Good morning, Stage 32 Creative Crew! I hope you have had an awesome weekend and carved out some time to write, create, connect, inspire (or be inspired), and move your career forward. To help in these endeavors, I want to share a story which I find particularly inspiring.
I am a big believer in doing the work. What does that mean? Write all the time? Yes. Take criticism? Yes. Get notes? Yes. Revise? Yes. Network? Yes. Be entrepreneurial? YES.
I am so proud to announce that Eric Jeske - the winner of our 5th Annual Feature Screenwriting Contest - is now represented by 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.
When I met with Devon late last year, I knew that he and Krista were poised to make a massive impact on the industry. And when I met Eric Jeske, I knew that he was an incredible talent who just needed the doors to open. And so I made it my mission to put Eric in rooms with managers, agents, executives, and producers.
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! When I initially spoke to Eric after he won our contest, I made the same promise to him that I make to all of our winner and finalists - "I will do everything I can to advance your project and your career."
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.
Eric breaks it down to two very clear mantras. I will let him share those. But as you read keep in mind, that his talent, spirit, and drive are what every creative person must possess to succeed in an incredibly crowded field. (By the way, did you know that our 6th Annual Feature Screenplay Contest is underway right now?)
Take it away, Eric!
Keep pushing and trust the process.
Hi, my name is Eric Jeske and my screenplay AVALANCHE won Stage 32’s Feature Contest. These two “mantras” are what shape my screenwriting journey.
I came out to Los Angeles after college, like many, pursuing all that Hollywood has to offer - Improv, comedy, movies, glitz and glamor. But this town can be a tough-ass nut to crack.
So, you figure some things out, make some connections, pour your focus into screenwriting. The one thing you feel you have at least a little control over. Just you and the page. You study and learn and read and watch. You write shitty first drafts, shitty last drafts, and shitty no drafts.
Trust the process.
You keep adding tools to your toolbelt. You write more, you rewrite less, but you’re learning. You enter contests, get notes back, learn from those notes, learn how to TAKE a note. You place in a contest, you even WIN a contest. Cloud nine. Top of the world. This is it, right? Meetings with reps, call with a famous director. Heat dies down, doubt creeps in, time passes, on to the next script.
Watch Eric's interview with the Director of Script Services, Jason Mirch
I submitted a polished first draft for coverage to Stage 32 for Avalanche. I received back some very thoughtful and useful notes for the next draft but it was a PASS for the writer and a PASS for the project. I took the notes, along with others I’d collected and in a month the new draft I submitted to Stage 32’s Feature Contest ultimately went on to win.
Trust the process.
This win was different though. Stage 32 stayed involved, set me up with new meetings, introduced me to a producer who is interested in optioning. Then Covid-19 hit and everything shut down. Heat? Bye-bye. Yeah, you know the mantra by now. Stage 32 kept in contact long after they had any obligation to. They kept passing Avalanche around, championing it on my behalf. This led to a meeting with First Friday Entertainment, who were sent the script, read, and loved. Both parties felt the vibe and they are now my representation.
All of this leads my journey to where it’s at now. Have I made it? Am I about to? Who knows?
But I’m going to…
Let's hear your thoughts in the comments below!
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