Unabashed Confession: I heart Richard Botto
I love Richard Botto – known to most as RB – with all my heart. I really, really do. And my husband would be perfectly fine with me saying this because, well, he loves the man too. For those of you not familiar, RB is the founder and CEO of the world’s leading social network and educational platform for film creatives, Stage 32. A talented writer in his own right, he was featured in People’s 2003 Most Eligible Bachelor issue (for which we all love to tease him every chance we get). And for quite some time now, he’s been solidly in my corner.
Anyone who knows me knows I keep a tight circle of friends and that I’m careful as to who I back professionally as well. I admire those who share my work ethic and who fight hard for those who choose to create for a living. But I also admire those who share my values as a human being and do not let those values get compromised by business pursuits. Or, better yet, those who infuse their business pursuits with their personal values. So if you would indulge me, allow me to tell you exactly why I adore one Richard Botto to no end. And why I think you should too.
I love RB for his vision. RB built Stage 32 – the highly successful social networking site for creative types – up from nothing – literally from 100 of his industry friends to over 500,000 worldwide today. This is the same effort he put forth with his RAZOR magazine that came before it. He is a relentless hard worker, who rules his ambition with a healthy amount of sentiment. Share a bottle of wine (or three) with him, and he will share with you endless stories about the people, events and experiences that inform and inspire the way he does business today. It’s not unusual for me to get an email from him in the middle of the weekend or the middle of the night. He is always working, always thinking, always trying to make things better, smoother, more rewarding for his friends and his audience.
I love RB because I love writers. And even though he will rarely tell you about his screenplays, let me tell you that – having read him – he is a great one. But his talent is not why I love him. I love him because he comes at things from the point of view of a writer, wanting to make sure that the writer experience on Stage 32 and Happy Writers is what he would want it to be for himself. Recently, The Happy Writers underwent a regime change. RB stepped in and took charge along with two other writers he respects, Erik Grossman and Matt Hurd. During this transition, I told RB about some of my writers who had informed me that they had not received the service they had paid for or that notes had not been sent back to them in a timely manner. RB asked me for their contact information. He actually called them and asked them about their experiences. Then, he made it right by them. He assured them the Happy Writers would continue to do right by them. And that’s exactly what’s happened. As a writer himself, he believes that’s exactly what writers deserve – Full attention and transparency. Based on the numerous honest discussions we have had, I know RB is focused to making The Stage 32 Happy Writers the premier destination for screenwriters across the world and one he is proud to helm. Because of this, the care and consideration he has shown, I have no problem sending my writers to him, trusting that they are in the best hands.
I love RB for his fight. Even when unexpected changes come, when he is disappointed, RB doesn’t get down, and is certainly never out. He gets back up to his feet and fights, much as he did recently when changes happened within the Happy Writers. Within days, he and I were sitting together for a three hour lunch, brainstorming the many different paths into which the service should be developed. And when we grabbed dinner with friends and my husband just a few weeks later, the conversation picked up when it left off. He doesn’t stop to smear others. He doesn’t care to complain about any wrongs that might have been done. He keeps moving forward, keeping his eyes and his energy solidly dedicated to the greater good of his promise and his vision.
Most of all, I love RB because our long standing relationship has taught me that he is good people, and life is too short and too challenging to give your time, your alliance and your friendship to people lesser than that. He has been nothing but great to my writers, provided them with invaluable services and stepped up with nothing but integrity when things came up short, even if not by his own hands. RB is the sort of people I want along for the ride with me, and the sort of people I trust implicitly to help support my writers on their unique screenwriting journeys.