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FREE CLASS FOR ISA ON SATURDAY 7/18 AT NOON – CREATING A TV PILOT THAT SELLS: THREE IMPORTANT TOOLS

by on Jul.13, 2015, under events, Featured

CREATING A TV PILOT THAT SELLS: THREE IMPORTANT TOOLS

Teleconference

Regular Registration ends: 07/18/2015
Class Begins: 07/18/2015   Ends: 07/18/2015
Class Time: 12:00 pm – 1:30 pm (PDT)

In her class, CREATING A TV PILOT THAT SELLS: THREE IMPORTANT TOOLS, Jen Grisanti will teach you what she believes are the pillars that will take you from ordinary to extraordinary with the writing of your TV pilot.

 

Jen will walk you through three tools: Trigger, Dilemma and Pursuit, and she will guide you how to use these key elements to set up your pilot in a way that will lead you toward success.

 

Jen says, “These tools are the foundation that have led many of my clients to success. By mastering the set up of your story, you create the possibility of making a sale and staffing.”

 

Through understanding how to link these three elements, you will learn how set the foundation in your story, have an active lead and elevate the emotion to a whole new level.

 

Jen believes that in order to go from a non-working writer to a working writer, you have to write a pilot that hits it out of the ballpark. She will teach you the tools that will elevate your game and increase your opportunities.

 

TRIGGER – By creating a powerful trigger incident for your series, you will create a strong season arc and this will establish longevity for your concept.

 

A strong pilot trigger is what carries the first episode. Linking these two makes the difference between a good pilot and a great one. You need to clearly set up that the pilot trigger would not have happened unless the series trigger happened.

 

Jen will go over several pilots that have done this successfully.

 

DILEMMA – The trigger incident should push your central character into a dilemma. The choice that is made in this dilemma is what will define the external goal.

 

The dilemma should be strong enough that we understand that there is not an easy choice on either side of the dilemma. This is what will create empathy and a rooting factor for your central character.

 

We will also discuss the set up of the personal dilemma and how to link it to the professional pursuit. This will elevate the emotion in your story.

 

PURSUIT – The clear set up of the goal is the glue that will make your story hold together.  By clearly setting up what your central character wants, you can link your obstacle, escalating obstacle, and “all is lost” moment back to the goal. This will help you to write stronger act breaks. It is when the goal is unclear that the story doesn’t work.

 

In every scene, we should have a clear sense of what your central character wants and why they want it.  Through setting up a clear pursuit, it will help you to establish this.

 

Jen knows what it takes to sell a pilot. She has had thirty-two clients over the last seven years sell pilots. Five of them have gone to series. Jen has also helped to staff over 65 writers during this time on top primetime shows.

 

Jen was a studio executive for 12 years at CBS/Paramount and Spelling Television Aaron Spelling was her mentor.  Jen has covered shows including; BEVERLY HILLS, 90210 (the original), MELROSE PLACE, SEVENTH HEAVEN, CHARMED, MEDIUM, NUMBERS, THE 4400, NCIS and GIRLFRIENDS.

 

For the past seven years, Jen has been a writing instructor for Writers on the Verge at NBC, a story/career consultant at Jen Grisanti Consultancy Inc., an author of three books – STORY LINE: FINDING GOLD IN YOUR LIFE STORY, CHANGE YOUR STORY, CHANGE YOUR LIFE: A PATH TO SUCCESS and TV WRITING TOOL KIT: HOW TO WRITE A SCRIPT THAT SELLS. Jen is also a blogger for The Huffington Post. In addition to Los Angeles, Jen has taught classes in New York, London, Australia and Israel.

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CREATIVE SCREENWRITING INTERVIEW – MEET THE READER

by on Jul.08, 2015, under Featured, Personal tips

Meet the Reader: Jen Grisanti

Meet the Reader: Jen Grisanti

“Our wounds are the well we should draw from.” Consultant and writing instructor Jen Grisanti discusses the key concepts of a great script, and why movies and TV matter.

By Brianne Hogan.

Jen Grisanti

Jen Grisanti has always been fascinated with film and TV. For her, it was the escapism and wish fulfillment of it all that ignited her love for story.

“I remember seeing The Hardy Boys when Joe Hardy’s girlfriend, Jamie, died. I still remember the song “If” by Bread that played. The story stuck with me because of the way that it made me feel.”

It’s her dedication to emotional resonance that makes Grisanti such a sought-after script consultant. Her two books, Story Line: Finding the Gold In Your Story, and Change Your Story, Change Your Life: A Path to Success, illustrate her passion for helping writers grow from their own personal narrative as they align their personal and professional selves.

A former assistant to Aaron Spelling, Grisanti climbed the ranks and eventually ran Current Programs at Spelling Television Inc., covering all of Spelling’s shows including Beverly Hills, 90210, and Charmed. In 2004, Jen was promoted to Vice President of Current Programs at CBS/Paramount where she covered shows including Medium, Numb3rs, and NCIS. In 2008, she launched her own consultancy firm, and when she not’s busy helping talented writers break into the industry, she’s also a writing instructor for NBC’s Writers on the Verge. This year alone, she’s participating in The Big Island Film Festival, The TV Writers’ Summit, The Story Expo, Comic Con, Wonder Con, and The Great American Pitchfest.

Despite her hectic schedule, Creative Screenwriting was able to catch up with Grisanti to discuss what she loves most about her job, the key concepts of a great script, and why movies and TV matter.

Shaun Cassidy as Joe Hardy and Parker Stevensen as Frank Hardy in The Hardy Boys

Why do movies and TV matter?

Movies and TV matter because they often share a strong message about the human experience. They bring us to a higher place of consciousness with better understanding the hero’s journey.  Through story, we see that everyone faces obstacles on their way to a goal. We see and root for the hero to get over his/her obstacles. This transforms the way that we see obstacles in our own lives. It helps us to understand how to be more engaged in our own lives and more active heroes in our own stories.

How did you get into the script consulting business?

I got into the script consulting business when I hit a crossroads in my life. I had been a studio executive at two sister companies for over 15 years when I was told that my contract was not being picked up for another term. This happened on the heels of a professional disagreement. I was a VP at the time and in mid-pursuit of what I thought was my career destiny, running a studio.  I was forced to redefine my path. In the moment, I thought that this pitfall was one of the worst things that could happen, but it ended up being one of the best things that could have happened. It took that moment of loss for me to realize and take steps toward founding a business built on the things I loved most about working in film and TV: working with writers, and developing story.

I had to go through an exploration of: if I wasn’t Jen Grisanti the studio executive, who was I? I’d done my job diligently for 15 years. I’d fully committed to the process. In the moment I found out my contract wasn’t being renewed, it felt like my dream was taken from me. I knew that I could continue to climb the ladder at other companies. I also knew that if I did that, I’d be putting my destiny back into someone else’s hands. At this point in my professional life, I knew that I had a strong reputation and that the community empathized with my loss. Since I had staffed many writers and loved that about my work, I knew that I wanted to find a new way to be of value to that community, one that could be on my own terms.

