Tag: story


by on Dec.15, 2018, under events, Featured, Motivation, Personal tips

BPS 021: How to Tell Your Internal Story with Jen Grisanti

Jen Grisanti

How to Tell Your Internal Story with Jen Grisanti

Today on the show we have Hollywood Story/Career Consultant and former Studio Executive Jen Grisanti. Grisanti is also a Writing Instructor for Writers on the Verge at NBC, a former studio executive, a blogger for The Huffington Post and author of Story Line: Finding Gold In Your Life Story, TV Writing Tool Kit: How To Write a Script That Sells, and her recent book, Change Your Story, Change Your Life.

Over twenty years ago, Jen Grisanti started her career as an assistant to Aaron Spelling, who served as her mentor for 12 years. 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 years of 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 her consulting firm, Jen Grisanti worked with over 1000 writers specializing in television, features, and novels. Due to her guidance, over ninety of her clients have staffed as writers on television shows, fifty-three have sold pilots, and six of those pilots have gone to series.

Enjoy my conversation with Jen Grisanti.

Right-click here to download the MP3 (Transcription below)
Download on iTunes Direct
Watch on IFH YouTube Channel


Leave a Comment :, , , more...


by on Dec.11, 2012, under Story

A story begins when the world of a central character is thrown out of alignment. This triggers a call to action. The central character takes action in pursuit of the goal that will bring his/her world back into alignment. Without a story, we the audience could not connect to the central character nor to the storyteller. Which brings me to an important point: there is a specific structure to a well-told or well-crafted story. It begins with creating empathy for the central character. In fiction as well in life, can you skip this essential ingredient and have a story be as compelling without it? A writer once asked me this question. He was referring to the way we tell our true stories in order to give people a sense of who we are. He asked if he could tell his story by focusing on his strengths instead of his weaknesses.

As most of you know, I am a story/career consultant for writers. As if in support of his question, he brought up stories that I’ve shared at my seminars related to my two pivotal life moments: the end of a long relationship in a short marriage and the end of a career as a studio executive after fifteen years. To his question I answered this: in your pain lives your truth. When you allow your audience to see the wound that drives you, then you connect to your truth. Others may not directly relate with the specifics of your story but they do respond to the idea of pain and having to do the work to move past it. This makes them root for your success because they know what it’s like to be there.

I recently attended a seminar where the speaker announced, “Now, people say that when you share your story, you should open up about your weaknesses. I don’t believe this. I believe that you should share your unique abilities with the audience.” He went on to share all of the things that make him great. In my opinion, he lost the audience. Personally speaking, he lost me. I left the event half way through the first day and I did not return. The reason was because I did not identify with the speaker. He came from a place that did not allow me to truly see him. By doing this, he taught me a lot about the significance of positioning our stories. Luckily, there was a gift in the experience.

In fiction, a story starts by giving us a sense of what the “old world” looked like before the trigger incident turned the central character’s world upside down. When we know where a character was, we have a better understanding of what has to be done to bring their life back into alignment. This makes us feel empathy for their plight. It also makes us as an audience root for their success. By having a picture of what life was like before, we have a fuller view of the transformation that needs to happen on the path to bringing life back into alignment. This set up is crucial to the success of a well-told story.

In the 2011 film Warrior, we learn the story of two estranged brothers torn apart earlier in their lives. The brother who stayed with his mother was with her until her death. The brother who stayed with the father felt robbed of this moment. We clearly understand the wound that is driving each man. We feel empathy for both sides. While competing in a mixed martial arts tournament where the stakes are incredibly high, the underdog brother must confront the moment that tore him apart from his brother and do what needs to be done to close the rift. This story works in an incredible way because of how the writers – Gavin O’Connor and Anthony Tambakis – take the time to create empathy for both characters so that we understand the stakes that are driving them. This way, we root for their success.

I use this movie to illustrate the significance of creating empathy for central character(s) at the start of a story. When you do this in fiction as well as in life, you create a connection with your audience. One last comment about the writer who asked me the question about leaving out this ingredient from his story: when he learned to share two specific life moments that fuel his pursuit to succeed, his world opened up in ways that he never imagined.

When you are sharing your story, give your audience a sense of what your life looked like before your call to action and what you did as a result of it. When you skip this step, you take away the opportunity for them to connect with you and know you. By giving your audience a sense that you know what it means to fall and to get back up, you allow them a chance to know who you are and what drives you. By doing this, you allow them to identify with what you went through. When you do this, both in fiction and in life, your audience (i.e., those around you) will root for your success.


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

The Future Of Story, Media and Marketing

by on Aug.09, 2011, under Featured, Story

Where are we headed in terms of how we market and how we tell story in the ever-changing media landscape? Story and the way we tell it is fluid and constantly moving forward, changing forms and evolving as the world does the same. Marketing is growing in miraculous ways because of the Internet and social networking. The viral effect is making a difference in all of our lives. Media is also continuously diversifying with the emergence of new platforms. Story, media and marketing are leading to success for entrepreneurs on multiple levels. Being conscious of the changes in these arenas can lead to your success in any business.  It’s all about knowledge and empowerment and being open to all the new ways to grow.

Recently, I attended the University Film & Video Association Conference in Boston.  This year’s theme was The Future of Media Education. I went there as an author along with fourteen other authors from Michael Wiese Productions (MWP). Boston was amazing. The energy of the event was hugely inspirational. There were panels discussing the future of media on all platforms including webinars, YouTube, web series, personal branding, and the list goes on. Hearing many of the topics that were covered was very exciting. There was a buzz in the air that was intoxicating because it was all about being ten steps ahead of the game in terms of knowledge. I was a guest speaker on the panel discussing The Future Development of Story, along with eight other authors from MWP. The talk was so intimate and informative because of all of the different perspectives that were covered. This panel gave me a quick and captivating glimpse of what to expect at the upcoming conference called The Future of Story, which takes place on August 27, 2011 at the Beaudry Theatre at Los Angeles Center Studios.

The Future of Story is led by some of the best-selling screenwriting authors and teachers in the industry. This dynamic conference will help you take an objective look at both yourself and your professional skill sets as you polish and target your stories for film, television, and print. With over 30 MWP authors attending this conference, you’ll have an opportunity to network one-on-one with experts on screenwriting, pitching, and various aspects of filmmaking. Who should attend? Screenwriters, television writers, novelists, non-fiction writers, graphic novelists and all those interested in emerging trends in narrative.

Marketing has become viral in every aspect and it has brought the importance of personal branding to the forefront. Recently, I watched a video interview with Sam Rosen, co-founder of ThoughtLead, a firm that specializes in online marketing. He laid out The Seven Pillars of the Future of Marketing. In them, he explains the idea of ‘content differentiates,’ which basically means this: when we do things differently and offer a platform that gives numerous perspectives from top experts in the field, we offer the participant a much broader view of the topic. ThoughtLead did an event on the Web called “The Influencer Project” which featured 60 speakers in 60 minutes. The results were massive. What this demonstrated was that when you get top professionals in the field together to share their expertise, the information is invaluable.

I encourage you to attend events, seminars, teleseminars and webinars to keep up on the latest information in any of these arenas. Follow your curiosity and your passion. When you listen to professionals that know how to get you where you want to go, you will hit countless “aha!” moments. I’ve been to many of these events and what I’ve learned is that we are all constantly growing. Information will bring us into the future in a way that will bring us results. You want to be ahead of the curve and utilize all the latest technology to help lead to your success! Be the creator of your destiny.

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