On the 306th episode of The Copywriter Club Podcast, Jamie Jensen makes her second appearance on the show. Jamie is a copywriter, screenwriter, creative coach and some-day showrunner. Jamie’s many lives have led her to her absolute passion of screenwriting and helping other multi-passionate creatives discover how to balance it all.
Here’s how the conversation went:
- What’s the difference between hitting a wall and burnout?
- Walking away from something that’s going well?
- How to create a step by step process for what comes next.
- Why you need to give yourself permission to be messy.
- The balance between business person and artist.
- What goes into the screenwriting process?
- The importance of allowing yourself to be bad at your craft.
- The shift in the screenwriting industry – what have been the effects of streaming?
- What goes into Jamie’s writing process?
- Why you should treat your projects like relationships – projects as people?
- What are work retreats all about?
- What’s a pilot vs a screenplay?
- How to get into screenwriting.
- How to get a lot done in a short amount of time.
- What is it like to work with an editor? How does it help improve the writing process?
- Dabbling into new projects and passions… How do we balance it all.Read the transcript below or hit that play button.
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Rob Marsh: This is the 306th episode of The Copywriter Club Podcast. And if you’ve been here since the beginning, you’ve certainly noticed some themes that tend to recur as we’ve interviewed nearly 300 copywriters. Obviously, we like to ask about things like prospecting and sales calls teams, and all the things that copywriters do in their business so that you can borrow or steal an idea or two to use in your own businesses. So it’s a little surprising when we stumble across a topic that we’ve never addressed before. And today’s guest on the podcast is copywriter, screenwriter, creative coach, and someday showrunner, Jamie Jensen. When we invited Jamie to the show, we thought we’d be talking more about the changes that she’s made in her business since we interviewed her a few years ago, but we discovered something that we’ve really never talked about before on the show. And so while today’s episode does address Jamie’s business and how it’s evolved, it’s also a primer on writing for TV and cinema.
Kira Hug: But before we get to Jamie’s interview, we just want to share a final announcement that today is the last day to join the Copywriter Accelerator Program before we shut the doors and kick off this program this September. So if you have any interest in building your business, so you have consistent income processes that help you feel really confident about what you’re doing. So it’s easier to sell what you’re doing. This is a great program. A lot of the conversation today with Jamie is about creative pursuits in writing. And I think most of us have some creative ideas that we’re inspired to work on, but it’s tricky to do that if we don’t have a business that’s running and providing consistent revenue.
So we’re not stressing over paying our bills and stressing about where our business is going to go. And so the Accelerator Program is actually a really nice fit for people who just need a workable business. That feels really good to them and is something they could depend on so that they can pursue those projects, whether it’s writing or something else and shape their life around, or I guess, shape the business around their life rather than vice versa. So today’s the last day we hope we can work with you. If you have any interests, you can find out more information in the show notes.
Rob Marsh: And like you were saying, Kira, if you’ve struggled at all with your business over the last year, if things just don’t feel quite right, or you feel they could be running smoother, this is the time to go through the Accelerator and get it all set up, so that January 1st you’re ready to rock and roll for the new year. So I know we’re still a ways away from thinking about the new year, but it’s not that far away. And if people want their businesses to work the right way, they should definitely check out thecopywriteraccelerator.com. Okay. Let’s hear about how Jamie has transitioned her business since the last time that we talked on the podcast. So Jamie catches up. It has been a long time. So he is talking on the podcast since we saw you in San Diego on stage at IRL.
Jamie Jensen: Yeah. We went in a time machine called COVID-19.
Rob Marsh: Yeah. Seriously. What has been going on in your life and your business?
Jamie Jensen: Yeah. Thank you. So many things. I made a decision late last year and just to ground us in time, we’re in August 2022 now. And so late 2021, probably around October, I made a decision to burn everything down in my business. And the irony of this is that that’s the second time in my eight, nine years in business that I have done something like that. But this was a more… I’m going to just speak in my truth and not worry so much about whether the languaging I use makes sense. I’ll just let you ask me questions if it doesn’t, but there was just a truth in my body where I felt I hit this brick wall and so much of what I had been building and working on just felt like a no.
Rob Marsh: So, yeah. Let’s talk about that because, I mean, there’s burnout where you’re tired or you struggle, but usually, it doesn’t feel like everything is a no.
Jamie Jensen: Yup.
Rob Marsh: A total 180 do over tear-it-all-down.
Jamie Jensen: Yeah.
Rob Marsh: I mean because you’ve done. You’ve had both.
Jamie Jensen: Yes.
Rob Marsh: You’ve been burned out before and not torn everything.
Jamie Jensen: Totally. Absolutely.
Rob Marsh: What was the difference?
Jamie Jensen: Well, the difference here was that I could feel that there was one thing in my business that felt true for me. It felt like, “I love doing this, I could do this forever.” It was the one offer I was holding that I most loved. I was most excited to show up and that I felt I could do endlessly forever and I never got tired of it. And everything else felt like I was pumping from a place of emptiness to go through with it, even though it was really smart. And even though it was valuable and it was offering value to folks, it was just something that in me, when I got up to try to do marketing for it, or when I got up to try to create content for it, I kept hitting a wall.
And it wasn’t for lack of anything that I had built not working. It certainly wasn’t at the scale that I had dreamt it would be, but I hadn’t really gotten to that spot yet. Specifically, I’m talking about a program called Create Your 6-Figure Copywriting Business, which I had been working on at the time for a year and a half-ish. And I loved the program. I loved the clients. I loved the content. I loved everything that it had to offer. And it was something that I had probably put the most of myself into in terms of what I was offering in my business. And I believed in it. But there was just something about it that felt like a no for me to continue offering it in the way that I wasn’t to try to build something to scale on the foundation of that offer.
It just was not, there was something in it that was like, “I love these humans who are showing up for this. I love the results they’re getting. And this just feels like a no. And a lot of the other products that I had created around copywriting no longer felt true for me.” And the way that I describe that is it wasn’t just burnout. It was this coming to a place of truth and honestly, deeply feeling the grief of that, it wasn’t like, “Oh, I made this decision,” and then it was just easy. I was really sad. I really had to grieve it. It’s like that it was just what was true.
Rob Marsh: Yeah. I mean, as I hear you talk about this too, I can think of other people I know who have done something similar, but usually, they’re just like, “Oh, I don’t love the work,” or like, “What I’m doing is crap,” and that is not what you’re saying, because the stuff that you created is, I mean, it’s awesome.
Jamie Jensen: Yeah.
Rob Marsh: I’ve seen the stuff that you were selling.
Jamie Jensen: I know.
Rob Marsh: It is really good. And when you had your agency, which I think we talked about last time you were on the podcast.
Jamie Jensen: Yeah.
Rob Marsh: Your agency was really good, right?
Jamie Jensen: Thanks.
Rob Marsh: So how do you walk away from something that’s good, but not right as opposed to-
Jamie Jensen: Yeah.
Rob Marsh: … “This just doesn’t, it’s not good, and it’s easy to walk away.”
Jamie Jensen: Yeah.
Rob Marsh: Talk about that. I mean, I guess it’s grieving, right?
Jamie Jensen: Yeah. It is. Yeah. It’s a grieving process. I think for me, how do you walk away from it? You just create a plan, a step-by-step short plan that goes, I’ve said this to a lot of clients, because I tend to work with a lot of folks who are in transition or wanting to pivot. And ironically, ever since I shut my agency down, I’ve had a lot of clients that I’ve coached around the process of transition and pivoting.
Rob Marsh: Uh-huh.
Jamie Jensen: And the thing that I’ll say about it is, I think that you have to set realistic expectations for a transition and create a step-by-step plan for how you want to handle that. I terminated a lot of client agreements, contracts, and relationships for a period of time to really create space, to discover what wanted to come next. And that was something that I hadn’t done when I shut my agency down. I didn’t say, “Okay. I’m done with this, but I’m going to give myself the permission to really take the time to discover what wants to come next or what wants to be created next,” if that makes sense. And so in terms of how, I think it’s setting realistic expectations for a transition and really honoring that you can’t pivot and scale simultaneously. You can’t. So you have to really be mindful of your energy, your capacity and give yourself the permission to be messy.
Rob Marsh: Yeah.
Jamie Jensen: Because it’s been messy. It still feels messy and I’m like-
Rob Marsh: Everything feels messy.
