Featured

FRIDAY NIGHT SOCIAL – JUNE 3, 2016 AT THE BARREL ROOM ON SUNSET FROM 6:30 P.M. – 9:00 P.M.

by on May.23, 2016, under events, Featured

Friday Night Social ~ June 3, 2016

Event Date: Friday, June 3, 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.  

IMPORTANT:

Please REGISTER before 10:00 pm on Thursday, June 2, 2016. 

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

 

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 The Barrel Room. 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 will be provided for our Networking Group!

Happy Networking!

Leave a Comment more...

LONDON FILM FESTIVAL – SEPTEMBER 1st through September 4th, 2016

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

Jen Grisanti

Story / Career Consultant


Jen Grisanti headshotLA based Jen Grisanti is an acclaimed Story/Career Consultant, Writing Instructor for Writers on the Verge at NBC, a former 12-year studio executive, including VP of Current Programming at CBS/Paramount 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.

Grisanti has taught classes for the TV Writers Summit (in LA, London and Israel), The TV Writers Studio (in Australia), Story Expo, The Big Island Film Festival, Chicago Screenwriters Network, Scriptwriters Network , Screenwriting Expo, the Great American Pitchfest, the Writers Store, the Northwestern Screenwriter’s Guild in Seattle, and the Alameda’s Writer’s Group. In addition, she has served on panels for the WGA, iTVFest, UFVA, PGA and The Writer’s Bootcamp, telling her story to inspire others.

Jen Grisanti is appearing at the following sessions:

Adding Fiction to your Truth

Adding Fiction to your Truth

Learn how to add fiction to your truth in the key parts of your story. You will learn how to identify your own life themes and in doing so, you will find out what it is you want to say to the world in the stories that you tell.

Finding Your Voice: Telling it YOUR way so that your work is remembered

Finding Your Voice: Telling it YOUR way so that your work is remembered

Your voice is what sets you apart from the masses. You, your life experience, your stories are unique… Learn how to leverage YOUR uniqueness.

What Makes the Audience Return To A Series? Mastering the Internal Story

What Makes the Audience Return To A Series? Mastering the Internal Story

When we feel your story, it makes us want to come back. In this class, learn the techniques that will make them want more. When you do this well, you create longevity for your series.

Writing The TV Pilot That Sells: LondonSWF Festival Week One Day Workshop (Sept 1st)

Writing The TV Pilot That Sells: LondonSWF Festival Week One Day Workshop (Sept 1st)

Jen Grisanti has developed a story system that has led 40 of her clients to sell their pilots. Five of them went to series. In this outstanding one day masterclass, Jen will share with you her system of story that has proven so successful.

Writing The TV Pilot That Sells: LondonSWF Festival Week One Day Workshop (Sept 1st)

Writing The TV Pilot That Sells: LondonSWF Festival Week One Day Workshop (Sept 1st)

Jen Grisanti has developed a story system that has led 40 of her clients to sell their pilots. Five of them went to series. In this outstanding one day masterclass, Jen will share with you her system of story that has proven so successful.

Leave a Comment more...

FRIDAY NIGHT SOCIAL – MAY 6, 2016 at The Barrel Room on Sunset at 6:30 p.m. – 9:00 p.m.

by on Apr.28, 2016, under events, Featured

Friday Night Social ~ May 6, 2016

Event Date: Friday, May 6, 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.  

IMPORTANT:

Please REGISTER before 10:00 pm on Thursday, May 5, 2016. 

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

 

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 The Barrel Room. 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 will be provided for our Networking Group!

Happy Networking!

Leave a Comment more...

