by on Nov.17, 2016, under events, Featured

This is a 10-week program designed to help you write a high quality TV pilot AND spec script. In 10-weeks, I will teach you how to learn to write at a level that will help lead your script to a sale, get staffed on a show, place in a writing competition or get into one of the various writing programs. This course is everything that I teach in Writers on the Verge and more.

Last year we had over 100 writer participants from all over the world. You will not only learn all of the story tools that you need to succeed, you will gain the opportunity to be in a private community of writers. This community is a very valuable resource. You all will have the opportunity to learn from one another via networking, exchanging scripts and possibly starting your own writer groups.

I’ve seen the success from this course first-hand. Many of the writers who have taken this 10-week course have gone on to sell pilots, get staffed on TV shows and get into several of the prestigious writing programs. Forty-One of my writers have sold pilots… and 5 of them have gone to series.

Each class will consist of a half-hour of instruction (you will receive these videos before each class to watch at your leisure.) Each call is approximately 2 – 2 ½ hours in length. On each call, we will go over the notes for the 4 writers participating at Level #3 and I will choose one writer from Level 2 or Level 4 each week to participate. You will have an opportunity to read their scripts and make your own notes each week. You will also get to share your notes with those writers directly. This is what we do in Writers on the Verge. It is a way to prepare you for being in the Writers’ Room. Then, five people that sign up each week will get an opportunity to pitch to a guest speaker. We all learn from hearing others pitch. This part of the program was designed to help you learn from the pitching style of others as well as give you the opportunity to pitch yourself. It’s an invaluable tool. Every level will have an opportunity to sign up for this.


At Level 1, you get to participate in all 10 classes. You will receive a recording of the classes. You will have an opportunity to sign up to pitch to my weekly guest speakers. You get to be part of a private Facebook community. You will also get to turn in a 1-2 page pitch document on your TV spec and TV pilot script. You will receive written feedback. You have up to a year after the course is finished to turn this in.

Regular rate – $375.00


Rate for writers who have taken this before – $225.00




At Level 2, you get to participate in all 10 classes. You will receive a recording of the classes. You will have an opportunity to sign up to pitch to my weekly guest speakers. You get to be part of a private Facebook community. This level also includes a one-on-one consult for your TV spec and/or TV Pilot script.

Level 2 w/ TV Pilot Consult

Regular Rate – $1,050.00


For Alumni of my Storywise Teleseminar – $900.00



Level 2 w/ TV Spec Consult

Regular Rate – $875.00



For Alumni of my Storywise Teleseminar – $775.00



Level 2 w/ TV Pilot and Spec Consult

Regular Rate – $1,600.00



For Alumni of my Storywise Teleseminar – $1,275.00




At Level 3, you will receive feedback every week on your TV spec and/or TV pilot script. This includes written and verbal feedback. You will receive a recording of the classes. You will have an opportunity to sign up to pitch to my weekly guest speakers. You get to be part of a private Facebook community.

For the first time, I am going to offer you the option of not writing a TV spec. You can either write one TV pilot during the 10 weeks or you can write 2 TV pilots during the 10 weeks.

There are only 4 SLOTS for this level: two for drama and two for comedy. If you are interested in applying, you will need to submit 10 pages of a script. I will select 4 submissions out of everyone that submits and announce these slots in February. The rate for Level 3 is $3,000.00.

The DEADLINE FOR SUBMISSIONS is February 13, 2017.


At Level 4, you will get to have a private one-on-one consult with me during every week of the Teleseminar. So, each week, you will turn in the assignment and we will meet on the concept, outline and three drafts of your TV spec and/or your TV pilot script.

Regular Rate – $4,100.00

Alumni Rate – $3,700.00


The Level #3 writing assignments will be due the Saturday before each class. Everyone at each level will receive a copy of the assignments turned in by the Level #3 writers so that they may follow along as well as provide notes directly to the Level#3 writer.

Levels #1 and #2, you will do the assignments on your own. No direct feedback is provided; however, this is where you can use the Facebook community of writers to exchange scripts weekly and get feedback.


I will announce the list of guest speakers in February, 2017.


Week 1 – Tuesday March 7, 2017

We will go over the notes for the concepts of the spec scripts for Level #3.

Week 2, Tuesday March 14, 2017

We will go over the notes for the outline of the spec scripts for Level #3.

Week 3, Tuesday March 21, 2017

We will go over the notes for the first draft of the spec scripts for Level #3.

