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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Brooks Elms 0:00
Here's what they're doing, you're getting back to the thing is there when you see somebody that's writing at those higher levels, it's that they are open to something bigger and it flows. It's almost like they're not doing what other because other people are kind of doing like, Oh, I was in school, I was supposed to do the homework, blah, blah, blah. But when you see somebody that has like a masterful voice, and then it feels like you're connecting to another human being, it feels different. It almost feels like they're not screenwriting.
Alex Ferrari 0:26
This episode is brought to you by Bulletproof Script Coverage, where screenwriters go to get their scripts read by Top Hollywood Professionals. Learn more at covermyscreenplay.com I'd like to welcome back to the show returning champion, Brooks Elms. How you doin Brooks?
Brooks Elms 0:41
I'm doing great. Good to see you. That introduction reminds me of my favorite interviewer back in the day was Charlie Rose, you ever watch the Charlie Rose years back?
Alex Ferrari 0:51
Yeah, back before, before the thing
Brooks Elms 0:54
Before the thing, and he was great. And he always go, and I'm happy to welcome back to this table. So and so he kind of snapped the table.
Alex Ferrari 1:03
You're returning champions, I would say returning champions. So. But thanks for coming back on the show, man. Last time you were on the show. It was a great success. That tribe really loved what you had to say. And it's been a while since you've been back. So it's like, you know, time let's bring it back. And let's talk some shop and see if we can have some more, some more screenwriters and filmmakers out there. So I'm gonna I'm gonna come in hot with the first question, sir. I like it. Why do most film Why do most screenplays fail?
Brooks Elms 1:32
Oh, I love that question. And yeah, really good question and loaded in different way. I would first of all, invite you not to think about it binary fail success. Because what ends up happening when we think about it in binary ways, it's kind of freaked out that success sounds too big and failure sounds too small. So to me, it's just process. And the reason why it's not further along is generally people underestimate how long it takes to do trial and error to get a point where it's like, blowing people away emotional.
Alex Ferrari 2:07
That's where it is exactly. Because a lot of people that are like, Oh, I made I wrote the script, I can't sell it. That's a failure. Like no depends on what you look at. If if your barometer for success is a sale, which don't get me wrong, it is one of the things we're doing this for. Just like if you if a tree falls in no one's there to hear it. kind of vibe. But also, like, if I did the script, how much better? Am I as a writer? How much have I gotten to be a better writer? How do I understand character better? Did I learn how to write dialogue better? These are successes that you have to think about.
Brooks Elms 2:39
I'll go further. So for sure, development of my craft, that's one part just realization of who I am as a human being that the personal thing, it's really significant. I mean, like, you can just write a journal, a memoir, and it's fine. But if you understand story, sort of structure and process, when you really get into like a theme and an art from Vice to virtue, you really surprise yourself about who am I at a deep level, so just the personal growth aspect of it off the charts valuable. So certainly sharpening your skills, personal growth aspect of it. And even in the business side. Scripts are wonderful. But new relationships, oh, we can't do this grip because of whatever. But like, here's these other things, right? That's really good. And then just writing samples, it's like, oh, I didn't realize you could write that sort of thing. So there's all sorts of bend if you're in it for the long term. There's all sorts of benefits.
Alex Ferrari 3:33
And I think a lot of times screenwriters fail in general is because they are always, they're always focused on the destination and not focused on that journey. And writing a script is a journey, selling the script is a destination. And if you if you've put all of your hope, and all of your happiness in the sale, or in the destination, you're going to be miserable in this business.
Brooks Elms 3:54
Amen, brother. That's exactly it's, it's, it's that wonderful game where it's interesting, because everybody kind of knows, okay, I know, I know. It's not the destination, it's a journey. But like, most people, most of the time are focused on the destination and, and when we can recognize how we do that in our own process, inadvertently or whatever, and just really go under No, just right now, in the moment, enjoying this for the sake of enjoying it. It really is a game changer. And then the paradox is those milestones come much faster. Because it's like that time warping, it's like you're working on something like Oh, shit, where the time go, you know, it's like, well, because you're in it, you're in that flow state. And you can we can be in that flow state in the draft after draft process of writing a screenplay. And here's another way to think about Flipside was one of these writers that I worked with who you know, good, talented writer, he's doing some great, you can see he's like, Okay, now I'm done. I'm done with this thing. And you can see eagerness to be done, which always, almost always means we're really probably not quite there probably more juice to squeeze. When we're just like in a place of, I loved writing this draft. I'm ready for feedback, I'm ready for anything. And that's like, oh, let's you know, it's done. You don't even if the energy is different,
Alex Ferrari 5:07
And how about the concept of the Muse is something that so many screenwriters and writers general but screenwriters think about is like, I need to wait for the muse to show up. You know, I'm just gonna watch Netflix until the Muse shows up. And that kind of attitude towards this news is inspiration. From my point of view, and from people I've spoken to at the PI's levels of the business. It's, they say, show up every day, and you let them us know where you're going to be. Because if you don't tell the Muse where you're going to be She don't know where to go, brother. You don't know where to go. So you show up at eight o'clock in the morning to 10 o'clock, that's your writing time. Hey, Muse, I'm going to be here between eight and 10. Not at three o'clock when I'm in the shower, or out at lunch, eight to 10. That's when if you're going to show up, please show up there. Is that what you? Is that your feeling as well?
Brooks Elms 6:00
Yes. And yeah, it's a really beautiful question. Because if we, it's this game of how we're playing this game with ourselves, right? If you genuinely are in the flow, you might need to not show up in that window, right. But most times, when you carve out that space, and ask the muse to meet you, there, it is a much better way of doing it. Because even if you're feeling resistance, or fear, or this or that, or the other, when you show up, the news meets you, um, even if you show up to be like, I don't want to be here, I'm scared, blah, blah, blah, I suck. And then all sudden, the faucets going and then also good ideas come right. That's generally better. Yeah.
Alex Ferrari 6:43
Let me ask you, though. I love asking writers this. There are times when I've been writing where especially my books, when I am on a flow state. And then I stop and I look, I go Who the hell wrote that? This is good stuff. Like you can't read you literally can't recognize. Did I did I write this? There's that moment. And I think every creative and a painter as well, and an artist and stuff, but generally writers because it's such a solitary, you know, experience that it happens. And when I've asked that question to some big guys, they go go this I happen to like, yeah, not as often as I'd like. Because it's almost like you're being you know, to get woowoo on you, you're channeling something that's coming through you, there's some sort of, there's some sort of energy going through you. And I always love using this the story of of Spielberg, where he would he used to say, those ideas floating in the ether. And when the ideas time is to come out, it looks for a host to come through. And if I ignore that idea, it's happened he goes, it's happened to me so many times, I can't tell you where it will go. It's like, okay, you're, it's gonna stay with you for Steven for seven days, if you don't start acting on it, it's gonna go over to James Cameron. And if James Cameron doesn't do anything, because he's an avatar land, he's gonna go over to Chris Nolan. And then it'll just keep jumping to see how this idea is best going to be expressed at this time when it's supposed to come out. So he's like, so when I thought when I saw the idea of dinosaurs in a park, I jumped on it, before anybody else had a chance to do it, because that's an idea that once it was brought into the world, there was no stopping it. And someone was gonna grab onto that T Rex and write it. And there was a probably a handful of people in Hollywood, who could have done it. And I'm gonna say, in one hand, maybe who could have done what Stephen did with Jurassic. But that is one of those things. So I do believe that as well, when the idea is ready. That's why we had like asteroid movies, remember, and Armageddon and deep impact, and they all just start showing up. Like before, then nothing's zombies. All of a sudden, there's a decade without zombies. And then boom, can't freaking get rid of them. They're everywhere. Literally, no pun intended. But things like that. So what are your thoughts on it?
