Featured

CREATING CHANGE PERSONALLY AND PROFESSIONALLY AT RANCHO LA PUERTA

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 wellnesswarrior.org. 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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CREATING MOMENTS AT THE BIG ISLAND FILM FESTIVAL

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.  

 

IMPORTANT:

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

register_button

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THE STORY EXPO – SEPTEMBER 5-7, 2014

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

ImageStoryExpo2014-06-03_0633

 

TO LEARN MORE AND SIGN UP FOR THE STORY EXPO – PRESS HERE

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FRIDAY NIGHT DRINKS – JUNE 6, 2014

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

Friday Night Social ~ June 6, 2014

Event Date: Friday, June 6, 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.  

 

IMPORTANT:

Please REGISTER before 10:00 pm on Thursday, June 5, 2014.

register_button

 

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 MSN.com and ranked 3rd in the ENTIRE NATION!!!

 

Pictures from previous events at Busby’s East:

BusbysA

BusbysC

BusbysB

 

New Time for this event:

Starts at 6:30 pm – Ends at 9:30 pm

 

Location:

Busby’s East

5364 Wilshire Blvd.

Los Angeles, CA 90036

(Near La Brea on Wilshire)

 

Admission:

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:

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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INSIDE STORY: PERSONAL ARCS EQUATING TO PROFESSIONAL SUCCESS IN STORY

by on May.13, 2014, under Featured

Watching what works and why it works in TV is something that is a part of what I do for a living as a Story/Career Consultant for writers. I am always looking for ways to teach story that reflect the brilliant work that is currently being done on TV. I’ve noticed that the shows that draw strong audiences and that I find myself returning to week after week are shows that have strong serialized character arcs within the closed-ended professional arcs. The personal dynamics contribute to the central conflict of the show and create longevity. The audience responds to these character arcs emotionally, and when you touch an audience on an emotional level, like me, they want to return each week.

Shows that successfully utilize this formula include: The Blacklist, The Americans, The Good Wife, Scandal, Masters of Sex, House of Cards, and Ray Donovan, to name a few. People connect with personal struggle. So, if you create story arcs that contain a powerful question within the personal story that you answer by the end while showing the central character in pursuit of the professional arc, you add a depth of emotion and increase the rooting factor.

Connecting to emotional situations is what sets a new series apart from the pack. The key is creating character dynamics that drive the audience to return each week. If there is a strong central conflict in the personal lives of the characters, you increase your chances of ratings success. When there is a strong personal arc within a professional scenario, today’s audiences return week after week to discover more often than not, what happened in the personal situation.

The Good Wife is a strong example. When the show started, we were drawn to Alicia’s plight and the question: How is Alicia going to bring security back to her family after her husband, Peter, goes to jail for his involvment in a sex scandal and illegal activity? The answer came in the character of Will, her old flame that gave her a chance by hiring her to be a lawyer at his firm. The dynamics of the triangle between Alicia, Peter and Will really drew us in by creating questions about Alicia’s ability to be successful as a lawyer as well as what she would do given the opportunity to leave her husband for Will. The writers really knew how to utilize these questions from week to week while exploring legal cases at the firm. The triangle and how Alicia was going to play her role within it was very universal. You had those that rooted for Alicia and Will and others that rooted for Alicia and Peter. With the major change that happened this season, what drew us in was a new question: How will Alicia emotionally respond to what happened and how will this affect her marriage with Peter? When you explore powerful emotional questions between the characters at home while they are in the midst of professional pursuits, you build your audience.

A recent episode of The Blacklist, posed the question, “Did Red kill Liz’s father?” The exploration of this question along with the existing dynamic of their relationship elevates the professional story to a whole new level because we understand the conflict that is going on in their personal relationship. This season, the writers also explored the personal story arc between Liz and her husband, Tom. Red warns her about Tom, but Liz doesn’t listen. Then, when Liz realizes that Red was right about Tom, it opens up a whole new can of worms. Liz’s relationships with Red and Tom provide an emotional core to a show that has a professional goal that usually opens and shuts each week.

In Ray Donovan, you wonder how far Ray will go to keep his father who gets out of prison in the pilot, away from his family. All the familial dysfunction of a broken childhood unravels during the series. We see what fuels Ray in his profession as a “fixer” for his celebrity clients. Ray feels he failed at fixing things in his own home because he didn’t protect his brother from being sexually molested by a priest. His memories of a broken family drive him to fix things for other people through his work. When the writers juxtapose Ray’s desire to “fix” against the demons that he faces in his personal life story, they create a series that draws us in and makes us want to return each week to see what happens.