Jamie Jensen: … “You know what? It’s fine.”
Rob Marsh: How did your clients react? Were they okay with it? Were they like, “Oh, yeah?” Because there’s disappointment there. You’re helping them-
Jamie Jensen: Yeah.
Rob Marsh: … achieve really good things. And then suddenly it’s like, “I’m not going to be there for you anymore.”
Jamie Jensen: Yeah. It was tough. I think the folks that I had had a newer relationship with, I still, in my opinion, owe them a check-in now, just to see how they’re doing, because honestly, I have so much love for my clients. I think I get really sad when programs end, even if they’re supposed to.
Rob Marsh: Yeah.
Jamie Jensen: So what I’ll say is that the greater population or the greater number of clients, everyone was actually incredibly supportive and inspired in their own way. In the permission that I was granting myself and the permission that I granted them, I think they saw it as a step in modeling the honoring of what is true for you and not waiting for external permission to take the step that feels true for you. And so we had a very emotional final call in this one program I lead that was Craft and Cashflow at the time. That was to me, the one program that I felt the most love around and it was beautiful. I had them, we had a complete conversation and discussed that.
And I had completion conversations with each of my clients where we talked about where they were, what was the next best step for them and brought them to a place of completion in our relationship. So that was a process that I used for everyone that I was working with and we had one-on-one calls and we also did it as a group. And I received a lot of gratitude and a lot of positive reflection. So even though it was really difficult for me and even though I felt not the best about it, I still am like-
Rob Marsh: Yeah.
Jamie Jensen: … “Yeah. It’s hard to do that without feeling really guilty or feeling like you’ve abandoned your clients.” And at the same time, there were growth opportunities for everyone in the experience there and operating out of your own truth is ultimately not going to be in the highest service to anyone, whether it’s your clients, your customers, or your team. And so that’s how that unfolded to give you just a transparent window.
Rob Marsh: Yeah. It’s a high-level look. Okay. So you burn everything down. I mean, again, you’ve done it once before, maybe more than once before, but like a phoenix out of the ashes, something better seems to happen. So what is the next thing?
Jamie Jensen: Yeah.
Rob Marsh: What are you building or what are you doing that lights you up?
Jamie Jensen: Yeah. So a few things. Well, one thing that I’ll share is, and this isn’t a secret, I think anyone who’s been following me for any length of time knows that I also am a writer outside of copywriting and outside of coaching. I also write screenplays and movies and I have for a very long time and in the last 18 months, I’ve also, or maybe even longer than that, I had started giving thought to television writing and I’ve worked in a TV writer’s room before, but had really put that aside and not seen that as something that I desired for myself. It wasn’t something that I liked. It wasn’t a goal or it wasn’t something that I knew I wanted. And there have been a handful of collaborations also that had started coming up in the realm of television and not just film. And so I just felt this true calling to make space for that and for what that might look like.
And so I’ll share that in my creative life, I have been working a lot on television projects and becoming more available for the opportunity to staff on a television show or create a television show with other writers and creatives. And so that is a piece of what I am that is true, that is happening. And then there are two other pieces that I’ll say, one is working a lot more in the space of coaching and working with clients who are in a process that I think would be really egoic. I don’t hold the line of, “I did this and I’m so great. And I’m going to teach you the perfect steps on how to do it,” right? I think that I hold space for the messy human process of making changes and taking risks and how hard it is and how vulnerable it is to put yourself out there again. And the shame that can come with that. I mean, I work with folks who have shame in asking for clients, even if they don’t have a story of burning something down or making a change.
Rob Marsh: Yeah.
Jamie Jensen: And so I tend to work with a lot of other service providers and creatives that encounter that, whether it’s through their creative work or through their business or both. And so that is the true thing and the way that I most love supporting clients, whether they are coaches or therapists or other creatives. And so that has evolved as a very true thing for me. And so that’s shown up as supporting them in their creative projects and there are still brands and businesses that I work with as a writer and strategist, but it’s very different than how I was supporting folks previously, which was really focused a lot on how to make more money, how to sell, how to structure a business and all of that stuff is valuable and it’s necessary. And so not the zone that I feel called to move into anymore.
Rob Marsh: So away from the business school and into the art school, film school, maybe?
Jamie Jensen: Yeah.
Rob Marsh: It sounds like.
Jamie Jensen: Yeah. Yeah. Exactly. And the type of muscle it takes to hold both and be willing to, I think that that’s-
Rob Marsh: Yeah.
Jamie Jensen: … the other piece is, it’s a practice I’ve been practicing behind the scenes for so long. I’ve been writing movies and honoring that and working in the realm of being an artist and a business person. And there’s just a space in which I see other folks wanting to experiment with that or kick the door open for that. And they feel nervous too or they think they can’t think it’s going to be exhausting. And that’s the realm within which Craft and Cashflow was born and is the space where I’m excited to serve.
Rob Marsh: I like it.
Jamie Jensen: Yeah.
Rob Marsh: So when I worked in the ad agency that I worked at, there was a joke that every copywriter had a screenplay in there or maybe it wasn’t a joke, maybe we all did. Everybody had a screenplay in the drawer that they were working on after hours or maybe during hours when they should have been working on the agency accounts. I don’t think we’ve ever talked about screenwriting on the podcast before. Can you give us-
Jamie Jensen: Yeah.
Rob Marsh: … a five-minute primer, maybe a 20-minute primer on what does that even look like? I mean, obviously, everybody’s got ideas for stories or everybody wants to have written a book, whether they want to write a book or not, but let’s talk about that process.
Jamie Jensen: Yeah. Sure.
Rob Marsh: And how do you develop the idea? How do you sit down to write, walk us through it?
Jamie Jensen: Oh, my God. I could talk about this for hours. I don’t even know where to start.
Rob Marsh: This is the Jamie Jensen version of Robert McKee’s STORY masterclasses, right?
Jamie Jensen: Yeah. Absolutely.
Rob Marsh: Yeah. We’ll do that.
Jamie Jensen: Yeah. I mean, yeah. That is the only course that I captain I’m like, “No one can have this yet as my story course. I don’t know what I’m doing with it, but it’s mine.” Yeah. Just a funny little window into how the mind works when you are burning things down. So to answer your question about screenwriting. So screenwriting has been something I’ve done since I was 18, 19, 20, right? I went to a summer program at USC in California and I’m from New York. And I felt the pull for it from a very young age and was always fascinated by it to the point that I designed my own major at NYU at their Gallatin Individualized Study School and called it Dramatic Storytelling and basically created a curriculum where I was like, “I’m going to read Aristotle and I’m going to take a class on the history of comedy and I’m going to read the classics and I want to read all the Greek comedies and I want to talk about it.”
And I’m a nerd for that. And that’s just what’s true. And it unfolded into seeing myself working in story development. And as I moved through Hollywood, I came to understand that development wasn’t really for me in terms of what that job is. But writing and working with writers and developing stories still is. And in terms of the process for a screenplay, there are two that I have right now that are out with producers. And there are many that I have written prior to those that have existed and I would call them, “Those were great projects to develop my craft.”
Rob Marsh: Yeah.
Jamie Jensen: And the most two recent ones that are out and around definitely are the best of all of the ones I’ve ever written. I think you have to be willing to put in the time to exercise yourself on your craft and be bad at it. You know what I mean? You have to be willing to be bad at it before you can let yourself be good at it. And so the process for me has been, I mean, I’ve written 11-feature length screenplays at this point, maybe 12 at this point.
Rob Marsh: That seems pretty good.
Jamie Jensen: Two have been produced. Two are out with producers and I’m now uncomfortable transitioning my skills into pilot writing, which is different, very different, similar but different. And in terms of process, I have an idea. And at this point, I think my first screenplay I ever wrote, I sat down with Save the Cat-
Rob Marsh: Right.
Jamie Jensen: … and was like-
Rob Marsh: For anybody who’s listening, Save the Cat is one of the two books that everybody who wants to be a screenwriter reads.
Jamie Jensen: Yeah.
Rob Marsh: Save it.
Jamie Jensen: And when there was a spec market, this guy, Blake Snyder, he really gets how development executives think, and how studios think, and what’s commercial, and what sells. And none of the principles he’s teaching are wrong. They’re all true. But the market for selling spec screenplays is not what it used to be.
Rob Marsh: Right.
