Author Archive


by on Sep.18, 2014, under Featured, Motivation

When You Lead With Your Why, You Inspire

When I wrote my most recent book, Change Your Story, Change Your Life, I explored the concept of understanding: why you want what you want.  I came into this “aha” in my work with fiction writers. I began to recognize that there was a direct link between the personal dilemma of the central character and their professional pursuit. The personal dilemma sets up their why. If the story starts with the why then, when the trigger and dilemma happen that lead to the pursuit, it is clear why the central character wants what they want. When my writers learn how to apply this tool, the emotion in their story is elevated. Understanding the why establishes the internal motivation for the external reward that is at the end of the character’s pursuit. By understanding the why behind the what, the audience knows what to emotionally root for in the pursuit. They understand why it matters.

When I saw how well this worked with story, I began to think about it in my own life. When I think about my two pivotal life moments, a long relationship that ended in a short marriage and the end of a job after 15 years with two sister companies, I recognized that I never developed my why behind my what. I knew what I wanted. I wanted to be married, and I wanted to be a successful TV executive. Since I didn’t explore my why, when I accomplished my what in both situations, I found that I didn’t feel the depth of fulfillment in the way that I thought I would. I appreciated my pursuit to both destinations and all the obstacles that I had to face along the way. However, since I wasn’t conscious of my internal motivation for wanting what I wanted, I found that my feelings around my arrival to both destinations fell short of my expectations. This may have contributed to the end of both these story arcs in my life.

When I started my company, Jen Grisanti Consultancy Inc. In 2008, I developed my why. I created my company to stop isolation and build community through the telling of story on a global level. I wanted to take what I learned from some of the top storytellers in the business and pass it forward in a way that would bring other people success internally as well as externally. I wanted storytellers to learn that the key to their success is developing from within. By understanding the why behind my what, I was able to build how I was going to do this.

I am currently reading a book called Start With Why by Simon Sinek. I heard about it at a business event that I attended given by John Assaraf called “Cloning of Business Success.” Attending this event was another action that I took in further developing the why behind my what in an ongoing way. In Sinek’s book, he applies the concept of WHY to business. He writes about a concept called the “Golden Circle.” Sinek writes, “The Golden Circle finds order and predictability in human behavior. Put simply, it helps us understand why we do what we do. The Golden Circle provides compelling evidence of how much more we can achieve if we remind ourselves to start everything we do by first asking why.” He goes on to write, “The Golden Circle shows how these leaders were able to inspire action instead of manipulating people to act.” He talks about how most companies understand their what and their how but they don’t clearly articulate the why. He writes, “WHY: Very few people or companies can clearly articulate WHY they do WHAT they do. When I say WHY, I don’t mean to make money—that’s a result. By WHY I mean what is your purpose, cause or belief? WHY does your company exist? WHY do you get out of bed every morning? And WHY should anyone care?” In a later chapter, he cites business examples like Apple versus Dell. Since Apple has understood their why from the start and since they lead with their why, it has led them to tremendous success.

While studying the TV pilots for the upcoming Fall season, I noticed that many of them start with a set up of the personal dilemma for the central character. This gives the audience a point of connection in the story. In fiction and in life, there is tremendous value in starting with why.

Everything I am reading in Sinek’s book, Start With Why, and my experiences of waking up to my own why inspired me to write this blog. I want to spread the message that when you start with your why, you can connect and inspire. Sinek writes, “This book is not designed to tell you what to do or how to do it. Its goal is not to give you a course of action. Its goal is to offer you the cause of action.”



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by on Aug.18, 2014, under events

Friday Night Social ~ September 5, 2014

Event Date: Friday, September 5, 2014 || Starts at 6:30 pm || Co-sponsoring with Jennifer Grisanti

Friday Night Social is a networking group that meets the first Friday of every month. It started as a way for TV and feature writers to meet one another and has evolved into so much more. This is a great way to “Network”. Plan on meeting people from different areas and levels in the entertainment industry.  



Please REGISTER before 10:00 pm on Thursday, September 4, 2014.



This month’s Friday Night Social is a free event being held at Busby’s EastPlease join Jennifer Grisanti and SWN in a “private room with bar” exclusively for this Friday Night “Networking” event.

What makes Busby’s the best sports bar?  Busby’s food is FANTASTIC!  How many of you specifically go out for dinner to a sports bar in Santa Monica or L.A.?  Exactly.

