After making moves to evolve into a creative juggernaut, Backstage acquires peer-to-peer equipment sharing platform ShareGrid. But what does this mean for creatives who depend on the site?
Backstage, a performing arts media brand, has been supporting actors since the 1960s. First as a print-based publication, and most recently as a multimedia resource for above and below-the-line creatives.
In late 2021, Business Insider reported that Backstage had acquired FilmFreeway, Coverfly, and Voice123 to expand its services and support. This was in addition to The Mandy Network and StarNow talent platforms. With those five companies under their banner, Backstage further cemented its position as the go-to resource for the entertainment industry.
Today, Backstage has announced its acquisition of ShareGrid, the largest marketplace for high-quality equipment rentals. With a community of over 150,000 members, ShareGrid was already in a great position to support creatives from all parts of the entertainment industry.
So how does acquisition change things?
Backstage Meets ShareGrid
According to CEO and ShareGrid co-founder, Marius Ciocirlan, talks between the two companies have been happening for almost a year. As content creation evolves and grows outside of entertainment hubs like New York and Los Angeles, Backstage and ShareGrid plan to work together to offer these new creators access to high-quality, on-demand gear.
Moving forward, the ShareGrid team, brand, and website will remain the same. However, ShareGrid plans to leverage the vast network and resources Backstage has to offer more support to creatives across the board.
In a conversation with Ciocirlan, No Film School learned that while ShareGrid offers its services nationwide, it does “plan to expand inventory in smaller cities within the US.”
Also, Ciocirlan stated that “given Backstage is a global company, I’m confident eventually we will expand overseas as well.”
This is welcome news for filmmakers, content creators, and anyone itching to get their hands on a cinema camera.
Why Backstage + ShareGrid Matters
Apart from the cinematic meet-cute between these two companies, there is something to say about access and equity.
Rental houses for entertainment equipment are sadly a relic of a different era. While some companies have made great strides to provide better access to gear, there are still several obstacles that stand in the way.
Namely, access to insurance that covers expensive equipment. Thankfully, ShareGrid has a fantastic built-in solution to this problem.
Also, more creatives are being asked to wear more and more hats. At one point, actors could walk into a casting office to attend an audition. Now, they’re required to light, art direct, and tape their own material at home. This adds unnecessary stress to a process that is already difficult. Most actors never owned the necessary equipment and have struggled to meet this new demand from casting directors.
With ShareGrid, access to gear, insurance, jobs, and locations has never been easier. Creatives that had difficulties covering the high cost of entry are now able to work, learn, and evolve for a fraction of the cost.
Now add Backstage to the mix. Both companies can now offer more resources to artists in the entertainment industry.
While the entertainment industry does have a difficult road to recovery ahead of it, the future sure does seem bright.