Screenwriting: Finding Gold In Your Life Story – Jen Grisanti [FULL INTERVIEW]
Film Courage: Jen, are you a writer?
Jen Grisanti: I am not. I am an author. It’s interesting because people ask me all the time and it catches me off guard and I have to remember, yes, I’ve written three books. I am an author so I am a writer and in that sense, I am not a screenwriter.
Film Courage: So what is it that you do aside from the books?
Jen Grisanti: I’m a speaker. I’m a blogger for the Huffington Post. I am a writing instructor for Writers on Verge of NBC. I’ve been a writing instructor there for eight years and I’m a story career consultant at Jen Grisanti consultancy.
Film Courage: When someone approaches you through your website and they say “I’m considering hiring you,” how can you determine between a writing that is dabbling in the industry versus those who say this is my chosen career path? Can tell the difference in terms of commitment level?
Jen Grisanti: You know, it’s interesting. I get writers who are coming out of college to a co-executive producer, staff writer all the way up to co-executive producer level. This is because I was a former 12-year studio executive and when I was an executive, I staffed over 15 top prime time TV shows. And I got to know a lot of writers, whereas I know a lot of consultants get the brand, brand new writers. But because I have been exposed to the professional writer I do get a lot of professional writers. I think my feeling, as part of being a current programming executive, really was identifying new voices. I like working with the green writer who hasn’t developed bad habits and who is open to the process, so I really don’t have a problem if I have someone who is dabbling versus totally committed as long as they are committed to the process that they signed on for.
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ABOUT JEN GRISANTI:
As a Current Programs Executive, I was exposed to the entire creative process, which means I know what the studio wants, what the network looks for and what kind of material you need in order to get hired. I have read over 8,000 scripts and given notes on most of them, so I know how to make a script the best that it can be.
In addition to Aaron Spelling, other great mentors I’ve worked with include, Glenn Gordon Caron, Barry Schindel, E. Duke Vincent, Ira Behr, Ken Sanzel, Mara Brock Akil, John Eisendrath, Jorge Zamacona, Brad Kern, Chuck Pratt and Brenda Hampton.
Over the years, I have developed numerous industry relationships with successful writers, directors and executives who have supported me along the way. You can see some of their testimonials here.
In August of 2008, I was hired by NBC to be the Writing Instructor for their program, Writers on the Verge. This is a 10-week program focused on polishing writers’ material and readying the participants for the staff writer position on a television series. Classes concentrate on creating an exceptional spec script and understanding the dynamics of pitching oneself in the television industry.
Since I launched my company in January of 2008, I have worked with over 500 writers, made up of half TV writers and half feature writers as well as 10 novelists. Twenty of my writers have sold pilots and two have gone to series. I have helped several writers to sign with top agencies including UTA and CAA, I’ve helped over 40 writers get staffed. I also worked with a feature writer on a script that is currently being produced with huge names attached. Additionally, many of writers I am working with have made it into writing programs as well as placed at high levels in writing competitions.
In June of 2009, I was invited to be a blogger on The Huffington Post.
Most of all, I absolutely love what I do. I enjoy working with writers and approach the process with care, experience and passion. It is imperative to me that both the writer and the story are honored as a script develops. In an industry that is generally too busy to give anyone personal attention, I will give it to you. With me, you get your own Personal Executive guiding you every step of the way.
Learn the screenwriting secrets behind successful cinematic stories in the world of film & television script writing.
Paul Castro the original writer of the Warner Bros. hit movie, AUGUST RUSH.He is a produced, award winning screenwriter and world-renowned screenwriting professor. Success leaves clues and so do masterfully crafted screenplays that sell for millions of dollars.