by on Jan.08, 2015, under Featured

I felt inspired to write this blog about the tenuous relationship between truth and fiction because many of this year’s possible Oscar contenders are biopics, (The Imitation Game, Selma, Big Eyes, and Foxcatcher to name a few). Each is enduring controversy about the degree to which historical facts may or may not have been distorted in their telling. I want to explore the idea of whether emotion can be a kind of fiction in all truth. Facts carry truth. However, each person’s perception and experience may add some fiction to what is. Storytelling is perspective, not a dry relation of facts.

With The Imitation Game, there is controversy over the factual truth. As quoted from the article in Deadline Hollywood, “The Weinstein Co.’s has been scrutinized by historians who argue the film, directed by Morten Tyldum and scripted by Graham Moore, beefs up Turing’s contributions to England’s codebreaking exploits, his relationship with female analyst Joan Clarke and the degree to which he might have placed on the Asperger’s/autism spectrum in the name of artistic license.” In the same article, this is what is said about Selma, “Paramount’s Selma, the critically acclaimed account of Martin Luther King Jr.’s leadership of the Selma-to-Montgomery civil rights marches of 1965, weathered a volley on Monday — just as the Oscar polls opened — over its suggestion that President Lyndon Johnson didn’t quite step eagerly up to the plate to help out King and his cohorts in their quest for equal voting rights.”

The question becomes how much liberty is too much when it comes to adding fiction to the facts? Imagination is a huge part of story. Imagination comes from the writer and director. The moment they are hired, it is up to them to bring the facts to life through a unique perspective that tells the story while elevating the emotion. What artists bring to historical events is a different worldview. They are adding their voice and their emotional truth to the events that happened. They add a unique angle. In the process, we get to learn about this events in a flavorful way that entertains while informs. We need to embrace this. We shouldn’t question it. We shouldn’t doubt it or criticize it or try to take away from all that it is. We should relish in how the imagination adds an element to story that can make it something that lives on in our hearts and our minds because of the way that it was told.

The Imitation Game and The Theory of Everything are two of my favorite movies this year. I haven’t seen Selma yet. I left these films feeling totally fulfilled on an emotional level. I felt tremendous respect for the writers and directors involved. I thought that they did a masterful job of adding fiction to the truth where needed in order for the stories to work. I did not feel that if I found out that certain facts were distorted or that things were embellished upon that it took anything away from my experience of the stories. In fact, I loved how the worldviews of the writers and the directors merged. The facts of the stories came together and transcended fact in a way that made me feel the events and the message being expressed.

In my career as a studio executive, there was a time when no one wanted to touch autobiographical stories. Writers were told not to write them. Real life was viewed as not all that interesting. Now, there’s a trend toward exploring how your emotional truth can get you work as a writer. It’s about your story. It’s about understanding how to tell your story in a way that can be sold. It’s about how your truth, when mixed with certain concepts, can make them stronger. We all know that life with all the in between moments just isn’t as compelling as movies. Real life story arcs don’t often transpire in the way that fits dramatic structure. So, fiction is needed to make a fact-based truth come to life through various emotional lenses.

I believe that fiction is infused in every story. I think that this is what storytelling is. From the time that we are children repeating to our parents what happened at school during the day, we learn to embellish or add our view to what happened. From our perspective, this may be totally true. From someone else that witnessed the same event; their view may be totally different. The most important part about telling a story is being able to come from a place of emotional truth. Emotional truth is not the same as factual truth. With factual truth, technical facts are given about events that occurred within a certain time frame. What brings fact to life is emotion. With emotion, you get a different kind of truth, a valuable kind of truth. Fiction might be added to this truth. However, if it is written and directed well, the emotion is what comes through, rather than the facts.

When we go to the movies, we all have different views on what strong story is. This is because we all view and experience story through events that happened in our own lives that led to similar universal emotions that we connect with. It doesn’t make one right and the other wrong. It just means that one person felt what was being said and the other may not have had the life experience of a similar emotion to help connect them to the story.

There is a purpose for fiction to be added. Life doesn’t happen in a perfect dramatic structure. Moments of life are worth telling. You have to structure it. To tell a story well, you have to structure it in a way that will allow the audience to understand your message and feel what you are trying to say. To do this, the writer and director have to add their worldview to the equation. So, whether these factual films are sticking to the facts or not, the emotional stories being told are being told brilliantly. We need to celebrate this.