Jamie Jensen: And the reason for that is the industry has really shifted in entertainment when we’ve transitioned to streaming, DVD revenue shrink. And so there just hasn’t been room for these sort of mid-budget films. There was big budget, and then there was mid-budget, and there was low budget. And now, everything’s sort of in the center that isn’t an action movie or an indie got eliminated, and the studios didn’t have as much money to throw at like, “Well, I want to buy that screenplay so no one else can have it.”
So by the time my screenwriting career emerged that shift had happened in the industry. But what we’re seeing now or had been with the streaming monopoly is that there’s been room for smaller-scale projects to happen, especially when they’re culturally relevant, there’s a purpose for them to happen now. And they’re touching on some topic or theme that the zeitgeist is interested in. What are we talking about? Why is this interesting to us? What window does this give us into humanity? What conversation and community can be created around this story? And so I’m obviously going into the thought process of it from a producer perspective where you have your creative idea, but then when you want to think about it to package it up as a product, you’re going to be thinking about it from that perspective as a story of why now?
Rob Marsh: Yeah.
Jamie Jensen: And then the process is you sit down and you start writing it and you write all the footage you see, even if you don’t know the perfect structure for it yet. So I say, start with an outline and then just write all the scenes you see. Everything that you already see starts there because there’s life there. And by writing what you see, you’ll pull out more, it’s really similar to anyone who’s ever created a course or a webinar. And you sit down and you start and you’re like, “I have one thing to teach.” And then you’re like, “I have 5,000 things to teach, but I pulled on this one thread and then all this other stuff came out.”
Rob Marsh: Yeah.
Jamie Jensen: And I think even a fiction or narrative writing project or creative project, it operates in a similar way where you have to write what you are seeing and feeling and is really present. And then you’ll find that more will come out as you keep going.
Rob Marsh: So when you start, I’m curious, how big is the idea already? And I’m not even sure that I’ve got the language to describe what it should be, but do you start say, “Oh, I’ve got this idea for a movie. It’s going to happen in space. There’s this kid who wants to be a knight or Jedi, whatever.” How developed is the idea when you sit down to, is it boy versus world, boy versus nature? And I’m like, “I go from there,” or have you thought through, “Oh, and he’s living with his uncle and the bad guys is going to three movies from now, or two movies from now is going to turn out to be his debt.” How big is the idea before you sit down to start writing?
Jamie Jensen: Yeah. So I usually have a pretty big idea of the concept and the tone. And what I usually need to write, especially for feature length, but I think for anything I need to understand what the four quadrants of the story are, because those are really the points that move the plot. So there’s always an act one, there’s a midpoint, there’s an act, then there’s an end of act two and there’s an act three. And so even when you are trying to pitch what we call a logline of what a movie is, you can-
Rob Marsh: And logline is that two, three lines about what it is?
Jamie Jensen: A logline… Yeah. It’s a one to two… Sorry. I just hit my microphone. Sorry, guys. I accidentally slapped everyone. The structure of the story is usually pretty clear from what the logline is because you’re going to explore what the different plot points are. And that usually is obvious from how you say it in one or two sentences because it’ll be like, “I wrote a movie,” I’ll give you examples from scripts that I’ve just written. I’m trying to-
Rob Marsh: Okay.
Jamie Jensen: … help with that. But-
Rob Marsh: Yeah. I don’t want you to give away ideas. Nobody steals Jamie’s ideas, but yeah, whatever.
Jamie Jensen: I don’t think anyone would write the demented things I write, but yeah.
Rob Marsh: Do you? Yeah. Well, I can’t wait to see that movie.
Jamie Jensen: Yeah. So I wrote a movie about a woman who gets an abortion and then is haunted by the spirit of her unborn child until she finds the real father and has the baby.
Rob Marsh: Interesting.
Jamie Jensen: But here’s the thing, the pitch for that when we were going out with it was like, “It’s about a pregnancy that won’t end.” And so it’s a comedy. It’s super weird. I mean, imagine Melissa McCarthy playing this spirit child who’s haunting this woman who’s busy and is like, “Go away.” and it’s really a two-hander with this really awkward. It’s a really demented idea, but it’s actually really funny. And it’s a wild concept. But even from just what I described to you, you understand what happens in the movie, you know what I mean?
Rob Marsh: Yeah.
Jamie Jensen: It’s like, “This is what this person wants. She has to surrender to the process. There’s a romantic comedy element. What is the arc of this character that she becomes available for the concept of motherhood?” That actually is what the project is about. And so it’s told through this demented high concept, weird, elevated thing. So that’s an example of within that structure, you can see, “Okay. Well, in the first piece of this is where we’re going to get what the game of the movie is. You have to get to the fun and games, which is something that Blake Snyder talks about in Save the Cat. It’s a structured piece of the film that is fun and games. So you get to that point where you enter a new world and the game is there.
You have the two main characters who are playing off of each other in a specific way that is catalyzing each other’s transformation or one is catalyzing the other’s transformation in a really specific way. And what’s the fun of that? So that’s sort of– you want that to be really clear. And then you want to have like, “What is the deeper thing that needs to be transformed here?” And that’s a beat plot thing that happens around the midpoint. The clarity of that needs to be obvious around the midpoint. And then what are the complications and obstacles, which isn’t clear from the logline, but structurally, you’re still getting piece one, “This is the thing that happens until this happens. Then this happens until this happens, but this.” So you have every single piece in that little contained explanation of what the project is.
Rob Marsh: Yeah. I like that. So what’s your writing process then? Do you sit down at 5:30 AM or do you go do hot yoga, come back, and still write, what does that look like, because, I imagine that’s a challenge?
Jamie Jensen: Yeah. It’s hard. The hard thing is even when you have time, you find other things to do with it.
Rob Marsh: Right. Just like copywriting. Yeah.
Jamie Jensen: It’s like, “Oh, well, I set aside this day and I have all this time.” I set aside this time for this project, but what else would be fun? Scrolling Instagram and going for a walk-
Rob Marsh: Yup.
Jamie Jensen: … and talking to my friends and hanging out. And quite honestly, the thing that helps me the most, there are two strategies that have helped me, right, the most. One is I take myself into a different environment for a short period of time. And that becomes the special environment within which I create the story. So I had a script that I wrote in early 2020 called Queens, Get the Money which I then rewrote into a novel. And it’s a sci-fi, rom-com. I wrote that by going to a coffee shop a few times a week, I would stay for an hour and my hour at the coffee shop, that was all I was doing. And I created within this frame, “I’m going to go, I’m going to have my coffee. I’m going to write. And I don’t know what I wrote, but I know I wrote, and then I put it away and move on. I compartmentalize it and I don’t stress about it. And I’m honoring the project. I’m having a regular relationship with the project. I’m showing up for the project.” And within a month I wrote a whole script.
Rob Marsh: Okay.
Jamie Jensen: So that was one way that really worked for me. Another way that really works for me is setting dates to do it. And the best way to do this is for me to do it with other people. And this is sort of how I structure writing retreats and other ways to-
Rob Marsh: Is it a co-writer or an accountability buddy?
Jamie Jensen: Oh, accountability co-writing session.
Rob Marsh: Yeah.
Jamie Jensen: So we’re both working on something we’re going to sit together and do it. And I have a structured way to do that. I also use focus music, which helps a lot. And it just helps like, “Okay. I’m not alone. We’re both doing this together. There’s accountability. I also feel the energy of it.” And the fact that we have both decided to prioritize this and make it important. There’s no wiggle room around it. I treat writing the same way. I treat fitness. It’s hard to get to the gym, but once you’re there, you do the workout. And so if I can structure my relationship with writing the same way that I structure my relationship with fitness, which for me is I invest in group fitness training, right? It’s like, “I’m going to sign up in advance. There’s going to be a small group of people who are there. And then if I can show up for it, I will just do the workout.”
Jamie Jensen: And so for me, that’s the most valuable way. I’ve also done things like short-term retreats, where I go away with a friend for a weekend and we work together for a few days and it’s really intensified and sort of batched, which I find really helpful. But I do believe that there are occasional times in a writing process when you do need a whole day or a chunk of hours or a lot of dedicated time. And sometimes that’s true, but I find that those days are actually more valuable for doing the deep thinking work about the project or allowing yourself to creatively receive what’s possible and not so much necessary for the actual writing of it. I find that the writing only takes an hour to 90 minutes. Sometimes you could do a lot in 25 to 45. And you can get a lot done in a short period of time.