Aaron Spelling

So, I went to CAA and spoke with their business development people. CAA had represented Aaron Spelling, who was my mentor for 12 years before he passed away. I told CAA about a software idea, and an idea for a writers’ consultancy. They liked both ideas. They recommended that I do the writers’ consultancy first and get known as an entrepreneur in addition to being a studio executive. They also recognized that I had successfully staffed over 15 primetime shows and that my experience had value to the market.

I had the good fortune of having my contract paid out so I had the money to start my own business. I knew that it was now or never. So, even though, it was in the middle of the writers’ strike in 2008, I jumped off the biggest cliff of my career and started Jen Grisanti Consultancy Inc. The writers’ strike actually worked for my business. On the day of my launch, I sent my new website out to 900 people from my Rolodex. I received 175 emails in those first 24 hours. During the first week, I booked 20 meetings. This was the start of a beautiful new journey. I began to see that by building a business around my strength, story development, I was doing what I loved, and I was helping to facilitate writers’ dreams.

When I started my business, I recognized that my success would depend on the results that I got. I meditated on and visualized my clients getting results. Over the past 7 years, I’ve had over 55 of the writers that I’ve worked with get staffed. I’ve had 31 sell pilots, 5 of which have gone to series.

With this experience, I turned what I once thought was my “all is lost” moment into a trigger that would propel me to blaze a path with passion for doing what I loved the most, developing story.

www.jengrisanti.com

What do you love about: a) your job in general, and b) script reading, in particular?

One of the many things that I love the most about my job is seeing the arc of growth of the writer. I love to see how when I introduce them to new tools it can make a massive difference in the way that they approach story. There is nothing more rewarding than when you come across a writer who sees and embraces the process and understands it in a way that brings their writing to a whole new level. This is when results happen.

I love having the flexibility to do what I love and to do it with people that are driven by the same passion for story that I have.

What I love about script reading is that you can take any story and elevate it so that it is the best that it can be. As a Current Programs executive, it was my job to make story the best that it could be before it hit the air. So, you could take a script that wasn’t very strong and move it to the strongest place that it could be so that the show could be a success. I approach reading the scripts of my clients in the same way. I think about them as something that could very possibly someday be on the air. I use the knowledge and expertise that I gained from some of the top talent in the business to help get writers to where they need to be so that their success can happen.

The great thing about being a writer is that you can write your way into a job. An actor or a director doesn’t have this power. So, as a consultant to writers, I understand that the only thing between the writer and their working career is a story that hits it out of the ballpark. This fuels my passion for script reading.

Who do you usually consult for?

I work with writers at all levels.  I work with newer writers as well as working writers from staff to Co-Executive Producer level. I think that a large part of this is due to the fact that I staffed over 15 shows. I developed a creative trust with writers that have worked with me in the past and valued my feedback.

Writers contact me when they’re building their writing portfolio, when they’ve sold or are about to sell a pilot and want to make sure that it’s the best that it can be, when they are staffed and they want to write another great pilot or spec script that will keep their career going, when they are staffed and they want to stay staffed, etc.

Ian Ziering as Steve Sanders and Jason Priestley as Brandon Walsh in Beverly Hills 90210 (1990)

What is your process like when you sit down with a script for the first time? What are you looking for?

When I read a script for the first time, I begin by reading it once through just to know what the story is and where it’s going. Then, I read it a second time and make my notes. I often read it a third time to make sure that I covered all the bases and to see if anything else comes to mind that will help to elevate the story.

What I look for is strong structure and elevated emotion. I want to feel the inner story as well as the external story.  With the opening, there should be a powerful question that comes out of it. I want to be dying to know the answer to this question. If written well, the resolution will answer this question. I look for strong internal and external stakes. I look for a well-crafted personal dilemma that is connected to the professional pursuit. I look for whether or not I feel the story and understand what the writer is trying to say with it.

What are the key components that make up a great script?

The components of a great script are:

  • Set up of World and life before the trigger incident
  • A Strong series trigger and dilemma (this is for the TV pilot script)
  • A strong pilot trigger, dilemma and pursuit that are strongly linked to the series dilemma.
  • The central character should take an action in each act toward the goal, hit an obstacle and there should be a reminder of the stakes.
  • A strong external and internal stakes arc.
  • Strong act breaks that end on an obstacle due to an action that the central character took toward the goal.
  • The voice of the writer. I want to feel what they’re trying to say with the story.
  • A strong link between the “all is lost” moment and the action that the central character takes at the top act that leads toward the achievement of the goal.
  • A symbolic moment when the goal is achieved.
  • A resolution that answers the question coming out of the opening dilemma.

The Cast of Charmed

I read that when you work with writers, you discuss emotional well-being and assisting with the emotional work to heal. What does that entail, and how does that help them with their writing?

I do a ton of work with the wound/wounds of the writer. Our wounds are the well we should draw from. These moments are where our voice lives. So, I do a lot of work with writers on accessing their wounds and then drawing their emotional truth from these wounds and discussing how they can add fiction to it in their writing. This is a very big part of the process I teach. I believe that if you don’t know how to access your wounds, you are not writing from your core and your soul. As strange as it may sound, the parts of ourselves that make us the most unique are what connect us to each other in a universal way. If you understand your wounds, the audience will better connect with what you’re trying to say with the stories that you tell.

I have had tremendous breakthroughs with helping writers to understand their wounds. When writers understand how to integrate their wounds into their writing, they suddenly write that pilot script that hits it out of the ballpark and gets sold or gets them staffed.

I believe that our wounds are the key to our success in story and in life. When you lead with the wound, connection happens.

You discuss in your books moving from ego to spirit. How does this apply in TV or feature films?

At the beginning of story, the hero often wants to achieve the goal for ego related reasons. It is only after he/she hits several obstacles on the way to the goal that they become humbled. When the hero is humbled by their obstacles, the achievement of their goal takes on a deeper meaning. They wake up to the fact that the achievement of the goal isn’t just about them, it’s about contributing to the greater good.

In Story Line: Finding Gold In Your Life Story, I write about Ryan’s character from the film Up In the Air.

Ryan wants to achieve a goal at the beginning of the story for ego related reasons. He doesn’t want to stop flying because this means that he’ll lose his single lifestyle, and it threatens his belief in going through life with an empty backpack. After hitting hurdles and being humbled by them, Ryan understands that his belief no longer serves him. This marks his movement from ego to spirit. At the midpoint, Natalie tells him that he puts himself in a “cocoon of self-banishment.” Then, he goes to see his sister and tells her that he will walk her down the aisle. She tells him that she already has someone walking her down the aisle. He goes to see Alex, his love interest, and discovers that she’s married and has a family. These actions reflect his growth of moving from ego to spirit.

