can't just create and go into a shell, you know, you don't expect somebody to carry the torch for you, like and one person call you up one day, say, hey, guess what we're getting, you know, 10 Paramount's buying it for 10 million, we're gonna go. It's not you know, it doesn't happen. Yeah, it does. So you have to you have to look at what's happening in the business. Look at the trends, look at the shifting paradigms, look at all the who's buying what, where, and what gives you the best opportunity, and you need to be a part of that. And if you're not if you're not, you know, significantly equipped to handle that you need to surround yourself with people who are they need to be part of almost like your, your casting crew know, so. So yeah, I mean, like I said, I get john, I get where he's coming from as far as that's concerned. But I do think that there are a lot of things that you control. And I think a lot of people make a ton of mistakes, or are very, very short sighted in the way that they approach things after they're done filming.
Alex Ferrari 49:28
Yeah, and I did a whole podcast episode just about the business like guys, you guys have to understand you have to understand the business of it. If you don't, then this is a hobby and you have to make you have to come up with a long term plan to make yourself a sustainable artist and make a living as a sustainable artists. And that's what people are like, I just want to make a movie. I just wanna I just want to read a script. I just want to act. I'm like, Well, you know, that's great. But you know, and I and we people always use the Ben Affleck and Matt Damon thing they wrote themselves into a career. Essentially, they Did you know and there's a lot of actors who now with the way things are they can team up with the right filmmakers and get there's so much opportunity now man, you know, my chopper to write you both you and I come from you know I'm assuming you're probably in the same generation I am though you look much younger sir. Bye but you and I both in the same generation you know and the time before the internet the time before crowdfunding and crowdsourcing before, you know, technology was cheaper I mean, I made my first demo reel. My commercial demo reel was shot on 35. And it cost me 50 grand, you know, back in the 90s. You know what I mean? So like, that's how that's all you had, there was no other option. No,
RB Botto 50:42
I was gonna say I get I just wanted to clarify that I was able to, I was legally able to drink the night before Facebook launched.
Alex Ferrari 50:50
Now, I thank you, sir. I appreciate the honesty.
RB Botto 50:54
Um, no, I get where you're coming from. I mean, I completely get where you come from. It's very, you know, again, I think the biggest mistake that people are making right now is not staying up on what is happening and how rich The opportunity is. And I think you're right about the whole idea of a hobby versus looking at it as a profession. And, you know, I got asked this question to get at Austin, they said, okay, you're telling me that I need to do an hour of social media along with the hour I dedicate to my writing every day. And you know, so I treat my writing as jobs. I get up every morning and I write for an hour now you're telling me I have to find an hour for social media? And I said, You know, I said, you do if you're serious about it, you understand? And I said and I said, Do you get Starbucks in the morning? I go you go for coffee in the morning? Yeah, I do. How long? Do you usually stand on line on average? 15 minutes. I said, do social media. You know, I mean, to social media. I said, you know, you come home? I said do you watch TV at night? like yeah, you know, I try to unwind? So what do you normally watch? I watch sports while you're watching the game. What do social media, I mean, you can do it. I mean, it's not like that's the beauty of what the Internet has created. And that is expanding now into online distribution platforms. You know, all this stuff that is available to us, that people are taking for granted. And you know, crowdfunding and things of that nature, people are not only taking for granted, but they're not educating themselves enough to give themselves a fair chance to be successful at it. crowdfunding is a perfect example of that. It's the if you build it, they will come mentality, it doesn't work. It's about creating an audience, building an audience building support, building a brand, as you said earlier, it's all about all those things. And it's being freakin informed. And a lot of people just aren't, a lot of people aren't, and a lot of hard work, a lot of hard work, but you know, but it's worth it. That's if you care. So you You said it perfectly. If you love it, if you love it, you're going to do it, and you can find a way to do it. I mean, I get up every morning, I tell the story very often, but my day starts every morning I get up earlier and earlier these days because this freakin site has become a monster. But I get early and earlier and but what I do is by first hour of my day is it's it's still my call it my time, but it's actually work because what I do is I read all the trades, okay, I stay up to date on everything that's going on, I go to all the usual filmmaking and screenwriting sites that I normally go to the shoot as a information I need to learn and I usually if there's if there's nothing much going on to take doesn't take me through the hour, I usually have a list of two, three or four topics that in priority order for me that I want to research that I want to learn about, and that's the first hour of my day, you know, so you know, call it dedication or call lunacy or call it not having a life I don't think it's not having a life. I enjoy it's not only hunger, but I enjoy it. I you know, I it's something that I desire to do so to me, it doesn't feel like work and I think that if you get to a point where you're really really serious about it, and you're getting returns on it, and you're starting to see the benefits of it, it won't seem like work so you know but but it's a marathon man you got to get yourself there it's a state of mind it's it's that again, it's the Jordan mentality if I'm not in the gym, somebody else's,
Alex Ferrari 54:07
you know, and it's like, you know, give me someone who's hungry and he's gonna work his ass off as opposed to someone who's talented. I mean, there's just no no question about it because talent only takes you so like yeah, like Jordan said, like, Jordans talented, but it wasn't just talent that got him to where he was he worked his ass off.
RB Botto 54:24
Yeah, and I mean, it could work against you too. I mean, you know, your your your social skills and your ability to understand the business. I have a producer friend that is working with a screenwriter and a filmmaker who has been around for 25 years. He's done some decent stuff, but he's never quite flown all the way to the sun, his phone close to the sun, but not all the way there. And, you know, the producer friend was saying like, I never quite put my finger on why he never got there. And ultimately what ended up happening was because he was going to write and direct this film, he was dealing with producers who were bringing the money that really understood the business and he He really didn't, he really didn't understand what they were getting at. And here were people that were basically saying to him, take our money and go make a film. And he was pushing back on things that I mean, like, you know what I'm saying, Yeah, he was pushing back, because he didn't quite understand why they wanted to take the road that they wanted to take. And I gotta tell you, I know the facts of the case, he was completely wrong. And it wasn't anything to be precious about. And it was something that was actually very smart on the producers, and they understood the business, and the whole deal fell apart. And all of a sudden, my producer friends said to me, now I know why he's never flown all the way to the sun. Now I understand why he never made it all the way. And it's just because he was an uninformed, unaware of what was happening in the business, unaware of the trends, not understanding of where they want to go, because he didn't, he didn't know enough about it. And he had ample time to go learn about it. First of all, he had ample time to just listen to people but didn't want him to do that. But he also could have went over researched on his own or tried to figure out or go ask questions of people around them that you know, might be knowledgeable on these subjects. And he didn't and ultimately his deal fell apart. Now he's got nothing.
