There are many great ways to connect to other filmmakers today. We have sites like Production Hub, Mandy.com, and even Craigslist that are fantastic for crewing up and getting on crews. However, when I'm playing "closer to the chest", I find myself sourcing locally nowadays on Facebook. I like to see who knows who of closer friends, and I prefer direct connections to general callouts. This merger of production resources and social networking is the theme behind Stage 32, a 70,000+ member network for film, television, and theatre creatives.
After you log in with a unique username or with Facebook integration, you'll want to check out the follow sections:
This is the main heading. Here, you'll find your social network under "people". You can access a wealth of knowledge on posted projects, or search for posted work. There are many resources tailored to your profession, and a great "buzz" section that lets you know what's happening around the industry.
You can also share many of the above, including projects, screenplays, videos, your resume, and photos. I find posting a project intriguing, as you can note that you are "seeking funding". That type of exposure on Stage 32 just might lead you to some friendly angel investors.
The Lounge is essentially a forum, but displayed in a much friendlier way. It uses tags, and appears intended to be explored and visited frequently. I'm also a fan of the little martini glass on this button. (Because I'm a fan of martinis.)
Who doesn't like to be marketed to, amirite?! Kidding aside, there are actually some nice deals posted, such as a few 10% off's here are there. Of note is 10% off the price of entering the Emerging Screenwriters 2012 Screenplay Competition (whose deadline is Thursday).
This section features general updates on the site. As it's still being developed, this is important to see where it's going. This also has a blatant re-posting of their...
I'm finding a wealth of worthy articles here. Content is king, and this blog is no different. Perspectives from industry pro's (such as this great piece posted recently by Judi Levine, producer of "The Sessions"), are absolutely worth reading. There are also great blogs by newer indies, such as this one from filmmaker Ben Tobin, whose post is a love letter to all of us trying to make our own independent films.
Finally, you have your profile, which gave me a Production Hub kind of feeling. You can post your headshot, resume, reel, all of that as usual. I did find interesting, though, that you can simply post status updates such as what you do with Facebook, which again is going back to the idea of merging the two. These updates can be "liked" and discussed. You can also easily access Lounge discussions, which helps with keeping them all straight.
My only general critique of the site is that it feels a bit overwhelming at first. There are several callout boxes that, while close-able, vie for my attention. At first glance, I'm not entirely sure where to go. As you can see from my profile page, it's very busy with boxes... three callouts and a Facebook/Twitter share bar:
Still, I think it's important to look at that caveat objectively -- I mean c'mon, we've all seen Grandma try to use Facebook, right? Once I spend a little bit of time with it, I'm sure I'll be flying around "liking" everything in no time.
Also, as a new iPad user, I noticed they have an app for Android, but are still awaiting approval on their iOS app. Hey... I thought having an iOS device was supposed to solve all my fancy-app problems?!
Another fun feature I want to call out is their "button" feature. This allows you to add a button like you would for Facebook or Twitter to your website. I'm calling this out because 1.) it's worth using and 2.) it's smart, and gives credibility that the site will continue to grow.
What do you all think? Have any No Film School readers had any experience on Stage 32? Be sure to look me up, and I'll poke you... or... what's the equivalent? Gaff tape you? Have you find the t-stops?
Link: Welcome to Stage 32