Busby’s food is not your normal bar grub, although we have amazing Buffalo wings, fantastic pizzas and the “Best Burger in town”.  Super tender, slow-cooked BBQ brisket, pulled pork, baby back ribs, country fried chicken, incredible pizzas, 20 different good Ol’ boy sandwiches & salads, and authentic Mexican food.  A feast!!!  An incredible, comfortable dining experience, while in the background, any game of your choice, any sport, anywhere in the world, is shown on 50 huge plasma TVs for the ultimate sports bar experience.  Busby’s is the only sports bar that serves a complete breakfast Saturday and Sunday and offers a champagne sports brunch on the weekends.


Join us on the first Friday of every month at Busby’s East:

Busby pic 1

Busby pic 02

Welcome to Busby’s, voted the “Best Sports Bar” in Los Angeles and all of California by and ranked 3rd in the ENTIRE NATION!!!


Pictures from previous events at Busby’s East:





New Time for this event:

Starts at 6:30 pm – Ends at 9:30 pm



Busby’s East

5364 Wilshire Blvd.

Los Angeles, CA 90036

(Near La Brea on Wilshire)
Busby’s East

5364 Wilshire Boulevard, Los Angeles, CA 90036, USA
5364 Wilshire Blvd., Los Angeles, CA 90036

more »


FREE — pay for your own food/cocktails/parking

**Happy Hour special – $4 drinks for our members and guests until 8:00 pm!   Check in with us at the entrance to receive your name tags for networking.

Complimentary finger food will be provided for our Networking Group!



Parking is NOT validated at Busby’s East.

Valet parking is $5.

There is plenty of additional parking.

Busby's East


Happy Networking!

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“All Is Lost” Equals Opportunity To Achieve

by on Aug.13, 2014, under Motivation

I am a Story/Career Consultant for writers. One of the biggest story notes that I give is about understanding the significance of the “all is lost” moment. Your “all is lost” moment is an essential step on your journey and should lead to your achievement. In story and in life, when we hit our “all is lost” moment, it is the moment when we are as far away as possible from achieving the goal. We hit rock bottom. Our world caves in. In fiction, this moment happens at the end of your second to last act. After hitting rock bottom, a light goes on for the hero. She hits an “aha” moment that helps her realize what she has to do to achieve the goal. Then, in the last act, she takes an action that leads to the moment that symbolizes her achievement of the goal.

In life and in story, these kinds of moments are linked. When we take actions toward our goals and hit obstacles, we have the choice of falling victim to the experience or getting up and continuing our mission.  In fiction, it is monumental that we understand that the hero’s actions lead to their obstacles and the obstacles lead to the hero’s point of no return, the “all is lost.”  All of this should link back to the goal. We should understand that when the hero hits the “all is lost,” she is as far away from her goal as possible. When story does not work, it’s often because the hero’s goal is unclear so when she gets to her “all is lost,” we don’t feel the “rock bottom” moment and understand how the light goes on for her there, leading to her solution.

By understanding that the “all is lost” moment in fiction and in life is what propels us toward our goal instead of away from it, we can look at our greatest falls in a whole new way. We can see them as a beginning, not an ending. We can recognize their value and know that the very moment we feel farthest from our goal, can lead to our transcendence and awareness of what we have to do to achieve our goal.

I believe that there are really two “all is lost” moments in story. The first is the trigger incident that leads the hero from the old world into the new. It presents a dilemma and the choice that the hero makes in the dilemma defines the goal. So, the journey begins with an “all is lost” feeling and then, on the journey to the goal that resulted from the trigger incident, at the end of the second to last act, they experience the second “all is lost” in an even deeper way,

In the show, THE GOOD WIFE, we see Alicia hit an “all is lost” moment at the beginning when she has to face the betrayal of her husband publicly and deal with the fact that he is going to jail. It is this moment that leads her back to a law career that she had abandoned 13 years before. The purpose of the “all is lost” or trigger moment at the beginning of story is to create empathy for the hero. We feel for Alicia. We know that as a result of her first “all is lost”, she has to solidify a spot for herself in the firm so that she can bring security back to her family. The second “all is lost” is at the end of the second to last act when it feels like she is going to lose the case that could win her a spot in the firm. Then, in hitting this moment, she knows what she has to do to achieve the goal.