Alex Ferrari 56:06
And, man if I could tell you 1000 those stories Yeah.
RB Botto 56:11
Put the emphasis on the fact cuz you said talent. That is what he pulls. He's a very talented guy. You know what I mean? He has all the tools
Alex Ferrari 56:18
but he just it's not about talent. It's not there. It's not enough takes you so far. Right? He said it's not enough. I know people who are much less talented as as as filmmakers, and another and other disciplines as well, and are successful because they just outworked everybody around them. That's it. And that's the key to success as a general statement. Well, I mean, this is like a Tony Robbins episode. Geez. Oh, yeah.
RB Botto 56:43
We should pay for this site. All right. We should get everybody up now and do like one of those motivational dance things. clapping their hands. So have
Alex Ferrari 56:53
you have you been Have you been to one of Tony's things? Oh,
RB Botto 56:56
but it's so funny. I have it. But I live across the street from a woman used to be an attorney for him that now actually runs some of his show. So I have actually gotten to see during volleyball games on the beach. So the whole entire, you know, dancing, clap your hands. And everybody's fantastic.
Alex Ferrari 57:12
It's Yeah, it's a fun show. I've been there people. So you have a book coming out on crowdsourcing, right?
RB Botto 57:20
If I finish the damn thing, yeah. So it'll come out eventually over
Alex Ferrari 57:22
eventually. So can you tell me the difference between crowdsourcing and crowdfunding, crowdfunding?
RB Botto 57:27
Sure. Very, very simply, crowdfunding is you know, the raising of money through a collection of people for a project, you know, and it could be anything from film or to or, you know, a tech project or, or, or product or anything. crowdsourcing, in its simplest terms is all about identifying, engaging and moving a crowd. So what crowdsourcing is, is what we talked about a little bit earlier is about building an audience for a project or for your own brand, for the brand of a project for your, for your personal brand. And what I mean by that is, I'll give an example of one of the I actually use one of the examples in the book, documentary called mile, mile and a half, it was about hikers hiking, the john Muir Trail, five cinematographers, and one sound editor, all health enthusiasts. And obviously, all in the business, what they were hoping to do the job by the way, if you're not familiar with the john Muir Trail, it's a 206 mile trail in the Pacific Northwest, and people can hike parts of it, but you have to get a permit to hike the whole thing. So they all they went out and secured these permits and what they were hoping to do is to capture the entire trail and the various ecosystems along the trail and in the natural beauties through bringing the state of the art filming equipment and sound editing the sound equipment, sound recording equipment, so it doesn't exactly sound like the most riveting documentary or something
Alex Ferrari 58:55
that oddly enough I'm I'm a nerd I would watch that. Okay.
RB Botto 59:00
If you're not, you know it, but this is a kind of falls into why this is so interesting is because they recognize the fact that wouldn't be for everybody. So what they did was they had an $85,000 raise on Kickstarter. That's a high number for any film, never mind a documentary venery that kind of has a niche audience. But what they did was they went out and they recognize this, they said, okay, who do we want to cater to? And they said, well, let's start with the gearheads, the filmmakers, the people who are into this kind of equipment, the cinematographers. And then let's start talking about the health enthusiasts the people who are into hiking the people who are into camping things of this nature. And what they did was before they ever watched the crowdfunding campaign, and before they ever decided to even talk about pre production. What they did was they went out and they started they made Twitter accounts and Facebook accounts and all this anywhere that they could no Google Plus and everything like that. They the whole entire team to various days and various platforms to post information about what they were doing. And then they what they did was they they targeted audiences within the sector's I spoke about are within the categories and spoke about like they went after the hikers and the health enthusiasts and they went after the campers. And then they went after the the the gear heads and they went to those bloggers into those boards into those Twitter accounts and started following them and saying, Hey, this is what we're looking to do. Here's who we are. Tell us a little bit about you. If you were going to go on this hike, what would you like to see that went to the nature enthusiast as well? What would you like to you know, what would you like to do? You know, if you're a hiker, what should we bring on the trail? As far as food is concerned? They did contests like you know, in a hiking cup for one day, what kind of food can you put in there, they got people engaged, they got people into it, they got people into what they were doing, they got organizations to, you know, get behind them. Within a couple of months, they had Rei donating equipment for the hike.
Alex Ferrari 1:00:53
We'll be right back after a word from our sponsor. And now back to the show.
