Art is Your Job. Creator of NBC’s The Blacklist, Jon Bokenkamp, on screenwriting – Love Your Work, Episode 93

October 02 2017 – 07:30am

jon bokenkamp the blacklist interview

Jon Bokenkamp (@jonbokenkamp) wanted to be a screenwriter. So, he decided it was his job. He sat at his desk from nine to five every day, writing frantically, and each night he went to another job. One that paid him. He waited tables.

Want to 4x your creative output? Click here for my free toolkit »

After three years, he sold his first screenplay. Then he sold some others here and there. Then the phone stopped ringing. After one failed script, he was contractually obligated to write one more.

That script became The Blacklist (Netflix). It’s a thriller on NBC starring James Spader. They’re starting their fifth season this week.

Spader plays Reddington, a veteran, private-jet-setting criminal who acts as an informant to the FBI, and who has a puzzling interest in agent Elizabeth Keen, played by Megan Boone.

In this conversation, we’re going to learn:

Jon is a Nebraska-native like me. Hopefully you won’t mind listening to us reminisce a little about that strange place in the beginning. If not, skip ahead, and you’ll hear some really great stuff on doing tough and long creative projects.

Image: Flickr user Thibault

Please donate on Patreon

Support nourishing media and a healthy definition of success. Get early access, bonus content, and 20% off the Love Your Work T-shirt. Donate now »


Skillshare: An online learning community with over 16,000 classes in design, business and more. Get one month of unlimited premium access – absolutely FREE! Go to

Subscribe to Love Your Work

Overcast iTunes Stitcher RSS

Listen to the Jon Bokenkamp Podcast Interview

Want to 4x your creative output? Click here for my free toolkit »

This post is filed under Love Your Work Podcast.