Brooks Elms 9:13
I love that. It's really actually really interesting. And subtle, because the nature of creativity at that level, and everybody I've worked with that's higher level had, there's almost a float to them. They just come in, and there's just this spaciousness about the way they are. And not necessarily we will crazy, but just this opens a lightness to them. Yeah. And what was fascinating to me, the way even you phrased it, you were like, there's that opportunity to be openness. And if you don't dope on it, you lose it. So to me, that was an interesting part the way you phrase it, because maybe, but like, I, so I would invite people to say yes, there's an openness. Yes, you can sort of just connect to something that's out there. Big Garan mysterious and beyond us. And don't worry about the window closing, there's an abundance of opportunity, it's going to come back, just get into the habit of, of the joy of being open to that stuff. And then writing from that place, because you know, the, the nuts and bolts of writing, you know, it helps to have, you know, boxes and stacks in a system, whatever. But like you want to get both, you want to have a way to be able to construct a story that's going to have a design element to it that's functional in an engineering sense. And as you sort of build those sandboxes, you have an openness to something bigger than us. So the sandcastles almost emerged in the Sandbox is feeling like you didn't even write them. So it's both those things.
Alex Ferrari 10:45
And there was this story I heard about this poet, and I forgot her name. But it's such a brilliant story. She said that she was out in the field. And she saw the poem coming, she literally saw it coming towards her. And she had nothing to write down on. So she literally was running towards her house. As the poem was in the ether, she said, and she's like, I'm gonna lose it, I'm gonna lose it. She ran in, grab the pen and paper. And she was so on the tail end of it, she started writing the poem backwards. So she, like literally grabbed the end of the poem, and drag it back into her. And she wrote it backwards first, and then she read, just to get it in before she lost it. And I was like, oh my god, isn't that amazing? Because because of the visuals, the visuals as a filmmaker, you're just gonna, oh, you could see it. And she literally wrote it backwards. And first, because it was already out the door, and she kind of grabbed it by the tail and Riad it back in. It was all it's amazing.
Brooks Elms 11:57
Well, you had me in that anecdote bias, like she was in a field. I was like, Ooh, sounds good. So yeah, it reminds me of, you know, Paul McCartney woke up one morning, one of his greatest songs, you know, and was like, who did the song with any kind of homage to people? And they're like, Gavin, no, he was talking about and he's like, oh, okay, I guess it's me. And that's just if we tune in, it's almost like, you know, like the law of attraction, people talk about it and sort of receiving, if we're in receiving mode, you just kind of like, okay, I'm, I'm ready for really good things to come to me. It just, it's a different way of feeling.
Alex Ferrari 12:29
I think. And I think for people listening, you know, they might sound a bit woowoo. But I, but the reason I, I, I know different is one my own experience, but also you and I are very unique in the sense that we have worked with and or spoken to people at the highest levels of our business. And when you ask these questions, I ask these questions on and off. And the stories that I hear, I'm like, Oh, if this Oscar winner is looking at it this way, and it's not just a one, dude, it's probably like five or 10 of these really legendary people that I've spoken to, who are, they understand this at a level like a Spielberg like they understand at a different level, then there's something there because they're obviously able to do it. And then the key is to be able to learn how to do it again. And again, because sometimes it happens once. And you never hear from them again. It's, there's some times that's that idea comes in, and it blows up. And it's a one hit wonder happens in music all the time. Books, it happens in movies, happens in scripts, where they just come in, and they're like, they never got off the ground again after that, like it was downhill from that point. But the Masters understand how to tap into that again, and again, almost at will, almost at will.
Brooks Elms 13:56
Yeah. And I think what happens I love this this topic is because what, two thoughts they're the first one is this idea of woowoo, which is kind of like you know, it's crazy, but like it is crazy. But why is it crazy and it's crazy is because we sort of in a sort of traditional education system that we were in, they were kind of telling us what to do what does pence spin our attention on and you have to do this great. It was all sorts of distraction of stuff that was out of touch with our bodies and what we really felt like for me, I loved recess I went to art class I love gym and everything else like everything else. I was good at school but I just It drove me crazy because I wasn't fascinated
Alex Ferrari 14:39
They were they were preparing you for a factory job. That's what school was designed to do. It was prepare you that's why there's a bell every hours. So they mean they were preparing you gonna go to a factory. It's Industrial Age system.
Brooks Elms 14:51
That's right. Your Dylan said that 20 years of schooling and they put you on the day shift. Right. So yeah, so So we were trained to be out of touch with those bigger ideas and impulses. So when you come across somebody that speaking to that esoteric or stuff, it feels weird or strange or woowoo. But, um, but it's just because you're out of the habit of it. But when you surround yourself with people that are just sort of aware, connected in that way, it becomes as normal as anything else. It's just access to sort of more intuitive ideas. It's not that sort of mystifying, right? There's a mystery quality to it. But it's really just a matter of connecting dots in more subtle, more powerful ways. So that's the one part. The second part about is, is can you you know, for those one hit wonders, what's the difference between somebody who had a musician who had a one hit wonder and 86, or like you two, or Madonna that hit in several different decades. And my theory is, it's they, it wasn't like this one impulse, one song, they had awareness of how they showed up to the party. So it's like, you know, when you were in middle school, and you had a circle of friends, and then you were in high school, and you had a circle of friends, and then in your early 20s, you had a circle of friends, if you were able to show up as you and make good friendships in those different circles, you can take that as a transferable skill for you as an independent filmmaker, or screenwriter. The key is, go beneath it, it wasn't that oh, it was my one friendship with you know, Jimmy, whatever you want. Beneath that you had a way of showing up. That was a puzzle piece for what Jimmy was looking for. And you guys became really good buddies. And then a romantic way is same thing. It's like it's stories, or any sort of art. There's the artist and the audience, and they're puzzle pieces for each other. And if you know the impulse from what you come from as like a as like a, like what you're most fascinated by in life as a puzzle piece, you can then find your complimentary puzzle piece to snug to fit snugly in that. as things change. You know, who's my favorite current guys is Jon Favreau, right? starts out as a working actor, right, then creates a right swingers phenom, like if he stopped there. He'd be like a lot of amazing, right? And then he's like, no, no, I actually want to direct something myself. And then I want to do the studio movies. And then I want to do Marvel movies. And then he creates Mandalorian. He's probably the best of, you know, better than a lot of the Lucas Star Wars stuff. So like, how do you do it? He did this exact way totally conscious and sustainable. He knew how he showed up to the party. He knew him as himself as a puzzle piece, the soul in a deep level, his soul. And then he was like, Oh, I can fit this new puzzle in this way. Here's how I fit. Here's how I don't fit in. I actually know people that I know if he's been on your show. But know people that work with them. He's just what they've said is he's really good about focusing on what does matter and not caring about the stuff that doesn't. And that to me is like an awareness of who am I is a puzzle piece. And that's how you can keep reinventing yourself on every new level and every new time.
Alex Ferrari 18:08
It's really interesting. And John's really interesting concept, guy because you're right, I mean, you know, you and I are of an age to remember him from swingers. And Rudy, if you remember to go back to acting and Rudy and these kinds of films, and then him trying to make him His bones in in directing where he made a movie called made where he was the director of that. And then they gave him elf and ELF had no reason at all to be successful. There Will Ferrell was a guy at center at live. And it was a ridiculous concept.
