(Believe it or Not) It's Been A Great Year!: Recapping the Best Stage 32 Success Stories of 2020 (Part 2)

Posted by Jason Mirch

And here we are folks, back at it for another exciting excursion into the best Stage 32 success stories from the previous 12 months. Last week we highlighted the months of January through June 2020. If you missed Part 1 you can find it here.

Now, we’re onto (Believe it or Not) It's Been A Great Year!: Recapping the Best Stage 32 Success Stories of 2020 (Part 2)...

And like most sequels, this one is even bigger than the first. I'm thrilled to bring you the top stories from your fellow members from July through December. Obviously, it is difficult to look back over the year and say it was a smashing success.  I imagine that most people who look back on 2020 would just as easily say "F@#$ it", and never look back.

In fact, that is exactly what we’re saying this week at Stage 32. We’re using this last week of the year to say F@#$ 2020 and take 2021 by storm with our Career Development Week. We’re going to be announcing new opportunities for you to take control of your career in 2021. Keep checking your inbox - and stay close to Stage32.com - to make sure you’re up on the latest.

But before we move forward, I do want to highlight some incredible stories from the back half of this year. It’s easy to dwell in pessimism. But truly successful (and I would argue, happy) people are able to celebrate the good, while acknowledging the bad. And there is a lot of good to celebrate in our community. So without any further delay, let’s jump right in and recap more of our successes stories.

In July, I was proud to announce that Eric Jeske - the winner of our 5th Annual Feature Screenwriting Contest - signed with First Friday Entertainment - one of the leading boutique management companies in the business! First Friday Entertainment was co-founded by Krista Sipp and Devon Byers, who dedicated themselves to showcasing fresh and unique voices. I am so pleased that I was able to make the connection between Eric and First Friday - a connection that would ultimately lead to Eric being signed.  

The work that Eric put in - and the platform that Stage 32 provides - led to him being signed by a very exciting literary management company. Erik followed up recently with me to say, "Krista and Devon have me working on a new action idea and [they] have been great! I wrote a horror comedy with my girlfriend during this whole lockdown and our reps are going to start sending that out in the new year, so things are hoppin' and movin'." 


Screenwriter Erik Jeske was signed by First Friday Entertainment after being introduced by Jason Mirch


In August, Stage 32 member Martin Reese won the Microbudget Horror Script Competition, and landed a $5,000 option agreement - with the potential of $100,000 in producing financing on the table - from Trick Candle Productions, Glasshouse Distribution, and Stage 32.

When I first heard the logline for THE EYE OF OWUO, I gave Martin what could be the best compliment a screenwriter can receive, "That's a movie." It means that I instantly saw the "big idea" and I knew that if Martin was able to pull of the execution of the concept in the storytelling, he would have a fantastic project.

Martin is currently in development with the project's producers, "RB" Botto, Stage 32 Managing Director, Amanda Toney, the CEO of Glass House and Trick Candle Tom Malloy, and the Head of International Sales of Glasshouse and Trick Candle Michelle Alexandria! Martin recently commented, "The entire process has been great. I will definitely be a better writer once this process is complete. I will also have a better understanding of the development process which will serve me well in my next opportunity." 


Martin Reese continues to develop THE EYE OF OWUO with Glass House, Trick Candle, RB Botto, & Amanda Toney


In September, we announced that Mind’s Eye Entertainment optioned a whopping three projects from writers after the Mind's Eye executive, Thomas Pemberton, met them through Stage 32 Script Services. The story is just more proof of the power of the platform as all of these writers connected to Mind’s Eye Entertainment through Stage 32 in different ways.

Stage 32 writer Jon Watt who booked a script consultation with Thomas for his horror/thriller feature. As Jon says, “After receiving outstanding notes from Thomas on my script, we continued our conversation on other projects I have written.”

That led to a conversation about another project Jon has called, HOW THE WEST SIDE WAS WON, a series about organized crime on Manhattan’s West Side. Thomas loved the project and passed it along to Mind's Eye's CEO Kevin DeWalt, who negotiated an option agreement on the project.

Andy Gilchrist, a UK-based writer, wanted to get feedback on the pitch for his project END OF THE TERRITORIES from Thomas through a Stage 32 Pitch Session. Thomas and Andy connected, and Thomas was so impressed with the quality of the pitch that he requested the script. This ultimately led to his pilot script, and series bible, being read by Kevin DeWalt. Mind’s Eye Entertainment optioned the project and it is in active development!