SCREENWRITERS WORLD MASTERING THE TV PILOT – AUGUST 12-14, 2016

by on Apr.18, 2016, under events, Featured

 

Screenwriters World Presents: Mastering the TV Pilot with Jen Grisanti

By: Screenwriters World

$399 – $699 Get Tickets

  • Share
  • SAVE THIS EVENT

Screenwriters World Presents: Mastering the TV Pilot with Jen Grisanti

Fri, Aug 12, 2016 at 3:00 PM – New York, NY

$399 – $699 Get Tickets

Event Information

Event Description

There has never been a better time to write a TV series. HBO, Netflix, FX, Amazon Studios and the Big Five (ABC, CBS, NBC, Fox and the CW) are actively searching for the next big hit. What does this mean for you? Opportunity! Both produced and unproduced writers can achieve creative and financial success in this lucrative and growing market.

But where do you start? What is the secret to creating an engaging TV Pilot with character and story complexity that will capture an audience and become a series? How do you take your idea from concept to pilot script to winning pitch? Most importantly, whom do you trust to teach you the knowledge required to realize your creative goals?

For over 25 years Jen Grisanti has worked in the studio system, mastering the techniques and craft required to launch a pilot and achieve the coveted trophy – series status. She gained valuable working experience as the VP of Current Programing at CBS Paramount Network Television, Inc. and Head of Current Programs for Aaron Spelling’s company, Spelling Television, Inc. During her tenure Jen worked with producers and writers on the execution of shows such as: Medium, Numbers, NCIS, Girlfriends, Charmed, Seventh Heaven, Melrose Place, 90210 and many more.

Jen’s expertise and mentorship has resulted in over seventy-five writers staffed on television shows, forty have sold pilots and five that went to series.

Join us at the Mastering the TV Pilot two-day intensive where you will learn how to develop and pitch your concept or already started TV Pilot. It kicks off on Friday afternoon with a panel discussion featuring working TV professionals who will share an insiders view of the TV industry. On Saturday Jen will teach you, in a focused and collaborative workshop environment, the essential knowledge you need to become a working TV writer. This full day of instruction and hands-on work-shopping culminates in a cocktail mixer celebration collocated with the Writer’s Digest Conference.

Now is the time for you to take your idea for a TV Pilot to the next level and make your dreams of being a working television writer come true. Seating is limited to ensure your access to Jen Grisanti – so don’t delay.

SCHEDULE:

FRIDAY

  • 3:00pm – 4:30pm Breaking into the Writers Room (Panel Discussion)

SATURDAY

  • 9:00am – 12:00pm Telling and Selling Your Story (Seminar)
  • 12:00pm – 1:00pm Lunch Break
  • 1:00pm – 3:00pm Writing Loglines for Your Life and Filling out the Pilot Worksheet with Your Story Points (Workshop)
  • 3:00pm – 4:00pm Emotional Fuel – How to Elevate Your Story (Seminar)
  • 4:00pm – 5:30pm Pitching Your TV Pilot Story (Workshop)
  • 6:00pm – 7:30pm Networking and Cocktail Mixer

SPONSORS:

Final Draft

Final Draft® is the number-one selling screenwriting application in the world. Final Draft automatically paginates and formats your script to industry standards, allowing writers to focus on what they do best – writing scripts. Used by such industry giants as J.J. Abrams, James Cameron and Aaron Sorkin, Final Draft software is the professional’s choice and the entertainment industry standard. In addition to its flagship software product, Final Draft offers the annual Big Break™ Contest – a screenwriting competition that launches careers, and awards over $80,000 in cash and prizes. Final Draft also offers the Reader® and Writer® apps for iPhone and iPad. To learn more about Final Draft visit: www.finaldraft.com

The Writers Store

Since 1982 The Writers Store has solved a key problem that many writing enthusiasts face – where to learn the craft of screenwriting and acquire the relevant tools used by professional screenwriters. Our journey began by recognizing the process screenwriters follow, the obstacles and challenges they face and setting out to find solutions to help create success. We continue this mission today through The Writers Store, Screenwriters University and Script Magazine.