Brooks Elms 18:43
Well, that was first
Alex Ferrari 18:44
That was that was Oh yeah. That was his first I think that was either his first starring role, or his first movie I don't know. But it was big. They did not want will like the studio didn't not want with us all documentary on Netflix about it. They did not want Will. They're like who the hell is gonna go see a movie with Will Ferrell in it? This is a ridiculous how that movie got made is a miracle. And then how John got it was even more of a miracle. But he turns it into a hit. And then then he's able to start building his career off of elf. But then he did an Ironman thing launched the entire Marvel universe. And then he jumped into Star Wars and kind of, you know, basically, there's been dragging along Star Wars ever since. You know, he's a great, he's a great man him and Dave Dave Filoni. They're basically creative force of Star Wars right now. I don't know. It's that
Brooks Elms 19:33
If not them who?
Alex Ferrari 19:34
I mean, I mean, who else is it? Who else? Who else are we talking about in that world? But it's really interesting how someone like that can do that. And you look at someone like Tarantino who's been able to create art at some of the highest levels in three different decades. By not focusing on the decade he's on because his films, like anything that he's, he's on, he's such on his own past. So The thing is really interesting about him and he's a once in a generation talent. You love him or hate him. He can respect the man. Yeah. As an artist and what he does when the idea comes to him, this is the thing that's so brilliant about him. There is nobody else in the planet can make it. Like there's just know, there's nobody else who's making Inglourious Basterds. There's nobody who's making Jagland chain. There's nobody's making once upon a time in Hollywood, it's just so quintessential Quinton, that you nobody can make those movies. There's just little Could somebody else make aliens could not take anything away from the genius that James Cameron brought to it, or Ridley Scott or any of these guys. But you'd be like, oh, you know what? Maybe a Spielberg aliens would have been interesting. Or maybe a Scorsese. You know, a Scorsese. Jaws would have been interesting or like that, but you can't say like, oh, yeah, let's give you know Chris Nolan. Inglorious Basterds. It's gonna be interesting. I'll give you that. But it's not Inglorious. Basterds?
Brooks Elms 21:01
Yeah. Yeah, that's right. No, he, he definitely had a deep sense of his puzzle piece, and was able to kind of plug it in for the audience. And actually, I think he's, too. Two stories about him that I think of will be really instructive for people listening to this. One was when he was an actor in acting and acting classes. He was writing down stuff, if he was like, in mid 80s, and didn't have like VCRs, even at that point where he didn't have one. So he was running out. He would like you saw some show, some some film, and he wanted to do like the acting, he wanted you to look at that scene. Right? Right. So he writes it out. And then he gives it to his acting partner. And the guy's looking at it and going, Dude, this isn't in the movie. Here's what you're what I thought it was, oh, man I had so in my head. I've seen this so many times. I thought it was new, because I know this better than what was in. And so he was like, oh, maybe I'm really good at this. Maybe that's part of my sort of puzzle piece that I have to offer. Right? Like I can go so deeply into this thing, then I can start sort of building from where they where they started and taking it off to that also to that point, he I think his superpower has to do with curation. So he starts off as a as a you know, a guy working in movies in a movie store, move around movie buffs recommending movies, Oh, you like this one, you probably like this one to steeped in it. But like, you know, if you look at the music in Reservoir Dogs, it's like such a distinct, obscure set of songs that are that really go down easy to play. So to me, he was a curator of pop culture. And he just even though he speaks, it's like explosively passionate. And so I think he just was so good at going, Oh, I'm like, a million times interested in X, whether it was a song or this or that, and he would just kind of curate it together, learn enough of the rules and then do his own thing. Like I was, I don't know if you ever you know that sequence in Pulp Fiction when when she overdoses and they got the whole syringe and then she was that was taken like verbatim from from an obscure taxi driver doc documentary called American boy I think from like the early 70s. You know, this story.
Alex Ferrari 23:23
American boy, isn't it the one that's Scorsese?
Brooks Elms 23:26
That's so intense. There was a short Yeah, I think was the short documentary but it was the actor from taxi driver that sold Travis Bickle, the guns. Steven prince, I think his name is. Yeah, I'm just off top my head. So like, I'm pretty sure it was it was. It was a short documentary that Scorsese basically directed that was basically about this guy. About the actor from taxi driver basically telling this story. And he tells the story of this overdose beat by beat by beat, which is, as far as I can know, pretty much beat by BBB. What happens in Pulp Fiction, to the point where I saw Pulp Fiction first, I ran across that Scorsese documentary later, and I was like, oh my god, he seems like he ripped it off. But like, you know, I've never heard any sort of plagiarism things and like, to me that sort of indicates how Where's greatness comes from he, you know, who knows how many people saw that obscure documentary, but he did it made a really big, big impact on his soul. And he kind of took it and then and then made it his own in a whole other movie. That was but with the connection there, I felt like he was really very direct.
Alex Ferrari 24:36
But this his genius is being able to to have a encyclopedic mind on cinema, and music, and be able to connect the pieces in a way that nobody else on the planet can. There's just nobody else on the planet that could connect pieces like he does. In his films. You I mean, you watch once upon a time in Hollywood and you just sitting there going, you know and the revisionist the revisionist history that he does As in, in Django in glorious and Hollywood, you just go on? And In what world? Do you kill Hitler? Like the way they do? And like, that's brilliant. In what ways does the Manson family not do what they were supposed to do? It's, it's pretty remarkable, you know, as a screenwriter looking at at his work, and then you go down to someone like Nolan. And you're like, there's nobody else that can make an inception. This is not this. This is this is nobody. Those are so specific to the artists and to the writer and to the filmmaker, that there's no way that James Cameron can't make inception. He can make something, but it won't be inception, the way it's it was conceived the same thing though. I'd argue that it'd be difficult for somebody to make avatar.
Brooks Elms 25:49
Yeah, well, they said Cameron superpower is is is is really insane. Because it's a little more subtle than Tarantino superpower. He's like, obvious. He's just like, like, wildly passionate about some of some some sort of obscure things. But he's smart enough about he connects the dots, he's just so singular in that way. Moving on, like Nolan is a little more traditional, but he definitely has a very, here's what it is, Alex, here's how people listening to this can actually figure it out for themselves. We are all world class experts on our favorite stuff, right. And if you sort of review our favorite stuff, like in the book that I that I that I wrote, I kind of tried to systematize this, for anybody that looks at it, you list your favorite films, you list your favorite TV shows, you start looking at the connective tissue of it, you sort of get more mindful about what you're a world class expert on just based on other movies that are out there. And once you know your voice, and what's most compelling about your voice and analysis on your favorite stuff that really matters. Separate from the stuff that doesn't matter, you get to be you get to be able to you're coming from a place a creative sort of Nexus, where you can then express your idea from that place. And that makes you singular. So Tarantino does it with curating stuff from music and movies and all sorts of things. Right. And then it goes out, Nolan, there's his his style is a little more like, you just get the sense like, you can see how deeply how layered how aware he is about what he cares about. Right. That's what a director is doing is just sort of taking them through a personal growth experience shot by shot by shot with Cameron, what's so interesting is his style is kind of average ish. But avatar, Titanic I mean, he's made some of the most I think he's the box office champ of all time. Right? And he's so how is he doing it? I think he just has it. Anything that's popular is the same but different. And I think Cameron has a really deep sense of what awakens his own soul in terms of the same but different. In my, in my opinion, his stuff is a little too similar to other stuff. But um, you know, the global box office sees it differently. I mean, they love this stuff.