We see through the theme of detachment how Ryan moves from ego to spirit. It is symbolically shown with the visual of the empty backpack that Ryan uses at his motivational talks to help communicate his philosophy.  This becomes clear by lines such as: “The slower we move, the faster we die.”  It helps us understand why Ryan thinks and feels the way that he does.  It also explores the idea of mortality.  We learn through the story how being “grounded,” or shall we say being “attached,” represents the beginning of the end for Ryan.  Through the story, we see Ryan go from fully believing in his philosophy of being detached to beginning to see the value of commitment.  This is articulated visually and symbolically when we see that Ryan is no longer able to give his talk with his empty backpack.  He no longer believes in his own philosophy.  Another strong visual symbol that connects us to his journey is the cardboard figures he carries around of his sister and her fiancé to take pictures with in different locations.  It’s like Ryan was carrying his biggest fear with him: the idea of commitment.  When he gets to their wedding and thinks that he’s done this miraculous thing by taking all these pictures in different locations as a way to show his sister that he does care, he’s disappointed to see that there are hundreds of other pictures that people took that made his contribution seem small in comparison.  It was a reminder to him of what could be.  The beauty of this symbolism is that it helps us to understand who Ryan is and why he acts the way that he does.

Geory Clooney as Ryan Bingham, in Up in the Air

One of my favorite exercises in Story Line was identifying my Universal Life Moments. Can you talk about what they are, and what makes them so vital to the stories we tell?

A “universal life moment” is a moment when your world turns upside down and your sense of reality, as you know it, shifts.  Often times, this is an “all is lost” moment.  Your life has changed.  You are put in a position of choice.  You can take action, or you can choose to stay where you are, but either way, your reality will never be the same again.

Universal life moments, if you learn how to use them in your writing, are the glue that connects you to your audience. They are where your voice lives. We are often wounded during our universal life moments. Your wounds give you something to say. This is when you start to feel and understand your emotional truth. Your emotional truth is your gold as a writer. It is what separates and defines you from all other writers. It is your unique thumbprint.

Change Your Story, Change Your Life, by Jen Grisanti

Could you illustrate the five components that you discuss in your book, Change Your Story, Change Your Life: A Path To Your Success, with regards to motivation? I think it’s an essential piece of a character’s journey, but I find that it can be difficult to understand and/or tackle.

The Five Components are

  • Desire
  • Wound & Flaw
  • External Stakes
  • The Past
  • Moving Forward and Evolving

DESIRE

The first part of motivation is being able to understand what you want. What is your life goal? Many writers have trouble writing goals for their central characters because they don’t know what they want in their own life. When you understand desire, you understand what you want.

WOUND & FLAW

I do a lot of work with writers on understanding their wounds. When you understand your wounds, you understand your voice. This is pivotal in your success as a writer. I recently worked with a writer who told me that she always tends to write toward the teen audience. I asked her why this was, what was her wound? She immediately responded, “My wound is emotional abandonment.” She went on to say that her mother had too many kids too soon. Two of her siblings were diagnosed with Aspergers. Her mom was in denial about this. So, this forced the writer to be the parent to her siblings at a young age. I started to ask her about the other scripts in her portfolio. She suddenly realized that all of her scripts had the theme of emotional abandonment. So, by her understanding her wound and the flaws that came from it like pleasing people, she was able to build the stories that she tells around this.

When you understand your wounds and your flaws in your own life and the lives of the people around you, you are able to write them for your characters. Our wounds are part of what motivates us toward a goal. This goes with the idea of moving toward pleasure and away from pain.

When I lost my job, the wound that motivated me was the recognition that if I went to work for someone else on the next tier of the corporate ladder, my destiny would once again be in someone else’s hands, and the same thing could happen again. I wanted to create my own destiny. This led me to creating Jen Grisanti Consultancy Inc.

EXTERNAL STAKES

When we identify what is the worst that can happen on an external level if we do not achieve our goals, this can fuel us to move toward our goal.

So, if you want to be a working writer. Think about: what is the worst that can happen if you don’t attain this? On an external level, this could mean never being able to buy a home, not being able to put your kids through private school, etc. These are external things that you may want to create the picture of the future that you want. So, when you have them in mind, you can use them to motivate you toward your goal.

THE PAST

Your past is your blueprint for what worked and what did not work. By understanding the choices that you made in your past that led to outcomes you may not have wanted, you can use your knowledge to motivate you in a different direction.

MOVING FORWARD AND EVOLVING

When you go through things like divorce, loss of a job, a breakup, a death, etc., you want to move away from pain and toward pleasure, but you have to heal in order to do this successfully. Part of healing is the recognition that your ego is often what motivates you toward a goal. When we go through loss, we begin to wake up and become more conscious of this. We start to see that the achievement of our goals can be about contribution to the greater good. When we become more aware of this, we are able to utilize this to move us toward our goals while evolving and elevating ourselves to a higher place of consciousness.

The Cast of Medium

How important is it that writers are honest with themselves about their own “all is lost” moments and why?

Your “all is lost” moments give you a reason to start over.  They often represent the end of one story and the beginning of another. So, be open to a new beginning.  With your “all is lost” moment, you have two choices, you can be a victim to the fall or you can become and active hero in your own story. When you rise above the fall, you see the opportunity to begin again and grow.

This is important to writers because understanding their “all is lost” moments gives them something to draw from. My process in working with writers is to first understand the writers’ personal story. I want to understand what has transpired in their life that has given them something to say. I also want to see how accessible they are to their well and the wounds that have happened in their life. I encourage writers to build their writing portfolio around their wounds and their emotional truth. This helps to establish why they are the perfect writer for the stories that they are telling.

Story Line: Finding the Gold in your Story, by Jen Grisanti

At the end of Story Line, you ask, “What message are you sending out?” How important is it for writers to have a message? And why? How do we begin to find our “message”?

Your message defines what you want to say with your story. By understanding what you want to say with your story, your message forms. Sometimes, this is conscious. Sometimes, it is subconscious. I think when you have a clear sense of what you’re trying to say with your story. It helps you to write from a deeper place. This is important because it helps us to feel your story and to see you in the stories that you tell.

You begin to find your message by thinking about your why behind your what. Why do you want to tell your story in the way that you do? What inspired it? What do you want to leave behind with it? What do you want your audience to feel? What is the significance of what you are trying to say? By thinking of these things, you will find your message.

What are some common mistakes you find while reading scripts from emerging writers?

Some of the most common mistakes made by writers are

  • Not creating enough empathy for their lead from the start
  • Not having a powerful enough trigger and dilemma to start their story
  • Having a central character that is more reactive than active
  • Having soft act breaks that don’t end in jeopardy to the goal
  • Not having a strong external/internal stakes arc.

At which point in the writing and editing process should a writer approach you for your help?

I work with writers at all levels. I like working with writers from concept, to outline to script. It allows me to really help them work through their creative process.

I also love working with writers when they finish their scripts. They do not need to have their script in perfect shape before they come to me. They can send it to me when they finish their first draft. This allows us to really dive into the work.

I also have writers come to me that want to redevelop a pilot that they did in the past. I love doing this as well.

The best point to turn to a consultant is when you know that you want to take your script to the next level and you’re ready to do the work. Or, you know that you have a strong idea, but you don’t know how to execute it in the strongest way possible.

David Krumholtz as Charlie Eppes in Numb3rs

What should an aspiring writer do everyday to get to the employable/professional level?

They should take action. When you write down the goals in your life just as you write down the goals in your story, think of all of the actions that you can take toward the goal.