RB Botto 1:01:04
This was before they ever put up the crowd, the crowdfunding page, okay, so they were crowdsourcing their audience they were identifying their audience that was this part of it. And then they were engaging the audience they and they were engaging them through contests and questions and giving them ownership of what was going on. You know, should we bring this particular guy like there's two cameras that are state of the art right now that do sort of the same thing? Which do you like which brand do you like better? You like Sony, the like, canon, what do you like, and everybody got into it, everybody was all about it. They engage them constantly, they filmed videos of, of the team getting ready to go on the hike and what they were going to do and you know, all this stuff, they went on a part of the trail and took some pictures as proof of concept and filmed some stuff to show what they were going to do all of this stuff, paid such dividends, that by the time that they launched the crowdfunding campaign, within seven days, they were about 70% funded. Okay? That is crowdsourcing an audience. And you know, that is there is so you know, people say, what is the difference between crowdfunding and crowdsourcing I already gave sort of definition. But what I tell people is that there is an element there should be an element of crowdsourcing in every crowdfunding campaign. If you know who your audiences and you know who you're trying to target, well, you should begin targeting that audience you know, three to six months before you ever put up that before you hit launch on that crowdfunding campaign. So that's the basic concept of it. But it's it's, you know, applies to everything you do online and applies to everything you're doing for your brand that applies to everything. You know, if you want to be an expert, Alex, you know, you're an expert in independent filmmaking, you know, yoga, I don't know about that. But you know, you're, you're, you're positioning yourself, as somebody who has had all this experience and, and you're doing that by putting all this information out there Here is your you know, your podcast, your as your blog, and then you're going out and you're talking to people on social media. So you are crowdsourcing a specific, a specific audience that is going to be interested in this material. And you said earlier, you like, it just can't believe how quick it's grown. It's grown so fast. It's grown so fast, because you're crowdsourcing that audience so directly, and these people are buying so into what you're doing, that they're spreading the word for you. And that's ultimately what you want them to do. And what usually happens with a first time filmmaker, let's say crowdfunding, people are going to buy into the concept of first time people are going to buy into the idea that, wow, that's really interesting. Like, you know, it's a baseball movie, I love baseball, I'm going to spread the word to other people I know who like baseball, and so on and so forth. But then what ends up happening is if you deliver on your promises, and you deliver that film, and you stay in touch with those people, you say, Hey, now we have distribution here. And hey, now we're going to do this, like the mile mile and a half people. I mean, they they ended up the very first film festival they got into, it was the first film at that festival that had they had to put a second screening, because there's so many people showed up. When they got onto iTunes, they went back to the crowd and said, Hey, can you please let people know that we're on iTunes now and they ended up being the number two documentary behind hero dreams of sushi, which I think has been number one since the dawn of time. So really
Alex Ferrari 1:04:06
good six documentary, it's
RB Botto 1:04:07
a great, great documentary. But they were number two, I mean, that's fantastic. It's amazing. Again, download all these downloads and everything going on, because they stayed in touch. So filmmakers, it's for narratives, it's the same way they're gonna follow you. Like I use the baseball movie example. If you deliver and you're talking to them all the way through and you're still giving them original content behind the scenes types of things and keeping them engaged. If all of a sudden that tomorrow you sit there and go, my next film is going to be about I don't know, pick a topic that could be furthest away from baseball. I don't even know. But you know, it's a vegan chef, a vegan chef. Yeah, it's a musical about a vegan chef.
Alex Ferrari 1:04:45
I would watch that.
RB Botto 1:04:49
We might divide right here. Okay, now I'm joking. But you know, they what ends up happening now is that it's no longer about the brand that the previous movie, it's about the branded view, and you've crowdsource An audience for you as a filmmaker. So to illustrate that example, I have a friend who is a director who has done five films on crowdsourcing each have crashed has crowdfunded five films. The first one was a short, that was $5,000. The last one was a narrative that was $150,000 Oh, he's had no problem making that goal the each of those goals along the way, and he has taken audiences from the first movie all the way to that movie and the movies, the film's could not be more different. And it's, they want to follow him into fire now. So it started with the brand of the first short, and now it's the brand of him, because you crowdsource that audience and when you crowdsource the audience, and you give them what they asked for when you promise them, you're gonna carry them, you're gonna have a fan for a long time,
Alex Ferrari 1:05:47
right? It's kind of like the concept of you know, Woody Allen, who's been the only filmmaker, I think, in history who's made a movie a year for the last 40 years or something like that. Yeah, people go to see Woody Allen movies.
RB Botto 1:05:58
Well, and they and they buy into the brand issue. That's his brand. I guess the thing is, you know, if we're going to get into sort of the woody allen things I like, I've always liked Woody Allen fan. All the negative press Yes, this guy has gotten you know, some people might not have been able to survive that on a creative level, is that that people aren't buying into the brand of Woody Allen as a person to bring Brian into Woody Allen is the brand of Woody Allen as a filmmaker, right? And I think that's the thing that people lose sight of is that, you know, that's what he has cultivated all these years that when you when you go to a woody allen you could expect a certain something now I know that there's 50 people in the audience that just said shit. Sure, and I will admit he's been hitting this but I'm saying
Alex Ferrari 1:06:42
no, no, there's Look, there's some stuff that he hits like, wow, and then there's other stuff like, but you know, that's an artist, like, yeah, no one's like, you know, what's a Ted Williams Ted Williams hit three, it was a 300. And he was batting average. 344 There you go. Like, you know, the and he was considered one of the greatest, if not the greatest, absolutely. Out of 1000.
RB Botto 1:07:01
It's just, you know, it's just the I guess the message is just the brand, man. I mean, you're cultivating an audience that is going to support you and if you do it correctly, it's really one of the most powerful things you could have as a creative right, you
Alex Ferrari 1:07:14
could create an extra sustain a career and living within it. So are how are we on time? Do you have a little bit more time I have it? Yeah, sure. All right, cool. Join the hellos. Oh, cool, man, appreciate it. Um, so as a writer, or filmmaker has no representation, how do they get access to some Hollywood executives or producers? What What kind of advice would you give?
RB Botto 1:07:34
Well, I can tell you that the way I got to my, my manager was through an agent I met on stage 30, through two that lived in Montreal, I mean of all things.
Alex Ferrari 1:07:45
That's a heck of a heck of a long way to go around.
RB Botto 1:07:47
But it proves a couple of things I always hear like, you know, I'm on social media, I got eye contact from India, like, Why the heck would I want to contact with somebody from India, and I'm like, Well, I know a composer who lives in Florida just got a movie for a person in India. So there's that I got my, you know, manager through a connection. A module was a person who had read my script, and contacted me and through social media, and it ended up leading to a director getting attached and ended up leading to his representation in Hollywood, which led to me getting to my manager, and I wouldn't have got there any other way that was very, very organic. You I hear these stories, all the time, something so I'm not just telling the story to stories. Another example of a story I heard just recently down to Austin Film Festival, again, was a screenwriter who connected with the manager on Twitter and started interacting with her talking about the industry just you know, asking some questions about the industry. So some questions about her the manager. And, you know, one thing led to another and the manager actually went over to stage three to check out her account and found her loglines and went back to her on Twitter and said, which of these should I read? And you know, much the surprise of the screenwriter because she didn't even ask, and the screenwriter told her which one to read and or sent a descriptive the logline that she felt would be the best. The manager read it, loved it, went back to her. So let me read one more, she read one more, and within a week, they were on Skype and she was signing her. And you know, it's a great story and another example of how social media, you know, can work to your benefit to find a producer or manager or something or even an agent. If you're an actor, let's say and then you know, with the stage you happy writers as far as finding a producer or manager or an agent, and again, not to make turn this into an ad or anything but you know, Joey toujeo, who runs the stage 32 happy writers started to have the writers in 2011. independently, he was a executive of both films development executive, he read a ton of scripts, loved the job, loved working with writers, and he loved the writing so many writers so much, even things that bowl world wasn't picking up. He was going to meet with writers and helping them and talking to them and he just decided that he wanted to go do this for a living. He uses industry connections to bring in executives who were looking for material he the managers who were looking for writers or for development executives, looking for material producers and so on and so forth. And he would match up the producers and what kind of content they were looking for with the writer that had that content. And I was blown away by this I got to see it firsthand in 2013 started doing some work with Joey and ended up acquiring the company because this is seriously the most ethical and most caring guy you've ever met. I mean he is just like the Pied Piper of screenwriters like Mother Teresa screenwriters. He is like the Mother Teresa and everybody loves him You have to see him down in Austin I'm not kidding you every writer that knew of him was rushing to him to talk to him and get his help and it's been amazing it's been an amazing ride so there's those are a few different ways one of course is just doing it on your own and doing it organically and you know, through social media and then another example of doing it through the happy writing service.