Alex Ferrari 28:04
But the thing is with Cameron is that he taps into primal ideas. Yeah, he taps into really primal ideas. Aliens is not about aliens. It's about a mother, protecting her young on both sides. The alien queen and Sigourney Weaver. That's what that movie is about. It's about it's not about aliens. And that's where a lot of the filmmakers who followed didn't get with aliens. So like they made some interesting alien movies. But what do we talk about when we talk about aliens? Aliens one, aliens two. And then visually what Fincher did with aliens three, and then the studio took it away from him. And that whole conversation, but it's really like after alien, which is arguably one of the greatest sci fi films ever created. Yeah, how do you follow that? With one of the greatest sci fi action films ever created from a note from a guy who just did a terminator? And then you look a Terminator, the primal ideas in Terminator, Titanic abyss, even True Lies, which is probably his most fun, like, having a good time kind of project. But look at an avatar and people always bust balls about avatar like oh, it's FernGully meets Dances with Wolves. And I'm like, and he he tapped into some primal stuff, but what he also does is on the writing side, by the way, I don't know if you've written read any of his scripts lately, but
Brooks Elms 29:43
How's his page craft?
Alex Ferrari 29:45
It's impeccable it's impeccable. You read aliens is a masterclass on description, on economy of words. There is a sea of white is so Eliquis is like reading a shame black script. And you're just like, Oh, I've never read description like this before. Like, are you? Are you kidding me? Like, like, I mean, I went back and read Lethal Weapon and longest deny, and and you're just sitting there going the way he did description, the way he writes description is unlike anyone else. And then you look at someone like Sorkin and the dialogue is something insane. It's insane. It's insane. The cadence, the artistic dialogue,
Brooks Elms 30:29
Here's what they're doing, you're getting back to the thing is there when you see somebody that's writing at those higher levels, it's that they are open to something bigger and it flows. It's almost like they're not doing what other because other people are kind of doing like, Oh, I was in school, I was supposed to do the Hallmark, blah, blah, blah. But when you see somebody that has like a masterful voice, and then it feels like you're connecting to another human being. It feels different. It almost feels like they're not screenwriting, they're there. And what it is, is they're open to something that's so deep and intuitive. And, and it just feels different in a very human but almost universal way. It's really strange and mad, right?
Alex Ferrari 31:07
Yeah, exactly. You look again, well, they'll toto you look at you look at these kinds of writers that you just sitting there going. I mean, no one's making Pan's Labyrinth, other than to give them a little tour. Like there's just, it's not happening. So but their voices are so connected to them to their work. And you're absolutely right, everyone we're talking about. And I've said this, I've said this 1000 times in the show, and I'll say it again, the thing that sets you apart from everybody else in the pack is you being authentic to yourself, your own juice, that thing that Brooks juice, the Alex juice, whatever the juice is that makes you who you are, is what sets you apart in the marketplace in the world. And that's what people connect to. And that's honestly one of the reasons people always ask me, Why do you think that? You know, you, you started podcasting. When there was a lot of podcasts and filmmaking space to seven years, but seven years ago, by the way, in July, it's seven years I've been doing this thing. And they go Why is your show in shows done well over the last seven years, and a lot of other shows haven't haven't continued? And like why do people find your show? Popular? I'm like, they want to listen, and I go, because I am who I am. I am authentic. I'm asking authentic questions. I am not a journalist. I use the essence of me comes through my show comes through the work that I do comes through the marketing comes through my websites, it all is authentically me. I do it without trying or thinking about it. Because when I first started podcasting, and I use podcasts as an example, but when I first started interviewing people, I didn't know how to frickin interview anybody. I've never interviewed anybody in my life. I'm a frickin filmmaker. Like, I'm sitting there talking to somebody. I'm like, I don't I'm gonna ask you questions I would like to ask you. And that was, that was the because I was true. So even to this day, I talked, I'm talking to you, I'm asking you questions. I'm just I'm just having a conversation with you, man. I let nobody
Brooks Elms 33:03
Let me answer let me add something significant enough because I think it's a really great topic and and it'll bring your greatness to the surface in an even better way. Because think about this, in theory, you could be 100% authentic to you, and be pretty antisocial hermit on a mountain 100% authentic absolute, like, the difference between what you're doing my friend and everybody we've talked about in terms of a thought leader, the either entertainment or in this case, you know, is that you, my friend have absolutely absolutely a connection to your own authenticity, but a real burning desire to serve. Like if if you and I started going off the rails and having a part of a conversation that you didn't really feel was serving your audience, you'd be like, up up, up up up here. You're not effing around with that.
Alex Ferrari 33:56
But that's subconscious. But that's that's a conscious thing in the back of my head.
Brooks Elms 34:00
Yeah, but here's the thing, my friend, maybe if you allow it to be a little more conscious, you might have increased your ability to be more sort of reinventing if you want to go to different places or sustain it, because it's the dance. It's not just you being a great dance partner you are, it's that you that's one part of you, and you are really connected to somebody else. So it's you serving your audience, like nobody else does. So it's those both those things, it's not just the authentic thing, because that would be the hermit on the mountain. You are it could be the hermit on The Most Extreme. You are authentic and you genuinely care to serve. And the way you've served people with such a wonderful powerful suite of different programs and tips and services is amazing. And that comes from real generosity and service. You see what I'm saying to me? It's both it's it's like like here's the thing like with Tarantino when these guys that part of when they're yes, they want to express themselves, but they They are dancing with somebody if they're serving maybe like their own inner child in the audience or something at a very soul level, but it's us talking to something else as an advocate. So it's that connection between the two points. It's not just me and my own subject experience, you know, I'm saying the difference.
Alex Ferrari 35:16
No, absolutely. And I agree with you, I think any, any of these masters that we're talking about on the screenwriting side, or on the filmmaking side, or, or the, or the both, is that they are truly thinking about the audience. They're thinking about their own stuff. But they're doing it both at the same time, because there are filmmakers who literally just want to do their own thing and could care less about the audience. And we've all seen those movies. And then we have the other one was like, I only care about the audience, because I want to make money. So I'm going to put out some crap. And then the audience feels it.
Brooks Elms 35:58
You got it. Right. So there's everybody else, I'm just thinking about me, which might be authentic, but it's just so like, look at my belly button. Right. The other one is I'm chasing the market that I'm chasing the market. I'm a hack. If you say this, I'll do this. I don't care, right. And then the real Arts, which to me, Chris Nolan's Dark Knight was the most magnificent, sort of modern example of all the things that felt amazingly personal and intimate, and as big of a spectacle, and it's more, you know, see movie, but like, to me that was like it was it was really, I feel chills even talking about because I felt like, it was a rare time that something was as broadly popular as it could be, and also intimate and personal. I mean, to me, that's that, that I'll give up.
Alex Ferrari 36:43
I'll throw another one at you Thor Ragnarok. I mean, it was they gave basically an independent filmmaker, you know, 100 million dollars to go out and make or 100 $50 million and made some of the most ridiculous insanity of a Thor movie ever. Because the first Thor two Thor movies were fine in the first one was okay. Second one kind of was like one of the considered one of the worst of all the Marvel films. So they like they're like, hey, you know, let's give it to this incent this insane guy. And they did and what did they do? Now Thor went from a, like a background character in The Avengers, to now being one of the most popular characters up there with Iron Man and the other ones, purely because he's so funny. Now that changed his he's a completely different character. It was because of this, this filmmaker, this writer who infused it, and now love and thunders coming out, and I just can't wait to see what's going on.