Rob Marsh: Yeah.
Jamie Jensen: But you just need to keep doing it. And I think it’s a myth that you need all this time in a day.
Rob Marsh: Well, I mean, that’s a really good point. Obviously, when you’re writing, you’re writing, but when you’re not writing, are you ideating and just writing in your brain so that tomorrow when you sit down, you know what you’re going to write because you figured it out when you were doing everything else that you were doing that day?
Jamie Jensen: Sometimes, yes. Sometimes, no. Here’s what I’ll say, I took a walk Tuesday. I took a 90-minute walk, something I do fairly regularly. And I went by myself, and I have in this moment, this was this week. I have two pilots, one I’m rewriting from scratch completely different from the first version, one I delivered to my literary manager and he gave me notes last Friday. And so I know I have edits, but they’re not major. And then I have a major rewrite I’m doing. And then I also have a client project I’m working on, creatively, right? This is outside of the coaching programs I’m working on and clients I work with. So just the creative, “Who’s employing me creatively right now?” Or these two projects that aren’t monetized in this one that is, right?
Rob Marsh: Yeah. Yeah.
Jamie Jensen: So I take a walk and I’m not really trying, I’m just taking the walk, but my brain is going, “Oh, this is an interesting way with this character to do this.” I see that. Then I just keep walking, looking at the trees. And then the next thing I have is, “Oh, I think maybe for this other pilot, this idea that, and it comes in and then I keep walking and then I have 10 taglines for this client that I’m working with and ideas for their brand story and things.” So I treat that relationship with creativity as it is. It’s sort of expansive and infinite and all the things can talk to me. But then when I have dedicated time to sit and focus on one specific one, then I’m just sitting and focusing on one specific one. But I can’t control when I’m going to let myself think about it. It’s not like I’m thinking about it. And I’m going to try really hard.
Rob Marsh: Right. From 2:00 to 3:00, I’m working on pilot one.
Jamie Jensen: Yeah. Yeah.
Rob Marsh: From 3:00 until 4:00 pilot two. From 5:00 until 6:00, I’m having dinner and then I’m working on taglines.
Jamie Jensen: Yeah. Yeah. I mean, if you are creating space to sit down and write period. Then to some extent, you can let yourself move through what needs to happen. That’s my experience, right? I work on a very energetic level. I feel connected to my projects as if they’re people in my life.
Rob Marsh: Yeah.
Jamie Jensen: And so my relationship with them is like, “Hey. Oh, I’m thinking it’s the same way you would think about someone you care about when you’re taking a walk and they just come into your mind and they’re there and you’re holding space for someone you care about because they’re just part of your life.” It’s a similar relationship for me. And I find when there are creative projects that really want your attention, you can get into it, a similar dynamic when you’re ignoring them or pushing them away or telling them you don’t have time for it-
Rob Marsh: Yeah.
Jamie Jensen: … then they’re sad and try to pay attention to me.
Rob Marsh: Texting you? Yeah. Remember me? Yeah.
Jamie Jensen: Yeah. Why did you ghost me?
Rob Marsh: Yeah. All right. Let’s cut in here and have a little chat or talk a little bit about what Jamie and I have been talking about. So Kira, you weren’t able to make it to this first interview when Jamie and I were talking. So I’m curious to hear some of your thoughts on what she’s been sharing?
Kira Hug: Yeah. Well, I enjoyed the early part of the conversation where Jamie was talking about burning down the business because this is something that we talk about with a lot of copywriters. And I feel like it’s grieving and grief is something that Jamie has talked about with our community at TCCRL in 2020 in San Diego. And there is this component of grief in what we do as business owners, but we don’t talk about it frequently. And sometimes you can feel ashamed of grieving part of your business. It can feel awkward to let go of parts of your business because it could feel like a failure.
And so I appreciate that you two are able to cover this because as our businesses change and evolve and the marketplace changes, we have to let go of something in order to move forward and to continue to build and to stay relevant in our marketplaces. You can’t just move forward and hang on to all the pieces and all the offers and everything you’ve built so far in order to continue to grow. And so for me, it was just more of a reminder that there may be parts of our business we need to shut down or grieve, even though it feels really uncomfortable. No one really wants to do that. And so I mean, Jamie’s brave as always and willing to do the things that feel uncomfortable and are not easy like burning it down and grieving.
Rob Marsh: Yeah. Usually, when we think about, “Oh, it’s time to make a change,” or, “I want to close this thing down,” or, “Stop doing this thing,” it’s because it’s not working. And that is definitely not the case in Jamie’s business, which makes it really interesting to me, because she built that amazing agency that we talked with her on the last time we interviewed her on the podcast and then closed that down. She’s been doing these courses and things that she’s had, the writing that she’s done for clients, it’s working, working for her clients, it’s producing results.
And yet, because it’s not working for her personally, I think it takes a ton of bravery to look at that kind of a business, something that’s working, something that’s bringing in money, something that’s delivering results and saying, this actually isn’t for me anymore. And I’m going to take a step back into something else. And I think it’s scary. And I think that when it’s failing, it’s easy to say, “Oh, yeah, for sure. You’ve got to shut that down.” When it’s working the reaction is, “Are you crazy? Why are you stepping back? This is a good thing.”
Kira Hug: Yes. But then also, creating space is so important in business and in life to build with intention and to just check in with yourself to say, “What do I want?” And I know a big part of the conversation with Jamie was about pursuing those things that you desire. And I love that Jamie’s all for that. It’s like, “What do you actually want? Go after it. Who knows if it will happen? But go after it.” And I don’t even think we can get to the space where we know what we want and what we desire if we don’t create space to just explore and sit with it and try on different hats and have time to read and think.
And so part of this whole process is you have to grieve and let parts of your business go to create space, to grow. Otherwise, it’s not going to happen or it’s not going to happen in a way that probably is as effective. And so I think that’s something that I struggle with is just creating space. I mean, it just doesn’t happen in my life as it is now. And I wonder where that could be a possible problem as I’m moving forward in business.
Rob Marsh: Yeah. I can think there’s one other side of this too, where there may be people who are thinking, “Yeah. I would love to take a step back like this, but I can’t because my family depends on the paycheck,” or, “I’m not in that kind of situation.” And so I think that if there are people who are thinking, “Oh, yeah. I want to burn it down.” There might be a step back, it’s like, “Okay. But in order to do that, I’ve got to create a situation where that makes sense for whatever the situation is.” And so of course, if you’re at that point where you’re thinking, “Yup. I’ve got to make a change and it’s way beyond burnout. So I’ve got to do something different,” lean into that but make sure that you’re not leaping off a cliff and Jamie has some protection, some ability to continue working with her clients. And so I think that’s important to remember too, as we think about those kinds of changes.
Kira Hug: Yeah. I mean, it sounded like she’s burning particular offers, but not all the offers. There’s one that she’s still really excited about. So I think that’s also an important audit to do for all of us. It doesn’t matter if you’re a solopreneur or you have a team to go through your different offers and assess which ones would I never let go of just even going through that thought process of like, “Which offers could I hand off?” Or maybe my partner and someone else could sell them, or maybe I just put them on the back burner for now, which ones just I refuse to let go of them or give them to someone else. And so I think that process is really helpful to know what you want to hang onto. And we’ve talked a lot about the messy middle recently.
I know that conversations come up in the think tank when we talk about business and life. And I think that’s important to realize that this process Jamie’s going through is very messy and she was upfront with that, talking about how some of her messaging isn’t dialed in yet, but she’s vulnerable and transparent as she’s going through the messy middle. And I appreciate that as someone who’s definitely in a messy middle, just like really after moving three days ago to Maine, it’s just a big mess. So I am all about the messy middle.
Rob Marsh: Yeah. And sometimes it feels like everything is in the messy middle. I mean, since birth and until death, everything is middle-
Kira Hug: Yeah.
Rob Marsh: … and so much of it is a mess and it’s just-
Kira Hug: But sometimes they are definitely messier and sometimes you do clean up. There are times in my life when things have been more orderly and less chaotic. And so I do think it’s a cycle and you just have to figure out where you are in that and be okay with that. And Jamie sounds like she’s okay with the messiness of the exploration right now because she’s seeking the things she wants and she’s clear.
