How To Know A Script Is Ready For Financing by Stanley M. Brooks

Film Courage: How do you know if a story is great?

Stanley M. Brooks, Filmmaker/Producer: How do I know if a story is great? That’s a good question. I have to trust my instincts in my gut. I think for me spending a childhood and high school years and college years watching lots and lots and lots of movies gave me a film language and I think allows me to spot a good story. I’ve seen so many really good movies and so many bad movies and read so many scripts and so many bad scripts that I think the experience of that kind of indoctrinated me to spotting something when it’s special. I think if the longer you walk in the wilderness, the easier it is just to spot a forest or water I think.

For me I have a very in-depth film language from having watched endless black and white movies from the 30’s and 40’s and 50’s. I’ve watched every movie on the AFI 100 for example. So I think that helps. I think it also helps recognize something that’s too similar to something or “Oh that’s an homage to and…okay.” And either they’ve done it well or they haven’t done it well.

And there are certain filmmakers like Billy Wilder who I would love to pattern my directing career after, who I admire so deeply so I think following their instincts and reading what they did, what they thought I think informs my decisions as well.

Film Courage: How do you know if a script is ready for financing?…(Watch the video interview on Youtube here).

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STAN BROOKS is an award-winning producer of film and television with over 30 years of industry experience. He has produced more than 70 movies for film and television since 1989, when he founded his first independent production company, Once Upon a Time Films.  

Brooks made his directorial debut with the film Perfect Sisters – starring Academy Award Nominee Abigail Breslin (The Call, Little Miss Sunshine) Georgie Henley (The Chronicles of Narnia Series), and Academy Award Winner Mira Sorvino (Mighty Aphrodite, Romy and Michele’s High School Reunion).  The film opened in theaters on April 11, 2014 across the nation and in Canada with international release in Fall 2014.  Receiving praiseworthy reviews from both The Los Angeles Times and New York Times, Perfect Sisters continues to dominate on Hulu, Netflix, VOD and digital downloads.   

Most recently, Brooks directed A Life Earned, episode 504 of Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.  In November 2017, it was announced that Brooks would produce, write and direct his next feature, Girl Who Fell From The Sky, starring Game of Thrones’ Sophie Turner.    

Brooks directed his second feature with the true-crime drama, The Grim Sleeper, starring Dreama Walker (Don’t Trust the B— in Apartment 23), Macy Gray (Training Day), Ernie Hudson (Call Me Crazy) and Michael O’Neill (Dallas Buyers Club). The Grim Sleeper follows LA Weekly reporter Christine Pelisek (Walker) as she doggedly investigates the unsolved murders of dozens of women in Los Angeles and soon realizes one person is responsible for many of these deaths that began over 20 years earlier.  The Grim Sleeper aired on Lifetime Television on March 15th, 2014 and Brooks won his 4th PRISM AWARD for the film in 2015  for it’s authentic storytelling of mental illness and substance use issues…(Read more here).


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SAWGRASS on Youtube by Jack Peterson. Jack is an American filmmaker based in Chicago. He’s been featured in the New York Times, the Daily Beast, and ABC News for his work as an activist. His first feature film, Sawgrass, is a psychedelic journey through Florida, featuring an extensive interview with the brother of the Las Vegas shooter. Sawgrass also features a performance by the Rock-afire Explosion, a vintage animatronic band created by famed inventor Aaron Fechter. Jack’s next feature film, My Perfect Everything, tells the story of a magician chasing an imaginary woman he met in 1989. My Perfect Everything is currently in the early stages of pre-production.