Five actions that writers can take everyday are:

  • Write.
  • Live your life to the fullest so that you have something to write about.
  • Absorb the world around you and soak in the messages.
  • Read scripts, read books, read newspapers, read trade papers.
  • Watch the news and documentaries.

When is a script “good enough” to make the rounds? Enter contests, fellowships, submit to agents, etc.

This is where the writer has to trust the intuition. You have to trust when it is ready. In my experience, this takes writing and rewriting through several drafts. It takes sending it out to a professional and receiving strong feedback.  It is all about doing the work to get your story where it needs to be. When you’ve received strong feedback from a number of sources, trust that the script is ready.

Bottom line is that there will always be development that can be done. However, you can get it to the strongest place possible based on the skills that you have.

What film(s) and TV show(s) do you think have a well-crafted screenplay?

FAVORITE TV SHOWSLuther

The Good Wife

Homeland

Masters Of Sex

The Americans

The Blacklist

Scandal

House Of Cards

Mad Men

Breaking Bad

The Wire

FAVORITE FILMSThe Lives Of Others

The King’s Speech

The Imitation Game

Birdman

Whiplash

Guardians Of The Galaxy

The Intouchables

American Beauty

Good Will Hunting

Braveheart

Up In The Air

Crazy, Stupid Love

Ulrich Mühe as Hauptmann Gerd Wiesler in The Lives of Others

What’s the biggest piece of advice you can give to an aspiring screenwriter?

Write. Live. Meditate. Visualize. Believe.

And what’s the biggest piece of advice you’ve received as a writer?

When I was writing my first book, the best advice I received was to look at my table of contents. Then, think of a conversation that I’d want to have about the title of each chapter. This advice was pivotal for me.

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BIBLE FORMULA

by on Jul.08, 2015, under Featured, Personal tips

BIBLE FORMULA

  • Explanation for the Title of Your Pilot.
  • Series log line and a brief paragraph describing your Pilot.
  • Pilot Log Line – Write a log line for your pilot (Summary of the A story.)
  • The Show – Describe your Pilot in a page of detail.
  • The Format -Describe what your show will be. Is it an action/adventure show? Is it a character drama? Is it a police procedural? Is it a medical or legal show? Is there humor? What will the balance of story be in each episode? For example, if you’re writing a legal show, will it be more about the case or more about the personal?
  • The Philosophy -Go into a deeper explanation of your concept and what your audience can expect from it.
  • The Characters -Write a paragraph or up to a page on each character.
  • Supporting Characters – Write a brief paragraph for each supporting/recurring role.
  • Character Dynamics – Give a paragraph about the primary relationships that are part of the inside story.
  • Formula – Give an idea of the story formula with regards to the A and B story arcs.
  • Themes – Go into the over
  • The On -Going Sets – Write down what your regular sets/locations will be.

Where will the majority of story take place?

  • The Pilot Story – Write a longer description/overview of the Pilot story.
  • Future Story Arcs – Write a line about the “A” and the “B” story for your first 13 episodes.
  • Overview – Give an overview of your series arcs for seasons 1, 2 and 3.
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FRIDAY NIGHT DRINKS/SOCIAL ON FRIDAY AUGUST 7, 2015

by on Jul.08, 2015, under events, Featured

Friday Night Social ~ August 7, 2015

 

Event Date: Friday, August 7, 2015  || 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.  

NEW LOCATION THIS MONTH ~ Please see below for details

IMPORTANT:

Please REGISTER before 10:00 pm on Thursday, August 6, 2015.

 

register_button

 

This month’s Friday Night Social is a free event being held at Rock & Reilly’s Barrel Room.   Please join Jennifer Grisanti and SWN at this new location for this month’s Friday Night Social “Networking” event.

Rock & Reilly’s knew it had a good thing going when it opened up its former private events space to the public called The Barrel Room, modeled after a casual Western watering hole located on Sunset Boulevard in West Hollywood.

The Lore Group’s newest Sunset Strip production mixes everything from barrel-aged cocktails by Matt Greene to an approachable set of drinking bites, like pickled hard-boiled eggs, cheese and charcuterie, and more from chef Chris Olsefsky.

Join us at The Barrel Room:

Barrel Room 1

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Barrel Room 2

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Below: Photos from previous events:

FN1

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

FN3

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

FN4

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

FN5

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Event starts at 6:30 pm – Ends at 9:30 pm

(Special thank you to our special guests that attend randomly – you know who you are;  Thank you!)

 

Location:

The Barrel Room

8913 W Sunset Blvd

West Hollywood, CA 90069

Phone # 310.360.1400

(Corner of N. San Vicente Blvd. and Sunset Blvd.)

 


CITY OF SANTA MONICA:
Take the 10 EAST, exit La Cienega Blvd going North. Merge onto San Vicente Blvd. Make a left on Sunset Blvd.

THE VALLEY
Take 405 SOUTH. Exit Sunset going East.

EAST LOS ANGELES
Take 101 NORTH. Exit Sunset going West.

 


Valet parking is available in the front. Multiple parking lots around the area, including one behind Pearl’s off of Clark St. Plenty of street metered parking.

 

Admission:

FREE to attend.  Pay for your own food, cocktails & parking.

**Check in with us at the entrance to receive your name tags for networking.

**Complimentary finger food / Nachos will be provided for our Networking Group!

 

 

Happy Networking!

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by on Jul.01, 2015, under Featured, Motivation

 

 Brianne Hogan

Meet the Reader: Jen Grisanti

Meet the Reader: Jen Grisanti

“Our wounds are the well we should draw from.” Consultant and writing instructor Jen Grisanti discusses the key concepts of a great script, and why movies and TV matter.

By Brianne Hogan.

Jen Grisanti

Jen Grisanti has always been fascinated with film and TV. For her, it was the escapism and wish fulfillment of it all that ignited her love for story.

“I remember seeing The Hardy Boys when Joe Hardy’s girlfriend, Jamie, died. I still remember the song “If” by Bread that played. The story stuck with me because of the way that it made me feel.”

It’s her dedication to emotional resonance that makes Grisanti such a sought-after script consultant. Her two books, Story Line: Finding the Gold In Your Story, and Change Your Story, Change Your Life: A Path to Success, illustrate her passion for helping writers grow from their own personal narrative as they align their personal and professional selves.

A former assistant to Aaron Spelling, Grisanti climbed the ranks and eventually ran Current Programs at Spelling Television Inc., covering all of Spelling’s shows including Beverly Hills, 90210, and Charmed. In 2004, Jen was promoted to Vice President of Current Programs at CBS/Paramount where she covered shows including Medium, Numb3rs, and NCIS. In 2008, she launched her own consultancy firm, and when she not’s busy helping talented writers break into the industry, she’s also a writing instructor for NBC’s Writers on the Verge. This year alone, she’s participating in The Big Island Film Festival, The TV Writers’ Summit, The Story Expo, Comic Con, Wonder Con, and The Great American Pitchfest.

Despite her hectic schedule, Creative Screenwriting was able to catch up with Grisanti to discuss what she loves most about her job, the key concepts of a great script, and why movies and TV matter.

