Tag: TV


by on Nov.19, 2017, under Featured, Motivation, Personal tips

Jen Grisanti5 Questions for
Writing a TV Pilot that Sells

Guest Post by Jen Grisanti,
Telling and Selling Your TV Pilot

Writing the TV pilot is one of the most challenging scripts to write,
and to write well.
I’ve helped in the development of thousands of scripts over the past 20 years. I was a
Studio Executive at two major studios for 12 years, I am currently a Writing Instructor
at NBC, and I’ve been a Story/Career Consultant for 10 years.

From the 48 pilots sold from the writers I’ve worked with since starting my business 10 years ago,
there are the five questions that I believe every writer should ask themselves when they are writing
their TV pilot:

  1. Does my series trigger push my central character into a powerful enough dilemma to set up season one?
  2. Is there a personal component that sets up the personal dilemma of my central character?
  3. Does my central character actively make a choice in the pilot trigger and dilemma that leads to a pursuit?
  4. Is my pilot goal clear?
  5. How do I setup the series?

Trigger & Dilema

With your series trigger and dilemma, you want to think about something that happens to your central character
that knocks their life out of balance. At this point in the story, your central character is often reactive versus active.
The dilemma should make us feel empathy for your character.

Personal Component

With the personal component, you are setting up the personal dilemma of your central character that leads to the
professional pursuit. This sets up the void. The pursuit is one step towards filling this void. With the personal part,
you want to think about the arc of the wound. The best pilots have a childhood wound that the series trigger and
dilemma splits open. The personal component in your story is the emotional part of your story.

Central Character

With the pilot arc, your central character goes from being reactive to active. With the setup of the series arc, they react to what happens to them. Then, they make an active choice that leads to the setup of the pilot arc. In the pilot arc, we should be clear about what your central character wants and why they want it by the end of Act One.

Pilot Goal

If the pilot goal is not clear, the story doesn’t work. In each act, the central character should take an action, hit an obstacle, and the stakes should be raised to the pilot goal. If the goal is not clear, you cannot link these points. We should feel what your character wants and what is in the way for every scene.

Series Set Up

After the resolution of the pilot arc, you need to set up the series. When I see this done well, it bookends
what happened in the series trigger and dilemma setup and helps to build the next level of the concept. The
point of this is to make your audience so enthralled that they can’t wait to see what happens next.

Mastering a story by utilizing the right tools is what will lead you to a sale.

* * *

International speaker Jen Grisanti is an acclaimed Story/Career Consultant at Jen Grisanti Consultancy Inc.,
writing Instructor for Writers on the Verge at NBC, a 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, TV Writing Tool Kit: How To Write a Script That Sells, and
Change Your Story, Change Your Life: A Path To Your Success. Her new video series is
Telling and Selling Your TV Pilot. Learn more.

Read my Q&As with Jen on Story Line and Change Your Story, Change Your Life.

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

Webinar on 9/21 w/ EIACE – Power Up Webinar – Comedy, TV writing, Representation, Writing Action Lines & Cinematic Storytelling

by on Sep.11, 2017, under events, Featured

eiACE Power-Up Webinar – Sept. 21 – 4PM PT

The third installment in the Power-Up Webinar Series features Dan Calvisi, Jen Grisanti,

Lee Jessup and David Misch. These industry-leading educators will provide instruction

through 20-minute segments, live at the Relativity School Studio in LA.

Dan Calvisi – Write Great Description Paragraphs – Learn From The Masters!

A lot is written about the art of dialogue, but what about the equal challenge

of writing great description/action? Citing examples from modern masters like

Christopher Nolan, Vince Gilligan, Shonda Rhimes and Quentin Tarantino,

Dan Calvisi will explore the mechanics, formatting and execution of this crucial

element of the screenplay. Dan will also lead the class in writing the introduction of a famous movie

character, to be compared to the actual text from the original screenplay.

