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Panelists for the Stage 32 & Michael Wiese Productions Present: The Future of Story - LA conference

This Panelist Jen Grisanti Author, STORY LINE

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 and TV Writing Tool Kit: How To Write a Script That Sells and her new book, Change Your Story, Change Your Life: A Path To Your Success.

Grisanti started her career in 1992 as an assistant to Aaron Spelling, who served as her mentor for 12 years, and she quickly 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, Grisanti was promoted to Vice President of Current Programs at CBS/Paramount where she covered numerous shows, including Medium, Numbers, NCIS, 4400 and Girlfriends.

In January 2008, Grisanti launched Jen Grisanti Consultancy Inc., a highly successful consulting firm dedicated to helping talented writers break into the industry. Drawing on her experience as a studio executive where she gave daily notes to executive producers/showrunners, Grisanti personally guides writers to shape their material, hone their pitches and focus their careers. Since launching the consulting firm, Grisanti has worked with over 800 writers specializing in television, features and novels. Due to her expertise and mentorship, seventy-five of her writers have staffed on television shows and forty have sold pilots, five that that went to series.

Grisanti has taught classes for the Toronto Screenwriting Conference, TV Writers Summit (in LA, London and Israel), The TV Writers Studio (in Australia), Story Expo, The Big Island Film Festival, Chicago Screenwriters Network, Scriptwriters Network , Screenwriting Expo, the Great American Pitchfest, the Writers Store, the Northwestern Screenwriter’s Guild in Seattle, and the Alameda’s Writer’s Group. In addition, she has served on panels for the WGA, iTVFest, UFVA, PGA and The Writer’s Bootcamp, telling her story to inspire others.

Grisanti attended USC where she received a B.A. in Communications.


This Panelist Christopher Vogler Author, THE WRITER'S JOURNEY

Christopher Vogler is a veteran Hollywood story consultant known the world over for his landmark book THE WRITER’S JOURNEY: Mythic Structure for Storytellers. Vogler began his career as a documentary filmmaker for the US Air Force’s space program. After graduate studies at the USC film school, he entered the Hollywood studio system as a story analyst and eventually became a development executive at the Fox 2000 production unit of 20th Century Fox. He currently is a story consultant to major studios, directors and stars. While working in the Disney story department he wrote an influential memo on the mythological Hero’s Journey pattern that became part of Hollywood story legend and formed the foundation of his book, THE WRITER’S JOURNEY.

As a consultant he has influenced the stories of many productions including Disney’s THE LION KING, ALADDIN, HERCULES, FANTASIA 2000; Fox’s FIGHT CLUB, THE THIN RED LINE, COURAGE UNDER FIRE, and for other studios 10,000 BC, KARATE KID II, Darren Aronofsky’s THE WRESTLER and NOAH, Will Smith’s FOCUS, HANCOCK, MEN IN BLACK III, I AM LEGEND, etc. He consults with major corporations on storytelling and branding and presents workshops globally on the power of stories to change minds and lives.

In 2016 he received the Pulcinella Award from the “Cartoons on the Bay” Film Festival in Venice, Italy for his contributions to the animation industry. He is the author of the graphic novel “RAVENSKULL” and co-author (with David McKenna) of “MEMO FROM THE STORY DEPARTMENT: Secrets of Structure and Character”.

This Panelist Steve Kaplan Author, THE HIDDEN TOOLS OF COMEDY

For years, Steve Kaplan has been the industry's most sought-after expert on comedy. The author of the best-selling The Hidden Tools of Comedy, he has taught at UCLA, NYU, Yale and other top universities. Steve created the HBO Workspace, the HBO New Writers Program and was co-founder and Artistic Director of Manhattan's Punch Line Theatre. Steve has consulted with Disney, DreamWorks Animation, Aardman Animation, HBO and others, and has taught his world-famous Comedy Intensive workshops and seminars in LA, New York, Chicago, Denver, London, Paris, Kiev, Munich, Canada, Ireland, Israel, Australia, New Zealand and Singapore. He is currently working on his new book, The Comic Hero's Journey.

This Panelist Alvaro Rodriguez Representative from the SAVE THE CAT Team

Alvaro Rodriguez is a screenwriter living and working in Texas and Los Angeles. His credits include the films Machete and The Last Rampage (premiering in theaters in September 2017), and the television series From Dusk Till Dawn. He studied under Blake Snyder and has led Save the Cat!® beat sheet workshops in Austin and San Antonio. Additionally, he has made several appearances on the Austin Film Festival television show On Story on PBS, in conversation with award-winning writers and filmmakers, and has appeared on panels at AFF, the Great American Pitchfest, and others.

This Panelist Richard Botto Producer, Screenwriter and Founder & CEO, Stage 32

Richard "RB" Botto is the Founder and CEO of Stage 32 (, the world's largest social media site and educational hub for film, television and theater creatives.

Botto is a screenwriter (represented by David Greenblatt of Greenlit Creative), producer, actor and author. He served as associate producer on Sam Levinson’s debut Another Happy Day, which starred Ellen Barkin, Demi Moore, Thomas Hayden Church, Kate Bosworth and Ellen Burstyn and premiered at the Sundance Film Festival, winning Best Screenplay. In 2014, Botto executive produced All Things Hidden. Botto’s own latest script, The End Game, is currently in development.

A pioneer of the early stages of the Internet boom, Botto developed Stage 32 so creatives across the globe would have a dedicated network to find work and representation, launch projects, secure funding, further their education and make life and career altering connections. In just over 3 years, Stage 32 has organically reached over 500,000 members from every country on the planet and has been described by Forbes Magazine as "Lynda meets LinkedIn meets Facebook for film, television and theater creatives."

Botto has spoken all over the world at industry conferences including American Film Market, SXSW, TriBeCa Film Festival, Entertainment Finance Forum by Winston Baker, Columba University, Cinequest, Screenwriters World West and East, Great American Pitchfest, STN Convention and many more.

Prior to creating Stage 32, Botto was the Founder, Publisher and Editor of RAZOR magazine, a national men’s lifestyle magazine which boasted a readership of 1.5 million at its peak. A former radio host on ESPN and FOX Sports affiliates, Botto has appeared on such networks as CNBC, MSNBC, NBC News, FOX News, CBS News and VH1, riffing about the entertainment business and social media.

In the 90’s, Botto was an integral part of the team responsible for creating the vendor tracking system used by many of today’s top e-commerce companies. Botto headed the development, design and commercial implementation for several of the top 50 most visited sites on the web during that period.

Botto also serves on the Advisory Board for Old Town Music Hall, a classic film theater in El Segundo, built in 1921.

Botto's book on crowdsourcing for film will be published by Focal Press in 2015.

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