Brooks Elms 37:41
They took him they met a person. I mean, it's what Todd Phillips in the Joker, right? So he took he took, basically, you know, sort of a taxi driver at a sense, and then put it in the DC universe. And it was an a billion dollars box office like what? That one, it's about the psychopath and I was going to kill people. I thought for sure. It's like, oh, I mean, there was there was a shooting in a movie theater with a guy dresses Joker, I thought Oh, my God, this is gonna be terrible. But he, I think, was able to hear and the screenwriter, were able to be really empathetic to that part of us that does get feel like a victim, and then finds a way to stand up for herself, but does it in a way that's you know, kind of dark, right? So like, very, very dark. And that's when we, in our own life, most of us aren't that dark, but we relate to it, because it's an expression of that feels like so. So the intimacy in Joker, I think was palpable. And that plus is totally broad colored Marvel movie or not DC movie. But DC comes together to make it that again, that's the thing is that is that really beautiful balance of, of sort of popular and personal together.
Alex Ferrari 38:56
But on top of that, then there's the artistry of Joaquin Phoenix's performance, that that is the thing that drives that project without Joaquin doing what he does. And what is he doing. He's being authentic in the way that he approaches that thing. And this is a really interesting conversation, because I've had conversations with actors recently, I've had a bunch of great conversations with some really big, you know, actors. And we talk about like Meryl Streep, and how they and how she's able to basically encompass anybody. She does, like does every year it's an Oscar nomination every second automatic Merrill Merrill gets an Oscar now she's done like 29 Oscar nods I think because I'm like, This is why someone like Tom Hanks sometimes like Tom Hanks, can engulf a character in a way that other actors can't Daniel Day Lewis den Zelle these characters, these actors who just get in there, and you're just like, they're, they're not them anymore. They're channeling the character almost. But how are they doing that? So I'm talking about I'm bringing this up in an artistic idea for for writers and for filmmakers listening, how are they able to encompass the character? So what are they doing differently than the 15 million other actors working, are trying to work? aren't doing and why are they doing it at that level? So what is Nolan Tarantino, Shane Black Sorkin What? Are they doing different that the rest of us aren't doing? What is that key? What are they tapping into? That we can't, and you can't tell me that, oh, they're special. You know, we all have the ability to tap into this because Tarantino was bumping his head against against the glass window, trying to get into the party for a decade. Before he finally got reservoir mate. He was in his early 30s, when he got that made. So he was trying and try no one would even give him the light of day, just would not. So he was able to figure it out. And there's also perseverance and all that, and that's another conversation. But what is it about them? And what is it about these directors who can continuously can tap into something and take their art Scorsese Marty, of his generation and Spielberg of his generation? They're still knocking it out of the park at this. They're like, 70s. And like, I mean, it's insane. So what do you say?
Brooks Elms 41:36
I'll do exactly what I'm talking about, like the it factor somebody comes in, they just have it. So it's intention, because we've been actually touching on this the whole time. It's, I would say it's two main aspects. One is they've got like a soul, deep awareness of, of what they are as a puzzle piece. And what they're not, right, knowing what you're not is actually sometimes even more important than what you are. So that it's like, yeah, I'm my puzzle pieces in the shape or whatever it is, right. And they feel there's a, there's a deep sort of acceptance of that. For what it is. It's not it's good, bad. It's whatever, there's a neutral sort of, or even slightly positive love for their thing. Their distinctness their unique view as a human being. There's that part of it. And then there's the other part we talked about, about process, that when somebody walks in, and they have the it factor, they are basically in the moment, emotionally differentiated to a significant degree about outcome. They are here they are present they are in the moment. And those two factors, awareness of authenticity, being in the moment, and then maybe even what I've said before about sort of awareness of where the audience is, so maybe it's those three factors, awareness of me awareness of you, and then being in the moment. And it sounds really simple. But that is to my, to my understanding, that is the it factor, and actors can do it, musicians can do it. filmmakers can do it with their sort of movies, and when they're in the room, and there, if you can get those three things, meeting the person that you're with, where they are fully being you from your sort of soul expression. And being in a moment when you do it. There's just a there's an openness and a spaciousness that happens. That's when that sort of stuff kind of flows through you just have a deep experience you have. It's like what Joseph Campbell talked about, about an experience of being alive, when I'm fully me, and I'm beholding you being fully you. And we're in the moment fully those three things when you can sort of be in the habit. And so somebody like Meryl Streep, she's just in the habit of getting to that place of being fully open and paying full attention. And that's it. And that's the one thing that separates her from all these other actors, is they they're just in their head as opposed to their soul. And sounds simple, but you'd have to practice getting into your soul. And as writers, we want to practice over and over again, dropping down writing from the soul. And if you're a director on this set,
Alex Ferrari 44:12
Instinct, instinct, something that comes from us, yes, yes, most doors, the gut, is writing from the gut, as opposed to writing from the head. Because the head is craft, and you got to learn craft. Because if you don't know how to play a guitar, you're never gonna be able to play guitar, no matter how talented you might be, give or take, give or take, you know, there's the Mozart's of the world of course, but there is craft, so you do need to work at it. But we're talking about now, we understand craft. We understand now we're at a different level, because you and I both know, really good writers in this town that aren't as successful as they should be. That are that are really good at what they do. I've read scripts that I'm going How is this not been made? And I just like what is wrong? So it's not Think about that. That's good craft. But there's that something else that puts you over the top. And that's what this whole conversation has been about is about connecting to that thing that allows you to stand apart after you've understood craft, underused, the perseverance and the mental and all that all the stuff that you got to go through to make this thing happen. But the journey, not the destination, all of that. But what we're talking about is that authentic thing that makes you stand out. And when you were saying, I see you and you see me, we're both sitting authentic. To go back to James Cameron, what did he do an avatar? I see you that concept. The ICU concept is so old. That it's so it's the force man. It's the force that did a thorough look, what's Lucas did with the force. The force is an idea that had been around for millennia, was chi. It's achieved. It's key. It's the life force. It's, but he's like, but we're gonna do some cool stuff with it. And then the lightsabers, what are lightsabers? What are Jedi Knights they're samurais. You know, on a code, this is all they just touched on primal ideas, things that we all knew, and just spun it to a way that we're like, Oh, okay. It fights in space. We're just what we're to literally what war two edited fight the fight they literally edited for war two footage in a sizzle reel and match the cut for cut with, with the with the TIE fighters and stuff like that. It's what they did. So that's what, that's what they were trying to do. And, and again, with someone like Lucas, he was so authentic with what he was trying to do with Star Wars, to bring myth back to give the meat and potatoes of what we needed and wrap it in this beautiful package.
Brooks Elms 46:56
Yeah, yeah, I love it. Man. I love it. One of the thought I want to add to this is I really liked that sort of articulation of you know, me you in the moment, those three things, really, if you can fill those three boxes, I think you sparked you, then the force flows through you, right? There's not so this the writer that we know, we're an actor that we know that super talented, that some doesn't seem to be getting the opportunities that they want. I think one thing that's different these days that was different than you know, when you and I came up in like the 90s or 80s Is it really was before a gatekeeper sort of situation in Hollywood, where it was like you had to kind of know somebody they would because there were too many people that were interested in writing stuff. And most of the people weren't up to that level of, of, you know, I think of it in terms of prowess and proximity, right prowess. Can you write at that level where you're tapping into that soul deep pit factor, right? And then proximity, do you know somebody that can actually do something with your work, right? And so you're talking about some people that have the prowess, but for whatever reason, they're not in proximity to the people that are actually doing things. And back in the day, you needed representation, you knew this, you needed that. But these days, guys, there's this thing called social media. And that just obliterated the gates, the gates are not there. Hollywood is on social media and social media, I invite everybody listening to this, to think about social media as basically an open cocktail party in Hollywood. Not everybody's at the cocktail party, but I'm telling you, if they're not at the cocktail party themselves, and the cocktail party is Twitter, or LinkedIn, or Instagram or whatever. If they're not themselves, their assistant or their second assistant is, and almost nobody, nobody's talking to them. So you have probably one degree, if not two degrees away from everybody you want to be doing business with. If you have you don't have the prowess, then it's a new conversation anyway. If you first have the prowess, you will have the proximity, you just bring the superpower that we're talking about awareness of me awareness of you awareness of the moment, bring that into your social media interactions. And I tell you, you stand out you're not like the weirdo that's going by my script by my script by my script, you are just connecting to them in a soulful way about whatever they're posting about because they have interest in that and you just let the conversation let the relationship long term relationship just build organically. It doesn't take too many too many of those exchanges for them to go oh is this Alice guy he looks really interesting mean they know you but like, but like somebody who's a newer writer. If you show up with that it factor in social media, you stand out and they're going, Oh, who is this person? They click over your profile. And if your profile is optimized to have that it factor that you just feel whatever your superpower is, it's in that profile. They go, that person's interesting, what's going on? Then they start asking you What are you writing? And then you pitch to the difference?
