Award-Winning Filmmaker Jeff Bollow on Expanding Your Imagination Exponentially, Episode 78

Have you ever had an idea for a movie, book, or product that you just haven’t gotten a chance to bring to life? How about this: have you ever felt like your life was SO boring and no one would ever pay a movie ticket to sit down and watch it on a screen?

This is the perfect episode for anyone who would like to be a more confident storyteller or to have a better understanding of how to activate your own imagination so that you can write or tell better stories – the kind of stories that could change someone’s life.

Jeff Bollow is an award-winning filmmaker, best-selling author, and international speaker who is passionate about helping individuals recognize their unique window on the world, and turn it into powerful stories only they can tell. 

He is the creator of FAST Screenplay, the world’s most comprehensive step-by-step professional screenplay development system, the author of Writing FAST: How to Write Anything with Lightning Speed, and the host of “The Screenwriting Show”, a free weekly livestream show on YouTube that takes a deep-dive into creativity, storytelling, and the business of screenwriting. 

A film industry professional for over 35 years, Jeff has worked in every facet of the business, from acting in film and TV as a kid (in films such as “Don’t Tell Mom the Babysitter’s Dead” and “Columbo”), to directing television in New Zealand and stage plays in Sydney, to creating and running the Big Mountain Short Film Festival for five years. He won an ATOM Award in Australia for an educational series for schools, and co-authored a book for Apple on the iMovie software. 

Jeff’s goal is to build an independent film studio that produces multiple films per year with production teams worldwide. When he couldn’t find viable material, he sat down to reverse-engineer the complete creative process, to help writers turn their ideas into producible screenplays. After working with over 10,000 writers globally, Jeff has discovered insights about imagination and creativity that are applicable to any industry, and shared some key principles in his 2015 TEDx Talk, “Expand Your Imagination Exponentially”.

Share this episode with three of your closest friends who would love to write a screenplay one day, as well as a copywriter you know who might have this ambition locked in their mind. Tap them on the shoulder and give them this episode because Jeff has amazing wisdom that is immediately applicable!


  • Connection: The most interesting thing about watching people on stage is the connection between the two actors. 
  • Goal: “That which hinders your task is your task.” – Sanford Meisner. When something stops you from achieving your goal, then that becomes your new objective.
  • Ideas: Your ideas are a product of your experience, your imagination, and your interaction. And so, those ideas will be unique to you as well as how you interpret and implement those.
  • Insecurity: Each one of us has an opportunity to harness what’s unique about themselves and bring our own ideas to the table. But people get very insecure or unsure about our ideas so we second guess them.
  • Storytelling: Stories are everywhere and if we can see the world through that lens, we open up our own imagination to be more intuitively creative. 
  • Purpose: Every story says something. It has a point – a message, purpose, or meaning, even if the writer doesn’t know what it is and even if the writer did not intend it. When you’re trying to find the story to engage the audience, look for what you want to say and what you care about.
  • Fixation: We can become a little bit obsessive and over concerned with what the story is that we could forget to live the experience.
  • Success: Look at life as a series of narrative events. Those failures were setting you up for later success. 
  • Living vicariously: Life is a story. It’s all the same thing but it’s how we experience it. When we watch a story, we’re watching someone else’s journey so we can be objective about it. We can experience it vicariously.
  • Perspective: Perspective alone can help you see the ups and downs of life in a more profound way that’s helpful in finding solutions to problems you come up with along the way.
  • Action: Every idea is designed to lead to either an action or a new idea. This is what keeps moving us forward. 
  • Impermanence: If you just leave an idea in your head, you end up spinning over and over that idea. An idea itself is ephemeral. If you don’t capture it, that idea will disappear forever. 
  • Emotions: If you take what you’ve seen, turn that into a story, and share it with people, you’re giving them an emotional experience. 
  • Alignment: We are aligned with different people in our lives. When someone rejects you, it’s not a rejection, it’s lack of alignment, meaning you’re not aligned with that person. When you apply the concept of alignment to life in general, you can lessen the blow of negative feedback or criticism.
  • Perspective: We all have these different perspectives and your job is to find the people you are aligned with. Teaming up with the people you’re aligned with can help you get where you’re trying to go.
  • Child-like: Storytelling is a childlike activity that’s why people don’t think it’s a serious life pursuit. As we grow up and mature, that play, imagination, or fantasy we immerse into can be used to extraordinary effect. 

Links to continue to learn from Jeff:

Continue to listen to An Interview With Melissa Llarena podcast episodes 

Continue To Explore My Other Binge-Worthy Episodes

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Melissa Llarena

Melissa helps movers and shakers up to those in the corner office rediscover what makes them unique so that they can land their dream job in a forward-thinking company where their ideas are listened to, valued, and supported.

She brings insights from having worked in 16-business units (including Human Resources) in NY, Paris, and London. Additionally, in her former corporate career, she worked on billion-dollar brands for P&G and on IBM for Ogilvy & Mather. Later, as the founder and CEO of Career Outcomes Matter, Melissa created a 3-step “sellable strengths” process which has been the centerpiece of her clients' results.

Melissa applies this method consistently to support mid-level professionals up to the c-suite to get into Fortune Global 500 organizations and agencies. She studied Psychology at NYU and earned her MBA from the Tuck School of Business at Dartmouth.

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