Film Courage: It almost seems like the very nature of the question “Should I…Is there something here?” is not the question to be asking because it’s not driven internally, they’re looking for external reward?
Jen Grisanti: Yes. And that is where you have to look at What is the Desire? Is the desire the big house and the parties and everything that you think is the glamorous part of the job or is the desire that you are sending your message to the world and making an impact in a positive way. And I think writers have to move into that emotionally. I think a lot of times they are on the outside and they are not ready for the internal desire to really kick in. And again, I think when life humbles you then the internal desire awakens and it becomes more clear. And then your writing improves. Like I have seen writers who have been knocked down again and again and suddenly it’s a certain point that just turns their world and really helps them own what they’re sending out into the world. And I think that is the greatest thing in the world when you see that happen. And again, that is the life process happening mixed with professional process.
“I have seen writers who have been knocked down again and again and suddenly it’s a certain point that just turns their world and really helps them own what they’re sending out into the world. And I think that is the greatest thing in the world when you see that happen. And again, that is the life process happening mixed with professional process.”
Film Courage: So finding meaning in the work rather than the accolades and the perception, which could eventually lead to probably a lot of isolation and loneliness because you have all of that but it doesn’t mean anything…
Jen Grisanti: And that is the key to everything. I mean the key to everything is when I look at when the motivation is to leave a legacy and the legacy is to empower the next generation in a strong way through communicating your ups-and-downs and your lessons that you’ve learned in this life process. Then the chances of, when you’re hitting it big and everything is there, of being fulfilling are greater. So I’ve seen both happen. I’ve definitely seen that executive producer who thinks… like I’m going to say many executive producers have been married three times or I mean married and divorced and that is because they’re putting so much energy into the job and not enough into life. And I remember one executive producer who I asked this specific question who had all that I talked about as far as the hit show, the new marriage. Life was working and I asked the question “Are you happy?” And the answer was “Happiness is such a loaded question.” And it was so clear to me that the outcome didn’t match the expectations and so there was more work to be done. And I think there’s a value in that. Like if you use that in your writing. I think that this happens a lot. That there are writers that hit these massive pinnacles and find that this isn’t happiness. And that is why I think the internal work, it’s such an important part of the external outcome.
Film Courage: I’ve heard the same in music and sports…
Jen Grisanti: Everything. Everything in life. What is your purpose? What is your calling? Are you in alignment with your internal desire and the external outcome? Or are you limited?
Film Courage: Do you think it comes down to how much personal freedom they feel? Whether it [rests] in their creativity? Because if someone at that level has probably lost a lot of personal freedom in terms of their schedule or even being able to go out if someone knows what they look like.
Jen Grisanti: Well and also in the writer’s journey you have to recognize a majority of writers are not writing on the show that they want to be writing on, you know? A majority of writers are taking jobs they need to take to pay the bills. And that is just the way it is. But the gift of that is that’s moving you forward to when you can write the show that you create and produce. So that is the show that you want to be writing on, you know? So I think it’s keeping the end goal in mind and always using that to motivate your path.
Film Courage: I use this expression a lot in our videos but you know, knowing what you don’t want is sometimes more than half the battle.
Jen Grisanti: Yes. And it’s information. Like that’s what I always say, getting fired, going back to that. What that tells us is it gives us information “Okay, I was going down a path and I thought the actions I was taking were the right actions but something shifted or changed so now I have to redefine a new path and really think about the internal desire versus the external outcome, do they align? And am I taking the right actions to hit the outcome I want?
Question for the Viewers: Are you happy with your writing career?
Check out more videos with Jen Grisanti here on Youtube
BUY THE BOOK – CHANGE YOUR STORY, CHANGE YOUR LIFE: A Path to Success
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.
LEFT ON PURPOSE – Midway through the filming of a documentary about his life as an anti war activist, Mayer Vishner declares that his time has passed and that his last political act will be to commit suicide— and he wants it all on camera. Now the director must decide whether to turn off his camera or use it to keep his friend alive. Left on Purpose is an award winning feature length documentary that confronts the growing issues of aging, isolation and end of life choices through an intense character driven story of the relationship between filmmaker and subject. With humor and heart it provides a rare cinematic look at what it means to be a friend to someone in pain.
THE SPECIAL NEED: Enea is 29. He has blue eyes, likes trucks, and loves girls. He hasn’t found the right one yet. Still he has never stopped looking for her. One more thing about Enea: he is autistic. One day, after taking a photo of a girl on the bus, he is pushed to the ground by her boyfriend. Enea’s therapist convinces his mom that the time has come for the man to cope with his sexual desires. Enea’s friends Carlo and Alex get involved and try to find a way for Enea to have sex in a safe and legal environment.
PROBLEMSKI HOTEL: For the inmates of the multinational residential center somewhere in Europe, the circular, black comedy that is the cross-frontier migrant’s life ‘within the system’ becomes even blacker in December. For we are in the European ‘season of gladness and joy.’ Bipul doesn’t want to admit it to himself, but the Russian girl’s arrival makes a difference: Lidia. Hope? Surely not! A future? Get real! December is also the ninth month of Martina’s pregnancy. Pregnancies don’t go round in circles; they end in eruptions. Because when the situation is hopeless, rescue is near.
SURVIVING SKOKIE: They survived the horrors of the Holocaust and came to America to put the past behind. For decades they kept their awful memories secret, even from their children. But their silence ended when a band of neo-Nazi thugs threatened to march in their quiet village of Skokie, Illinois “because that is where the Jews are.”
Surviving Skokie is an intensely personal documentary by former Skokie resident Eli Adler about the provocative events of the 1970s, their aftermath, his family’s horrific experience of the Shoah, and a journey with his father to confront long-suppressed memories.