WEEK 4, Tuesday, March 28, 2017

We will go over the notes for the second draft of the spec scripts for Level #3.

WEEK 5, Tuesday, April 4, 2017

We will go over the notes for the third draft of the spec scripts for Level #3.

WEEK 6, Tuesday, April 11, 2017

We will go over the notes for the concepts for the pilot scripts for Level #3.


WEEK 7, Tuesday April 25, 2017

We will go over the notes for the outlines for the pilot scripts for Level #3.

WEEK 8, Tuesday May 2, 2017

We will go over the notes for the first draft or first half of the first draft of the TV pilot scripts for Level #3.

WEEK 9, Tuesday May 9, 2017

We will go over the notes for the second draft or full-first draft of the TV pilot scripts for Level #3.

WEEK 10, Tuesday May 16, 2017

We will go over the notes for the third draft of the TV pilot scripts for Level #3.

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by on Nov.12, 2016, under events, Featured

The Rocaberti Castle Writers Retreat

July 9th-14th, 2017
Rocaberti Castle, Figueres
(75 miles from Barcelona, Spain)

Making the impossible happen

Have you ever dreamed of writing a novel and seeing it come to life on the silver screen?

Or maybe you’ve already published your book and are wondering about how to turn it into a screenplay?

Seems impossible, right?

Well, the answer, is, NO! Nothing is impossible, and on this one-of-a-kind writer’s retreat at the enchanting 14th century Rocaberti Castle, halfway between Barcelona and the French border, we’ll show you just how your words, your vision—let’s face it, your baby—can make it all the way to the big screen!


The first Rocaberti Retreat, held in March 2016, completely transcended all expectations: out of the eleven writers who attended, one had her script optioned before the end of the retreat (with the deal being brokered on the shuttle back to Barcelona!), two are currently in the midst of negotiations for their script or book to be optioned and deals are in the works for several others … the impossible did happen, and it happened at Rocaberti!

Attendees called the retreat, “A magical, miraculous event” and “Inspirational; transformative”.

Here’s what Georgia Clark, winner of the first Rocaberti Scholarship, said about her Rocaberti experience:

“I was honored to be awarded the scholarship for the inaugural Rocaberti Writers Retreat. My mentor was simply fabulous: experienced, generous, warm, funny and insightful. We made great headway on helping turn my new adult fiction THE REGULARS into a feature film. A once-in-a-lifetime experience, and all in Spain!

Click here for photos from the first retreat


Your Summer 2017 Rocaberti Retreat mentors include Jen Grisanti, former Studio Executive and VP of Current Programs at CBS/Paramount and now a highly sought-after Story and Career Consultant; Max Timm, award-winning novelist and screenwriting instructor, whose work with the International Screenwriters’ Association in connecting writers with industry professionals has resulted in seven writers receiving options and representation in the last year alone; Debra Landwehr Engle, best-selling author with over 25 years’ experience helping writers secure agents and land publishing deals, and novelist and screenwriter Claire Elizabeth Terry, whose original screenplay, 4 Roses, is being filmed this year.

We’ve joined forces because we want to help show you how to bring your “literary twins”—your book and screenplay—to life! Not only how to finish writing them (an art in itself, as anyone who has an unfinished manuscript or screenplay lying around their home will tell you!) but also how to have them successfully published … and made into a movie!

You’ll be part of a small and exclusive group of a maximum of 16 writers at the retreat.
Through focused, practical presentations in the mornings, afternoon mentoring sessions, evening social events—and with a mentor/writer ratio of approximately 1:4—you’ll learn how to tell your story on the page and on the screen, and be one step closer to seeing your dream come to life!



Write. Engage. Experience.


Sound enticing? We’re inviting writers of fiction, non-fiction, and for the screen to come join us for what promises to be a memorable (and productive!) experience. Enrollment is limited to just 16 guests to ensure small class size and maximum access to our mentors.

Picture yourself staying at a 14th century castle (how’s that for inspiration?). Participating in stimulating workshops. Enjoying a glass of wine with a produced screenwriter, film producer or published author. Sharing your work with others for constructive feedback. Just taking the time to breathe—and to write, away from the demands of your daily routine. Imagine the conversations that might unfold daily around the breakfast table or on a walk into the village.

Whether you’ve written a book, are working on a screenplay—or are just thinking about it!—wherever you are in the process, we’re here to help you move forward and show you that dreams can become reality!