Alex Ferrari 1:11:09
So like with that story, the the Twitter story with the manager in the end the writer, I find that a lot in this business, it's about just being able if you can find someone who you can enjoy being around and just kind of like it that you can like sit in a room with and not you know, that's that carries a lot of weight.
RB Botto 1:11:29
It certainly does. I mean, look at you know, everything on on social media should be conversational anyway. No, it should be what ends up happening. I mean, look, I've made so many friends, nevermind, let's take it off of the business thing. So many friends in this that are you know, any industry, so many people that are in the industry that are now my friends. And what ends up happening is those friends become champions. And you know, like I said earlier, not very eloquently when I was trying to say champions. You know, you need champions in this business. You know, this is a word about business, you talk about screenwriting, there isn't a manager I've met, who would I've had a conversation with them hasn't mentioned, the three piles and the three piles basically is that they have three piles of screenplays on the desk, one pile is the people they represent. The second pile are referral screenplays, people who have said you need to read this writers work, I'd really like you to take a look at this. And the third, what they call the months and you know, those are the ones that need to come in through queries or other you know, other ways and the months don't often get read or they get pushed to the bottom of the pile all the time. You know, they they bang through their their writers, the people that they rap, and then they really are anxious to move on to the ones that have been recommended from somebody else. So it matters so much to have champions. And this is just another reason why social media is so important. And also another reason why you don't necessarily need to be in LA to be successful, because you can make friends anywhere in the world through social media and contacts anywhere in the world through social media. So I actually know people who have been, who have made contacts in LA, who have been referred to like, let's say producers, you know, in India, I mean, it's it's crazy how it works. But you know, it's a big world, but it's not that big of a world. It's kind of a small world in a lot of ways. And it seems to get smaller by the day with social media, and you know, even with online streaming and everything else that we talked about earlier,
Alex Ferrari 1:13:21
how international is your community? It's 32.
RB Botto 1:13:25
We have members in every country in the world that have million members worldwide. And so it's pretty amazing. It's It's crazy. Yeah, I mean, we have a stage 32 meetups section where anybody in the community can organize a stage 32 meetup in their area, we encourage people to do it, so that they can take their networking to the streets and you'd meet people face to face because that of course is invaluable as well. And I believe to date I think we've had stage 32 meetups in something like 110 countries it's pretty incredible.
Alex Ferrari 1:13:52
And there's a lot of things to also the generation coming up behind us I think a friend of mine was telling me he's like the communication skill is all on the computer they have actually no person to person skills and that's something that people really need to work on
RB Botto 1:14:06
it absolutely guy I'm sorry I didn't mean to cut you off.
Alex Ferrari 1:14:09
No, no, no. Yeah, cuz I was like, people are just I could tweet and like they could be really, you know, wonderful tweeters, you know, but when you get them in front of in front of you, they're just they just cower down or they shy I'm like, you've got to build that skill set up of just being able to talk to somebody, make someone laugh and engage with someone on a personal level in person, not just online because at the end of the day, making movies is an in person kind of product process.
RB Botto 1:14:37
Absolutely matters look matters. If you're if you're a crew person and you're interviewing with a director, they want to know that you have some sort of personality and that you you know you have something to offer. If you're a screenwriter. People want reps want to know that you're good and room. reps want to know your producers want to know they're going to work nice with a director. We can be able to communicate, it goes all the way up the chain. You Again I'll use another was an example where you know I asked people who had used a pitching service before whether they prefer pitching a written pitch or pitching or pitching through written pitcher pitching through a Skype or spoken pitch and 90% of the room said written or raised their hands and you know to indicate written and I said why and then you know, I asked a few people and some of them said, well because I'm a writer, I don't need to tell you and I'm like man, you couldn't be more wrong you're gonna have to be in a room one day and you're gonna have to communicate you have to get notes one day you're gonna have to communicate Why or why not you think that's a good idea or you know, fight for your position if you need to. And even more so if you're successful if you have a rap you're gonna have to get into a room and pitch the you know, and so you do need to have those skills and it is very important to step out from behind the computer every once in a while. And you know, the other beautiful thing about the technology today is that you have things like Skype and GoToMeeting, so you know, you have people now auditioning across the country or halfway across the world over Skype, I mean, it it does matter and there are ways to do it if there isn't a community type thing in your area where you can go to a conference or you know to act in class and things of that nature you could still hop on a goto meeting meet people online and you know take it online for video conferencing as well so there's no excuse not to do it.