Rob Marsh: Well, and I think there can be beauty in the mess. And also, sometimes it’s the mess that creates the thing that comes out of it.
Kira Hug: Yes.
Rob Marsh: You don’t go into a thinking, “Oh, I know what the answer is.” Sometimes you got to get into the mess and figure out this part and that part and how it all fits together and this doesn’t belong before you actually get outside. So it’s part of the process and it’s something that rather than shying away from sometimes maybe we need to jump into.
Kira Hug: Yeah. I’m all for jumping into it. So what else, Rob, stood out to you as you were chatting with Jamie?
Rob Marsh: So as I was re-listing to this interview, one thing jumped out to me that I didn’t follow up on, but it was like, “Oh, wait. That’s really interesting.” And Jamie was talking about how she took a course in screenwriting at USC and then how she came back to New York and created her own degree program at the university, her own learning path. She called it Dramatic Storytelling, I think, if I heard her right or if I remember that right. And that just got me thinking that all of us really owe it to ourselves to create our own learning programs.
Even if we’re out of school, maybe we graduated in physics or history or business or sociology, whatever the thing is, but creating our own learning paths is a really critical idea for making sure that not only do we just stay at the top of our game as copywriters but that we’re always picking up new skills, new ideas, we’re exposing ourselves to things that can help us and our businesses, help our clients and their businesses. So anyway, I wanted to reecho that because I think there’s a lot of power in that. I think a lot of copywriters actually know that and are really good at it, but it’s just good to be reminded that lifelong learning is critical to success as a copywriter.
Kira Hug: Yeah. And there’s no path for most of us unless we join a graduate program or, I mean, there are other programs out there, but unless you join a program, then you have to choose your own path and choose the right assortment for you. And that’s sometimes harder. It’d be easier to just be like, “Here’s this straight line and hit all these courses along the way.” But for copywriters, not that easy, I think it’s exciting that we get to choose what we want to learn and when. I feel like a lot of the conversation, even though it was about burning things down, it was really about pivoting. And we have talked about pivoting on the podcast before. And so when I’m listening to Jamie in this conversation, it really seems like it’s a pivot from talking and helping her clients build businesses that are financially viable and talking about how to structure a business to now hitting this sweet spot that’s more about creativity.
And as she said, it’s the realm between which Craft and Cashflow. And so to me, it’s actually not a huge step and it’s not a huge leap away from what she’s been doing, but that’s what makes it more interesting. And I think that’s something that many of us can do as we pivot and grow. It’s just sidestepping a little bit into a different area. And for her clients, that may mean she just helps them at a different stage along their journey. It’s less about helping them build the business, it’s more about the next stage, which is about pursuing creative endeavors. And so I guess, just as you think about a pivot, it doesn’t have to be the dramatic moment of letting everything go, like you were saying, it could just be slightly changing how you work with clients and when you help them on the path.
Rob Marsh: Yeah. There may be small things, small changes. Some of the changes may be a little bit bigger, but I think the easiest way to pivot is looking at things that are adjacent to what we’re doing, rather than saying I’m a copywriter today and tomorrow I’m going to go to medical school, which of course that works for you. Go for it. Do it.
Kira Hug: You know I’ve said that before, right? I definitely said-
Rob Marsh: Yeah. Yeah, I do. I remember you said that, but I mean, that’s really dramatic.
Kira Hug: That’s a lot.
Rob Marsh: It may be easier to make other shifts into other marketing roles or start to build your own business. Those kinds of things that might be a little bit easier. One other thing that jumped out to me and I’m guessing that this sounded familiar to a lot of people who are listening is just as Jamie was talking about working with an editor, making sure that she’s improving, as she’s getting notes back on some of her ideas and people giving her ideas of things to change, things to improve. That whole process just reminded me again. And I really admire that Jamie’s got the foresight to do that, is that when we’re trying to learn, when we’re trying to do something different, having a coach or a mentor to help us along the path is a way to really speed up the process.
And I’m guessing Jamie could buy a couple more books, figure it out on her own and do that, but she’s not willing to wait that time. She doesn’t want to spend three or four years trial and error to get to where she wants to go. A coach can help her shorten that learning process down. And these pilots that she’s working on, the scripts that she’s doing, if she can turn them around in a matter of months or maybe in a year, as opposed to three or four, that’s the power of coaches and mentors. They shorten the learning curve and help you make progress faster. So again, another lesson that’s directly applicable to what we do as copywriters.
Kira Hug: Yeah. Another lesson is screenwriting. You got to be willing to be bad before. You’re good. And so you got to be willing to write a lot of screenplays before you have one that turns into a feature film. And as much as I don’t like to hear that, I mean, it’s similar to copywriting. You have to take on many clients where you look back and you cringe at what you wrote in order to get to the stage where you actually start to feel good about your writing. And I was really excited when Jamie started to talk about how she creates space to do the writing. And so she talks about two different strategies for doing it.
One is putting herself in a different environment. And so for her, I think it might be a coffee shop. But what I liked about it is when she goes to the coffee shop, she knows that she’s just working on this one project. So it’s almost like assigning a location to a project. And I mean, many of us love to work in different environments, but I haven’t thought about it in terms of, “Okay. I’m going to go to the co-working space to work on my copywriting business. And then I’m going to go to this favorite cafe to work on my novel.” And I think that’s a really good way of making that distinction in my mind, so you can honor the project as Jamie says.
Rob Marsh: I mean, when she was talking about the writing process, there was a lot there that I was thinking, “Oh, this is exactly what I should be doing.” Taking more time, taking the walks to think about things, to solve problems, the process of writing a screenplay versus the process of solving problems for our clients or in our own businesses are exactly the same, lots that we can borrow there.
Kira Hug: Yes. And she also talks about setting dates on the calendar to write with a partner, or it could be at a retreat with a group of people. And so I know this is something that works well for copywriters that could work well. And then what you mentioned about walking and that creative process, Jamie said something along the lines of, “I treat my relationship with creativity as expansive and infinite and I allow it to talk to me.” And so I love that idea of walking, living our lives and opening up so that the creativity can talk to us. And you can have that relationship with it.
Rob Marsh: Yeah. I mean, I spend a lot of time walking, running in the mornings. Usually, I have headphones in, I’m either listening to a book or a podcast or music and you just listening to Jamie talk about that I’m thinking, “Actually, it might be really helpful to do some of those walks or runs with nothing being inputted, just so that my brain can work, and my subconscious can uncover some of that stuff that’s going on inside.” So a good reminder of how brainstorming and thinking can actually help us.
Kira Hug: Let’s get back into the interview with Jamie where she talks about the difference between pilots and screenplays.
Rob Marsh: Okay. So obviously, the screenplay thing and moving into TV pilots-
Jamie Jensen: Yeah.
Rob Marsh: … what’s the difference for anybody who has thought, “I want to do a screenplay,” and now they’re discouraged because you’re like, “Yeah. The market’s gone for that. So good luck.” Now, but TV’s seeing it’s golden-
Jamie Jensen: Yeah.
Rob Marsh: … decades, right? What’s the difference between a pilot and a regular screenplay?
Jamie Jensen: Mm-hmm. Yeah. So I will totally respond to that. I also want to address that the market for selling a script for a ridiculous amount of money is done, right? That market doesn’t exist, but can you still write a feature film and have it made? Absolutely.
Rob Marsh: Okay.
Jamie Jensen: You’re not going to make a ton of money doing it, but it can happen. And so if you have a project that you love that you believe in that you see beautiful stories that are relevant, especially in the moment we’re living in, we’ll always find their audience. It’s a matter of just connecting with the right other creative collaborators and they will happen, if you can hold that in the space of art, it does exist. And it doesn’t mean you won’t get paid, but it’s not like what it used to be. So there’s many-
Rob Marsh: Yeah. I probably shouldn’t have said it the way I did, because-
Jamie Jensen: No. It’s good. It’s good.
Rob Marsh: Well, I think technology’s changed too over the last three decades where you can make a movie for a lot less than… I mean, there are other things happening too, right, to offset-
Jamie Jensen: Mm-hmm.
Rob Marsh: … some of the negatives that have happened is-
Jamie Jensen: Yeah.
Rob Marsh: … maybe fair to say?