In THE AMERICANS, the first “all is lost” moment is when a Russian spy couple fails their mission to get an ex KGB Colonel, who has turned on the Russians, on the boat back to Russia. It is this failure that leads to their episode pursuit of what to do with the hostage. We learn that Elizabeth has a history with the hostage that Philip is not aware of. The Colonel raped her during training.  This motivates Elizabeth to want to get rid of their problem by killing the Colonel, versus Philip’s idea of turning him and themselves, over to the Americans. They share the goal of needing to alleviate the problem of having to hide the hostage at their family home with their children, who have no idea their parents are spies. The second “all is lost” moment is when Elizabeth and Philip almost fail. Philip begins to take steps to turn in the hostage over to the Americans behind Elizabeth’s back. Elizabeth does not want to betray her country. This is both a low point in their main goal, and also in their relationship. When Philip realizes that the Colonel hurt Elizabeth during training, he hits his “all is lost.” He kills the hostage without thinking of the consequence.

Now, in fiction, all these moments happen within the framework of story. If the “all is lost” moments are structured well, it elevates the story to a whole new level. We see in the two examples that the “all is lost” moment needs to happen to shine a light for the hero on what she needs to do to achieve the goal.

If we look at our “all is lost” moments in life in the same way, we recognize that hitting rock bottom, can lead us to our moment of enlightenment. We can awaken to the actions we need to take that will lead to our achievement.

My fascination with the “all is lost” moment and how it can move us forward instead of back is what inspired my book, “Change Your Story, Change Your Life: A Path To Success.” The knowledge of this unique story tool helped me see that we can fail forward through understanding the significance of the “all is lost” moment.

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by on Jul.09, 2014, under Featured, Motivation

Creating change and learning how to turn a negative into a positive is a practice that drives me on a personal and professional level. It led me to write my book, “Change Your Story, Change Your Life: A Path To Success.” As a way to give people constant ideas about how they can take action to create change in their own life and story, I dive into life experiences that are in alignment with this goal. This is what inspired me to go to Rancho La Puerta. I refer to this kind of trip as a corporate retreat for one. The goal is to recalibrate myself on a mental, spiritual, and emotional level both personally and professionally and to inspire future books and products.

The tagline on the website for Rancho La Puerta is a quote by Joseph Campbell that that I’ve used in a past newsletter: “Follow your bliss and the universe will open doors where there were only walls.” His words encourage and inspire transformation. Rancho La Puerta is the ideal haven to help you connect with self and discover tools that will help to get you where you want to go.

There are many ways that the experience at Rancho La Puerta will help you to transcend your own walls. They fall into four categories: environment, nourishment, activities, and lectures.

It begins with the environment. Rancho La Puerta is massive and beautiful beyond your wildest dreams. It’s very spread out so you will get a ton of exercise, whether you jump into the daily exercise classes, or not, as the grounds are designed to create space inside your mind. You wake up in the morning, walk outside and see bunny rabbits, roadrunners, and lizards. They become your companions. They’re emblematic of the peace that surrounds you. The internal shift that you feel has a lot to do with engaging with nature. The hope is that you will take this awareness home with you and spend more time appreciating nature.

As for nourishment, well, Rancho La Puerta’s food is mostly vegetarian, and it is delicious! It made me wonder why I don’t eat more vegetables at home. You can also choose from a side bar of healthy goodies. The chefs feed you three times a day and offer a snack in the early afternoon by the main lounge. This is usually a smoothie and a vegetable dip with homemade crackers. When I got home, my body didn’t crave sugar due to the amazingly balanced diet I ate there. Rancho La Puerta’s food creates a greater awareness of portion size, food combination, and the reality that there are many extremely healthy options that taste amazing. You will also see the change in your body while you’re there.

The activities include every type of exercise class that you can imagine including yoga, Body Bar, Pilates, cardio fitness, dance, Tai Chi, kettle bells, boxing, sculpting and pool activities. The class selection is enormous. The yoga and exercise rooms are so gorgeous they make you want to work out and see results.

