Monday, February 28, 2011

The Writer's Journey

Mythic Structure For Writers 
By Christopher Vogler

Book Review
By Ann Baldwin

Christopher Vogler is one of Hollywood’s premier story consultants for major film companies like Disney and 20th Century Fox, a respected teacher of filmmakers and writers around the globe, and a popular speaker on screenwriting, movies, and myth. He has influenced the stories of movies from The Lion King to Fight Club to The Thin Red Line to Courage Under Fire. He is president of Storytech, a literary consulting firm to help writers, producers, and studio executives shape their projects. In his book, The Writer’s Journey: Mythic Structure For Writers 3rd edition (Michael Wiese Productions 2007), he gives you an orientation to life and the art of being human by revealing the core elements that help us learn, grow, and change and process we go through to get there, so your storytelling of the human condition will be resonant with authenticity for your audience.

Every story is a journey for the hero/heroine (protagonist); there are territories they must traverse, stages they have to go through, and various people they’ll meet along the way, all with a function and purpose. Chris uses maps, diagrams, and illustrations to highlight the key way stations and archetypes, along with in-depth descriptions to include over 200 hundred films as examples like As Good As It Gets, The Wizard of Oz, Romancing The Stone, Beverly Hills Cop, ET, Titanic, and Driving Miss Daisy.

Some additional bonuses in this 3rd edition include; why writers are like Shamans, how stories have the ability to heal us (both emotionally and physically), how to use your body to evaluate the effectiveness of your story, and the use of polarity to keep your characters and story moving.

Mythic structure in writing is like the blue print for building a home; you begin with the basic foundation, lay-out, and frame work, so it’s solid, strong, and supported from the ground up. Then, you design it with your own unique style to give it distinction and fill it with an interesting mix of characters, whose energy helps bring it to life.

The Writer’s Journey is a must for all writers who want to create life-changing and memorable stories that stand the test of time and live on in the hearts and minds of your audience.

To learn more about Christopher Vogler you can visit his website at and purchase a copy of The Writer’s Journey at Michael Wiese Productions, Amazon, The Writers Store, Barnes & Noble & Borders.

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Story Line

Finding Gold In Your Life Story 
By Jen Grisanti

Book Review
By Ann Baldwin

Jen Grisanti started her career as an assistant to Aaron Spelling. She 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, Jen was promoted to Vice President of Current Programs at CBS/Paramount where she covered shows including Medium, Numbers, NCIS, 4400, and Girlfriends. She served as a mentor in the CBS Diversity Program, which seeks out and nurtures young writers and directors. In 2008, she launched her own consultancy firm, Jen Grisanti Consultancy Inc., dedicated to helping talented writers break into the industry. She is also a Writing Instructor for NBC’s Writers on the Verge, taught classes for the Scriptwriters’ Network and The Screenwriting Expo, and served on panels for the WGA, Final Draft/The Writer’s Bootcamp, and Pitchfest. Her company hosts Storywise Seminars and Writing Retreats. In her newest book, Story Line: Finding Gold In Your Life Story (Michael Wiese Productions March 2011), she leads you on a treasure hunt into the hidden caves within yourself and teaches you how to mine them for the golden keys that open the connections between you, your stories, and an audience.

You begin the journey by observing and creating maps, also known as loglines, from your own life experiences. Jen goes into the depths of the four key elements within each logline (set-up, dilemma, action, & goal) by not only sharing her own personal experiences as examples, but also includes films like The Hurt Locker, Up In The Air, Avatar, Pretty Woman, The Blind Side, Good Will Hunting and Rocky, along with T.V. shows like Dexter, Mad Men, The Good Wife, The Sopranos, Lost, Big Love and Glee.

What you gain from Jen’s unique techniques is a better understanding of and connection with yourself; in turn, making it easier to connect with your audience through your stories. While each of us may have different backgrounds and stories, we all share a common thread that unites us and weaves through all stories: the emotions behind every experience. I highly recommend Story Line for all writers who want to find their unique voice and have it echo for others to hear and follow.

To learn more about Jen Grisanti you can visit her at and purchase a copy of Story Line at Michael Wiese Productions, Amazon, The Writers Store, Barnes & Noble, or Borders.