Alex Ferrari 49:55
Yeah, and I've seen so many comedians who've built a career After just telling jokes on Twitter, oh, yeah, they just they tag a few people, couple hashtags, put it out there, and people just start following them. Because they're just funny. And then all of a sudden, you're like, What are they doing? And like, how are they doing? It's, oh, I gotta show like, it's a different world. And I think so many of us. I was I was such a victim of this for such a long time. And I was acting like he was the 90s. I was acting like it was, you know, and I was treating my career and treating what I was doing very much like, I was still stuck in the 90s. Until I finally, you know, it took me a couple decades to figure it out. I mean, I'm not joking about it. Like literally, I mean, when 2015 showed up. And I was at a pretty low point in my life, not the lowest, I wrote a book about my lowest. But the the was really, it wasn't in a great place. And I was like, You know what, let me let me start giving back. And let me start, let me open up this business, and I'm gonna do a podcast. And that's when that's when I launched indie film, hustle. And from that moment on, I was like, oh, okay, this is how the game is played. Now the rules have changed. I'm now starting to catch up. And now it's like, okay, now I gotta be ahead of the game on all these things. I'm certain because I'm kind of at the street level. And I'm interviewing and talking to people constantly about what's the newest thing if it's NFT's and raising money with NFT's? Or is it blockchain? Is that how we're gonna distribute? Are we, you know, SVOD is over are now at TVOD is dead. And AVOD is where the money is. And these kinds of things and Netflix not buying anymore. And, you know, Sundance doesn't have the same poll that it used to and all of these kinds of conversations where so many filmmakers and so many screenwriters are stuck in the time that they were growing up or that they want to be in because the 90s dude got a spec spec, the spec market in the 90s. In the 80s, and 3 million $4 million. Yeah, no. Do you know the story of Shane Black story on how he I don't know how he sold last Last Action Hero?
Brooks Elms 52:11
I'm sure I've heard it. And I mean, he's, you know,
Alex Ferrari 52:14
The historic was this. Yeah, he's, he's the poster child for from what I heard was his manager, said, Shane, what do you have? What's your next script? He's like, I got this idea. He goes, come over and tell me the idea. He's like, okay, great. Write it down on this napkin. So we wrote it down on a napkin. And then that manager called every studio head in town. This is the craziness that that we were in the world at that time. Every student had in town and said, I got student blacks next. Next script idea. If you want it, you need to come down to my office and read it. Wow. Not not assistant, you. So all the CEOs walked into the office and read a cocktail napkin. In three days later, we had a $4 million dollar bid. It was a bidding war. And then we all know how last action here on it.
Brooks Elms 53:04
But yeah, but yeah, that was yeah, that was
Alex Ferrari 53:08
I think that was the death of that. I think after after that. I think they're like, you know, we're, we're good. It's it. There's still million dollar sales every once in awhile in the stock market. No question. But it's nothing like it wasn't. I mean, Joe Osterhaus Jesus.
Brooks Elms 53:22
Yeah, no, that was it was not it was it was it was, it was, it was a good time. You know, it all I was so cute. But here's what I want to point out with you, my friend is that you took this intense passion that you had for independent filmmaking, and for helping others write your own authenticity, because you're no joke, you deeply care about this thing, and risking all these things, you really are the real deal. And you were like, Look, I've learned a few things over the over the years. I'd like to have conversations around that to be in service with your people. That's how you did it. Dude, that's how your puzzle piece went from what it was in the 90s. To what it was, it is now you just said, Here's my puzzle piece. Here's where I spent authentically and here's a way that my puzzle piece fits with what people need. And you just poured that fuel because you have that enthusiasm. And that's why you're so successful. You've made that connection and my friend anything if you know whatever you want to do as a filmmaker or screenwriter you can I invite you to reflect on the the exact way that you did it because if you did that if you have your trance, all these skills are transferable. That's what we're talking about that sustainability like that the Mojo that you use to go from you know, sort of talented indie filmmaker to like one of the biggest podcasts in the sector, that you can take that same Mojo and put it into screenplay, film, whatever you want. That next level is there for you. You just have to slow down and figure out how to connect those dots. You see I'm saying
Alex Ferrari 54:48
That's a that's a conversation we can have off air sir.
Brooks Elms 54:54
That's my favorite thing to do at uni. We're talking about audience right. And here's how I can tell you I have somebody in my program Right now, 3 million followers online, right 3 million followers. He's only been at it for like a year or two really funny comic, but he just moves in like this comedy class or whatever is like you know what I can do that character starts doing the character puts these 32nd clips on, boom, boom, you know, up, fail, fail, fail and then gets good at it and then start dialing in viral viral viral boom, now he's got, you know, auditions on it lives blown up all over, right? He comes to me and I'd show him how to take that third, it's the same thing I'm telling you. I go, Okay, here's your superpower for 30 seconds your world class, here's how you take that same superpower and put it into a 30 page sitcom. And I'm telling you, dude, easy as pie. Because that's what I do all day long. I try to move myself forward. And I try to help other people move forward with them. And I'm that dock connector. So so I can if I was to work with you, I was very specifically go, here's how I think you use crackers. That's a hard nut. Dude. You're just like you're saying a lot of people are doing podcasts. And they're all falling away. How are you? How are you outpacing? And we would get very specific about that. And I'd say here's your sort of very nuanced, specific superpower. And here's exactly how you apply it in your screenwriting directing whatever you want it those dots connect, I promise you.
Alex Ferrari 56:16
It's really interesting, too, because I mean, I always figured that one of the reasons why, you know, I had a popular show is because I'm just relentless. I just put out so much content, that I'll just work outwork you. I'll outwork anybody, and no one. And yet, I outwork companies, and I'm doing it a lot by myself. But companies with full staffs, and I'm still out working them, because that's who I am. Look, I got 50 How many hustles? Can you see in the screen at the same time? My hat, my shirt and giant letters in the back? I mean, it is a three giant words, hustle. I mean, I live the brand, sir. I live the brand. There's no question. But it's really but it's it's really interesting. It's not more just to kind of stroke my ego, but it's using it as an example of what because you're absolutely right. There are tons of people trying to break into the filmmaking and screenwriting space. And I've been able to do it twice with indie film, hustle, and with Bulletproof screenwriting, both at this, by the way, I don't know if you know this or not. But bulletproof screenwriting is as big if not bigger than indie film hustle as a podcast. Wow. I've just I've been realizing that it's, and I'm not saying that boast. But it's just fascinating to me. I'm like, How is this happening? So it's always interesting when when things like that happen in your life, because you feel like okay, let me I mean, I'm so busy doing it. I don't take time to think about why you do how it's doing it. So that thing, same thing could be turned into when you're writing. If you're getting success. Why am I getting success? And if I can figure out that formula, then I can kind of help it along and put fire gasoline on the fire. That's it.
