Film Courage: At what point should a writer have earned the audience’s trust and if it’s not there by that point it’s going to be hard to get it later?
Brooks Elms, Screenwriter/Writing Mentor: Page one. I’ll look at a screenplay and literally line one I’m already going Does this person have the chops?
Film Courage: Really?
Brooks: I can’t look at one line and definitively say but I’ll tell you what, you show me the first sentence or maybe not…it can be just the slug line and one sentence. If I saw the slug line and one sentence of 10 screenplays, I bet you I could tell you how much I’m going to like that screenplay within probably 80 percent likelihood. I can see a professionally crafted line in just two sentences. I don’t do it that harshly but I’ll at least give them a page or two if I’m going to evaluate something. There’s just so many choices and it’s sort of like poetry in a sense where every word counts and you can often when you’ve done it for so long realize I don’t need that…(Watch the video interview on Youtube here).
Brooks Elms is a screenwriter and independent filmmaker. His specialty is grounded personal characters and writing story tension so thick it knots up your stomach. He’s written 25+ screenplays, a dozen of them on assignment, and sold several scripts, including one this year with Brad Peyton as Executive Producer. Brooks was recently hired to rewrite a screenplay started by an Oscar-winning writer. Brooks began his career writing, directing, and producing two indie features (personal dramas) that he screened all over the world. And Brooks also loves coaching fellow writers who have a burning ambition to deeply serve their audiences.
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