Shaun Cassidy as Joe Hardy and Parker Stevensen as Frank Hardy in The Hardy Boys

Why do movies and TV matter?

Movies and TV matter because they often share a strong message about the human experience. They bring us to a higher place of consciousness with better understanding the hero’s journey.  Through story, we see that everyone faces obstacles on their way to a goal. We see and root for the hero to get over his/her obstacles. This transforms the way that we see obstacles in our own lives. It helps us to understand how to be more engaged in our own lives and more active heroes in our own stories.

How did you get into the script consulting business?

I got into the script consulting business when I hit a crossroads in my life. I had been a studio executive at two sister companies for over 15 years when I was told that my contract was not being picked up for another term. This happened on the heels of a professional disagreement. I was a VP at the time and in mid-pursuit of what I thought was my career destiny, running a studio.  I was forced to redefine my path. In the moment, I thought that this pitfall was one of the worst things that could happen, but it ended up being one of the best things that could have happened. It took that moment of loss for me to realize and take steps toward founding a business built on the things I loved most about working in film and TV: working with writers, and developing story.

I had to go through an exploration of: if I wasn’t Jen Grisanti the studio executive, who was I? I’d done my job diligently for 15 years. I’d fully committed to the process. In the moment I found out my contract wasn’t being renewed, it felt like my dream was taken from me. I knew that I could continue to climb the ladder at other companies. I also knew that if I did that, I’d be putting my destiny back into someone else’s hands. At this point in my professional life, I knew that I had a strong reputation and that the community empathized with my loss. Since I had staffed many writers and loved that about my work, I knew that I wanted to find a new way to be of value to that community, one that could be on my own terms.

Aaron Spelling

So, I went to CAA and spoke with their business development people. CAA had represented Aaron Spelling, who was my mentor for 12 years before he passed away. I told CAA about a software idea, and an idea for a writers’ consultancy. They liked both ideas. They recommended that I do the writers’ consultancy first and get known as an entrepreneur in addition to being a studio executive. They also recognized that I had successfully staffed over 15 primetime shows and that my experience had value to the market.

I had the good fortune of having my contract paid out so I had the money to start my own business. I knew that it was now or never. So, even though, it was in the middle of the writers’ strike in 2008, I jumped off the biggest cliff of my career and started Jen Grisanti Consultancy Inc. The writers’ strike actually worked for my business. On the day of my launch, I sent my new website out to 900 people from my Rolodex. I received 175 emails in those first 24 hours. During the first week, I booked 20 meetings. This was the start of a beautiful new journey. I began to see that by building a business around my strength, story development, I was doing what I loved, and I was helping to facilitate writers’ dreams.

When I started my business, I recognized that my success would depend on the results that I got. I meditated on and visualized my clients getting results. Over the past 7 years, I’ve had over 55 of the writers that I’ve worked with get staffed. I’ve had 31 sell pilots, 5 of which have gone to series.

With this experience, I turned what I once thought was my “all is lost” moment into a trigger that would propel me to blaze a path with passion for doing what I loved the most, developing story.

www.jengrisanti.com

What do you love about: a) your job in general, and b) script reading, in particular?

One of the many things that I love the most about my job is seeing the arc of growth of the writer. I love to see how when I introduce them to new tools it can make a massive difference in the way that they approach story. There is nothing more rewarding than when you come across a writer who sees and embraces the process and understands it in a way that brings their writing to a whole new level. This is when results happen.

I love having the flexibility to do what I love and to do it with people that are driven by the same passion for story that I have.

What I love about script reading is that you can take any story and elevate it so that it is the best that it can be. As a Current Programs executive, it was my job to make story the best that it could be before it hit the air. So, you could take a script that wasn’t very strong and move it to the strongest place that it could be so that the show could be a success. I approach reading the scripts of my clients in the same way. I think about them as something that could very possibly someday be on the air. I use the knowledge and expertise that I gained from some of the top talent in the business to help get writers to where they need to be so that their success can happen.

The great thing about being a writer is that you can write your way into a job. An actor or a director doesn’t have this power. So, as a consultant to writers, I understand that the only thing between the writer and their working career is a story that hits it out of the ballpark. This fuels my passion for script reading.

Who do you usually consult for?

I work with writers at all levels.  I work with newer writers as well as working writers from staff to Co-Executive Producer level. I think that a large part of this is due to the fact that I staffed over 15 shows. I developed a creative trust with writers that have worked with me in the past and valued my feedback.

Writers contact me when they’re building their writing portfolio, when they’ve sold or are about to sell a pilot and want to make sure that it’s the best that it can be, when they are staffed and they want to write another great pilot or spec script that will keep their career going, when they are staffed and they want to stay staffed, etc.

Ian Ziering as Steve Sanders and Jason Priestley as Brandon Walsh in Beverly Hills 90210 (1990)

What is your process like when you sit down with a script for the first time? What are you looking for?

When I read a script for the first time, I begin by reading it once through just to know what the story is and where it’s going. Then, I read it a second time and make my notes. I often read it a third time to make sure that I covered all the bases and to see if anything else comes to mind that will help to elevate the story.

What I look for is strong structure and elevated emotion. I want to feel the inner story as well as the external story.  With the opening, there should be a powerful question that comes out of it. I want to be dying to know the answer to this question. If written well, the resolution will answer this question. I look for strong internal and external stakes. I look for a well-crafted personal dilemma that is connected to the professional pursuit. I look for whether or not I feel the story and understand what the writer is trying to say with it.

What are the key components that make up a great script?

The components of a great script are:

  • Set up of World and life before the trigger incident
  • A Strong series trigger and dilemma (this is for the TV pilot script)
  • A strong pilot trigger, dilemma and pursuit that are strongly linked to the series dilemma.
  • The central character should take an action in each act toward the goal, hit an obstacle and there should be a reminder of the stakes.
  • A strong external and internal stakes arc.
  • Strong act breaks that end on an obstacle due to an action that the central character took toward the goal.
  • The voice of the writer. I want to feel what they’re trying to say with the story.
  • A strong link between the “all is lost” moment and the action that the central character takes at the top act that leads toward the achievement of the goal.
  • A symbolic moment when the goal is achieved.
  • A resolution that answers the question coming out of the opening dilemma.

The Cast of Charmed

I read that when you work with writers, you discuss emotional well-being and assisting with the emotional work to heal. What does that entail, and how does that help them with their writing?

I do a ton of work with the wound/wounds of the writer. Our wounds are the well we should draw from. These moments are where our voice lives. So, I do a lot of work with writers on accessing their wounds and then drawing their emotional truth from these wounds and discussing how they can add fiction to it in their writing. This is a very big part of the process I teach. I believe that if you don’t know how to access your wounds, you are not writing from your core and your soul. As strange as it may sound, the parts of ourselves that make us the most unique are what connect us to each other in a universal way. If you understand your wounds, the audience will better connect with what you’re trying to say with the stories that you tell.

I have had tremendous breakthroughs with helping writers to understand their wounds. When writers understand how to integrate their wounds into their writing, they suddenly write that pilot script that hits it out of the ballpark and gets sold or gets them staffed.

I believe that our wounds are the key to our success in story and in life. When you lead with the wound, connection happens.