Masters of Sex gives an inside look at the sexual tension between Masters and Johnson, the pioneers of human sexuality whose research touched off the sexual revolution. Seeing the sexual tension in their own relationship is mesmerizing to watch each week, as they make ground breaking professional strides in the understanding of human sexuality. The show draws us in because we want to see how their personal connection to each other leads to their professional breakthroughs in the area of sex. This show takes place in the 1950s, yet the conflict between the personal and the professional is something that we can all connect with no matter what the time period.

When you give people an inside view of who your characters are and what fuels them to do what they do, you create a connection. Your audience will return each week to experience this connection. In today’s television landscape, the personal arcs in your story are the key to the professional success of your series.

 

 

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INTERVIEW W/ PRENTICE PENNY – Co-Executive Producer, “Brooklyn Nine-Nine”

by on Apr.25, 2014, under Featured, Podcasts

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FRIDAY NIGHT DRINKS – MAY 2, 2014

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

Friday Night Social ~ May 2, 2014

Event Date: Friday, May 2, 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.  

 

IMPORTANT:

Please REGISTER before 10:00 pm on Thursday, May 1, 2014.

register_button

 

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 MSN.com and ranked 3rd in the ENTIRE NATION!!!

 

Pictures from previous events at Busby’s East:

BusbysA

BusbysC

BusbysB

 

New Time for this event:

Starts at 6:30 pm – Ends at 9:30 pm

 

Location:

Busby’s East

5364 Wilshire Blvd.

Los Angeles, CA 90036

(Near La Brea on Wilshire)

 

Admission:

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:

Parking is NOT validated at Busby’s East.

Valet parking is $5.

There is plenty of additional parking.

Busby's East

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TV WRITERS’ SUMMIT Los Angeles March 29-30, 2014

by on Feb.26, 2014, under events, Featured

TV WRITERS’ SUMMIT

Learn from TV’s top working writers and producers 

Today’s best writing is on television: The Walking Dead (AMC), Masters of Sex (Showtime), Breaking Bad (AMC), Game of Thrones (HBO), 2 Broke Girls (CBS), House of Cards (Netflix), Homeland (Showtime), Justified (FX), Duck Dynasty (A&E…Yes, it’s written), NCIS (CBS), Major Crimes (TNT)…the list goes on and on. The best – and most – opportunities for writers to succeed today both creatively and financially can be found on television.

But how do you create a show? How do you develop your show idea? How do you structure your characters and stories over a full season? How do you pitch and know who to sell your show to? At the TV Writers’ Summit, you’ll learn from 4 of the industry’s most respected and sought-after working TV pros – Jennifer Grisanti, Ellen Sandler, Troy DeVolld and Chad Gervich – how to create, develop, write, structure, produce, pitch and get your TV show on the air. From idea to airing, the TV Writers’ Summit is the premier event for aspiring and established (Emmy-winning writers regularly attend) TV writers.

The VP of Current Programs at CBS, Alix Jaffe, said, “Jen Grisanti has great insight into working with writers. She has a special ability to nurture their vision, while being true to story structure, character and dialogue.Her notes are always clear, insightful and productive.” Legendary NBC President Warren Littlefield said, “Sitting in a classroom and listening to Chad Gervich teach gave me goose bumps – why didn’t I have teachers like this? After his class I couldn’t sleep that night – my mind was racing with possibilities. Must hear teaching!” Bestselling author and Emmy-nominated writer/executive producer Ellen Sandler has worked on over 25 prime-time shows, and has been called the “Dalai Lama of television writing” by Entertainment Today. Andrew Hoagland, Story Producer for hit shows like The Bachelor and Basketball Wives, said, “I doubt anyone knows more about the making of Reality television than [Emmy-nominated] Troy DeVolld.”

If you have an idea for a TV show, or are currently working in TV and looking to learn more, the TV Writers’ Summit is the only event in the world of its kind. And you have two options:

1. One-Day TV Writers’ Seminar - A one-day, lecture-filled crash course on the craft of writing, story, creating and selling TV. Only $188. Course Outline

2. Two Day TV Writers’ Workshop – Includes Day 1 above, plus a second day of hands-on workshop where you’ll work on your individual show ideas with the expertise and guidance of each of the Pros. Learn how to develop, write and pitch your TV show. Both Days only on $398. Course Outline

Want to know more? Let the Pros themselves tell you what you’ll learn and why you should attend the TV Writers’ Summit!

REGISTER HERE

YOU TUBE VIDEO about the event.

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