This retreat is for you if…

  • You’re working on a book/screenplay combination or have an idea for one.
  • You have a book and want to turn it into a screenplay or vice-versa—or sell it directly to Hollywood.
  • You’re unsure how to get your book/screenplay in front of agents and producers.
  • You’re serious about completing your project and making your dream come true!

The retreat includes…

Expert Tuition
Small group mentoring sessions
All meals and drinks (including alcoholic beverages and snacks)
Five nights’ lodging
Round-trip transportation between Barcelona and Rocaberti Castle
Exclusive access

Reserve my place, and the mentor of my choice, now



The retreat commences the evening of Sunday, July 9th, with welcome cocktails, dinner and then, with a glass of fine Rioja in hand, a group discussion about writing around the fireplace in the castle’s historical salon.


Please reserve my spot at the retreat


Your accommodation

When you go on a retreat to focus on your writing, you want a place which both inspires you and strengthens your commitment to your craft. (And if it happens to make you feel like royalty, while doing so? All the better!)

Which is why we chose the spectacular Rocaberti Castle, just one hour from Barcelona, Spain.

Situated in a traditional Catalan village, this four-story medieval castle offers breathtaking views of the surrounding countryside and hills. Its spiral staircase, stone-carved archways, enclosed courtyard, antique writing desks and hidden window seats all conspire to transport you to a long-forgotten time of inspiration, simplicity and yes, fun!

Each bedroom in the castle is completely unique and we strongly urge you to reserve your place on the retreat early, so that you can book the room of your choice.

All rooms have ensuite bathrooms with either a tub and/or shower, except for two, where the bathroom, although private, is accessed through a separate entrance. When you reserve your spot on the retreat and indicate your preferred room, we’ll contact you to fill you in on the unique details of each room.

Please reserve my place now


Your Rocaberti Retreat Mentors

Please note: our Mentors’ section is in the process of being updated: more mentors to be announced soon!

Jen Grisanti

International speaker Jen Grisanti is an acclaimed Story/Career Consultant at Jen Grisanti Consultancy Inc., Writing Instructor for Writers on the Verge at NBC, former 12-year studio executive, including VP of Current Programming at CBS/Paramount, blogger for The Huffington Post and author of the books, Story Line: Finding Gold In Your Life Story and TV Writing Tool Kit: How To Write a Script That Sells and her new book, Change Your Story, Change Your Life: A Path To Your Success.

Grisanti started her career in 1992 as an assistant to Aaron Spelling, who served as her mentor for 12 years, and she quickly climbed the ranks and eventually ran Current Programs at Spelling Television Inc., covering all of Spelling’s shows including Beverly Hills, 90210, Melrose Place and Charmed. In 2004, Grisanti was promoted to Vice President of Current Programs at CBS/Paramount where she covered numerous shows, including Medium, Numbers, NCIS, 4400 and Girlfriends.

In January 2008, Grisanti launched Jen Grisanti Consultancy Inc., a highly successful consulting firm dedicated to helping talented writers break into the industry. Drawing on her experience as a studio executive where she gave daily notes to executive producers/showrunners, Grisanti personally guides writers to shape their material, hone their pitches and focus their careers. Since launching the consulting firm, Grisanti has worked with over 800 writers specializing in television, features and novels. Due to her expertise and mentorship, seventy-five of her writers have staffed on television shows and forty have sold pilots, five that that went to series.

Menotti (pen name of Roberto Marchionni) works in Rome, has lived in Germany but was born in Italy a long time ago.

He studied Fine Arts in Bologna, Italy, Semiotics in Berlin, Germany and Filmmaking in New York (NYU).

As an award-winning comic book artist, Roberto has worked for Italian and international magazines, such as Frigidaire, Comic Art, Il Manifesto, Cyborg, Mondo Naif and Blue. He also co-created the graphic novel Europa, published by Black Velvet.

As a screenwriter, he’s written several successful TV series, from Un posto al sole to Incantesimo, L’onore e il rispetto, La squadra and 7 Vite.

Besides other short and feature films, Roberto co-wrote Lo chiamavano Jeeg Robot (‘They Call Me Jeeg Robot’), the first Italian superhero film, nominated for best screenplay and winner of seven statuettes at the David di Donatello Awards 2016.

Roberto "Menotti" Marchionni
Deb Engle Rocaberti Writers

Debra Landwehr Engle, our literary expert, has been successfully mentoring writers for the last 20 years and has helped both fiction and nonfiction authors complete their manuscripts, secure agents and land publishing deals.