Alex Ferrari 1:16:20
Absolutely. Now do you have any tips on getting an agent or manager or do in which do you need both do you need just one did That's a big question on a lot of people I'm for one also what like to know
RB Botto 1:16:32
well I think it depends on your profession I you know what you what your craft is what you discipline is for screenwriters that's always the big one is you know I want an agent and you don't need an agent you need a manager first and you know actors obviously you know going after agents so on and so forth. It just depends on what you discipline it is you know, the way to go about it is you know to be again to be very active and visible and to be constantly honing your craft and to make the connection does that matter it all comes back to these things over and over and over again you know, I go back to my whole thing with my manager if I didn't accept that network requests from this agent Montreal and even or accept this message and have a conversation with them I wouldn't be in the position I'm in right now. But I got to be in that position by being visible being active and this person noticing me so I just think that it's you know, it's what you put out it's it's playing the long game it's it's the talent Listen, I hate to be this I really I hate to be this bass but really at the end of the day, talent does rise to the top content rises to the top but the content the talent can rise to the top it's not exposed, right it's not you know, if it's not being presented, so if you're not out there and you're not making those connections and you're not getting yourself in the room or getting yourself read or you know getting to the right casting director or finding out about the right audition you know things of that nature or doing even a film as a proof of concept and getting it out there and not being precious about it because people were you know creators are way too precious and you know aren't willing to release that work it all of that if you don't do that the talent can rise to the top if you don't expose what you have, it's not gonna happen for you
Alex Ferrari 1:18:15
right and that's another thing I always preach about as marketing people just don't understand that marketing is not just that sleazy thing is on Mad Men but it's it's about putting yourself out there and putting your projects out there and putting yourself out there and I've been doing that since I started the game
RB Botto 1:18:31
and you could see the differences made in your career I mean if I could contrast you against the screenwriter filmmaker I mentioned earlier the example I gave earlier with my producer friend this is a guy that you know he kind of lives in a bubble and he you know, he just wants to create the work and you know, you could say that that's aloof or that you know a character problem or whatever you want to say but at the end of the day it's it's really a flaw it's a business flaw may it's not only a character flaw, but it's a business flaw and you know, you're you're not giving yourself a fair chance to be out there pushing yourself in a manner that is going to attract that that's gonna make one people make make want to make even the work we do, right make them be in the business of you and at the end of the day, that's what this is all about. You want people to be in the business of you and of what you do, and a lot of people do lose sight of that or whether they don't see it at all. Don't look at it at all.
Alex Ferrari 1:19:27
Now I'm a personal question. What do you love more acting, writing or producing?
RB Botto 1:19:33
All man is such a great question. It really is and it fluctuates all the time. Sure. Um, I you know, it's interesting because it fits in with everything else we've been talking about. I like them. I like them all, but I like producing from the standpoint that I love the business end of this business. And I like the the process and the marketization of putting together a project. So there's something about Producing that's really really cool putting the pieces together putting the puzzle piece it's also quite maddening at times but the pieces together Tell me about it you know but from from a creative standpoint I love I love writing I always have love writing it was my first love it wasn't only screenwriting you know it was journalism and other writing and short stories and things of that nature but I love that process as well because it's it's also like a puzzle to me, it's almost like a you know, puzzle go. Yeah. And you go in, you know, it's also like a little bit like jazz in its own way. Like, you know, some of it is structured, some of its freeform and some of it, you know, but somehow at the end if you do it, right, it really sounds amazing. And it really kicks ass and all the you know, everything flows, but subtexts, characters, arcs, everything just kind of connects. And, you know, there's nothing better than that. But you know, I started as an actor in New York, and I love that process as well. And I think that it was very, very influential for me informed how I write. You know, I always encourage people who are writers to take an acting class or an ROV class, I think they'll it will open their minds tremendously. So, you know, I'm grateful for all of them. acting's what I've done the least over the last few years I've been doing much more in the writing and producing side but I would you know, step back into it in a heartbeat.
Alex Ferrari 1:21:17
Nice Now where are we? Where do you see stage 32 in the next five years?
RB Botto 1:21:21
Well, Funny you should ask if it doesn't kill me.
Alex Ferrari 1:21:26
So tell me about a brother telling me
RB Botto 1:21:29
I hope I get to see it in five years. No, I mean, you know, we are in the process of forming some amazing strategic partnerships I used to joke that I wanted the site to be home depot for film creatives. And now it's not so much of a joke anymore only you know, instead of opening store if the store if the store and kind of doing offshoots of the original store without what I'm doing is you know, connecting with very strategic partners that complement what we're doing at stage 32 that I think is gonna be very, very exciting for the community we're gonna be announcing some of those over the next few months. But as far as our strategy is concerned, you know, we we have been recognized as leaders in education for people in the film business and we want to continue to be that and continue to expand our educational offerings and to assure that no matter where you are in the world that you're getting exactly the information you need even if it's geo targeted, you know, we recently did one in the UK for UK tax incentives because it's a very, very different process than it is in the US. We did one on visas and things of that nature even looking travel or move you know, we're definitely going to continue to do those types of classes and then expand into more tutorial types of offerings and things of that nature, we just want to give everybody all the tools that they need to succeed again, we said to be top of this whole thing that it really is about support and collaboration and one of the things that inspired me to bring education into this community that goes beyond that one story I told about finding you know, the snake oil salesman online and everything like that, that would try that was selling that weren't qualified to teach and they were selling these ridiculously priced educational offerings sure was the fact that you know, I wasn't active in New York and it was easy for me to find an acting class and it was very very easy for me to find the acting group and hang out with acting friends you know, when I moved to LA it was easy for me to find other screenwriters and other producers and things of that nature. But when I started being asked you know, when I was quite pleased with this and quite honored you know, asked to speak around the country and around the world, on on screenwriting and on social media and on crowdsourcing crowdfunding and things of that nature, what I found was when I was sitting in front of you know people in you know, like Nebraska or if I was in you know, even in France where there's a big film scene, you know, talking to people the lack of information the lack of education that was available to them was staggering and that really really inspired me to make the connections that I needed to make to bring in the top educators that we now have on the site to bring education to everybody in the world so that's something that we're gonna continue to do and you know that we have a laser sharp focus on but I also have some you know vision as to bear the platform can go in other directions but I just can't
Alex Ferrari 1:24:18
talk about I can't talk about him right now. Obviously obvious love No that's the one thing I you know sometimes you know being in LA you forget that we live in this la bubble sometimes that we that we just like oh yeah, I'll just go down and pick up a red like you throw a rock and hit and button you get five reds, you know, right to work on a project you know, and with like, seasoned DPS with with with, you know, and they'll work like, yeah, work on the weekend for you. When we're in that kind of knowledge and that kind of access to things you take for granted because you're here in LA. And then you forget that there's the rest of the world that might that might not have access to that especially education. And that was when I did my my first little movie, broken. 10 years ago, I, I put a I put a tutorial of three hour tutorial on how we made it because I could not find anything that showed how to make an independent film with like a dv x 100 a small mini DV camera and Final Cut, like there was no information about that. And because of that, it was I was able to sell a ton of them and I built a community up and people really enjoyed it and you know, it's like wow, I you know, so you're doing much at a much larger level obviously stays 32 is doing that now.