Brooks Elms 58:03
I get I 1,000% guarantee you. Jon Favreau knows how to do it instinctive. I don't know if he can speak to it. If it's that conscious for him, he probably can't because he's so smart and so aware. But that's how he went from, you know, reinvention, reinvention, reinvention, reinvention. He has that authenticity in Him. He knows the types of puzzle pieces that, oh, here's where I fit in. Here's where I fit in. Here's where I fit in. So you're like you 3x Hustle aspect of your superpower. There's a way of doing that with maybe if you're writing a new screenplay, drilling down on theme, like the wreck with the typical again, I'm just pulling this off my head. But like, the typical screenwriter might think of theme one time, you as part your superpower would like I'm gonna hammer I'm gonna think of theme three times, five times. Like with Tarantino, he curates 10 times more than the rest of us. That's how he's differentiating. And so you have your own way of the exact way that you've differentiated as a podcaster. I promise you that's transferable to you in whatever new format you want screenwriting directing, whatever, and it's a matter of the slow and what happens dude is, it's, it's slowing down, opening up getting to that spacious thing going from the deep. Because when we slow down and we just ask ourselves a question, we're open to that. It flows through us and it tells us it'll go Alex this not that.
Alex Ferrari 59:29
If you can quiet the mind enough to hear when it comes through because we're so busy sometimes. That's why I'm such a big proponent of meditation. I meditate every day. And it helps the creative process a lot and I get the best ideas I get if I have a problem, I asked it in my meditation and generally ideas just fly to me because you quiet yourself all the noise down enough to allow that to come in. So as writers, you know, I asked a lot of these big screenwriters like do you meditate and they're like, Absolutely, like I just It's a part of the process to come and just quiet down the mind to allow that to come in. This is the thing that writers and creatives don't understand. If you can allow yourself to receive this, this thing, this thing in the ether, whatever you want to call it fufu or not, I don't give a crap when an Oscar winner, multiple Oscar winners told me the same thing I'm listening. So regardless if you believe it or not, but if you can require about quiet enough to accept it, to open yourself up to it, to relieve your ego to relieve your mind, and get it out of the way, to you instinctively allow it to come through you, that's when magic starts to happen. And that these, these great artists that we're talking about in this conversation, have the ability to not do it just once. But again, and again. And you can see in a in a filmography. If you look at if you look closely at a filmography, especially filmography scripts are different, because once they get made into movie, a lot of different things happen. But if a writer director you can see where they skewed off most of the time, arguably, Cameron is probably the only one that does not have that. His his filmography pretty much is rock solid. There's just it just there's nothing that you're like, oh, he bombed that one. Never is that it hasn't happened yet. Maybe in the next five avatars? I don't know. Doubt it. But But generally speaking, you can see where things go, oh, oh, he there was a misstep there. What happened there? And when you investigate, there's something happening in their lives, they might have gotten too full of themselves, the ego situations like that. And it's really interesting, because I've been a student of the business for close to 30 years, I've read beyond biographies and really studied what these filmmakers do. And you can just see, you could see like, oh, that boom, or boom, or boom, a book. Oh. And you know, and for Tarantino was Death Proof. He, that was that that was the thing that scared the living hell out of him. And it was really interesting, because he's talked about this publicly so many times. He was terrified of Death Proof like because it was the first time he ever bombed first time, it was not well received first time that people didn't love it. I do like Death Proof. But there's, there's issues about it. It's definitely not at the highest of his of his work. But there was something that happened in that transition. That wasn't authentic to him anymore. Something happened. I don't know what it was. But it didn't sing. It didn't sing like the rest of them. Something happened. So what did you do right away is like, Kill Bill. I'm gonna read back to where I know about Yeah. And then he came out with it with this amazing, you know, amazing Opus, that was Bill Bill, and then Inglorious Basterds, and so on. I'm not sure if Cobra was before or after, I don't remember. But the next movie was,
Brooks Elms 1:02:56
He went. So the way I would say that is he went found a way to receive that he wasn't receiving impulses with that. Yeah. Yeah. Yeah, that's it. And so let me wander back up. Because a lot of sometimes people will hear meditation, even if they're sort of down with or whatever. But they're like, sitting on a cushion, whatever. So like, you'll feel Jackson was really big, you know, he was the balls in the Lakers, he was really big into that. But you can imagine a lot of people that are new to really, because this is really close. So what he would do is just like, Okay, we're gonna meditate as a team, if you're not into meditating, just rest, you know, no judgment either way. So like, anybody who's hearing this, that's kind of new to that thing. It's like, I don't know, it's a weird, just, it's cool. There's, you know, there's not a right way to do it. It's really just settling yourself down and being sort of open to the bigger thing, you could actually do it, going on a walk, you can do it journaling, you could do whatever. I'm like, way into personal growth. And I don't traditionally meditate. I do sometimes. But like, for the most part, I just want to get myself into like a grounded state of tapping into something better. You know, and I do it in the morning, and I do it at night. Most of the time, not not all the time, but like, so I would invite people to think about it. And here's the thing, and so sometimes I'll like my, my morning ritual will be journaling. And then I'll be like, yeah, if now I'm gonna do like some Tai Chi. And I'm like, Yeah, that's kind of stupid. But like, it'll change and like so I invite you guys to come up if look, if you if meditation works for you, and you can do that and clockwork amazing. But I would encourage you guys just to find your own way. And that open space and, and that's going to make the difference. And then the one other thing quickly. The other thing that if you get a good coach, or consultant, what they will do is they will help you get into that deep grounded space because it feels really vulnerable, and people are afraid of it. So if you get to a really, you work with somebody who's really good, and somebody who's really good, we'll put you in touch with your superpower and then just duck like when I'm doing my best work. I'm going to go keep going, it's great, you know, like, I'm really good at getting out of the way to recognize because it's not about me it's being in service to their greatness so that they and their audience can have this beautiful union. So I'm in the moment, helping them sort of have this thing. And when we're getting coached, you know, if it's a great coach, if you feel like, amazing, like so powerful, and then from there, you just write at a much higher level, because the stuff is flowing through you. So a start with your first version of whatever meditation is, or whatever, and then be get support from anybody in your life that can get you into that state of awesomeness. One last last thing. You know, it was to me, like when I look at, you know, Ben Affleck and Matt Damon, and how they, you know, really created, you know, they were having some success in Hollywood, when they, when they, at least what I've heard about, I don't know, that person would have heard about them, making them Goodwill Hunting, I really admired how they seem to just shower each other with love, but they really loved each other. And I know you're awesome. They seem to really build each other up because I had really strong relationships with friends. But in my mind, we didn't seem to be goes as far as those guys seem to go in terms of really celebrating each other. And there's something in that quality. So for them, that sort of celebration was able to, you know, and then it got support from like Castle Rock or whatever, and but like, but but so whatever your version of getting celebrated and supported by amazing people, it could be a coach, it could be friends, it could be whatever, get your version of it, because it's from that place that you're going to create at a much higher level.