You discuss in your books moving from ego to spirit. How does this apply in TV or feature films?

At the beginning of story, the hero often wants to achieve the goal for ego related reasons. It is only after he/she hits several obstacles on the way to the goal that they become humbled. When the hero is humbled by their obstacles, the achievement of their goal takes on a deeper meaning. They wake up to the fact that the achievement of the goal isn’t just about them, it’s about contributing to the greater good.

In Story Line: Finding Gold In Your Life Story, I write about Ryan’s character from the film Up In the Air.

Ryan wants to achieve a goal at the beginning of the story for ego related reasons. He doesn’t want to stop flying because this means that he’ll lose his single lifestyle, and it threatens his belief in going through life with an empty backpack. After hitting hurdles and being humbled by them, Ryan understands that his belief no longer serves him. This marks his movement from ego to spirit. At the midpoint, Natalie tells him that he puts himself in a “cocoon of self-banishment.” Then, he goes to see his sister and tells her that he will walk her down the aisle. She tells him that she already has someone walking her down the aisle. He goes to see Alex, his love interest, and discovers that she’s married and has a family. These actions reflect his growth of moving from ego to spirit.

We see through the theme of detachment how Ryan moves from ego to spirit. It is symbolically shown with the visual of the empty backpack that Ryan uses at his motivational talks to help communicate his philosophy.  This becomes clear by lines such as: “The slower we move, the faster we die.”  It helps us understand why Ryan thinks and feels the way that he does.  It also explores the idea of mortality.  We learn through the story how being “grounded,” or shall we say being “attached,” represents the beginning of the end for Ryan.  Through the story, we see Ryan go from fully believing in his philosophy of being detached to beginning to see the value of commitment.  This is articulated visually and symbolically when we see that Ryan is no longer able to give his talk with his empty backpack.  He no longer believes in his own philosophy.  Another strong visual symbol that connects us to his journey is the cardboard figures he carries around of his sister and her fiancé to take pictures with in different locations.  It’s like Ryan was carrying his biggest fear with him: the idea of commitment.  When he gets to their wedding and thinks that he’s done this miraculous thing by taking all these pictures in different locations as a way to show his sister that he does care, he’s disappointed to see that there are hundreds of other pictures that people took that made his contribution seem small in comparison.  It was a reminder to him of what could be.  The beauty of this symbolism is that it helps us to understand who Ryan is and why he acts the way that he does.

Geory Clooney as Ryan Bingham, in Up in the Air

One of my favorite exercises in Story Line was identifying my Universal Life Moments. Can you talk about what they are, and what makes them so vital to the stories we tell?

A “universal life moment” is a moment when your world turns upside down and your sense of reality, as you know it, shifts.  Often times, this is an “all is lost” moment.  Your life has changed.  You are put in a position of choice.  You can take action, or you can choose to stay where you are, but either way, your reality will never be the same again.

Universal life moments, if you learn how to use them in your writing, are the glue that connects you to your audience. They are where your voice lives. We are often wounded during our universal life moments. Your wounds give you something to say. This is when you start to feel and understand your emotional truth. Your emotional truth is your gold as a writer. It is what separates and defines you from all other writers. It is your unique thumbprint.

Change Your Story, Change Your Life, by Jen Grisanti

Could you illustrate the five components that you discuss in your book, Change Your Story, Change Your Life: A Path To Your Success, with regards to motivation? I think it’s an essential piece of a character’s journey, but I find that it can be difficult to understand and/or tackle.

The Five Components are

  • Desire
  • Wound & Flaw
  • External Stakes
  • The Past
  • Moving Forward and Evolving

DESIRE

The first part of motivation is being able to understand what you want. What is your life goal? Many writers have trouble writing goals for their central characters because they don’t know what they want in their own life. When you understand desire, you understand what you want.

WOUND & FLAW

I do a lot of work with writers on understanding their wounds. When you understand your wounds, you understand your voice. This is pivotal in your success as a writer. I recently worked with a writer who told me that she always tends to write toward the teen audience. I asked her why this was, what was her wound? She immediately responded, “My wound is emotional abandonment.” She went on to say that her mother had too many kids too soon. Two of her siblings were diagnosed with Aspergers. Her mom was in denial about this. So, this forced the writer to be the parent to her siblings at a young age. I started to ask her about the other scripts in her portfolio. She suddenly realized that all of her scripts had the theme of emotional abandonment. So, by her understanding her wound and the flaws that came from it like pleasing people, she was able to build the stories that she tells around this.

When you understand your wounds and your flaws in your own life and the lives of the people around you, you are able to write them for your characters. Our wounds are part of what motivates us toward a goal. This goes with the idea of moving toward pleasure and away from pain.

When I lost my job, the wound that motivated me was the recognition that if I went to work for someone else on the next tier of the corporate ladder, my destiny would once again be in someone else’s hands, and the same thing could happen again. I wanted to create my own destiny. This led me to creating Jen Grisanti Consultancy Inc.

EXTERNAL STAKES

When we identify what is the worst that can happen on an external level if we do not achieve our goals, this can fuel us to move toward our goal.

So, if you want to be a working writer. Think about: what is the worst that can happen if you don’t attain this? On an external level, this could mean never being able to buy a home, not being able to put your kids through private school, etc. These are external things that you may want to create the picture of the future that you want. So, when you have them in mind, you can use them to motivate you toward your goal.

THE PAST

Your past is your blueprint for what worked and what did not work. By understanding the choices that you made in your past that led to outcomes you may not have wanted, you can use your knowledge to motivate you in a different direction.

MOVING FORWARD AND EVOLVING

When you go through things like divorce, loss of a job, a breakup, a death, etc., you want to move away from pain and toward pleasure, but you have to heal in order to do this successfully. Part of healing is the recognition that your ego is often what motivates you toward a goal. When we go through loss, we begin to wake up and become more conscious of this. We start to see that the achievement of our goals can be about contribution to the greater good. When we become more aware of this, we are able to utilize this to move us toward our goals while evolving and elevating ourselves to a higher place of consciousness.

The Cast of Medium

How important is it that writers are honest with themselves about their own “all is lost” moments and why?

Your “all is lost” moments give you a reason to start over.  They often represent the end of one story and the beginning of another. So, be open to a new beginning.  With your “all is lost” moment, you have two choices, you can be a victim to the fall or you can become and active hero in your own story. When you rise above the fall, you see the opportunity to begin again and grow.

This is important to writers because understanding their “all is lost” moments gives them something to draw from. My process in working with writers is to first understand the writers’ personal story. I want to understand what has transpired in their life that has given them something to say. I also want to see how accessible they are to their well and the wounds that have happened in their life. I encourage writers to build their writing portfolio around their wounds and their emotional truth. This helps to establish why they are the perfect writer for the stories that they are telling.

Story Line: Finding the Gold in your Story, by Jen Grisanti

At the end of Story Line, you ask, “What message are you sending out?” How important is it for writers to have a message? And why? How do we begin to find our “message”?

