Sam Goldstein might relax and enjoy the rewards of a long productive career. However, if you know him, you won’t be surprised to learn he has embarked on yet another venture, one that brackets his early days as a musician and award-winning television producer, before he meandered into property investment.
You may know Goldstein as the owner/developer of the historic Heisler Building downtown, home to Rock ‘N Fish and Tommy Bahama. You may know him as founding board member of Laguna Beach Live! and member of other arts boards over the years. You may know him for his vociferous advocacy for a contemporized commercial core in downtown Laguna. You may also know him as the instigator of the business improvement district [BID] bed tax, a once controversial measure that city budget records show has delivered $1.3 million to $1.7 million annually to help fund the playhouse, museum and college, cultural arts projects and public commissions as well as the visitor’s bureau. Since its inception in 2001, the tax has provided $18.5 million.
What next? Goldstein has launched Showbizy.com, the first free online yellow pages for members of the entertainment trade, a massive aggregate talent listing that has previously been split into category directories at sites like LA411, owned by Variety magazine, or IMDB, both charging as much $300 a year membership fee. Now, from piano players to screenwriters, set designers and hairdressers, Showbizy offers producers, directors and casting agents free, one-stop shopping for film, television, music and theater talent. He launched with 650,000 listings.
Goldstein founded the business with the acquisition of the listings at The Hollywood Reporter, one of the entertainment industry’s major news publications, and has cobbled together a network of several specialized databases, including the acquisition of the Billboard and Adweek lists. He won’t stop there to fulfill his goal to make Showbizy something of an entertainment LinkedIn, but simpler to use and cross-referenced for easier access. What he envisions as the world’s “biggest entertainment and media directory. And all free.”
Goldstein has had the idea since he owned rental space years ago in Studio City, where producers of various projects landed during the planning stages for a film, eager to find the right professionals to meet their needs. “They ended up working with the same people all the time, because there was less access to reliable sources,” he says. He launched a test site in 1998, which collapsed when the tech bubble burst, and waited until the right moment to begin again.
Showbizy operates as a virtual business, with a small technology and marketing staff, and when asked how he plans to monetize the project, Goldstein shrugs his shoulders and smiles. He has an uncharacteristically Zen attitude on what might be the late-life jewel in his crown, determined to provide a service to all the hard working, lesser-known talents in the industry. I suspect he still has the soul of the aspiring musician. Then again, if you know Sam Goldstein, you know eventually the project will result in a measurable return on investment, if not financially, in the supreme satisfaction of fulfilling his unique vision. Learn more at www.showbizy.com.
Randy Kraft is a freelance journalist who also pens book reviews for www.ocinsite.com and is the author of the novel “Colors of the Wheel.” www.randykraftwriter.com.