Jen Grisanti – Writing A TV Pilot That Sells: Setting Up The Series And Season One

Through The Arc Of The Wound

In this talk, Jen Grisanti will go over how to set up the series and season one arc by

creating a strong arc of the wound for the central character. It is when the personal

dilemma links to the professional pursuit and the pilot arc is one step toward healing

the wound that we root for the outcome and emotionally connect to the story. Jen

will discuss the season arcs for FLEABAG (Amazon), RIVER (Netflix) and HAPPY VALLEY (Netflix).

Lee Jessup – Representation Rundown

This will cover everything you ever wanted to know about agents and managers,

including how to get the right representation, what to expect from your agent vs.

what your can expect from your manager, how much you should pay them, what

they will expect from you, and what you can do to motivate them.

David Misch – How “How Comedy Works” Works

My seminar “How Comedy Works” makes a unique guarantee in the world of

screenwriting seminars: it gives you absolutely no help with screenwriting. HCW,

as we in the office like to call it (Note: There is no office), is about comedy as an

art form; what it is, what it means and how it works. Why take time with that instead

of figuring out why your 2nd act sucks?, I hear no one asking. Because learning how comedy works will

help you do it better. Anyway, that’s my story and I’m sticking to it. This talk will show how looking at

comedy not screenwriting can help your screenwriting; how contemporary comedy goes back to ancient

Greece (and yes, I’m looking at you, fart and vomit jokes); and the precision, skill and ingenuity that

comedy requires. Most of all, this talk explains why everyone who says examination kills comedy is

not only wrong but should be killed, and shows how comedy principles translate into actual laughter.

So, y’know, forget that stuff about no help.

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


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



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

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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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

Leave a Comment :, , more...

STORYWISE 5-WEEK TV PILOT TELESEMINAR – May 6, 2014 – June 10, 2014

by on Apr.29, 2013, under events, Featured

My Storywise 5-Week TV Pilot Teleseminar will start on Tuesday, May 6 at 7:00 p.m. PST. It will meet every Tuesday night. There will be a break between Week 3 and Week 4. So, the last class is on 6/10/14.

Participants will get a recording either the night of or the day after the teleseminar. So, if you miss a night or if you’re on a different time zone and can’t make the call, you will get all of the information sent to you if you are signed up.

Participants will be allowed to ask questions at the end of each call.

Here is a LINK to a YouTube video on the event.

Here is a list of the SPECIAL GUEST SPEAKERS. They will critique your pitches.

5/6/14 – Jeff Melvoin (EP/Showrunner – ARMY WIVES)

5/13/14 – Craig Sweeney (Executive Producer – ELEMENTARY)

5/20 – Julian Meijos (Writer – WHITE COLLAR)

6/3/14 – Jim Brandon & Brian Singleton (Co-Producers – BIG TIME IN HOLLYWOOD)

6/10 – Michael Narducci (Executive Producer – THE ORIGINALS)


SERVICE FEE – $200.00

At this level, you will get to participate in all ten (5) weeks of the Storywise Teleseminar; this includes listening to the calls (up to 2-3 hours in length per call). You will have an opportunity to pitch your pilot, and you will get to turn in a 2-3 page pitch document on your pilot script for a written critique. There is no limit on the time of when you can turn in your pitch document.



SERVICE FEE – $700.00

At this level, you will get to participate in five  (5) weeks of the Storywise Teleseminar; this includes listening to the calls (2- 3 hours in length per call). You will have an opportunity to pitch your pilot script, you will get to turn in a 2-3 page pitch document on your pilot script for a written critique. You will also get a Pilot consult with this service. I will read one (1) draft of each script and give you written and verbal notes. This includes one (1) meeting up to one (1) hour in length to go over the notes.



SERVICE FEE – $2,400.00

At this level, you will follow alongside the Storywise Teleseminar and receive written and verbal feedback from me at each phase of the pilot writing process. This includes written and verbal feedback on your concept, your outline and three drafts of each script. This includes five (5) meetings up to one (1) hour in length to go over the notes, the log lines, the pitches and career guidance.

3 Comments :, , , , , more...