Jamie Jensen: There’s so much room. There are so many producers. There’s so much opportunity in features. It’s just not the way it used to be in terms of you writing a script and you selling it.
Rob Marsh: Right.
Jamie Jensen: It doesn’t function that way anymore. But if someone has a movie in their heart, I would say still write it so much room still. Pilots-
Rob Marsh: Let’s the greatest coming out. Yeah.
Jamie Jensen: I never would’ve thought that the scripts I was writing would be where they are now, but you just don’t know.
Rob Marsh: Yeah.
Jamie Jensen: But if you don’t write it, you really will never know. In terms of the pilot stuff, so the question was, how are they different?
Rob Marsh: Yes. Yes. How are they different?
Jamie Jensen: So I’m still an amateur television writer, okay? So I will share my experience.
Rob Marsh: It’s more experience than I have. So it’s right on.
Jamie Jensen: But while TV pilots are intended to introduce characters, introduce show, format, and show the potential for many seasons of conflict, of story, of theme. And so the concept of the pilot is to sell what a series could be, not so much this complete experience. With a feature film, there’s a scope of story where you really do reach a resolution. With a pilot, you reach a resolution for that moment with lots of open threads and opportunities for where it could go. And that needs to feel really possible and alive from what the pilot is. So it’s just in terms of what it does, what it’s selling, it’s selling something different. It does a different job.
And so for example, I wrote a pilot and the note I got was like, “We just need to deprioritize some of these characters so that the main four come more forward the most because it’s a lot of characters for the pilot.” And so that note matters because you want someone who reads it to understand who are the main four people that we’re tracking and following and care about. And how are we imagining them interacting with each other over many seasons? And what’s the conflict we can already foresee that is dramatic or funny? Either depending, on your tone. And so it’s a very different job than a feature and the character development. I’ll also say that when you look at, if season one of a show, you’re looking at something that could be a movie in terms of how the structure of the whole season is, but it’s being split up very differently and you’re getting depth and nuance in different plots that you are moving slower.
You wouldn’t be able to get the same level of depth and nuance seeing scenes with sub characters you wouldn’t get to experience otherwise. So you could take most feature films if you wanted to. They don’t all have the capacity to format themselves into a series. But in terms of story structure, that’s what you’re looking at. So even if it’s 12 episodes or 24 episodes, that’s what you’re looking at. I would say the outlier to this, our shows that tend to be more procedural, like a Law and Order, or House was a show where there’s a mystery to solve and it’s solved by the end of the episode, but you still get the ongoing character arcs.
Rob Marsh: Yeah. You still have the B stories. Yeah. Yeah. So, yeah. Because I’m thinking through also the structure of TV, how has streaming changed that? It used to be well 12 minutes, commercial break, 12 minutes, commercial break, seven-minute wrap-up. How has that changed with streaming or is it still the same? You still have to work with the same beats?
Jamie Jensen: I think the story structure is still the same. I think that story structure is story structure, you just don’t get the same. I don’t think that the pressure to create these hanger commercial breaks is quite, I don’t think that the pressure necessarily exists in the same way that it used to. And there’s so much room. I think with a network, there used to be a lot of the structure, and it’s this type of show or this type of show or this type of show.
Rob Marsh: Yeah.
Jamie Jensen: And now what we’re seeing is there’s an infinite number of types of shows and there’s so much room to play in different worlds and to play with different formats and see what’s possible. It’s different. And if I were a television executive, I would be able to speak a lot more on this, but I’m not. So-
Rob Marsh: Someday?
Jamie Jensen: … it’s the most I have to offer on that.
Rob Marsh: So talk a little bit. So your work though, with an editor, somebody who can give you feedback or I mean, an agent. Talk about those relationships too, what kind of advice are you getting? How are they helping you to improve?
Jamie Jensen: Yeah. So I have a literary manager that I work with. And my work has been shown to some agents and that has provided feedback as well over the course of my career, a few, right? And primarily, you work with a producer also who will have their notes. One of my feature films, we had a director interested in it. And so she and I were working together and developing it back and forth. So there was feedback there and there were creative notes and changes in that process as well. So there are different folks who will come into the process at different stages with notes. And I would say the first line is usually your manager, or if you have a partner collaborator, if you have a producer already attached, that’s the first line of who’s going to support you in getting it market-ready.
I also have other screenwriters in my life that we will exchange notes with each other. And I have a writing coach right now that I’m working with on the pilot, just because I’m like, “This isn’t my zone of expertise and I know I need the support.” And so I invested in getting additional support with one of the pilots I’m working on so that she can review pages and I can get her feedback because she’s used to thinking in television format. So I find that really helpful.
Rob Marsh: Smart.
Jamie Jensen: And then once you have a producer attached and you’re out to agents, agents in different categories will have different types of feedback to try to attach the right talent to your project. So what’s interesting about screenwriting, in particular, is that you are always… When we think about marketing for copywriting, we’re like, “Who’s the audience you’re going to be in front of and who do you need to speak to?” And with screenwriting it’s similar, but you are actually tailoring the project to the audience at each stage. And so what does it take to get this talent agent to say yes, to giving it to Vince Vaughn? And then what does it take to get Vince Vaughn? And then what is Vince going to have to say, right? Or who’s the big director you want?
Rob Marsh: Yeah.
Jamie Jensen: And so there is this element of revising as you need to talk to different audiences, but what is the piece of the project that they’re going to get the most excited about and feel like, “Oh, I can sell this to my client. I can sell this to whoever.” And it’s an interesting, different strategic way of thinking and operating. Once you get to that stage of bringing your work to the next level that I think most people don’t talk about, because they’re just talking about, “Make it the best it can be,” and that’s true. And then once it’s the best it can be, how do we then tweak it and tailor it? It’s a lot like optimizing.
Rob Marsh: Yeah. Yeah.
Jamie Jensen: Optimizing an ad performance or optimizing and like, “Oh, well, we’ve seen, needs to split test this. We got this note from this person or this reaction,” and you’re then doing that, but you’re doing it within the creative work, not the outside of it where you’re pitching what the work is. So it’s a very interesting nuance.
Rob Marsh: As you talk about it, I’m flashing back to the offer, this series about how The Godfather was made, because you totally see that happening through that show. So anyway, which is interesting, I’m hearing you echo that. Okay. I mean, enough of my class on television and film writing.
Jamie Jensen: Listen, I’m still there, we’re ways in which I’m still learning too, and I’m a lifelong student, so I’m just here to offer what I’ve experienced.
Rob Marsh: I love it. I’m just slowly sliding my screenplay back in the drawer. I’ll leave it to you professionals, so we can… Let’s talk a little bit about the coaching that you have started doing and creative coaching. Who exactly are you working with and what are the kinds of things that you’re helping them accomplish?
Jamie Jensen: Yeah. Thank you. So I’ll be totally transparently honest about this. I don’t really have a neat, perfect message, right? But what I will say, what feels the truest in this moment to say is that I’m finding myself helping other multi-hyphenated creative people actually write their life in career changing work.
Rob Marsh: Okay.
Jamie Jensen: And so for some people that might be their blog, for other folks that might be a book, for someone else that might be a pilot or a screenplay. It’s this sort of nagging creative project that their heart is like, “It’s true in their heart and it’s true in their soul.” And it takes a different type of gumption to put that in, to give that love, support attention, and to receive and invest in the support that it takes. So that is what I’m finding myself doing right now. And so for some folks it is, they have a book, they’re an entrepreneur, but they see themselves in thought leadership, but they’re bringing a lot of their own story into it, and it still comes with a lot of emotional charge.
Rob Marsh: Uh-huh.
Jamie Jensen: And so that is for some folks how I’m helping them. And for other folks, they just never really made their own writing a priority. And so even if it does connect to their business, there’s a way in which they want to express themselves or share stories that they haven’t yet. And they know that there’s this gap between how they’re showing up and who they really are and what they really have to say or share. And so it’s multi-hyphenated. Just to share, I have folks who I work with who is an online tutor who also writes poetry and is writing children’s books. Someone who’s a marketing expert who also wants to work in expressive arts, someone who is in my Craft and Cashflow program that I ran. Isn’t the one that’s open right now. I was working with folks who were working on their book, whether it’s a memoir or trade book or something creative, but it’s outside the realm of how they typically are operating in their business and with clients.
