What People Get Wrong About Making A Movie by Stanley M. Brooks

Film Courage: Stan, do you watch your work? Do you watch reruns?

Stanley M. Brooks, Director/Producer/AFI Adjunct Professor: I watch my work while I am doing it. I’m incredibly involved especially in the post-production. I try not to do much on set as a producer (obviously as a director I’m running the set) but when I get to post if I’m the producer I like to do everything. I like to be the person who locks the cut. I like to be there in the scoring session, work with the composer, do all of the visual effects, sit in the editing room, do the color correct, be there for the mix, be there for the final mix, all of that I like. I love that part of it. I was a musician in high school. I like the music because I think there are three parts to making movies that people forget.

My competitors in the TV movie business (I think) didn’t follow this and I think one of the reasons there is an Emmy on my shelf and not on other shelves is that there are three very distinct parts of making a movie.

The first part is the script and that script is written to get somebody to give you the money (that’s its job). The job of that script is how do we get to make the movie? The script isn’t here as the plan for the film, here’s what it should look like, here’s what it should be. That job of those 120-pages is to get someone to say You’re green lit. Go make the movie.

With the money now you have the second period which is the production period which is Let’s make the movie! Whatever is in that script may not necessarily…you may get a piece of casting that comes in that you know what? They are better than what was there. We’re going to change that. Or we go to the location and that location doesn’t exist. You may want a house that overlooks the water but you know on this budget I can’t afford a house that overlooks the water so we’re going to find another house. That’s where you take what is in the script and now you have a production script. Now you have a production plan and now you’re making the best movie you can from that part of the…(Watch the video interview on Youtube here).




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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