Mastering the TV Pilot with Jen Grisanti, Event Schedule

FRIDAY, AUGUST 12

Breaking into the Writers Room, 3 – 4:30 pm

Jen Grisanti will be moderating a panel of top TV writers Debora Cahn (writer/producer of HBO’s Vinyl, NBC’s The West Wing and ABC’s Grey’s Anatomy), Michael Rauch (writer/producer USA’s Royal Pains, CBS’s Love Monkey, ABC’s Beautiful People and CW’s Life is Wild) and Jill Abbinanti (writer/producer of NBC’s Law & Order: Special Victims Unit). Jen will dig deep into the world of writing and what it takes to succeed.

Topics will include:

  • What’s the story behind their success
  • Were there any specific story points in their own life stories that got them to this point in their careers
  • What does it take to succeed in the writers room
  • Tips on pitching and selling pilots
  • Tips and techniques on how to find your voice as a writer
  • How to create memorable characters
  • And much more!

Jen will also discuss with each panelist why they write, how they set up the stories they tell, how they utilize their emotional truth, what does the producing part of it all look like, advice that has made a difference in their careers and more. Followed by a Q&A with the writers.

The intention of the panel is to have a raw discussion about how it all comes together and what the career of a working writer looks like.

SATURDAY, AUGUST 13

Telling & Selling Your Story, 9 am – 12 pm In this first session you will learn how to develop strong concepts for your story, while exploring what is working in TV today and why it’s working. You will learn about how to draw from your emotional truth to come up with a pilot concept that sets you apart from other writers. You will explore how to create complex, memorable characters with goals and wants. Jen will explain her pitching formula and how you can utilize it to sell your own concept. Additionally, you will come out of the seminar with some key structural concepts to apply to your script, including ways to set up the rest of your series and increase the chances of your script being purchased.

Writing Loglines for Your Life & Filling out the Pilot Worksheet with Your Story Points, 1 – 3 pm In this workshop you will learn a formula that will help you write log lines for your life, log lines for your characters, and log lines for your story arcs. This session will also feature Jen’s Pilot Worksheet, designed to make sure that your pilot has the complexity, structure, and key elements that can help make it a hit.

Emotional Fuel: How to Elevate Your Story, 3 – 4 pm Emotion is what connects you to your audience. In this seminar Jen will discuss how to utilize the emotional fuel of your character and build an internal arc. You’ll learn how to use your character’s internal desire to escalate the stakes of your pilot in both an internal and an external way.

Pitching Your TV Pilot Story, 4 – 5:30 pm In this workshop you will have the chance to pitch your pilot concept using Jen’s pilot pitching formula. You will also receive feedback on how to strengthen your pitch to increase your chances of making the sale.

Networking & Cocktail Mixer, 6 – 7:30 pm At the end of your full day of instruction and work-shopping, enjoy a cocktail at this celebratory mixer! The mixer will include attendees of the Writer’s Digest Conference.

FAQs

How many attendees are included in the Writing Partner Seminar Admission ticket?

The Writing Partner ticket is for two attendees, who will both have full benefits and access during the event.

Are there ID requirements or an age limit to enter the event?

Mastering the TV Pilot is open to all attendees 16 and over. A valid ID will be required to receive your seminar badge.

What can/can’t I bring to the event?

No recording devices may be used during the seminar to record any portion of the lecture, workshop.

Where can I contact the organizer with any questions?

Please contact The Writers Store at 800.272.8927 or email us at customer-service@writersstore.com.

When Friday, August 12, 2016 at 3:00 PM – Saturday, August 13, 2016 at 6:00 PM (EDT) – Add to Calendar Where New York Hilton Midtown – 1335 6th Ave, New York, NY 10019 – View Map Tags New York, NY Events Seminar Film & Media

Leave a Comment more...