RB Botto 1:25:32
Yeah, but that's why where you are where you are, because you see it all starts with giving back. And it all starts with with you know, wanting to fill a void and you recognize the void in that particular instance. And you said I want to be able to give this to other people and share my experiences. And that's another big part of this, I think is that it's not only the education and I mean of course within the education you're going to get people who are going to share their experiences but I think that that part of the education is so invaluable it's not just like here's a curriculum and these are the things you know it's real life examples people who have been in the trenches, like I said earlier people who have climbed to the top of the mountain and live to tell about it and you know, and are willing and not only willing but they they're really anxious to tell about it and to home and I think that that's part of what makes the good communities out there and we're not the only one but the really good communities out there sparkle is that you know there are people within that are really selfless and you know, you're a shining example of that. Oh,
Alex Ferrari 1:26:35
thanks. Thanks and sometimes you don't even have to be at the top of the mountain you could just be ahead of where the other person is and that's what I've learned that a long time ago is like you know, you can always be a teacher because you don't have to be the experts are beyond all experts. You know, I'm never going to be Steven Spielberg and I'm sure if he ever taught a masterclass my god you know, but I'm ahead of a lot of people and I'm below a lot of people as far as experience and knowledge and things like that. So all you have to do is just you know share what you have and write and people will and if people could pick even one thing up of it you've you've helped somebody
RB Botto 1:27:09
absolutely I'm what's really interesting now is again as this as this putting it expands from the standpoint that the barrier of entry has never been lower to enter and that means that when the barriers lower Of course more people are clearing the barrier and that means that we have more people in the pool and that means that there's more opportunity and that means that there's noise and there's all you know on and on and on. What's interesting is that you know we have lucid earlier new paradigms and stuff like that and there are people that you know, if the paradigm is even only a few years old, there are people that have really become experts in those areas and we want to bring in those people so that well this is still kind of in its infancy or that area is still in its infancy people can really get a competitive advantage that aren't you know there's going to push them halfway up the mountain ahead of all these people and so that's kind of kind of what we're all about to is kind of identifying those trends and making sure that you know people the people in the community are offered educational classes and webinars that keep them ahead of the trends
Alex Ferrari 1:28:10
right exactly so so this is my last two questions. This is these are the fun ones. And but they're obviously the most difficult so prepare yourself What are your top three favorite films of all time? And what are your What are your top three most underrated films of all time?
RB Botto 1:28:29
Well the second one's gonna be tough top three of all time this is really tough but I'm gonna go with a few obvious ones are gonna go I am one of these people that believes that Citizen Kane is a masterpiece it broke the mold and you know on and on and on. Okay, um I am a huge godfather godfather true fan I go to a slight slight edge and slight slight very slight and very slight and you know, I have to pick a Scorsese movie, and it's such a split between these two movies but I would say either Raging Bull or Goodfellas Yeah,
Alex Ferrari 1:29:07
I knew Goodfellas this comment
RB Botto 1:29:09
Yeah, I was one of those two I know in the Italian New Yorker but I do masterpieces I think they match. But I mean there's so many other ones. Oh, man, that right there. I mean, you know, you could go all the way down the line, Casa Blanca. I mean, I mean you just go on and on. I
Alex Ferrari 1:29:25
mean, it's one of those films like what are the three movies you could think of right now? They're your favorite
RB Botto 1:29:28
Exactly. I could name five Coen Brothers movies that you know I would take with me anywhere Yeah, and
Alex Ferrari 1:29:33
yeah, I mean Fincher I mean I love fightclub seven I love I love the matrix that that that broke the mold in many ways as well so I there's
RB Botto 1:29:41
so many of those types of movies through the ones that really like you know, broke the mold So yeah, I mean there's a million of them
Alex Ferrari 1:29:47
are and then Pulp Fiction and so on. So what are the three most underrated films you
RB Botto 1:29:53
man that's really really tough because you know, it really is have like I mean
Alex Ferrari 1:30:01
like three movies that you saw that like why has no one else figured this out? We'll be right back after a word from our sponsor. And now back to the show.
RB Botto 1:30:17
Man I'll tell you recently I just really tough this one movie that's coming into my head recently that I that was an indie film that it did it did well I just don't think a lot of people saw it a lot of you have heard of it. But when I talk to people, people in the industry have seen it but a lot of people outside having that short term 12 i thought was an excellent movie. Oh
Alex Ferrari 1:30:34
RB Botto 1:30:35
excellent indie. That I feel like people you know, kind of it kind of slipped by people. Why would a tough question rated underrated?
Alex Ferrari 1:30:49
Or just movies that you think that people haven't seen? Because like, you know, the life and death of Colonel blimp is is in it's an insane movie of its time. Things like that. movies like that, that you know that Martin Scorsese has been talking about that one for or I am Cuba. Like Have you ever seen that in Cuba? Yes. Yeah. Just like, like that's
RB Botto 1:31:08
very good, very extreme. Right? I'm gonna do this is a really tough one. Because everything, everything I'm thinking of are things that I feel like are popular films that I feel like didn't get like, you know, I think again, I go to the Cohens. I think like, you know, the Hudsucker proxy and
Alex Ferrari 1:31:23
I love the Hudsucker proxy
RB Botto 1:31:25
you know either watching films you
Alex Ferrari 1:31:28
don't Burn After Reading I love earned
RB Botto 1:31:31
me a very good movie even though it's crossing I mean that I feel is one of my favorites by the way but I feel like you know when you talk to even people that like the gun brothers my brother one longer body and that is a really tough hour
Alex Ferrari 1:31:45
I will leave you I will I will let you off the hook it's okay yeah, I think you have to know so can you tell people where you can where they can find you?
RB Botto 1:31:54
Sure. Well obviously you find me on stage 32 if you do sign up for the site The first thing you will see is that welcome message that we talked about earlier from me I do an answer if you respond to me I do answer every single every single post you see on the site that has my face next to it I it's me I'm not nobody else answers for me or anything like that. My staff told me the other day that I've made something like 800,000 posts or something on the site because this is
Alex Ferrari 1:32:17
why you're not gonna make it in five years
RB Botto 1:32:19
right exactly. I am on twitter at RB walks into a bar exactly what it sounds like. And my social medias are recently insisted about a week ago that I get on Instagram and that's also RB walks into a bar
Alex Ferrari 1:32:35
you're not an Instagram yet now man oh man,
RB Botto 1:32:38
I only have so much free time dude.