Leave a Comment more...


by on Nov.18, 2014, under Featured, Motivation, Spiritual

Do you want to change your story in the New Year? What do you want your story to look like? What if you could learn to use the tools of story to create the life that you want? I’ve been obsessed with understanding and studying how people change their lives. I like to believe that we all want our story to reflect the type of life that we want to live. I feel that by being the active protagonist in our own story, we can create change by aligning the actions that we take with the outcome that we desire. I am going to share four actions that I took that led me toward personal change and changed my story in the process.

Since writing my book, Change Your Story, Change Your Life: A Path To Success, I’ve been really conscious of the things I wrote about in my book, how action equals outcome when it comes to changing our story. For me, all of the change that I wrote about in my book was focused on the professional side of my life, rather than the personal side. After hitting what I see as my “all is lost” moment, when I lost my job of 15 years, I was able to clearly see that to produce the type of change that I wanted, I needed to take action. I outlined all the steps I took to turn my “all is lost” moment into the best thing that could have happened in my life. I found success again, only, this time, I was a conscious author as I created and redefined my professional path. I understood from being a studio executive/story analyst for all of those years that personal actions equate to outcome. When the wrong actions are being taken, you don’t get the outcome that you desire. So, I aligned my actions in the business world with the outcome that I wanted. My focus was on stopping isolation and creating community through the telling of story on a global level. Everything that transpired over the last 7 years, as I built my business, falls under this umbrella. My focus was clear and my actions aligned with my outcome. Everything in me wants to teach people how to be the active hero in their own story so that their story can reflect the type of life that they want to live.

I was motivated to write this blog was when I received an email from a reader. They wrote:

“I’m reading Change Your Story, Change Your Life, and it’s as if you wrote this book just for me.  I have often wished I could be a character in one of my stories so I could just rewrite my life and reading your book makes me think that I really am.  Only that story is my life.

I’m at one of my ‘all is lost’ moments, so it’s hard for me to see very far down my road, and I’m hoping your experience will help me map out a course of action that will let me breathe again.”

I loved the truth in this person’s message. They wanted to know how to create change after going through an “all is lost” moment. While in my book, I go into actions that I took to change my professional story, what I teach also applies to your personal story. Here are some actions that I’ve taken to change my personal story.

These are four actions that I recommend taking to change your story: take a wellness vacation, create a healthy eating system, create a workout routine, and connect through internal desire. These actions can foster change on a physical, spiritual, mental, and emotional level.

  1. Take a wellness vacation – I went to Rancho La Puerta.
  2. Create a healthy eating system – I did Paleo Delivers and Isagenix.
  3. Create a workout routine that garners results – I started doing 10,000 steps a day.
  4. Connect through your internal desire – I fell in love.

Take a wellness vacation. I would say that one of the biggest actions that I took this year that created change was going to Rancho La Puerta. This is a place that focuses on the idea of “renewing your mind, body and spirit on a journey to true wellness.” This choice, this action, is what led me to a greater consciousness of understanding change from within. This is everything that my brand for my business is about. It is also something that blends into my life. The development of story comes down to the development of self. So, by participating in the activities, exercise classes, nutrition and health classes, hikes and meditations, at Rancho La Puerta, I was able to bring it home with me and learn to take stronger actions that led me to greater outcomes. What I learned was that taking a vacation that allowed me to purely focus on wellness was one action that could bring about very positive results.

Wellness Options at all budget levels – Esalen, Miraval, Canyon Ranch, Willow Day Spa, Argyle Salon and Spa.

Create an eating system. Another action that I took that brought about healthy change was I tried different eating plans so that I could pinpoint a system that worked for me. I did Paleo Delivers. I actually did this before I went to Rancho La Puerta. This was an action because it allowed me to really understand food, portion size and healthy choices when it comes to my daily eating habits. The food was outstanding. It opened up my time wise because I didn’t have to worry about cooking, shopping, and figuring out calories and nutrition. I did this for a few months just to see how it made me feel and to learn. It definitely took me a step in the right direction. When I got home from Rancho La Puerta, I started doing a system called Isagenix. I learned about this from Sherry Catlin, who created the Body Bar. I met her when I was at Rancho La Puerta. What I learned with Isagenix was that I had a system in play that worked for my life and supported my desire to be in the best physical shape possible. I needed a system like this. I found that the products tasted so good and the outcome took me in an even stronger direction.