ISA MASTER CLASS – WRITING A TV PILOT THAT SELLS – JUNE 11th, 2016

by on Apr.18, 2016, under events, Featured

Writing A TV Pilot That Sells with Jen Grisanti

Classroom – Los Angeles Brought to you by International Screenwriters’ Association

Regular Registration ends: 06/08/2016
Class Begins: 06/11/2016   Ends: 06/11/2016
Class Time: 8:30 am – 5:00 pm (PDT)
FEE: $175/$99 Register For Class

 WRITING A TV PILOT THAT SELLS with Jen Grisanti – 1 DAY EVENT

  

If you want to be the creator of the next Breaking Bad, Game of Thrones, Lost, Orange Is The New Black, Empire, Grey’s Anatomy, the list goes on, you need to learn how to write a pilot that sells! 

 

How do you create characters that audiences must watch week after week? How do you create complexity in those characters? How do you create an emotional attachment from the audience to those characters? How do you create powerful act breaks that leave your audience on the edge of their seats? How do you set up the end of your pilot so it can carry on for years? How do you create a logline or pitch so that you can sell your brilliant idea to a network?

These are just some of questions Jen will answer in this Master Series Class. She will teach you the tools that will elevate your game and increase your opportunities because 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!

 

This is the first of many ISA Master Series Classes coming to you monthly so REGISTER TODAY to improve you chances of breaking in!

 

undefined

Jen Grisanti is a Story/Career Consultant, Writing Instructor of Writers on the Verge at NBC and former twelve-year studio executive has learned what it takes to transform a non-working writer into a working writer. She gained valuable working experience as the VP of Current Programing at CBS Paramount Network Television, Inc. and Head of Current Programs for Aaron Spelling’s company, Spelling Television, Inc. During her tenure Jen worked with producers and writers on the execution of shows such as: Medium, Numbers, NCIS, Girlfriends, Charmed, Seventh Heaven, Melrose Place, 90210 and many more. She has helped to launch countless writing careers over the last twenty-five years. FORTY OF HER CLIENTS HAVE SOLD PILOTS and five of them have gone to series. Jen’s system for telling and selling story has also led to SEVENTY-FIVE OF HER WRITERS GETTING STAFFED. Watch Video Intro.

    SPONSORS OF EVENT 

 

undefined               

Leave a Comment more...


TORONTO SCREENWRITING CONFERENCE 2016 – APRIL 29 – MAY 1, 2016

by on Mar.04, 2016, under events, Featured, Motivation

TORONTO SCREENWRITING CONFERENCE – APRIL 29 – MAY 1, 2016

Featured Speakers

Glen Mazzara

Glen Mazzara

Creator/Executive Producer/Showrunner of A&E’s new series, DAMIEN

Stephen Falk

Stephen Falk

Creator/Executive Producer/Showrunner of the FXX series, YOU’RE THE WORST

Corey Mandell

Corey Mandell

Award-Winning Playwright & Screenwriter

Jen Grisanti

Jen Grisanti

Story Consultant & Writing Instructor

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

2015 FILMS THAT MADE US FEEL THE STORY

by on Jan.13, 2016, under Featured, Motivation

What does a storyteller have to do to make us feel their story? Last year, there were so many films that made us really feel what the story was trying to say. The films that I felt the most were; The Revenant, Spotlight, Room, Steve Jobs and Inside Out.

We feel story through the understanding of truth being revealed and it affirming something within us. It is all about the internal view of the external story. We feel story when we’re taken into a life moment that we may not recognize on the outside but that we completely understand internally. It is fulfilling a void through finding a solution. If we know what the internal struggle is and the arc of healing the wound is explored well, we feel the conflict and triumph in the outcome. When we understand what the filmmaker is trying to say, we feel the story.