She is the author of the best-selling The Only Little Prayer You Need: The Shortest Route to a Life of Joy, Abundance and Peace of Mind, which was published by Hampton Roads in October 2014. Thanks to the help of retreat founder and organizer, Claire Elizabeth Terry, her book features a foreword by the Dalai Lama and an endorsement by Archbishop Emeritus Desmond Tutu.

She is also the author of Grace from the Garden: Changing the World One Garden at a Time and the upcoming Let Your Spirit Guides Speak, which will be released in September 2016 by Hampton Roads.

Debra has worked in publishing her entire career, beginning as a newspaper copywriter and Better Homes and Gardens book editor, then starting her own freelance business (much to her father’s chagrin!) just as she was going through a divorce.

Committed to making a living on her own, she went on to build a thriving business, writing hundreds of articles for such national publications as Better Homes and Gardens, Country Home, Country Gardens and other lifestyle magazines. She also has served as project manager on publications for Fortune 500 companies, sharpening her skills in crafting a story for any audience.

These days, Debra combines her love of writing and publishing with her lifelong interest in spirituality. Twelve years ago, she co-founded Tending Your Inner Garden®, a women’s program of personal and spiritual growth, and began teaching classes in A Course in Miracles.

Debra and her husband Bob live in Madison County, Iowa, the location that inspired the literary and film phenomenon, The Bridges of Madison County.

Claire Elizabeth Terry is your Rocaberti Castle Retreat host and moderator and is a British screenwriter, travel writer and novelist.

After graduating, she worked for several years in British theatre, where she fought for, and won, the right to become the first female stage-hand at the Royal National Theatre, London.

Short-listed for the Shiva Naipaul Memorial Prize, Claire has also written for the Rough Guides travel series.

In 2008, Claire conceived, compiled and edited The Art of Living: a Practical Guide to Being Alive, published by Kairós Publishers in both English and Spanish, the profits from which are donated to Green Cross International, the environmental organization founded by Mikhail Gorbachev.

The book includes contributions from Michael Douglas, Desmond Tutu, Jean Shinoda Bolen, Mario Vargas Llosa, Richard Branson, Mikhail Gorbachev and several members of the United Nations’ Alliance of Civilizations.

Claire is also the founder and president of the website and not-for-profit of the same name, The Art of Living Guide. Federico Mayor Zaragoza, the former Director General of UNESCO, sits on the Honorary Board.

She is the screenwriter and co-producer of the upcoming film 4 ROSES, about four friends from all over the world, whose lives are transformed when a rose is secretly drawn for each of the women.

George Parra, the Executive Producer of Silver Linings Playbook, Nebraska, The Descendants and Sideways, is attached to direct.

Claire’s novel of the movie, I Draw Roses was published in 2013.

Claire Terry

Please reserve my place, and the mentor of my choice, now

The retreat is from $4,995 / 4,395€ / £3,495 per person, including sales tax, 5 nights’ accommodation at Rocaberti Castle, all meals and drinks (including alcoholic beverages and snacks), all tuition and round-trip transportation between Barcelona airport and the castle.

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by on Nov.12, 2016, under events, Featured

TV Weekend: Presented by the ISA

Seminar – West Hollywood Brought to you by International Screenwriters’ Association

Regular Registration ends: 01/13/2017
Class Begins: 01/14/2017   Ends: 01/15/2017
Class Time: 9:30 am – (PDT)

FEE: $199 Register For Class

Join us for this ISA Masters Series Seminar where you’ll learn the tools to develop a TV Pilot from concept to pitch, so you can land that studio deal or get staffed on a show. Every writer’s dream is to create longevity in this industry. Let the ISA and our esteemed guests help you! This ISA Masters Series Seminar is sponsored by Nickelodeon.



We kick off the weekend with top TV consultant, Jen Grisanti, who will teach you how to write a TV pilot that sells. Having spent years as a Current Programming Executive, Grisanti knows not only what it takes from a business perspective, but she offers a hands-on, immediately supportive approach to educating writers on what it takes to sell material in this town. After Jen, we will present career consultant and industry expert, Lee Jessup, who will share with you everything you need to know about becoming a working television writer. Lee’s clients continually move from novice, out-of-work screenwriters, to working and career-focused writers who are actually getting paid to do what they love! Both of our guest consultants are offering their expertise for what normally would take most clients weeks, if not months, to learn. Take advantage of their time and insights all in one day! (If you scroll down, you can read all about our fabulous guest consultants.)