And finally, Stage 32 writer, Angela Uzun, connected with Thomas and Mind’s Eye via another Stage 32 executive, Anna Henry. Together Angela and Anna co-developed a television concept, which they then brought to Thomas after being introduced by this humble blog author. Thomas was immediately grabbed by the quality of the writing, the ambition of the concept and the international appeal of the subject matter. Minds Eye Entertainment optioned the project and is in active development with Angela, Anna and Thomas!


In October, I brought you the story of Cameron Tendaji who joined Stage 32 in September of 2019 with a dream to become a screenwriter. This business is not easy - if it were, everyone would do it. But Cameron pushed through and dedicated himself to being the best writer he could. And the results speak for themselves. Cameron signed an option agreement with a producer he connected with through Stage 32! She will be shopping both of his projects, which is a massive leap forward for Cameron and his projects.

As Cameron says, “I guess the bottom line is, the emails that we get sent from Stage 32 every day aren't lying. Stage 32 does work. You have to be consistent, read and write constantly, and be strategic. “


In November, we announced arguably the biggest success story of 2020, when the feature film CHICK FIGHT starring Bella Thorne, Malin Ackerman and Alec Baldwin hit theaters! The culmination of this success story was 5 years in the making and it all started with a Pitch Session on Stage 32. 


CHICK FIGHT started as a Pitch on Stage 32


CHICK FIGHT Official Trailer with Bella Thorne, Malin Ackerman and Alec Baldwin


Joe Downey, a writer who lives outside of Los Angeles, pitched the project on Stage 32. Joe works a corporate job in Pennsylvania and has never had any formal training or schooling or connections within the industry until he turned to Stage 32. Joe simply wrote a tremendous script and it found its champion by way of a Stage 32 executive, Tiffany Boyle, President of Packaging & Sales for Ramo Law. Through a tremendous effort on Tiffany's part, including working with 6 executives in the Stage 32 community, CHICK FIGHT was born. 

Joe is now a three time optioned screenwriter with one produced credit. He is a client by Ramo Law, who are currently in talks to attach a producer and director to one of his next feature scripts.


And now, here we are in December! This month my friend and colleague, Amanda Toney, the managing director of Stage 32 proudly announced the worldwide premiere of the 5th Annual Stage 32 Short Film Program.

We were proud to screen these films in the 2020 Oscar-qualifying Hollyshorts Film Festival and the Raindance Film Festival in London. And, we were even more proud to showcase the international premiere to all of the development executives, agents, managers and agents that work with Stage 32 in December. 


Believe it or Not Its Been A Great Year  Recapping the Best Stage 32 Success Stories of 2020 Part 2


Our seven winning filmmakers hail from all over the world. TOMORROW ISLAND, a LGBTQ+ short film about how love defies all borders was our Grand Prize Winner. The film was directed by Gwenn Joyaux of Buenos Aires, Argentina.

Our incredible program was rounded out by the following films: 

  • ZOO was written and directed by Will Niava of Montreal, Québec, Canada and is about a A misunderstanding between three juveniles and a troubled man escalates beyond control, spiraling down to a point of no return.
  • FATHER'S DAY - a short film about generational trauma, sacrifice, and ending the cycle - was written and directed by Jim St. Germain of Brooklyn, New York.
  • SHIRi - was directed by Micah Coate and written by & starring Grace Yee of Los Angeles, CAand is about a sweet natured guy who struggles to break free from a domineering relationship, in a technology obsessed world.
  • THE INVENTION which was written & Directed by Leo McGuigan of Toronto, Canada is about a young boy in 1960s Belfast, who comes of age while devising a plan to steal cigarettes.
  • CAPSULES was directed by Burton Chaikin of Los Angeles, CA and takes place in a not so distant future, in which humans must take pharmaceuticals to feel any emotion at all. This is the story about two people who have been prescribed to take the next steps in their relationship.
  • PENDULUM directed by Michael Hull of Eugene, Oregon is about a shiftless young man who discovers that when he dies his life resets five minutes in the past. Using this power to his benefit, he begins killing himself to change his future.

And now here we are! Remember, for those of you keeping score at home, this year alone, there have been over 550 writers and other creatives who have had meetings requested by industry professionals through Stage 32. Over 3,000 scripts were requested by executives through Stage 32 as well! That shattered records for Stage 32! 

I speak for the entire Stage 32 team when I say thank you for an incredible year! As we kick the doors down on 2021, remember that you have the Stage 32 team and the Stage 32 community behind you. We are so grateful for the opportunity to work with you, support your goals, advance your creative endeavors, help you confront your challenges, and celebrate your successes. We will be with you every step of the way! In the meantime, use this week to kick off your career development and let’s get into 2021!

Reach out to me at j.mirch@stage32.com and let me know what you're working on next year. I would love to hear from you.

Let's hear your thoughts in the comments below!

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