Guest instructors regularly visit the ranch and you can choose to travel there on a week that aligns with guest visitors that appeal to you. The week that I was there, there was a guest yoga instructor, Ann-Marie Ahye, who taught Mindful Yoga and a Body Bar Instructor, Sherry Catlin, who is one of the originators of the Body Bar. Ann-Marie’s classes helped me see yoga more from the spirit versus the ego. I loved the tone of her voice and the way that she taught her classes. She helped me get in touch with learning a more internal way to practice yoga. Sherry’s Body Bar classes were phenomenal. She was definitely one of the best instructors that I’ve ever learned from on vacation, and she delivered a very challenging workout. It made me want to invest in the Body Bar so that I could bring it home with me. With these two guest instructors and all of the regular instructors at the Ranch including Maya and Hazel, I saw changes in my body that continue to inspire me to be even more active.

Other activities include a wide array of hikes. Now, I am not a “hiker” so I started with the 4-mile Organic Breakfast hike. This is a must do if you go to Rancho La Puerta. The hike is amazing. The gardens outside the home where you will have breakfast are incredible, and the breakfast was one of the best that I’ve ever had. During a tour of the garden, you learn so much about the food on your plate, about what to eat and what not to eat. It was very enlightening; I loved it.

After the 4-mile hike, I thought that I was up for the challenge of the 7-mile hike. I dove right in, but realized shortly after we started that I was in way over my head. It was a rugged hike filled with peaks and valleys and a very hot day. I didn’t have hiking boots so I slipped on the path. However, with the gentle guidance and coaching of a couple of other hikers and one of the guides from the ranch, I persevered. There were moments that I did not think that I could make it, but as I moved through my own self-doubt and surpassed each obstacle, it dawned on me that there are heights that I am not yet achieving in my own life. I recognized that by moving through my fear, there is no height that is too high. Completing this grueling hike created a monumental shift inside of me on a spiritual, mental and emotional level. It anchored an invaluable realization that I will apply to my business and personal life.

I was very fortunate to be at Rancho La Puerta at a time when Jennifer Granholm, former governor of Michigan, and her husband, Dan Mulhern, were there as guest lecturers. They spoke on politics, leadership, energy, and what it means to be a couple with two careers. I loved every inspiring moment of hearing this dynamic duo speak. I hit on many “aha” moments during their talks. Another guest lecturer I saw was Beverly Whipple, author of “The G Spot.” She gave lectures on Women’s Health, Sensuality And Sexuality, Beyond the G Spot, and Male and Female Midlife Sexual Changes. There were also many great lectures on nutrition. So, these talks inspired change on all levels. They were intellectually engaging and offered tools that you could apply to your life. Following through is when the real change begins.

I think one of the main highlights for me was hearing Rancho La Puerta’s founder, Debra Szelely speak on Aging By Choice. Debra is 92 years old. Her appearance, demeanor, wit, and generosity of spirit inspired a change in the way that I view age. She made me excited about aging. Debra is committed to creating change on a global level by fostering wellness one person at a time through her website Her actions reflect her desire to share her wisdom with others. She is clearly the active hero in her own story, and she inspires change in everyone that comes into contact with her and what she has created.

I give tremendous gratitude for my experiences at Rancho La Puerta. It was a dream retreat. If you want to recalibrate, bring energy into your life on every level, and get inspired to create life long habits of wellness, you want to go to Rancho La Puerta.

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by on Jun.10, 2014, under Featured, Motivation

Creating moments is what The Big Island Film Festival is all about. You can create moments in the present, while you’re there sharing your passion for film with the other filmmakers, celebrities, and participants as well as enjoying the splendor of being at the Fairmont Orchid on the Big Island of Hawaii. You can also create moments internally as you reflect on the festival films, full of their own unique moments, crafted by filmmakers. It is all about celebrating the moments that touch our hearts, awaken our curiosity, lead us to a new life perspective, open a different door into a story and give us hope.

I’ve been blessed to be a part of The Big Island Film Festival for the last three years and this year, I led a workshop titled, “Adding Fiction To Your Truth In Your Writing.” When I attend the festival, I know that I am both seeking the interpersonal moments with other artists as well as the moments when I get to experience the vision of the filmmakers. I am seeking moments that make me go, “aha!” and shine a light on a worldview that I haven’t seen before. I saw 20 films while I was at the festival this year. I believe that this was one of the strongest years overall since I’ve attended this event.

