16th April 2024

A Virtual World of Live Pictures

Technology and Computer

Meet BeScene, a Tinder-style networking app for the film industry

Networking app BeScene launches today to bring filmmakers and other creatives (actors, animators, cinematographers, costume designers, directors, editors, producers, production assistants, script coordinators, writers, etc.) a Tinder-like experience to help build connections within the entertainment industry.

Breaking into the film and media sector has always been challenging, and many companies (Staff Me Up, Backstage, Mandy and ProductionHUB) have built specialized career sites to help streamline the process. Rather than only serving users with years of experience, however, BeScene wants to cater to low-budget, student, and up-and-coming filmmakers who may find it harder to form connections.

“Our goal is to democratize ‘breaking into the industry’ by providing access to those who wouldn’t normally have it,” founder and CEO George Armistead tells TechCrunch. “In 2024, no one should be excluded from their dreams because they didn’t go to a fancy film school or live in LA or NYC. This app is something that can remove barriers to entry that have been strategically placed by old school Hollywood.”

“We don’t block people from joining our community because they aren’t part of the ‘in circle.’ Every talented professional has to start somewhere, and we want to help those talented people get to where they want to be by making the hardest part of film a little easier: growing your network,” Armistead adds.

The startup also believes it stands out because it brings the swipe right/swipe left mechanics to professional networking.

“The simplicity and familiarity allow each user to find what they need quickly and in a way that is meaningful: through real human connections,” Armistead says.

BeScene isn’t alone in this thinking. Former Tinder executives attempted a similar strategy in 2018 with a networking app called Ripple, which uses the familiar swipe mechanism to match professionals with each other. Even the popular dating app Bumble has a separate section dedicated to professional connections. HUSSLUP, another like-minded networking app for the film biz, also has a swipe feature, but it’s more aligned with LinkedIn since it provides job search and posting capabilities.

Image Credits: BeScene

BeScene offers a simplified interface with only three features to start: an in-app messenger, a section to discover new connections and a separate page to keep track of your established network. You can also see who has requested to connect as well as send an invite link to friends in your contacts.

The app displays members in a card-style format with their photo, job title and additional details like what project types they’re interested in (i.e., short films, feature films, student films, documentaries, theater, music videos, episodic TV, reality TV, social content or commercials). You can filter by role, project, location and distance preference. It also shows mutual connections, which can inform you about their network and how it intersects with yours. The app then asks you to select skip or connect on a member, and if both users express a desire to link up, the app notifies them of the match.

Setting up a profile is also easy, as it isn’t required for you to have a career in film, so you don’t need to link an IMDb page for proof of credits, nor is there an option to upload a résumé, actor reel or portfolio. While this is good news for aspiring filmmakers who want to enter the business, it requires extra research to vet the person, which may create a disaggregated experience.

Users can report or block other users if they feel that someone violates BeScene’s terms, and the team will view and potentially terminate the account if they deem it appropriate to do so.

The company is building out the product over time, so it will likely develop other features like an explore page, a feed for posts and the ability to create groups/communities. Armistead shares that in-app purchases and “other standard mobile app revenue streams” will be added in the future. Additionally, BeScene plans to serve other careers in media, like content creators, musicians and sports players.

BeScene is free to download on iOS and Android devices in the U.S. and Canada. The company hopes to “quickly expand” to other markets, Armistead says. As of last week, there were over 7,200 people on the waitlist.

Armistead initially set out to address this networking problem in the film industry when he founded ReelCall in 2021 alongside Francesca Aiassa-Hernandez, a fellow University of Southern California alum. The platform allowed Armistead to test the market and its user base.

“Watching these talented filmmakers struggle to find both staff and talent for their projects, even coming from a top-ranked school such as USC, was eye-opening to me; the process seemed out of date and inefficient when compared to most other industries. We started ReelCall (the name of the company and also web app MVP) as a fun side project to address this problem — bringing modern technology and practices to save time and effort in the pre-production staffing and casting phase of films,” he explains.

“We quickly realized that simply creating an updated and modern casting platform was just a small part of a bigger problem: All creatives in the film space deserve the opportunity to find and grow their networks, which is a more sustainable approach to consistent work and career growth than industry standard job boards,” Armistead adds.

While BeScene hasn’t raised any external funding yet, the company gathered $250,000 from friends and family in 2022. It is currently exploring a pre-seed round.