Eating Systems for all budgets – Veestro (vegetarian), buy a Paleo book by Danielle Walker and prepare food at home, Zen Foods Diet delivery, Healthy Chef Creations

Create a workout routine. I learned at Rancho La Puerta that movement is the key to staying young. One action that I took when I returned was that I got a Fit Bit and an Up By Jawbone. This way, I was able to track the steps that I took everyday. I set a goal for 10,000, and I was able achieve this. This simple change in action has changed my life in a monumental way. It helped me reevaluated my exercise routine. I began driving less and walking more. I figured that in NYC, they walk. Why not walk in LA? By walking instead of driving mixed with my exercise routine, I am able to attain my goal on a daily basis. I also started a combination of spinning and yoga. I spin at Soul Cycle. This has added a whole new level of physical activity to my life. My favorite instructors at Soul Cycle in West Hollywood are David, Angela, and Rourke. Their words motivate me from spirit. They make me want to do the physical work even more. With yoga, my favorite instructors are Jake Ferree at Equinox and Aura Yoga and Matthew Reyes at Yoga Hop in Santa Monica. The last action that I took with my physical regime was that I have a personal trainer, Yancy Berry, at Equinox. I found that this helps me to keep a physical routine in place with weights. By taking these actions, I’ve been able to better align with the physical outcome that I desire.

Workouts for all budget levels – Walk, do the stairs at Montana and Ocean in Santa Monica, do weights at home and get some Body Bar DVDs

Connect through internal desire. I fell in love. One action that I took to attract the kind of love I was seeking was that I started focusing on what I wanted internally with a relationship versus just externally. I wanted spirit, intellect and joy. By understanding my internal desire, it helped to attract the type of relationship that I knew I wanted to experience. I like to believe that the universe hears us and brings us what we need when we’re ready. I met Chris when I was speaking at The Big Island Film Festival in Hawaii. I knew him for two years before we started dating. One of the things that I love about our love story is that had I not lost my job, I would never have created a business that led me to speak at The Big Island Film Festival, and I would not have met the love of my life.

In closing, there are so many actions that we can take to illicit change in our lives. Many of these actions involve little to no money and just doing the emotional work from within. I share my personal stories with you in hopes that they can inspire you to create the change you want in your own life. The key to changing your story is aligning your actions with the outcome you desire.



Leave a Comment :, , , , , more...


by on Nov.14, 2014, under events, Featured

Friday Night Social ~ December 5, 2014

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

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



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



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

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

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


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

Busby pic 1

Busby pic 02

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


Pictures from previous events at Busby’s East:





New Time for this event:

Starts at 6:30 pm – Ends at 9:30 pm



Busby’s East

5364 Wilshire Blvd.

Los Angeles, CA 90036

(Near La Brea on Wilshire)
Busby’s East

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

more »

Leave a Comment more...


by on Oct.31, 2014, under events, Featured

Friday Night Social ~ November 7, 2014

Event Date: Friday, November 7, 2014 || Starts at 6:30 pm || Co-sponsoring with Jennifer Grisanti

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



Please REGISTER before 10:00 pm on Thursday, November 6, 2014.



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

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

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


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

Leave a Comment more...


by on Oct.21, 2014, 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. 27 of my writers have sold pilots… and 4 of them have gone to series.


The class takes place on Tuesday nights at 7:00 p.m. PST. 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. 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.

SERVICE FEE – $300.00



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.


SERVICE FEE –  $750.00



SERVICE FEE – $875.00



SERVICE FEE – $1,500.00




SERVICE FEE – $3,000.00


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.

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. You can submit a full script but I will just read the first 10 pages. You can submit either a TV spec or pilot.


You can email your submissions to me at jennifer@jengrisanticonsultancy.com. I will announce the names of the 4 writers that made the 4 slots the following week.

* Since you do have to try out for this level, I will send the four participants that are selected and invoice for this amount through PayPal.



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.

SERVICE FEE – $4,000.00





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 January and February.SCHEDULEWeek 1 – Tuesday March 3, 2015We will go over the notes for the concepts of the spec scripts for Level #3.Week 2, Tuesday March 10, 2015We will go over the notes for the outline of the spec scripts for Level #3.Week 3, Tuesday March 17, 2015We will go over the notes for the first draft of the spec scripts for Level #3.

WEEK 4, Tuesday, March 24, 2015

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


WEEK 5, Tuesday, March 31, 2015

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




WEEK 6, Tuesday, April 14, 2015

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


WEEK 7, Tuesday April 21, 2015

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


WEEK 8, Tuesday April 28, 2015

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 5, 2015

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 12, 2015

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

Leave a Comment more...

