Who Says You Need to Be in LA? Another Stage 32 Success Story

Who Says You Need to Be in LA? Another Stage 32 Success Story

Who Says You Need to Be in LA? Another Stage 32 Success Story

Juhani Nurmi
Juhani Nurmi
3 years ago

Hi Stage 32ers! I hope the following story will help to inspire you, as so many of us are struggling to break into the movie and TV industry with our creative endeavors. I’m a Finnish citizen and native, living about as far away from Hollywood as you can imagine – in Finland, north-eastern Scandinavia. I’ve always been a huge movie fan, which led to me becoming a film journalist in my early 20’s, in the late 1980’s.

During those years, I befriended some truly amazing people in the industry, among them three Academy Award winners – H.R. Giger, Jerry Goldsmith and Richard Taylor. But screenwriting remained an elusive dream, until a good British friend of mine made a major sale with his spec in the early 1990’s. However, it took me all the way to December 2005, and an international movie junket of Peter Jackson’s King Kong to finally get my act together. During the junket, I interviewed Richard Taylor, the CEO of Weta Workshop, who encouraged me to write my script, which still to this day remains my magnum opus … a Faustian sci-fi thriller, which most of the Stage 32 executives have so far had a very tough time wrapping their brains around, when I’ve pitched it to them.

During the past decade, I’ve written many scripts about monsters, aliens and interdimensional beings. My own tastes run dark and weird. I just roll that way. Hollywood director Marcus Nispel (Pathfinder, Conan) read a UFO related script of mine, which led to me writing a maritime horror thriller called Stowaway for him! Six years after I embarked upon writing it, we are still trying to find that last bit of elusive financing.

Who Says You Need to Be in LA Another Stage 32 Success StoryScreenwriter Juhani Nurmi

Cue in Stage 32 and its wonderful Script Services. Despite having been a member of Stage 32 for many years, I hadn’t really put my foot to the pedal until this year. I started pitching through Stage 32 in earnest - almost every weekend since April - and participating in its screenwriting competitions. I was Quarterfinalist in this year’s Stage 32 TV Pilot Contest, which felt really good and encouraging. When it comes to pitching, it can feel intimidating at first, but remember that you improve each time. It’s not always easy to find that ideal pitching match, because some of the execs aren’t always as receptive to your ideas as you’d hope.

However, I found a champion in the sympathetic Jason Piette, a true British born gentleman and producer. Jason produced over 50 projects including The Merchant Of Venice ​with Al Pacino and Head In The Clouds​ starring Charlize Theron and Penelope Cruz.

Who Says You Need to Be in LA The Merchant of Venice, Produced by Jason Piette

Jason had both the courtesy and patience to listen to my intense and passionate rant via Skype. He asked me to submit two scripts of mine – the afore mentioned Faustian sci-fi thriller, plus a Victorian Gothic Horror TV series idea – which I’m now developing with Jason and his team. Jason and his associates are a true pleasure to work with – they listen and they have fantastic ideas for improving my labyrinthine narrative even further.

I wanted to let you all know that despite living far away from Hollywood and not being a spring chicken anymore (53-years-old), you can get Hollywood players interested. It’s all about the right pitch and finding that right person, which in my case is Jason Piette.

Remember that a writer writes -always - and never give up on your dreams. Many thanks to Richard ”RB” Botto, Jason Mirch, Nick Assunto and the rest of the Stage 32 staff – keep up the stellar work!

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About the Author

Juhani Nurmi

Juhani Nurmi


Multi-optioned screenwriter. Quarterfinalist in the Stage 32 TV Pilot competition in 2019. Having been a professional film journo attending global movie junkets for over 25 years, I switched to editing lifestyle publications in my native country of Finland in the early years of the new millennium. S...

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