Writing A True Crime Screenplay – Stanley M. Brooks

Film Courage: Many of your projects have been in the True Crime genre. What attracts you to this?

Stanley M. Brooks, Writer/Director/Producer: My original attraction to True Crime was it going to pay the bills because it was the appetite, the meal that television networks wanted for a long time. I would say half to maybe more than half of what was on CBS or NBC was True Crime. When Lifetime became the preeminent supplier they wanted True Crime. So I think at the start that was just the world that I was in and I had to learn and then eventually I learned that I could become a storyteller in that world and I didn’t have to do it the way everyone else was doing it which was kind of a straightforward police narrative. That there were other ways to tell True Crime. I tried to find the emotional hook in a True Crime movie and so I would make stories that weren’t as much about the crime but as much about the effect it had on the people who were either the victims or were the police or were the criminals and how did their lives change and what were the emotions they were going through. We did The Capture Of The Green River Killer which Thomas Cavanagh was nominated for awards and won the DGC for outstanding miniseries. That movie is about a man’s crisis of conscience of giving up on God because for 25 years he would constantly be finding these murdered young women in between 15 and 25 in Seattle and he couldn’t find this guy and for 25 years he chased this guy and he was a deeply…(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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