Words mix with yoga


POSTED: Tuesday, August 04, 2009

It's not often writers in Hawaii get the opportunity to receive feedback and instruction from mainland experts, without having to fly across the ocean.

Former CBS Paramount Network Television executive Jen Grisanti opened her consultancy in 2008 and has since worked with more than 170 television and feature film writers. She is also the instructor for NBC's Writers on the Verge, which helps eight young scribes prepare a feature spec script and begin work on a television pilot concept over 10 weeks.

Her main goal? “;Helping writers get to the next step in their careers,”; Grisanti said from her home in Los Angeles. An invitation to a wedding on Oahu prompted her to replicate her successful programs at UCLA and other locations throughout Los Angeles.

“;It dawned on me ... why wouldn't I try to do it there (in Hawaii)?”; she said. Professional contacts associated with “;Lost”; steered her to Turtle Bay.

The five-day Writer/Yoga retreat includes three one-on-one consultations with Grisanti for television or feature film scripts. It also involves peer review in daily group sessions, which will yield yet another benefit. “;When I'm gone, they'll have this community of writers to help them with their scripts,”; she said.

Because Grisanti believes in the powerful connection between the spirit, good health and superior writing, she plans to invite Meaghan Townsend, one of LA's top yoga instructors, to teach twice-daily yoga sessions. However, Grisanti noted that if most people who sign up are not interested in yoga, she will adjust the schedule accordingly.





        » When: 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Aug. 22

» Where: Turtle Bay Resort


» Cost for kamaaina: $75



        » When: Aug. 18-23

» Where: Turtle Bay Resort


» Cost for kamaaina: Prices range from $350 to $700, depending on script length and yoga participation. Includes Storywise Seminar.


Inquire about exact prices and enroll directly with Jen Grisanti at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address), or call her at (323) 944-0962 by Friday. Television and feature film scripts need to be submitted before the seminar.



» On the Net: www.jengrisanticonsultancy.com, with links to Grisanti's Storywise podcast on iTunes.


In addition to the multiday retreat, Grisanti will host a one-day Storywise Seminar from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Aug. 22 at Turtle Bay (those enrolled in the five-day event participate in this as well). It provides an opportunity for writers to enhance the marketability of their scripts and improve their chances of working in the entertainment business.

Before each seminar, Grisanti surveys top development executives in Los Angeles to understand what they're looking for, and she passes along that information to her clients and students. Unlike the retreat, however, where personal feedback is the primary advantage, the one-day program focuses on the dissemination of industry information but does not include direct commentary on individual scripts.

“;We work on story development first,”; Grisanti said of both seminars. She won't refer anyone to an agent until she's sure it's the “;right script for the market, because I'm putting my name on it.”;

GRISANTI ATTRACTS many successful, working writers in Hollywood who request notes on current projects, as well as a cadre of new writers hoping to break into the business. And she doesn't limit herself to scripts. Grisanti currently is working with 12 novelists and nonfiction book writers—with special attention around how to adapt the material to a television pilot or feature film.

“;My approach to story will reinvigorate someone's sense of story if they're upper level,”; she said. “;For baby levels, it's giving them information.”;

And Grisanti has learned from the best. Legendary producer Aaron Spelling was her mentor for 12 years. During her career, she presided over the entire writing process on network shows such as “;Beverly Hills 90210, “;Melrose Place,”; “;Charmed,”; “;Medium,”; “;NCIS”; and “;Numb3rs,”; all of which demanded that she “;learn to do a million things in a day.”; Even so, it is the more subtle elements of Grisanti's career that provide her with the greatest satisfaction.

“;I'm most proud of results ... when I'm able to find talent that I can truly get to the next step, and helping people on a spiritual level to get to the core of what will make them a good writer. My brand is 'developing from within.' The stronger we are inside, the stronger we are on the page.”;

If the retreat is successful, Grisanti said she will consider returning to the islands for future seminars: “;I would love for Hawaii to be one of my regular destinations.”;