FilmTT and Stage 32 – Business of Film

In early September 2019, the Trinidad and Tobago Film Company (FilmTT), with support from exporTT, hosted the Business of Film Workshop with Los Angeles-based training partners Stage 32, the first such comprehensive training programme for working professionals in the T&T film and audio-visual industry. Over four days, 46 attendees had unprecedented access to 11 experienced educators from Los Angeles, Atlanta and New York, with many years of collective practical experience across critical fields such as screenwriting, story editing, accounting, law, producing, directing, marketing and distribution.

Stage 32 has been described by Forbes Magazine as “LinkedIn meets Lynda for film, television and digital creatives”. Founded in 2011 by producer/writer/actor Richard “RB” Botto as a platform to connect people working in the industry, now has a membership of more than 500,000 creatives around the world with over 1,000 hours of online education taught by working industry professionals. According to FilmTT General Manager, Nneka Luke, “The partnership with Stage 32 has been a strategic and productive one. Stage not only presents an online meeting place for our producers and creatives to connect to the international industry, but they also provide wide-ranging training through short courses and webinars on their website. Introducing Stage 32 to T&T and Caribbean production professionals can be a game-changer in terms of providing access to reasonably-priced training, and potential professional opportunities, all accessed online.”

Photo caption: (Back) Eric Williams (left to right) Liz Hinlein, Sara Elizabeth Timmins, John Thomas, Amanda Toney, Aimee Schoof, Kristy Clabaugh, Richard “RB” Botto, Thomas Crowell Esq. and Nneka Luke FilmTT GM. (front) Christopher Lockhart and Alex Creasia.

Photo credit: APKT Photography


For the price of TT$550, attendees were able to access up to three full days of training across three tracks:

  • TRACK 1: Film Business, Thursday September 5 – Saturday September 7 2019 – This track is targeted to producers, directors, and production roles. 
  • TRACK 2: Legal & Accounting, Friday September 6 2019 – This track is targeted to producers lawyers and accountants who want to expand their knowledge and expertise of the audio-visual industry.  
  • TRACK 3: Screenwriting, Saturday September 7, 2019 – This track is targeted to screenwriters with at least one completed and produced screenwriting credit (short or feature length formats). 

In addition, attendees were able to experience further attention and two-way communication through smaller round table sessions on day 4, and an informal closing mixer at the end of the Workshop.

Photo caption: Christopher Lockhart, of WME and Stage 32 Educator in our Screenwriting session.

Photo credit: APKT Photography


This Workshop and its success is a critical marker in FilmTT’s work to develop the film and audio-visual industry of Trinidad and Tobago, as is its mandate as a state agency reporting to the Ministry of Trade and Industry. Shared Luke: “Building capacity through training programmes and creating such opportunities is a key pillar in the company’s strategic plan; this is critical not only for the improvement of how T&T producers and creatives develop and produce local film and television content, but also to ensure that our production crews can service incoming productions at a high standard. Both are important, and address both the creative and economic imperatives for the sector.”

Regarding Stage 32’s experience teaching T&T film and audio-visual professionals over the 4 days in Trinidad and Tobago, Managing Director Amanda Toney shared: “The creative talent and energy in the Trinidad and Tobago region is electric and FilmTT has the foresight to see it’s true potential. For Stage 32 to be able to bring in its educators from top industry companies such as WME, Zero Gravity and Pathfinder Media to teach creatives and professionals how to turn their creativity into a business is the beginning step for the Caribbean region to make its mark in the global film, TV and digital world.”

Photo caption: Oliver Milne, Director, at the Script to Screen session on Day 1 of the workshop.

Photo credit: APKT Photography

The feedback from attendees to the workshop has been excellent, with many persons expressing appreciation and excitement for the possibilities and education presented by Stage 32 and facilitated by Stage 32. Juliette Mc Cawley, well-known and experienced writer/producer/director, expressed her high levels of satisfaction with the Workshop:

“I greatly appreciated the opportunity to attend the stage 32 workshop, having access to such top high-level film professionals in the industry was both insightful and inspiring.  The wealth of knowledge shared during the sessions and made available afterwards is priceless. This educational opportunity for the local film community was a brilliant concept and very well executed – I do hope there can be more in the future.”

Photo caption: Christopher Din Chong, Michael Mooleedhar, Joanne Butcher and Richard “RB” Botto, CEO of Stage 32 at the Round Table sessions on Day 4.

Photo credit: APKT Photography

The workshop also proved valuable for newer creatives. Imo Wimana Chadband who has been a member of Stage 32 since the beginning of this year and has been taking their screenwriting courses, was also extremely happy with the opportunity to participate:

“I have been a member of Stage 32 as of this year. February to be exact. So that’s about 8 months.

In relation to the Business of Film workshop, I must say it exceeded my expectations. Knowing the calibre of executive professionals Stage 32 encompasses, I already had my standards set high, but for those standards to still be shattered and exceeded, really gave proof to just how well put together and insightful the workshop turned out. From the knowledge, inspiration, socializing, and food, it was a success all round, and brought a level of international opportunity and education to creatives in Trinidad and Tobago, that I believe, hasn’t been seen before.”

FilmTT continues to assess the vast benefits of the Workshop and is working to heed the call of stakeholders to continue to provide them with such valuable training opportunities, as well as significant industry access, in service of personal, professional and overall industry development for Trinidad and Tobago.

Check out 2019 The Business of Film on our YouTube page. Subscribe for updates!