Alex Ferrari 1:32:40
If they all connect I'll show you there's a did a whole thing with Twitter in Twitter man it's like Instagrams amazing and if you have a good flow are good. A good feed people like go crazy for it. And
RB Botto 1:32:54
so that's how me because my social medias are says no more than three posts a day. So let me let me hear you're,
Alex Ferrari 1:33:00
um, I'm actually coming out with a course. I'm actually I'm actually coming out with a course soon. I'm working on it right now, how to get 10,000 Twitter and Instagram followers within 10 weeks, and how their actual real Twitter like real followers like engaged followers, and I have a technique that I use with some software and things like that, that I was able to do and with Instagram I use probably about six times a day i have i've been slower recently because it's just been so busy. But minimum two or three a day, but around six a day when you're starting and there's certain techniques that you use within the post to generate more more traffic to to your to your posts and start getting followers faster and faster and faster. And then what you post how you post it and the techniques of that specifically for your niche you know and my niche is film so I you know, there's certain things you can do to check you know, cat, the crowd that you're looking for, again, it's all about crowdsourcing like you were saying. So it's that similar process and then whatever I do on Instagram, go straight to Twitter and go straight to Facebook. So it just feeds it it's like an automatic so like anything I just feed it and I feed it to Tumblr too. I'm a I'm a Tumblr idiot I do the best I can everywhere I try to do as much as I can but like Tumblr is one of those things I was like you know I have a bunch of followers on Tumblr but I don't I'm not seeing traffic from it so I don't focus my energy on it. So if I'm not if I'm not getting if they feeding me back I'm not feed i can't i keep feeding them but I don't like focus my energy on that same thing with Pinterest like I'm on Pinterest I've got over like 1000 followers on Pinterest and I post everything on Pinterest but again it's that's a whole other there's only so much time in days I need Azhar I need this are like you
RB Botto 1:34:48
That's what I'm saying. But I'm doing it all myself. She's just making me go on there. But I have to take this course
Alex Ferrari 1:34:58
it's a it's a real it's a it's a on course, it's a fun I mean, I did it when I started indie film hustle. So I kind of sat down at an indie film hustle when I was right before I launched, I was like, You know what, I'm gonna try to do this. And I had I started from zero. So you can go back and check my Instagram when I started. You won't know at what point I hit that 5000 it's 5000 per each, you know, 5000, Twitter 5000 face 5000 Instagram. So you get a total of 10,000. And I started doing it and I was like, oh, wow, it's like, and I started doing it, like, Oh, this is working. Holy cow is starting to work. So then I started like getting busy, and I started tailing off. I'm like, oh, wait a minute, I gotta, I gotta hit my 10,000 Mark, so that I boosted it up for like the last week and a half and doing my techniques. And it worked. I was like, Wow, it's like, I literally could just turn it on and off with like a spout for getting more followers and following people and getting getting engaged engagement to which is a big thing. So and engagements, believe it or not, I mean, you I'm sure you know, you have 140,000 Twitter followers, so I'm not telling you anything, but the engagements, like out of 140,000 now we're getting into a social media conversation out of out of 100 wouldn't have been 40,000 followers.
RB Botto 1:36:10
on twitter at one Yeah, mine about 12,000 maybe So yeah, that's when I just started.
Alex Ferrari 1:36:16
Alright, so yeah, 12,000 what kind of interaction what kind of, you know, interaction you have with that, like, when you post something? How am I How much do you get, like, how many retweets Do you really get out of 12,000? People?
RB Botto 1:36:28
It depends. I mean, like, you know, yeah, so right now it's like, 15 I mean, it could be 15. It could be five,
Alex Ferrari 1:36:33
right? Yeah, that's my point. So like, you think like, that's exactly my point. Like, you know, you've got 12 I've got like about almost 7000 now on Twitter, and I got almost 9000 on on Instagram. And on my Instagram, like, I've done no more than 300 likes, on out of 8000 that's like a blood blown out. Like it was it was a picture of the Joker dressed in Renaissance Renaissance garb. Beautifully, beautiful, just a beautiful, beautiful picture that some guy did. But um, but my point is that like, even, you know, a 12,000 people, you're not getting 1000 repos, it doesn't work. That way, you get a small, it's like, if you have an email list, you got a 10,000 person email list, you'll get if you're lucky 20 to 30% open rates, and then you get maybe another two to 3% click through rates if you're if you're really good 5%. So and that's what people don't get, like, you've got to have these large numbers in social media for them to even make sense for you even to even if it even stents, your traffic, but then also making things viral. And that's art in itself, creating topics, the things of people really want, like, for me, the biggest podcast episode I've ever done, and it has now currently almost 14,000 downloads, which is a lot for me, you know, that's 14,000 downloads for an independent film, podcast, it's a lot. And that was on post production workflow. Right?
RB Botto 1:38:06
You'd never very riveting subject
Alex Ferrari 1:38:08
I but I, the way I presented it was post production workflow, understand it or die. And, okay, and that's how I presented it. And it's all about marketing and packaging and branding. But I presented as opposed to just like, tutorial on post production workflow, you know, it's like, it's how you present the package. And people were like, what, and it blew up, like, completely blew up. I was like, fascinated, and I'm a post guy so I'm like I could talk about post all day shoot.
RB Botto 1:38:38
Well, and there you go, though, you injected your personality as well as put this branding into that as well. You sent to humor and everything else. I mean, there's something to it. I mean, you know, we're not for those of you who are listening. We're talking like we're in our backyard.
Alex Ferrari 1:38:55
Everyone left to right everyone. here if
RB Botto 1:38:57
you if you're still listening, and you're eavesdropping in this is what we're talking about. I mean, it really is all about engagement. And it really is all about showing that personality and you know, putting forth content that people care about and and also realizing to your point of, you know, three retweets, five retweets 300 likes that it is a marathon like you know you are spending this time branding. If it was that easy. We don't make one post today and call it a day, but it doesn't work like that.