The Revenant is about the true story of legendary frontiersman Hugh Glass surviving a brutal attack by a bear. This is what it is on the outside. Internally, it is about finding answers and moving forward after suffering tremendous loss mentally, emotionally and physically. It is poetic in how it’s done, with the scenes from a moment of loss that happened before the story starts connecting to one that happens during the story. The arc of healing the wound is beautifully played. It is graphic and extremely violent. However, this really sends home what it is to survive. I was mesmerized by this story. I felt so connected to the journey back from loss, betrayal and torture. How do you find redemption in this type of scenario? Will redemption bring you peace? There were so many elements of humanity revealed in this masterpiece directed by Alejandro González Iñárritu. It penetrated both the mind and the spirit.

Spotlight tells a riveting story based on the Pulitzer Prize winning Boston Globe investigation that uncovered the enormous scandal of child molestation and cover-ups within the local Archdiocese, causing an upheaval in one of the world’s most trusted institutions. It is an amazing story to watch how all the pieces of the puzzle in this journalistic endeavor came together. What brings you into the story emotionally is that many of the journalists covering it up grew up Catholic. So, we got to see their personal challenges within this exploration of truth. The cast is phenomenal. The story is enthralling. This issue is something that hits us all on a universal level.

Room is another incredible story of survival. It explores the depth of the connection between a mother and her son after going through the horrific ordeal of the mother being abducted and impregnated by her captor and living in one room for the first five years of her son’s life before her son helps them to escape. The wound is crystal clear. The imagination of the son and how this moves him through the experience is awe-inspiring. The psychological effect of only knowing the relationship with his mom and having no understanding of the world outside of the room is truly moving. The reintegration into life is what we root for. The idea explored is; can you move past a trauma of this magnitude and find meaning and purpose again? This experience may be foreign to us, but the idea of moving past a severe trauma is very universal. It is the internal story that brings us in and makes us feel for both of these characters. Brie Larson and Jacob Tremblay give brilliant performances. This is a story that will stay with you.

Steve Jobs takes us behind the scenes of one of the world’s greatest innovators. It explores the digital revolution and shows us what life looked like for Steve Jobs during three iconic product launches. There are several scenes in this film written by Aaron Sorkin that are mind-blowing. It is the internal view of Steve Jobs that makes us feel this story. This is shown through the relationship with a daughter he initially denied was his, the reveal that he was adopted, his views toward feeling rejected and the dynamic with his loyal colleague, Joanna (played brilliantly by Kate Winslet). We feel his wound in the scene where John Sculley says; “Why do people who were adopted feel like they were rejected instead of selected?” For me, it is the parallel between his feeling about this life incident that happened and how it happened and what goes on with his daughter that made me understand this man in a whole new way. I came into this film wanting to know more about who Steve Jobs was and what made him tick. I LOVED how I felt after seeing this film. I loved it so much that I saw it twice.

Inside Out is a whimsical view into the emotional life of young Riley whose world is turned upside down when her parents tell her that they are going to move. What makes us feel this story is the interplay between her emotions; Joy, Fear, Anger, Disgust and Sadness that are all embodied by characters. I LOVED this movie because it really stops isolation and builds a sense of community through the understanding of how our internal emotions influence our external life. We’ve all gone through a myriad of these emotions. Seeing them come to life and try to make sense of the pursuit that they’re on to ultimately make Riley happy is a gift. It also shows us that we need to move through and understand all of our emotions to help guide us to where we want to go in life. I love the message. I felt the story. This is a film that touches us all no matter what our age.

We feel your story when the storyteller gives us an inside view of the conflict in question through the worldview of the central character and when we understand what you are trying to say with your story. It is the internal view of a character that pulls us in emotionally and makes us identify with what is being explored.

Leave a Comment more...

FRIDAY NIGHT SOCIAL – NOVEMBER 6, 2015

by on Oct.20, 2015, under events, Featured

Friday Night Social ~ November 6, 2015

Event Date: Friday, November 6, 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.  

IMPORTANT:

Please REGISTER before 10:00 pm on Thursday, November 5, 2015.

 

register_button

PRESS HERE TO REGISTER

Leave a Comment more...