On Sunday, veteran consultant and writing expert, Corey Mandell will help you improve your skills to pitch yourself and your ideas, an absolutely essential skill for anyone serious about launching or building a TV writing career. As a TV writer, you are not only attempting to sell a piece of writing, but it’s your responsibility to allow the industry to know who you are on a personal and professional level. Learning how to pitch yourself is just as essential as pitching your project. We will follow Corey’s class with a producer’s panel that will break down and discuss the essentials of presenting your story to the industry, producers, and executives so you know exactly what top producers are looking for in a pitch. Then we will wrap up the day with an interactive pitch event where 10 lucky writers in attendance will get the chance to practice their pitch in front of a panel of industry pros, all of which will give you direct feedback and support.


The skills you’ll learn over this 2-day event will help you turn your good TV script into a great script, and get you ready to pitch and sell at the highest level. This is a highly competitive industry, so let us help you elevate your craft and your career. You can’t afford to miss this!


Open to all storytellers – screenwriters, TV writers, novelists, filmmakers, producers, agents, actors, development executives and more are welcome to attend.


All registrants for TV Weekend will receive The Craft Course ($59 value) for FREE!*


Presented as an online version of the live Master Class hosted by Max Timm in Los Angeles, this course was inspired by his popular writing podcast, The Craft, and will offer you exclusive podcast episodes only online class writers will receive.

Receive immediate access to all lessons, lectures, and audio, and the material provided within this full development screenwriting course will help you build your script, one step at a time. This course allows you to work at your own pace and finish a script in less than 12 weeks!

With the amount of material that is covered in this course, you will not find a more inexpensive course on screenwriting that offers as much as Master the 1st Draft. The International Screenwriters’ Association takes pride in offering services to writers without breaking the bank. Take advantage of what is offered here and we promise you will come away with a stronger draft of your script had you tried to go this route alone.

So jump in and get ready to write!

*Valid only for Craft Course-Online Only, or as a discount from other Craft Courses. A discount code will be emailed to you upon completion of your payment for TV Weekend.

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by on Oct.20, 2016, under events, Featured

Friday Night Social ~ November 4, 2016 ~ NEW LOCATION

Event Date: Friday, November 4, 2016 || Starts at 6:30 pm  || Co-sponsoring with Jennifer Grisanti

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



Please REGISTER before 10:00 pm on Thursday, November 3, 2016. 



This month’s Friday Night Social is being held at The Palomar Hotel’s BLVD 16 Restaurant and Lounge area.   Please join Jennifer Grisanti and SWN at this location for this month’s Friday Night Social “Networking” event.


Your Beverly Hills Restaurant Experience Awaits ~ It’s no secret ~ LA is a foodie’s best friend. Local. Sustainable. Farm-to-fabulous. So it’s more than noteworthy that BLVD 16 restaurant has made a name for itself by hitting all the high notes and then some. That means whether you’re dropping by for dinner or grabbing a tasty small bite after a long flight, prepare to be wowed.

It starts with the freshest ingredients (think organic honeycomb, zucchini flowers and torpedo onions) that Chef Grace Gonzalez interprets with a balance of artful simplicity and genuine LA sizzle, to create a truly memorable experience. And if you’re interested in cocktailing in an inspired setting, here’s our pro tip: enjoy the company of friends or make new ones in our sleekly styled bar where crafty libations infused with fresh juices, house made syrups and top-shelf spirits fuel a delightfully deliciou ~ s experience.

Join us at The Palomar Hotel’s BLVD 16 Restaurant and Lounge:

Below: Photos from previous events:






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



The Palomar Hotel’s BLVD 16 Restaurant and Lounge

10740 Wilshire Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90024

Phone # 310.475.8711

Toll-free: (800) 472-8556

Palomar Hotel



Directions from the south and Los Angeles International Airport (LAX).

  • From the airport, take W. Century Way east for 1.8 miles.
  • Merge slightly right onto I-405 North. Go 9.3 miles.
  • Exit onto Wilshire Blvd. Go 1.1 miles.
  • Kimpton Hotel Palomar Los Angeles Beverly Hills is located at 10740 Wilshire Boulevard at Selby Avenue.

Directions from the north and the San Diego Freeway.