These are some of the ingredients that I noticed helped to create powerful cinematic moments this year:

  1. Sharing of universal and emotional truth
  2. Telling a story that goes outside the box
  3. Giving a unique worldview of common life moment
  4. Starting with an original idea
  5. Exploring a strong thematic question

Upon reflection, the films that hit my heart and led me into a wide range of emotions included: “The Haumana,” which celebrates a ritual symbolizing the pride of a culture; “Time Lapse,” a thriller with a sheer originality of thought and a sci-fi twist; “Tuesday Morning,” which explores the moral ambiguity of a life situation; “Suriname Gold,” the heart-wrenching story of what one woman did to survive; “Great,” a witty, intelligent telling of a powerful story of resistance in less than 30 seconds; “Poison Apple,” which shifts the perspective of a familiar fairy tale; “3:13,” a film that wakes us all up to the realities of homelessness and how we can make a difference; and “One Weekend,” which illuminates the thrill of a life moment when your whole world comes together and everything you are suddenly makes sense.

We create life moments that will live on in our hearts forever when we attend events like The Big Island Film Festival. I love going on what I refer to as a “productive vacation” when I get to emotionally connect with the participants on a whole new level and simply celebrate the dreams that are being realized all around me.

This year’s festival will live on my heart. I experienced moments that shifted my worldview and made me feel things in a whole new way. I give so much gratitude to Leo and Jan Sears for having the vision to bring together a wonderful community of artists so that we could celebrate the moments that the filmmakers had the courage to create. I also give enormous amounts of gratitude to the Fairmont Orchid and Christof Luedi and his team for creating such an abundant backdrop with incredible accommodations, phenomenal service, and exquisite food.

The Big Island Film Festival is all about creating moments. Maybe, it’s time for you to create some cinematic moments that can be celebrated. Submissions for the 2015 Big Island Film Festival begin in November, 2014 and go through February 1, 2015.


The Haumana            1:35:00             Winner of Best Feature and Audience Choice                                                                         Award

When the charismatic host of a cheesy tourist show in Waikiki accepts the challenge of leading a group of high school boys through the demanding discipline required for a traditional hula festival, he becomes as much a student as a teacher when he reconnects with the culture of Hawaii he previously abandoned. Director/Writer – Keo Woolford


Time Lapse                         1:40:48            Winner of Best Feature

A modern thriller with sci-fi elements about three friends who discover a machine that takes pictures 24 hours into the future. They conspire to use it for personal gain, until disturbing and dangerous images begin to develop. Director: Bradley King, Writer: Rick Montgomery


Tuesday Morning             0:13:30            Winner of Best Short

Rick and Jewels are colleagues and professionals who are deeply I love with one another; although married to others. During a morning tryst extraordinary events occur (9/11) which provide an opportunity that’s hard to pass up even though it’s completely wrong. Director: Chad Kukahido Writer: Darrow Carson


Suriname Gold             0:22:55            Winner of Best Foreign Short

While searching for her husband in the gold mines of Suriname, a woman uncovers a forsaken world of politics and prostitution – offering a piece of her body and soul to survive. Director/Writer – Paula Henrique Testolini


Great                                    0:23:08

Did the Nazis ever see Charlie Chaplin’s “The Great Dictator”? Yugoslavia – 1942, the young Serbian projectionist: Nikola Radosevic decides to teach the German oppressors a lesson they won’t forget. It is the beginning of a true and astonishing WW II resistance story.


Poison Apple             0:09:00            Winner of Best Family Short and Audience                                                                         Choice Award

A musical retelling of the Brothers Grimm’s classic fairy tale of Snow White told through the point of view of the infamous poison apple. Director/Writer – Dane Neves


3:13                                    1:37:00

Based on the real life events and drama of the homeless situation during the late 2000’s US recession. Producer/Writer/Director: David Jaure


One Weekend            1:05:34

A dark fairy tale. A reclusive teenage boy, suffering from an identity crisis, discovers his father is not his real father and seeks out to meet his biological father for the first time. Director/Writer: Diana Cignoni


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FRIDAY NIGHT DRINKS, Friday August 1, 2014

by on Jun.10, 2014, under events, Featured

Friday Night Social ~ August 1, 2014

Event Date: Friday, August 1, 2014 || Starts at 6:30 pm || Co-sponsoring with Jennifer Grisanti

Friday Night Social is a networking group that meets the first Friday of every month. It started as a way for TV and feature writers to meet one another and has evolved into so much more. This is a great way to “Network”. Plan on meeting people from different areas and levels in the entertainment industry.  



Please REGISTER before 10:00 pm on Thursday, July 31, 2014.


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by on Jun.03, 2014, under events, Featured




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