Your message defines what you want to say with your story. By understanding what you want to say with your story, your message forms. Sometimes, this is conscious. Sometimes, it is subconscious. I think when you have a clear sense of what you’re trying to say with your story. It helps you to write from a deeper place. This is important because it helps us to feel your story and to see you in the stories that you tell.

You begin to find your message by thinking about your why behind your what. Why do you want to tell your story in the way that you do? What inspired it? What do you want to leave behind with it? What do you want your audience to feel? What is the significance of what you are trying to say? By thinking of these things, you will find your message.

What are some common mistakes you find while reading scripts from emerging writers?

Some of the most common mistakes made by writers are

  • Not creating enough empathy for their lead from the start
  • Not having a powerful enough trigger and dilemma to start their story
  • Having a central character that is more reactive than active
  • Having soft act breaks that don’t end in jeopardy to the goal
  • Not having a strong external/internal stakes arc.

At which point in the writing and editing process should a writer approach you for your help?

I work with writers at all levels. I like working with writers from concept, to outline to script. It allows me to really help them work through their creative process.

I also love working with writers when they finish their scripts. They do not need to have their script in perfect shape before they come to me. They can send it to me when they finish their first draft. This allows us to really dive into the work.

I also have writers come to me that want to redevelop a pilot that they did in the past. I love doing this as well.

The best point to turn to a consultant is when you know that you want to take your script to the next level and you’re ready to do the work. Or, you know that you have a strong idea, but you don’t know how to execute it in the strongest way possible.

David Krumholtz as Charlie Eppes in Numb3rs

What should an aspiring writer do everyday to get to the employable/professional level?

They should take action. When you write down the goals in your life just as you write down the goals in your story, think of all of the actions that you can take toward the goal.

Five actions that writers can take everyday are:

  • Write.
  • Live your life to the fullest so that you have something to write about.
  • Absorb the world around you and soak in the messages.
  • Read scripts, read books, read newspapers, read trade papers.
  • Watch the news and documentaries.

When is a script “good enough” to make the rounds? Enter contests, fellowships, submit to agents, etc.

This is where the writer has to trust the intuition. You have to trust when it is ready. In my experience, this takes writing and rewriting through several drafts. It takes sending it out to a professional and receiving strong feedback.  It is all about doing the work to get your story where it needs to be. When you’ve received strong feedback from a number of sources, trust that the script is ready.

Bottom line is that there will always be development that can be done. However, you can get it to the strongest place possible based on the skills that you have.

What film(s) and TV show(s) do you think have a well-crafted screenplay?

FAVORITE TV SHOWS

Luther

The Good Wife

Homeland

Masters Of Sex

The Americans

The Blacklist

Scandal

House Of Cards

Mad Men

Breaking Bad

The Wire

FAVORITE FILMS

The Lives Of Others

The King’s Speech

The Imitation Game

Birdman

Whiplash

Guardians Of The Galaxy

The Intouchables

American Beauty

Good Will Hunting

Braveheart

Up In The Air

Crazy, Stupid Love

Ulrich Mühe as Hauptmann Gerd Wiesler in The Lives of Others

What’s the biggest piece of advice you can give to an aspiring screenwriter?

Write. Live. Meditate. Visualize. Believe.

And what’s the biggest piece of advice you’ve received as a writer?

When I was writing my first book, the best advice I received was to look at my table of contents. Then, think of a conversation that I’d want to have about the title of each chapter. This advice was pivotal for me.

 

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THE GREAT AMERICAN PITCHFEST/SCRIPTFEST LINK

by on May.30, 2015, under Featured, Motivation

If you were at my presentation at the GAPF, here is the LINK.

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BIG ISLAND FILM FESTIVAL CLIFFSNOTES LINK

by on May.21, 2015, under Featured, Motivation

http://tinyurl.com/BIFF2015jg

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DO YOU HAVE WHAT IT TAKES TO GET INTO A WRITING PROGRAM?

by on May.19, 2015, under Featured, Motivation, Personal tips

It is that time of year when writers from all over the country apply to the studio and network writing programs. I am the Writing Instructor for Writers on the Verge at NBC and have been for the last eight years. I am also a former 12-year studio executive. I’ve seen what it takes to get into these programs. I help to groom writers in this direction with my writers’ consultancy, Jen Grisanti Consultancy Inc. I’ve had writers get into every program. It all comes down to how you sell and tell your story.

I wanted to share 5 tips with writers to think about while submitting to these programs.

  1. Submit your script on time.
  2. Review your script with professionals
  3. Understand your voice in your script as well as your meetings.
  4. Have anecdotes that give us a glimpse into your worldview and show us what sets you apart.
  5. Trust and Believe.

Submit Your Scripts On Time – I’ve had countless writers send me emails at the time of the submission deadline saying that they can’t submit due to technical problems. Do not wait until the last minute of the deadline. I recommend submitting at least a day or two before the deadline. You don’t want to put all of your time and energy into the possibility and then have it go away because you didn’t get it in on time. When you are a working writer, being on time in the room and with your deadlines is everything. So, start with being on time with your submission.

Review Your Script With Professionals – I highly recommend that you have professionals review your script/scripts. This could be in the form of a script consultant. Or, you may have a friend who is an executive at the studio, a manager or an agent. Or you may know an assistant to an agent/manager/executive or showrunner that reads scripts for a living. If so, have them take a look. A writers group is also a great place to have your script reviewed. Going to a copywriter is also a great thing to do if you struggle with grammar/spelling. Put your best foot forward.

Understand Your Voice In Your Script As Well As your Meetings – What are you trying to say with the stories in your script? Be prepared to talk about this. How do you describe your voice? Do you utilize your voice in all the stories you tell? Know how to sell and tell your story. Think about how you can use your voice in meetings. If you do make it to the round where you get a call or a meeting, be prepared. Go in with intention. What are three things that you want them to know about you? What are three things that you want to know about them and/or the program? With meetings, recognize that we want it to work as much as you do it. If you’re being singled out for a meeting, it is because they responded to your material. Own this. Be confident. Recognize your worth. Sell Your Passion.

Have Anecdotes That Give Us A Glimpse Into Your Worldview and Show Us What Sets You Apart – Mine your stories from within. What has happened in your life that makes you want to write? What are your wounds? What makes you feel isolated? What are your pivotal life moments that turned your world upside down and gave you something to say? What are some of the interesting things that have happened that contribute to who you are now and what message you have to deliver? Think about the trigger incidents and dilemmas that have happened in your life. What road did you take? What are some of the universal moments that you’ve gone through? These don’t have to be huge. Think of the smaller moments that we all connect with.

Trust and Believe – If you are meant to get into the writing programs, you will. If this is not your destiny this time around, apply again next year. Know that this is not the only way to become a working writer. It all comes down to your work. There are many writers that I staffed when I was a studio executive that did not come through the programs. It all comes down to the strength of your story and how you tell it and sell it on the page and in the room. Trust in your voice. Believe in your gift. Try not to take actions that get in your own way. Meditate. Visualize. How does it feel? What emotions come up? See yourself attaining everything that you want as a writer. Trust and believe in this outcome.