  • From I-405 South / San Diego Freeway, take the Wilshire Blvd. exit. Go 0.2 miles.
  • Turn right at Wilshire Blvd. Go 1 mile.
  • Kimpton Hotel Palomar Los Angeles Beverly Hills is located at 10740 Wilshire Boulevard at Selby Avenue.



Valet parking is $5.00 – with validation at the bar



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

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

**Happy hour food prices will be provided for our Networking Group!


Happy Networking!

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SPEAKING AT iTV Fest – October 5-9, 2016

by on Sep.29, 2016, under events, Featured

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by on Sep.16, 2016, under Featured, Motivation

As a story consultant, one of the things that I do is I study the season arcs of shows. Two shows that I’ve watch recently that had very noteworthy season arcs were THE NIGHT MANAGER and HAPPY VALLEY. The noteworthy strengths in both shows are the arc of the wound for the central character and how the powerful and compelling villain keeps the protagonist in a constant state of conflict. I’ve always known that the arc of the wound makes us feel the story. When you combine this with an adversary that is a true threat, it takes story to a whole new level. When the audience feels the story at this level, it creates a desire to return to the show.

In HAPPY VALLEY, Catherine’s wound has to do with her daughter’s suicide after giving birth. In the series arc, Catherine discovers from her ex-husband that Tommy Lee Royce, the guy who she believes raped her daughter which lead to her daughter’s pregnancy and suicide, is being released from prison. In this series, the villain caused the wound that is fueling the protagonist. This is a very powerful series dilemma. The question being debated throughout the season is will Catherine take the law into her own hands and find the justice that she seeks? The series arc with Tommy Lee Royce involves a kidnapping. This is the case that the series is about. What we learn is that the wound could be experienced all over again in a different scenario by the time that the finale happens. The character of Tommy Lee Royce is a very strong character. We view his brokenness and evil ways through the girl that they kidnap. We see a human side of his darkness when he communicates with the son that he didn’t know that he had until he was released. He creates so many internal and external obstacles for Catherine to face throughout the season 1 arc. The season worked so well because in the finale we really felt it all coming to a head. The answer to the season question is revealed.

In THE NIGHT MANAGER, there is a very powerful wound that we experience in the first episode with Jonathan Pine. The trauma of his loss is what fuels his season pursuit. The villain is an international arms dealer named Richard Roper. The initial trauma that Jonathan suffers is caused by a choice he makes after the revelation of the news that the arms deal is about to take place. After Pine’s loss in the series arc, a British Intelligence officer recruits him to infiltrate Roper’s inner circle. Jonathan must become a criminal himself to achieve his goal. The wound of the loss is magnified in the pilot arc with the dynamic that Jonathan has with Roper’s girlfriend, Jed. Jonathan’s desire for love gets in the way of the mission and creates tremendous obstacles with Roper. The dynamic between Pine and Roper with the knowledge of the wound is what really brings us emotionally into this incredibly gripping series.

I believe that the key to a successful series is the combination of these two components. When done well, the series trigger and dilemma sets up the wound. With doing this, you set up the internal story and create an internal stakes arc. When you have a strong villain, we get a sense of what the worst that can happen is throughout the series. This adds to the momentum of the show. It is the combination of the internal wound with the external force of the villain that leads to undeniable drama. This is what brings the audience back.

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by on Aug.03, 2016, under Featured, Motivation

We are all storytellers. We begin telling stories as small children and continue throughout our lives. Story is a constant. I’ve worked with story for 25 years now. As a former studio executive, a current writing instructor for a network and independent story/career consultant, I’m on a constant quest to understand how to best guide writers to write their stories in a way that leads to a sale in TV or film. What I’ve discovered with the writers that I’ve had the most success helping to launch their careers is that it comes down to three components – System, Illustration and Application.

My system communicates my worldview of story to student. I see story from a studio executive perspective. When I was a studio executive I analyzed story all day every day on up to 5 shows a week at every stage from concept to production draft. I saw my notes executed. I saw what worked and didn’t work to create strong story. As I prepared to write my book, Story Line: Finding Gold In Your Life Story, I developed a system to teach story. I did this by gathering years worth of Oscar, Emmy, and Golden Globe nominated scripts. I studied them closely and extracted a formula that became the foundation of my system of teaching story. My system starts here: Strong story for TV and Film starts with what I call a powerful trigger incident. A trigger incident is something that happens at the beginning of the story that pushes the central character into a dilemma. The strength of the dilemma is key. A dilemma that forces the central character to make a difficult choice creates a powerful set up for story. It helps build empathy and a strong rooting factor in the audience. The central character’s choice in the dilemma defines her external goal. This goal should be totally clear by the end of Act One. Then, every action the central character takes and every obstacle she hits should link back to the goal. If the goal isn’t clear, the story won’t work. There should be internal and external stakes for the central character. We should always know what she wants externally, and what is the worst that can happen if she doesn’t get it. The internal story should also follow this logic and be in alignment with the external goal. This is the basics of the system that I designed to teach and analyze story.