Alex Ferrari 1:06:35
Yeah, there's no question Brosman I mean, this conversation went into a direction that I wasn't expecting, which I love. So much, we basically talked about the authenticity of being a screenwriter, and authenticity, being an artist, how to channel how to get things into you how to be able to tap into the ether, all these amazing things that aren't really talked about very often. In this space, you know, we could talk about character development and structure all day. But this is something really interesting. And I'm so glad that we had this conversation and hopefully, it's the beginning place for people listening to start figuring out is this that what's the missing thing? You know, one guy I wanted to bring up before we, before we stop, or finish is Taylor Sheridan, not Taylor shared, and arguably, he's one of the best writers in Hollywood right now. He's arguably the busiest Hollywood writer in Hollywood. There's just he's got 11 shows. In production, I think
Brooks Elms 1:07:34
Alex Ferrari 1:07:35
I think he's got I mean, a god, there's like at least six that I know of off the top of my head. But then I saw a video on Paramount plus that showed like three or four other ones he's developing that are like, you know, there's a new one coming out with Sylvester Stallone as a gangster. And then there's 1932, another prequel to to Yellowstone, and mayors of Kings town and there's like, the six exits, the four sixes ranch of spin off, like there's just so much, but I was watching an interview with him this weekend. He was, I think, on CBS This Morning. And he talked about just bumping his head for years in Hollywood. And he's he's such a matter of fact, guy. He's just like, he's a cowboy. He is a cowboy. That's it. He's straight up cowboy. He's like, I make movies to support my horse habit is exactly that's different. So so he has been bumping it, he was bumping around Hollywood, for almost two decades, just just right, just just acting, and he'd always got parts here and there. And he got a couple of shows and good looking dude, good actor. No reason why he shouldn't have made it. As a leader, he could have easily been a leading man, I could see him as a leading guy. But he's like, I never made it past, you know, 11 on the fucking College. Like he goes, and he goes, I've never seen in town. Anybody batter their head against the wall for 20 years and then make it. And I was like, wow, that's really interesting, because the town tells you what you are supposed to be doing. And I was like, that just hit me like a ton of bricks, man, because I was just like, Wow, that's pretty, pretty deep of a of a comment to say. But then you start thinking about it. And there isn't a story. That 20 years somebody was beating and beating and beating the hell out to be an actor. And then they became Tom Cruise like that doesn't. You know, they were writing for 20 years. And then they became Clint Tarantino like that. He was he's, I've seen it at eight years. I've seen it at 10 years, seen it at 12 years. But I haven't seen it a 20 years. He goes in, that's something really specific. So it's an idea that I was like, huh, the town tells you what you're supposed to be doing. So if you're going in a direction, and after eight or 10 years, it's not working out, maybe this is not the specific path. So maybe I want to be screening for film feature features, feature features, like, maybe TVs where you need to be, you know, maybe you need to be a filmmaker, maybe you need to be something.
Brooks Elms 1:10:30
I love it. To me, that's that puzzle piece. It's like I, I'm probably I think I fit here, right?
Alex Ferrari 1:10:36
I want to I want, I want to fit here. I want to fit here. Yeah, yeah.
Brooks Elms 1:10:40
And then you gotta try it. And then but here's the one thing and and this is, it's a really good thing. It's the key is to when we're trying to find where we fit as a puzzle piece to come from that deeper place, right? Because because sometimes you'll see people going, Oh, I didn't fit here. And then we'll try a quarter. And then we'll try comedy. And then I'll try whatever. And that's kind of a lot of frenetic energy, right, but it's not as deep. So what you want to do is go no, no deeper. And to me, it's like, who am I here to serve. And I think what he did was like, hold on a second, I can connect to the audience in a different way. If I if I write, you know, that I've done I've been able to do so far as as an actor, I can do some serious stuff with an actor, I can go even deeper. So that's to me is what you're looking for is Who can I serve in a deep way? That feels authentic for me authentic for them? To me, that's, that's where that magic is.
Alex Ferrari 1:11:30
And it was so funny, because he's like, someone told him I think he wrote something down somewhere, something I don't know. And a friend of his like, hey, maybe you should write try writing. So that weekend, he went home and wrote the pilot for mayor of Kingston, which I'm watching bomb watching, by the way, it's a fantastic show. And, and he literally said to himself, after he wrote the pilot, which took him a week, that's how much built up craft and energy he had built up, but had never executed in that space, that he was able to create a pilot, by the way, I don't know if you've seen the pilot for sure. Merica? No, no, it's good. It's one of the best pilots I've I've ever seen. It's really, it's up there with, it's up there with the Breaking Bad pilot. It's up there with the madman pilot, in my opinion, because you watch it and it did what a job of a pilot is supposed to do. It introduces characters, and hooks you for the series. And there's something that happens in that pilot that you're just going, we'll have to watch the entire show now, because it is so beautifully crafted. And then just the concept of the of what the characters are doing was something I'd never even never even seen before. So it's such an original idea. That was another thing. But he said, Man, I wish I would have started doing this 15 years ago, he literally stopped and said that, because I wish I would have been doing this 15 years ago, I've been bumping my head as an actor all these years. And what I really was meant to do is write Yeah, and then now he's a writer and director. And then he did carrio And you know of Helen high water. And let me give
Brooks Elms 1:13:08
The keys to one more thought about this was really interesting. There's this personal growth guy named Gay Hendricks and he talks about, he talks about like, these four zones, right? One is like the zone of like, you hate it. It's like you're miserable. And then one is like, okay, you can kind of you know, you can put up with it. But then once whatever. The third is the excellence zone. And then the fourth is the genius zone. Right? And I think what we're talking about with Thomas Sheridan and Tarantino, by the way, as an actor, you know, somebody? Yeah, not not strong. And then, and then through that, but he was trying, he was going out there he was, whatever. So he didn't stop there. He was like, hold on a second. And then, like I said, with that the incident, one guy said, I was ready. You're amazing. And now I was like, oh, yeah, that's actually where my genius zone is. And we share it. And he was, you know, maybe excellent, or whatever, as an actor, but as a writer, that was really his genius. So like, and we know what we're in our genius zone. When you get that time warp thing, things just flow. They just happen. It's just it feels effortless. It's easy. Other people are like, Oh my God, you're amazing at this, you know, but we want to be careful because the excellent zone is tricky, because we're competent for actually getting stuff done. But it's not really why we're on the planet. And maybe those those golden handcuffs, maybe we're good at some other sector or even we're good in a film business, but we're not really connecting soul to soul. We're kind of getting it done, but like that deeper level, so I would invite everybody listen to this. Just think about your different. The book. That's a pretty good one is the genius zone. Hendrix or the big leap by Gay Hendricks, but it's totally applicable to you and your place in the business. Are you working from your real genius on and when you are people they you find your kindred spirits and they find you it's it's beautiful.
Alex Ferrari 1:14:54
It's it's you're absolutely right. Listen, man. Brooks Where can people find out more about you and In the amazing work you're doing, sir.
Brooks Elms 1:15:01
So, go to Twitter Brooks Elms, Brooks Elms at Twitter. And if you'd like me a little bit, just want to hear the stuff, that's fine. If you want to get on my email list, you can click the link on my Twitter profile. And that brings you into, you know, all sorts of different ways to get on my email list. Like there's some free guides about dealing with fear and feedback and all sorts of good stuff. And on my email list, you get exclusive free content, like we did a free group coaching call today, which is really fun. So yeah, and then I actually just came out with a new book, you can get that through the same link. And the book is like a nine step process of how I intend to systematize like that it factor I'm gonna call your superpower. And like where you start to kind of define that. So it's like a system, but the idea is to go really soul deep on your system so that it's repeatable and sustainable, but really clear steps forward. So then writers have been having a really good time with it. So
Alex Ferrari 1:15:57
Brooks, man, it's been an absolute pleasure, man. You got to come back on the show. We always have great conversations. This has been this has been one for the books, my friend so I appreciate you my friend. Thank you again for coming back.
Brooks Elms 1:16:09
Thank you brother. Really happy to be here.
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