And I also have folks who are entrepreneurs that have an in-person business but are also writers and comedians, and I have a pilot they want to work on. So they’re multi-talented and multi-hyphenated, and they have a lot of gifts and grounding down to allow one project to really come through them takes a little bit of help, whether it’s private, they want to come and I consult with them or whether they want to join a program that’ll help them extract it from them and just have them show up consistently to pull it out of them. So that’s what I’m witnessing is showing up. And that I am very available to say yes in this season.
Rob Marsh: And is it structured hourly or are you doing it as a group? If I’m thinking, “Okay. I actually want to write a screenplay and Jamie is the one that’s going to drag this out of me.” What does that relationship look like?
Jamie Jensen: I love this question. So I have a couple of clients who I’m doing private coaching with and they want hands-on support. They want one-on-one. They want me to read their work as they’re delivering it. They want my opinion on their story structure. They want the developing brain, right? And so that is one way of working with me. And so that might be, we could do an intensive format or there’s a longer-term private format for that. So that’s one way. And then another way is I have a program that I’m creating called Momentum that is structured to be a co-writing community. And so the purpose of that is to set goals, celebrate in the group, hold yourself accountable, and actually have the structured mini writing retreats happening consistently throughout the week. And they can show up to a call so it’s a group fitness class, but for writing. So you’re showing up, you’re getting your writing done and it’s helping you consistently show up. I think one of the challenges of being a writing coach of any kind, which I guess I’m doing now, is I can’t do the writing for them.
Rob Marsh: Right.
Jamie Jensen: And I wouldn’t be benefiting them if I really helped them that way, right? The benefit is helping them by providing the tools to help them show up and making it easier and more fun. And so the private feedback and support is a piece of it. There’s group coaching, private coaching, but then this offer I’m creating that I can’t stop myself from creating. It’s like I tried and it’s just coming out. It really is a co-writing thing. It’s like, “Great. Let’s show up together and I will be there with you. And you will have other writers with you who are all doing the hard thing and we’re doing it together. And we can all groan and moan and whine and resist, but it keeps showing up and you create momentum.”
Rob Marsh: Yeah. I love that. I mean, we could all use that. I mean, even copywriters.
Jamie Jensen: Uh-huh.
Rob Marsh: So I’m loving the glimpse into what are some of the opportunities beyond copywriting that people can invent from the subs. If people are thinking, “Hey, this isn’t a forever thing for me.” So I like that. So aside from this stuff that you’re building and working on, what else do you see happening for you or for your business? Where’s it all going? What’s the future?
Jamie Jensen: I have no idea, Rob. I will-
Rob Marsh: Which is probably the only answer, right?
Jamie Jensen: I will vulnerably share my dreams and desires with you. Sure. And with the whole audience, because I think important-
Rob Marsh: Yeah. Let’s do it.
Jamie Jensen: I think it’s important that folks claim what they want, whether it’s going to happen or not. And so I’ll be totally honest. I absolutely want to be staffed on a television show. I absolutely want to collaborate whether they’re television writers that way. I want to be a showrunner.
Rob Marsh: I love it.
Jamie Jensen: Yeah. I’d love that. Will it happen? I have no idea, but I’m claiming that it’s a desire I have. And then the other true desire is to continue building community for creative multi-hyphenated who are like, “I don’t know, being an artist means being a lot of things and how do I hold all these identities and show up for what I’m really called to? How do I honor the creative spark inside myself and not shut it down? How do I nurture that?” And that for me, is still such a true piece that I think no matter what my life unfolded, that would never leave me. I literally have been crying every time someone joins a program because I love them so much. And I’m so excited for them. That’s just what happens.
Rob Marsh: That’s who you are. Yeah.
Jamie Jensen: That’s who I am. I love it so much. And so if I could build what’s essentially a virtual writing gym for writers, that would be an absolute dream. If what I’m starting to create here could become that. If I could have writing classes every day of the week, at every hour that anyone could hop into with their favorite coach, the way they would hop into a Peloton class, and they get coached, and they write their thing, and they’re showing up, and there’s that many classes available, I would lose my mind. That’s totally the dream. I have no idea if it’s going to happen, but I’m going to keep showing up for it one step at a time and we’ll see where it goes.
Rob Marsh: Somebody’s going to be the showrunner. It might as well be Jamie, right? And as you talk about the writing gym, I’m like, “Okay. How do I clear an hour in my mornings to join the gym? Because it’s intriguing, for sure.” So, okay. So when we first started talking off-
Jamie Jensen: Yeah.
Rob Marsh: … we started talking about how you’ve blown up your business and all this awesome stuff that you have is no more.
Jamie Jensen: No more.
Rob Marsh: Which isn’t really true? I mean, you found a new home for it.
Jamie Jensen: Yeah, I did. I did. I did. I did.
Rob Marsh: Yeah. And we’re excited. So-
Jamie Jensen: I’m so excited and so grateful.
Rob Marsh: Yeah. This is something new that we’re trying out, but we’ve basically created this shop and three of your programs are going to be available in our shop. I think as this podcast goes live, at least one of them will be available as this podcast is life. So tell us the three programs-
Jamie Jensen: Yeah. Yeah.
Rob Marsh: … what they are, what people can expect from them? If they decide they want to check them out.
Jamie Jensen: Yeah. So these are my babies.
Rob Marsh: Yeah.
Jamie Jensen: Thank you for fostering them. Adopting them. So the three programs are Copy That, which is my like, “How to write copy? Period.” But specifically for a brand, for a website that’s a 12-module program. It includes lessons on voice, and lessons on storytelling for business. It includes how to write and structure different pages for the website. So for a copywriter who wants to learn how to write copy or for any entrepreneur who’s struggling to write their own copy. They’re going to get the lessons and the templates to really just learn the basics and the foundations of copywriting, and in a way that allows it to be easy, fun, and authentic. I’m sure you can sense just from this interview that I have a very energetic woo-woo element to me. And so there is a little bit of that sparkle in everything that I create, and that is for sure-
Rob Marsh: A little woo. That’s true. Yeah.
Jamie Jensen: A little woo, but it’s still very practical. It’s practical, it’s tactical and it will also help you create Copy That is authentic for you and for clients. So that is Copy That. All of the lessons and Copy That are audio modules. So you can listen to them like you would a podcast. It’s not like you have to sit down and watch a video for everything. And so there are worksheets for each.
Rob Marsh: Really helpful. Yeah.
Jamie Jensen: And so you can just listen to the audio and work on the worksheets. You can be looking at your own work or taking notes and really processing as you listen, which I find to be super valuable, which is why I created it that way. So that’s Copy That. The other program, that’s like a sister to Copy That is Sizzling Sales Pages, which is a one-hour training that comes with a template. And that walks you through all the different pieces of a sales page, how to write it, how to write it, to sell the different components and really best practices. And so that should also come with a checklist of what you need to make sure is in every sales page, if for some reason that isn’t in-
Rob Marsh: We’ll get into that. Yeah.
Jamie Jensen: … did I have that? Yes.
Rob Marsh: We’ll make sure in there.
Jamie Jensen: Yeah, there’s a checklist. So I created the checklist for my agency. So that checklist was created to be a quality control process for my agency writers and everything that went into this version of that copy because that program was created in like 2013 or 2014, and then I kept revising it, everything in both of these programs I created for my agency writers. And so all of the quality control stuff, the checklists, this is what I had my writers looking at before they delivered anything for review and then delivered to clients. So super valuable and helpful, practical, tactical and will help pull authentic writing out of you.
And then the other program, which is like, it’s basically a copywriting business in a box and it’s called Create Your 6-Figure Copywriting Business. And it’s a program that I was just talking about that I created that has gotten an insane amount of results and value for the folks that have gone through it. What I believe to be the most unique thing about this program is like, yes, we cover systems. And yes, I give you behind the scenes scripts and swipes in everything that I used in my own copywriting business. Some of which I still use as needed in my own copywriting business and in my agency and with clients. But you really get a lot of training on sales and marketing, but marketing specifically as a copywriter.
And I find that to be really significant and different in that if you do not know how to sell and how to structure a sales call and run a sales call and actually work with yourself around the pricing you’re available to receive at any particular stage of your business, you basically be the wall that is blocking you from receiving great clients and allowing it to also be easier than you assume it can be. It really is a lot easier than you think it can be. And I think that there’s a way in which the systems that I work with in my smooth sale system, that’s in that program. There’s a way in which that really does unlock a different level of sales and availability for folks who go through it. And that’s actually, that’s the piece I’m the most proud of and I’m most excited to share. And I’m endlessly grateful that we’re going to be able to make this available through The Copywriter Club. Yeah. It’s amazing. Thank You so much.