Alex Ferrari 1:39:21
We'd all be Kim Kardashian at that point, and we could charge $10,000 a tweet.
RB Botto 1:39:25
And that would be you'd all have a perfume line that
Alex Ferrari 1:39:27
I'm actually coming out with the indie film hustle perfume line. There you go. It smells like it smells like a sweaty grip.
RB Botto 1:39:32
It smells like a sweaty gray. That's fantastic. Get gripped kick while
Alex Ferrari 1:39:38
you see Yeah, I'm gonna steal that one, sir. But yeah, it's, it's all about that. It's all about, you know that marathon and that's something I think age teaches you a little bit. And experience teaches that a little bit. It's hard to think like that when you're in your early 20s. You know, but
RB Botto 1:39:56
I also think it's tougher, there's a divide with different platforms, of course. With social media and I think that there's, I think there's two things at play. I think that you know, every every platform is a different audience. So so you know, people in their early 20s might gravitate, gravitate to Instagram or gravitate to Snapchat, things of that nature. It To me, it's not so much the age and the platform to me, sometimes it's the frustration or that same switch the frustration, sometimes I gotta tell you, because we see this, again, we see this a lot of stage 32, it's you're being given the information on how to use it. But you don't want to read that information. You don't want to take the time to read the information, just want to come in and start blasting people. You know, I try to figure it out on your own, and maybe lose greatly or lose ground that you might have gained by reading how it's done. So a lot of people because they get frustrated, just give up the ghost. Right. And, you know, that was something that we heard in Austin in the social media panel was I said, you know, what, what, how many have given up a platform a bunch of hands up, I said, Why? And I like either, you know, it's too confusing, I wasn't getting anything out of it, or I was on Twitter, and I got everything I put out, I got no read tweets, and I'm like, Well, what are we putting out there. And again, it was more of the examples, you tweets, it was more looking me kind of stuff. So you know, there's so much information, I tell this to people all the time, you know, Google is your friend, there is so much information online, and how to use individual platforms, and how to get the best out of your content, and how to write blogs, and how long blog should be and how to create original content, on and on and on and on. It's up to you to consume that. And it's up to you to digest that. And it's up to you to parse it and it's up to you to put it into use and to put it into action. But a lot of people don't do that. So I think that sometimes that's the reason why people just quit, or they don't really, or they don't use the platform correctly.
Alex Ferrari 1:41:47
Right. And like I was saying earlier, the whole marathon thing and not only for social media, but like, as a career and I think that's where and I was like the first 10 years of my career. Every little thing I did was like this is what's gonna give me that lottery ticket right? This is what's gonna work you know that I agree with Yeah, that's, this is gonna get me here this is going to do this and like if I do this, then Harvey Weinstein is going to give me that check. And I'm going to go make that movie just like Robert Rodriguez just like Tarantino or Kevin Smith or any of the other guys. And only after the business is beating you down a bit and life in general beats you down and that's just life its life. As you go through life. You get harder and you realize things and ages some experience. There's something to say about experience. That's why anytime I hear and please forgive me any 21 year old DPS out there, it just upsets me. Because cinematography is such a such a craft that takes years to learn. But you know, sometimes some of these DPS who are 21 year old DPS like I've been making movies since I was 12 I'm like, shut up. I've been editing I have a YouTube 5 million followers on YouTube. I'm like, son of a bitch. On that note, sir, I will leave you be thank you so much for being on the show, man. any parting words for for the indie film hustle tribe?
RB Botto 1:43:09
Well, you know what I yeah, I just to everything you just said. I mean, I think the thing is, is that you know, if you embrace the philosophy of, you know, this is the whole philosophy of you know, this is a marathon, not a sprint, but more so that you know, control what you can control, do the best you can, like we said earlier, if you embrace that, it won't beat you down quite as much. Because, you know, every, every overnight success story that you hear, and they're, you know, rarer and rarer. Actually, well, in this day and age, you know, when people are getting sorry.
Alex Ferrari 1:43:38
But they're robots, but they're but they are rare, but they're they're still rare. Like, you know, we're still talking about Robert Rodriguez, you know, that was 22 years ago.
RB Botto 1:43:48
Right? Right. And it's Yeah, it's just if you realize that it does take a long time, and it does take, you know, perseverance and persistence, but the thing that you can do and you do this and it's not just in your career, it's in every walk of life and every minute of your life is control what you can control, you know, and if you do that, I think that you know, you'll win more days than you lose you'll feel you'll go to bed happier more nights than you go to bed frustrated or upset and you'll wake up more mornings ready to be shouted out again. And so you know that's that's really what it's all about, you know, is staying in the game and you know, doing what you can and as you said earlier, doing the best work you can and controlling what you can control.
Alex Ferrari 1:44:28
If I if I may, quote Rocky Balboa. It's not about how hard you get hit. It's about how hard you get hit and keep moving forward.
RB Botto 1:44:36
Alex Ferrari 1:44:37
Oh, yo, yo. rb thanks again, man. I appreciate it.
RB Botto 1:44:42
Alex Ferrari 1:44:44
Wow, just wow, I had such a ball with RB and he was just such a wealth of information. That literally like I told you at the beginning of the show, there's just so much different information in this episode that I really couldn't pinpoint just one thing. So It really is, in a lot of ways a blueprint on how to make it in the business a lot of wonderful bits of information there so I hope you guys got something out of it because I was taking notes throughout the entire interview myself. So guys, don't forget to head over to filmmaking podcast comm if you guys want to leave us a honest review of the show, it really helps us out a lot. And if you want links to all the things we talked about, head over to the show notes at indiefilmhustle.com/29. Guys, thanks again for listening. Keep that hustle going. keep the dream alive. I'll talk to you soon.
Sign up to receive email updates
Enter your name and email address below and I'll send you periodic updates about the podcast.
- Stage 32 – Official Site
- IFH 010: How to Produce Your First Feature Film w/ Suzanne Lyons
- IFH: Guerrilla Indie Film School
- USC Film School’s ONLY Online Course: Directing the Actor
- Bulletproof Script Coverage – Get Your Screenplay Read by Hollywood Professionals
- Audible – Get a Free Filmmaking or Screenwriting Audiobook
- Rev.com – $1.25 Closed Captions for Indie Filmmakers – Rev ($10 Off Your First Order)