WHY STORIES LIKE “THE MARTIAN” WORK

by on Oct.20, 2015, under Featured, Motivation

The Martian is an extraordinary feel good film that really takes you into the idea that anything is possible if you focus on a desire, take action, don’t let the setbacks bring you down and always move forward and believe. It takes the idea of being positive to a whole new level. The Martian’s success at the box office is a sure sign that this type of story appeals to the masses. We all want to believe that we can achieve the dream despite the odds. It shows you that the underdog holds a place in all of our hearts. When the focus on the outcome is clear, it is truly amazing to see what can transpire even in what appears to be an insurmountable situation. This story takes achieving the dream to a whole new height. It is universal. It is accessible. It will make you feel like you can accomplish anything if you put forth a plan in action.

I was fascinated by this story. Drew Goddard wrote the screenplay. My first thought was that it is similar to Gravity that was written by Alfonso Cuaron and Jonas Cuaron. Both films started with a very powerful trigger and dilemma. In The Martian, the trigger was when Astronaut Mark Watney (Matt Damon) is thought to be dead after he is hit in the middle of a storm and his crew leaves him on Mars. His dilemma is that he has to figure out how to survive until there is a return visit. He knows that this won’t be for 4 years. His pursuit is to do the math and figure out how to make food and create an environment that will allow him to survive. In Gravity, Dr. Ryan Stone (Bullock), a medical engineer on her first shuttle mission with veteran astronaut, Matt Kowalsky (Clooney) must face disaster when their shuttle is destroyed and they are left alone in space. The dilemma is clearly to find a way to survive despite the odds. The pursuit is to make it back to earth. In both films, I think that we knew what the outcome would be, but being part of the journey and learning what it took to get there is why we go along for the ride. We want to be able to see what heroes do to get over their hurdles. We want to learn how to be the hero in our own life and to be able to get past what appear to be insurmountable obstacles.

In stories like these, we know that the pursuit feels unattainable. The fascinating thing in The Martian was that the science was simplified and we were able to understand some of the choices that Matt Watney’s character had to make in order to survive. His tactics were so logical. His character remained incredibly optimistic for the majority of the journey despite the odds, the obstacles and the stakes that he faced. There was so much emotion that came from seeing his drive and watching his belief. This is such a strong message for everyone who faces a situation where it seems like “all is lost” and the chances of moving through it seem unattainable. By watching the actions that Watney takes and seeing the obstacles that he is able to overcome, we can apply the same thought to our own lives. What if we took optimism and determination and used it to fuel our pursuits? Usually, our fuel is the pain of knowing what the worst that can happen is if we don’t pursue our dreams. What if we started focusing on what the best is that can happen and believe in this possibility? How could this approach change our lives?

It also comes down to the questions that we ask ourselves. In Gravity, it felt like the question being debated was “Do I want to live or die?” This stemmed from a deep wound that happened in the past with the loss of Ryan’s child. In The Martian, we know that Watney wants to live. Part of what is fueling this is that he knows his crew is going to feel like they made a mistake. He does not want them to feel this. With Watney’s character, more of what is being debated is; can he use his resourcefulness, knowledge and optimism to attain the outcome he wants. Both situations are being fueled by emotion and desire. When you understand how to tell a story where we fully feel the emotion that is fueling the desire, you attain an outcome that appeals to the masses.

It is interesting how the real life story of the author of the book that the film is based on, Andy Weir, has parallels with what could appear to be an insurmountable goal. After dropping out of college and getting rejected for his first two books, Andy went back to working in computers. He figured that with the Internet, he could do writing as a hobby. What he produced was The Martian. The Martian was Andy’s first published book. He self-published it when he couldn’t get a publisher. It sold really well on Amazon. When it started doing well, it got on Amazon’s bestseller list. Random House approached him. This led to him landing an agent and getting a publishing deal. The film followed this.

The insurmountable goal that gets attained is what inspires all of us to believe that anything is possible. This is why these stories work; they make the attainment of the dream seem possible.

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