Rob Marsh: We’re excited, too. We’re going to see if we can expose it to at least as much of our… I know some of our audience know who you are, but not everybody does. And the amazing things that you built with your agency with your freelance business after what you’re doing today. So yeah, we’re excited to share that, too. And we’ll see where that all goes from here, but happy to have helped those things find a home, because-
Jamie Jensen: Thank you.
Rob Marsh: Yeah. And it’s stuff that we haven’t done in The Copywriter Club. It’s a nice addition to some of the business training that Kira and I have been able to do. So, yeah. That’s awesome. All right. Well Jamie, I mean, this has been a good and a fun discussion for me, because I’ve learned a lot about stuff I had no idea about.
Jamie Jensen: I’m so glad.
Rob Marsh: In the back of my head I’m always like, “Yeah. I’m going to write a novel someday, but maybe it should be a screenplay or a television pilot, who knows?”
Jamie Jensen: Oh.
Rob Marsh: When the creative gym, the writing gym is open, I may be there in line. So yeah, we’ll see how it all comes together. But thanks so much for taking some time to, like I said, talk about things that I don’t think we’ve ever talked about on the podcast before, it’s been educational and good for me. And I just appreciate your time.
Jamie Jensen: Thanks so much, Rob.
Rob Marsh: Yeah. Thank you. That’s the end of our interview with Jamie Jensen. Before we go, just one or two more things that we’re just going to want to touch on or highlight. And again, this has been, I know I mentioned on the podcast, but it’s a masterclass in screenwriting, piloting. If this hasn’t been interesting to you, I apologize. It’s one of those things where I was like, “Oh, an opportunity for me to ask my selfish questions about all of this stuff,” but-
Kira Hug: Those are the best interviews that people ask about.
Rob Marsh: Really interesting to me. But what stood up to you, Kira?
Kira Hug: I mean, Jamie’s insight into this industry that I know little about, but I’m very much interested in was so helpful. So even understanding how it’s shifted and what is being purchased today or how it works and that feature films are basically the way to go. So now, at least I can focus and know I’m not going to write a huge blockbuster movie most likely, but maybe I could do a feature film. And so I think that was a helpful guide. An aha moment I had was just that it’s okay to start smaller with a feature film and maybe create it for the audience you already have.
And again, as business owners, we do have an audience. It doesn’t matter if it’s 10 people or thousands of people. So selfishly for me, I was thinking, “Well, what if I created a feature film for the audience of writers and copywriters in the TCC community?” Because those are the people I love, rather than feeling like I have to create this script and this movie for this totally different audience. And so I think we can start where we are and it doesn’t have to feel like this big leap into this new industry where we know nothing and we don’t understand the audience. So that was a really big aha moment. Just starting small and starting with where you are, if it’s useful.
Rob Marsh: Yeah. Another thing that really stood out to me is what Jamie was talking about, she mentioned she’s written 12 or 14 different screenplays and two of them have been produced at some level. I know she’s got a finished film that she’s done, she’s got some in development, but just the amount of work that goes into succeeding. If she’s got four that have hit some production, that means that she’s got somewhere around eight to 10 screenplays that at least so far have been practice. They haven’t gone anywhere. That’s not to say that there’s not potential or that they won’t someday, but there’s a lot of pre-work that goes into learning a skill, learning a craft. And the same is true of copywriting when you and I look back at stuff that we were writing when we first started out or even just a year or two ago you cringed.
Kira Hug: Or yesterday.
Rob Marsh: Yeah. You cringed.
Kira Hug: Yeah.
Rob Marsh: You think about how far you’ve come over the last year or two and how your thinking has changed and how just your experience you grow up, so to speak, as a writer. And again, another takeaway from Jamie’s experience that directly applies to copywriting. But also as I think through my struggles, I’ve shared every once in a while that I’ve got ideas for books, but I get really stuck on the plot and I get hung up. And as I look back at that, I think, “Oh, that was terrible,” but the next iteration may actually be better. So just it’s one of those processes, messy, middle things that you just have to wade through and get through to get to the end.
Kira Hug: And it can feel daunting because, yeah, Jamie has 14 screenplays. So as I hear that, I’m like, well… I mean, I don’t know. Maybe I’m just a negative person, but what’s the point? I can’t, because to get to a good one, it’s going to take me maybe 10 mediocre ones. So I think it can feel daunting at times, but also exciting. And I think what helps me is thinking, I think I’m going to live to be 125, even though I’m probably not, but that helps me see a longer lifetime in a longer span to work on projects like this. So I don’t feel as pressured and I just give up and I don’t even try. Rob, what helps you not feel, maybe you don’t feel that way at all, but not feel like, “Oh, it’s too late or I can never get to that point because I’m still trying to build a business and there’s so many things that take up my time. How will I ever get to this?”
Rob Marsh: I mean, that’s a really good question because life is a series of choices, right? And it is too late for some things. Yes. I could go to medical school and still be a doctor, right? Even though I’m probably in the second half of my life. But if I do that… Yeah. Of course, I can do that, but it also means that if I do that, I probably can’t go to law school or I probably can’t do any of the thousands of other options, right? And so life is a series of choices. And I don’t want to go to medical school, a long time ago. I’m okay with that. But there are other things that I do want to do. I want to spend a lot more time traveling and I want to write some books that are maybe not related to business. There are all kinds of dreams. And to find time for that and to know, I don’t necessarily project out think, “Oh, yeah. There’s tons of time left.”
Although, like you, I’ve actually said I want to live to be 140 or 120. Those numbers I’ve thrown out. But if I don’t, I’m okay with that too, because I’m pretty proud of what we’ve created over the last few years together. I’m proud of what I’ve done with my family, my career before, all of that. So I think it’s just a matter of staying in touch with what I want to build in the immediate future and I’m okay having dreams. And if they don’t get realized, they don’t get realized, but there’s a lot of time left. Even if it’s only a decade, there’s a lot of time left.
Kira Hug: I think that helps me just to remind myself that there is a lot of time and you can claim what you want. And I think that the most important part is like, “Yeah, it may not happen. Or it may not turn out as well as you want or may not turn into anything,” but Jamie’s giving us permission today to claim what we want.
Rob Marsh: So one last thing that I’ll just mention to you, Jamie and I wrapped up the interview talking about this stuff, but Jamie’s three programs that she created that she sold. She’s had hundreds of writers go through. They’re proven. They’re great. We’re thrilled that they’re going to be part of The Copywriter Club website and we’ll link to the actual link in the show notes, but I’ll just throw out a URL that you can use to, if you remember thecopywriterclub.com/learn. And I’ll just forward that to the place on the website where you can find Jamie’s programs, but ultimately our goal here isn’t to just have Jamie’s three programs, she’s got a sales page training. She mentioned her Create Your 6-Figure Business training, which is going to, I think, that’s the program that’s live right now, as well as her copywriting program around websites. But ultimately, we want to add a few other programs from other copywriters who would just like to feature their stuff.
So it’s not going to be every program from every single person out there. But in the future, if you’re looking for a place to find training about copywriting topics and things related to your business, it might be something worth checking out. So check out thecopywriterclub.com/learn. We want to thank Jamie Jensen for joining us on the podcast today. If you want to connect with her, we will link to her website in the show notes. And maybe after listening, you’re as excited for this creative gym idea to come about. So it might be worth hopping onto her list. So you get notified about that. And you can find the first episode that we recorded with Jamie. That was episode number 62, so quite a while ago, but we’ve linked to that in the show notes as well, all about building a micro agency.
Kira Hug: And that’s the end of this episode of The Copywriter Club Podcast. The intro music was composed by copywriter and songwriter, Addison Rice. And the outro was composed by copywriter and songwriter David Muntner. If you’ve enjoyed today’s episode, please visit Apple podcast to leave your review of the show. It really helps us reach more copywriters with our show. And if you’re ready to invest in yourself and your copywriting business and lay the foundation for a successful 2023, visit thecopywriteraccelerator.com ASAP, because the doors are closing at midnight. Thanks for listening. We’ll see you next week.