“Transparent” Truth

by on Oct.21, 2014, under Featured, Motivation


Is there transparency that others can see in our truth? Will our truth connect us, or will it isolate us from those around us? Does living our truth come with consequences? Everything that motivates me to work with storytellers is about getting them to understand their truth and use it to connect with their audience by adding fiction to it. This idea inspired my first book, Story Line: Finding Gold In Your Life Story. Truth has led so many writers toward success. When you come from truth, we feel your story.

Jill Soloway’s phenomenal and awe inspiring new show Transparent, on Amazon Instant Series, was inspired by her real life moment when three years ago she received a call from her retired father, a psychiatrist. He told her that he was coming out as transgendered. Jill’s response was that of compassion. She wanted her father to know and feel that her love was still unconditional.

Jill had known since her work on “Six Feet Under” that she wanted to develop a family show. Her parent’s phone call gave her the inspiration that she needed. In an interview with Rolling Stone Magazine, Jill is quoted as saying, “I wanted to make something that would make the world safer for my parent.” The truth in her inspiration has sparked a new series that will make you laugh and cry.

In Jill’s interview with Rolling Stone, she mentions that the show Transparent is 98% fiction. What I want writer/creator/storytellers to realize is that even 2% of your emotional truth can inspire a show idea that connects with and resonates with audiences on a universal level, even if they may have thought they had absolutely no connection with the actual concept. What Jill so brilliantly explores in her show are the ideas of love, acceptance, truth, courage, consequence, secrecy, and choices made. Transparent gets to the heart of a beautifully flawed family. It shows how the secret kept by the parents has a domino affect on the emotional lives of their children and how they approach love, sex, and companionship. Jill’s creation of Transparent illustrates how our real life moments can inspire the world of a show that connects with the heart and the spirit of all of us.

Everything that I teach writers focuses on how to make the audience feel your story. When you come from truth and know how to add fiction to it, we will feel it. Jill does this in every episode. The character of Maura (the father that comes out as transgendered), played by Jeffrey Tambor, is probably one of my favorite characters ever written for TV. She has so much heart, courage, and vulnerability. You feel her journey and her desire to explore and be accepted for who she is, a transgender woman. In the beginning of the show, one of Maura’s trans mentors tells her that when you live this kind of truth, you often lose your friends and family in the process of being your true self. I loved the exploration of this difficult truth in the show, and I found myself mesmerized by every episode.

Each child in Maura’s family approaches love and sex in a different way. The choices that they make, stemming from the secrecy of their childhood, often lead to consequences as they all stumble toward what they really want in life and why they want it. I found myself in tears so many times during the 10 episodes of this exquisite show. I also found myself laughing out loud at the absurdity of the choices that we make when it comes to our quest for real love and acceptance.

I identified with the issues of each of the children in a way that made me understand more about my own quest and desire for true love. We all make mistakes along the way. We all want to find truth. We all want to be accepted for our truth. I think one of the gifts of this show is that it illustrates that our choices mean something. They take us where we need to go, teach us lessons along the way, and wake us up to our own flawed worldview that leads us to sabotage the outcome that we think we want, but don’t know how to attain. We are one in this quest.

In my own life, I have recently fallen deeply in love with a man who truly sees all of me. I made a choice earlier in life that led to a divorce. The pain that followed led me to do the emotional work I needed to do in order to recognize true love when it arrived. When it did, my heart was open. Now, I feel like I am going through love for the first time because the lessons learned along the way woke me up to actions that I was taking that were leading me away from the outcome that I desired. By aligning my actions with the desired outcome, when love finally appeared, I was able to see and appreciate it in a whole new light. When we learn to connect with our own truth and operate from a place of authenticity, we attract others that are in the same place. The key is doing the emotional work to connect with self. So, seeing a show like Transparent, even though it’s a world that I don’t know anything about, made me feel the story and the characters because like them, I am on a constant quest for love, acceptance, truth, and fulfillment. We all are.

If you take a grain of your emotional truth, you can create a series that will connect with your audience and pave the way like Jill did to a world that is safer and more tolerant and accepting of people that choose to live their emotional truth. This is what story is all about. It is about understanding what it is that you want to say by using your life moments to affect the greater good. Bravo to Jill for sharing her vision and for putting together an insanely talented group of writers, actors, and directors to get her message out there. Her truth is our gain.

4 Comments more...


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

When You Lead With Your Why, You Inspire

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

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

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

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

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

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



Leave a Comment more...


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Leave a Comment more...


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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


Time Lapse                         1:40:48            Winner of Best Feature

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


Tuesday Morning             0:13:30            Winner of Best Short

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


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

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


Great                                    0:23:08

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


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

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


3:13                                    1:37:00

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


One Weekend            1:05:34

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


Leave a Comment more...