When you understand how to tell and sell your story on the page and in the room, things will open up. Writing is a journey. Success does not happen overnight. There is a tremendous amount of work that goes into the moment when it all connects. Don’t be afraid to do the work. Recognize what actions to take that will lead you to your desired outcome. Let your passion guide you. Recognize that the door has opened for others and it can open for you. You have to develop and have the confidence to walk through it.

 

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FRIDAY NIGHT SOCIAL/DRINKS JUNE 5, 2015

by on May.13, 2015, under events, Featured

Friday Night Social ~ June 5, 2015

 

Event Date: Friday, June 5, 2015  || 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.  

NEW LOCATION THIS MONTH ~ Please see below for details

IMPORTANT:

Please REGISTER before 10:00 pm on Thursday, June 4, 2015.

 

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This month’s Friday Night Social is a free event being held at Pearl’s Sunset Strip.   Please join Jennifer Grisanti and SWN at this new location, the entire first floor, for this month’s Friday Night Social “Networking” event.

Pearl’s Sunset Strip is a bar and restaurant located on Sunset Boulevard in West Hollywood. Known for its menu of decadent cocktails, delicious foods, unique decor and stunning rooftop decks.   Two levels at this location with each level having its own bar and restrooms to make it truly private.

Pearl’s provides a great experience to its guests.   This hidden gem, under new management, is at a great location on Sunset Boulevard,  walkable to everything West Sunset worth going to.

 

Join us at Pearl’s Sunset Strip:

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(Visiting Pearl’s Sunset Strip, Co-Sponsors of this event ~ (R) Jennifer Grisanti of Jen Grisanti Consultancy & (L) Melessa Y. Sargent, President of SWN)

Below: Photos from events at Pearl’s.

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Starts at 6:30 pm – Ends at 9:30 pm

 

Location:

PEARL’S SUNSET STRIP

8909 W Sunset Boulevard

West Hollywood, California 90069

Phone # 310.360.6800

(Corner of N. San Vicente Blvd. and Sunset Blvd.)

 


CITY OF SANTA MONICA:
Take the 10 EAST, exit La Cienega Blvd going North. Merge onto San Vicente Blvd. Make a left on Sunset Blvd.

THE VALLEY
Take 405 SOUTH. Exit Sunset going East.

EAST LOS ANGELES
Take 101 NORTH. Exit Sunset going West.

 


Valet parking is available in the front. Multiple parking lots around the area, including one behind Pearl’s off of Clark St. Plenty of street metered parking.

 

Admission:

FREE to attend.  Pay for your own food, cocktails & parking.

**Happy Hour specials til 7:00 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!

 

pearls_logo

 

Happy Networking!

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UNDERSTANDING THE WOUND LEADS TO SUCCESS IN FICTION AND IN LIFE

by on Apr.21, 2015, under Featured, Motivation

I am a story and career consultant for writers. Many writers face the challenge of how to elevate the emotional component of their story. If we are not connecting to your story on an emotional level, the story doesn’t work. One way to elevate the emotion in your story is to understand the significance of the wound. I often tell writers to think about the wound that is driving the central character and the flaw that gets in the way. By understanding how the pursuit is one step toward healing the wound, the story takes on a whole new level emotionally. The wound is what creates empathy and a rooting factor for the protagonist. If the wound is in place, it will add fuel to your pursuit and elevate your story to a whole new level. Understand the wound.

In fiction, when this is done well, we connect on a universal level with what is driving the character. In the pilot for The Good Wife, we see the wound up front when we learn that Peter, Alicia’s husband who holds a political office, is part of a sex scandal that leads him to jail. We see how Alicia responds to this. Her personal dilemma is that she has to publicly face the world when everyone knows that her husband cheated on her in order to bring security back to her family. This is the fuel behind her professional pursuit. This creates the question, what does a woman do to bring security back to her family after her husband commits a crime and goes to jail? The answer to this question is the series. She returns to a law career that she abandoned 13 years before. We understand the personal stakes due to her wound. To add more stakes, we learn that Alicia and another new lawyer, Carey, are up for one spot at the firm. So, we know that every time Alicia hits an obstacle in the case, what is at stake personally is her family’s security. What is at stake professionally is if she loses, she could lose a chance to solidify a spot for herself in the firm. All of this stems from her wound. To add another element, we learn that Alicia has a history with Will, the partner at the firm who is giving her a shot despite her not practicing for 13 years. Their romantic history, combined with Alicia’s wound, adds a whole other layer to this concept. Alicia’s wound is a significant part of what drives this series.

In the movie, The Imitation Game, the pursuit happens when Alan, an expert puzzle solver, is hired by the British government to work on a team whose secret project is to break what is largely seen as the unbreakable secret code behind the Nazis’ communications machine, Enigma. If the British can crack the code it would give the Allies a significant advantage and possibly even end the war. Alan has to get the funding for a machine that he wants to build. Alan’s wound gets established when we learn through a series of flashbacks about an experience that happened when he was a youth attending boarding school. Even then, he is seen as being different. and is bullied because of it. His only real friend at the school is Christopher Morcom, and their friendship/unrequited love are cut short by Christopher’s death due to illness. “Christopher” is what Alan ends up naming his code-breaking machine. Making “Christopher” work also represents Alan’s recognition of their secret love. As Oscar Wilde wrote, “the love that dares not speak its name.” So, because of this, we understand some of the emotional fuel behind Alan’s the professional pursuit.

In the movie, Birdman, we see part the wound upfront with the conflict between how Riggan sees himself and how the world sees him. Riggan is a washed up actor who tries to reclaim his fame on Broadway with a new play. Riggan has an issue that gets in his way of success. The other deep part of his wound is the dysfunctional relationship that Riggan shares with his daughter, Sam, who he has hired to be his production assistant and who has just come out of drug rehab. As this is happening he has to handle a new lead actor and try to rekindle his relationship with his daughter. But most importantly he has to escape the shadow of the popular superhero he used to play, Birdman, in order to be taken seriously as an artist. Part of the fuel with Riggan’s emotional pursuit is in getting Sam to see him in the light that he wants to be seen. This stems from a regret that he has starting with the moment that Sam was born and how he wasn’t present in the way that he wanted to be present due to his pursuit of fame. This wound is very universal. It elevates the emotion in the story.

In life, the wound can also be a tremendous fuel in our professional pursuit. In my own story, one of my wounds was caused by losing a job after 15 years with two sister companies. My fear was that everything that I learned from iconic mentors and the voice that I found in giving story notes was no longer going to have value. This wound is what fueled my pursuit of creating Jen Grisanti Consultancy, writing three books, and speaking about story around the world. My wound was my fuel. It was my personal dilemma that played a significant role in my professional pursuit.

Recently, I met with a writer. We worked on a spec script together. She started to tell me that most of her scripts are toward the teen audience. I asked her if she knew what her wound was. She immediately responded and said that her wound was emotional abandonment. She shared the story of a mother who had too many kids too soon. Two of her siblings were diagnosed with things that her mother was in denial about. So, she was forced to be the parent. I asked her about her other scripts. She suddenly realized that most of them had arcs dealing with emotional abandonment and this led her to connect with the teen audience. I loved this! It all came from her wound. You can build success through understanding your wound.

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