The second critical component of teaching story is illustration. I use examples from current TV shows and films to illustrate my system to writers. When a writer clearly understands the system, examples help expand their view of story and allow them to hit some “aha” moments in their own learning process. Live events allow me to illustrate the lesson in real time by showing writers clips from TV and film. In my other avenues of teaching, I advise writers what specific things to watch and what to look for in the set up of those stories.

The third component of how I teach story is application. In one-on-one consults with writers I’m able to provide direct feedback on their stories. I use my story system to analyze whether the writer’s story is working or not. There is a tremendous value in this step because my system provides us a common language that allows me to communicate clearly the specific feedback the writer needs to understand in order to take their story to the next level. I use the system and illustration to teach writers how to apply the notes. My system, illustration and application go hand in hand to improve the writer’s outcome.

As a Story/Career consultant for writers, I’ve had the strongest success with writers who have read my books, taken advantage of my instruction at live events or online and utilized one-on-one consultations. Engaging in the complete process allows writers to soak in my system, see the illustrations and have a better understanding of how to apply the system, one that has led 40 of my clients to sell pilots, to their own work.

Want to learn more? I‘m teaching a Master Class in New York on August 12-13, 2016 at Screenwriters World. I’m also teaching a Master Class and three other classes at the London Screenwriting Festival at the beginning of September.

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Pitch Prep Workshop With Roadmap on August 20, 2016

by on Jul.19, 2016, under events, Featured





Pitch Prep Workshop with Jen Grisanti + Pitchfest!

On Sunday, August 21 @ 10:00AM – 4:00PM PT, Roadmap Writers will host a special 1 day online pitching event with 5 execs (see below!) for all feature and TV writers!

To prepare you for this event, on Saturday, August 20 @ 10:00AM – 12:00PM PT, Roadmap Writers is bringing you one of the most acclaimed consultants in the industry to host an immersive and intensive 2 hour live online class.

Jen Grisanti is a world renowned consultant that has worked with executive producers, show runners and staff of over 15 primetime shows, is a three-year mentor in the CBS/Diversity Program and a panelist for the WGA and DGA.

Over the course of this 2-day event, you will learn directly from Jen Grisanti on how to master your pitch and then use the tools you’ve learned the following day to pitch to:

-RatPac Entertainment (The Revenant)
-Good Fear Management
-Abrams Artists
-Meridian Artists
-Unique Features

**Email joey@roadmapwriters.com for more information!

Your registration fee includes the Workshop + 3 Pitches the following day!

(2 hours)
$ 100.00
Here is the LINK
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FRIDAY NIGHT SOCIAL – FRIDAY AUGUST 5th at 6:30 p.m. at The Barrel Room

by on Jul.07, 2016, under events, Featured

Friday Night Social ~ August 5, 2016

Event Date: Friday, August 5, 2016 || Starts at 6:30 pm  || Co-sponsoring with Jennifer Grisanti

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



Please REGISTER before 10:00 pm on Thursday, August 4, 2016. 



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 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:








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



The Barrel Room

8913 W Sunset Blvd

West Hollywood, CA 90069

Phone # 310.360.1400

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



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

Take 405 SOUTH. Exit Sunset going East.

Take 101 NORTH. Exit Sunset going West.



Valet parking is available in the front. Multiple parking lots around the area, including one behind The Barrel Room. Plenty of street metered parking.



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 will be provided for our Networking Group!

Happy Networking!

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BIBLE FORMULA for #Scriptchat

by on Jun.12, 2016, under Featured, Motivation, Personal tips


  • 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. This gives a sense of how you see your show.
  • The Format -Describe what your show will be week to week. 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 overarching themes.
  • 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. If it’s a cable show, write log lines for your first 8-10 episodes.
  • Overview – Give an overview of your series arcs for seasons 1, 2 and 3.
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