In the zone

Sometimes the key to a quality rewrite is all about getting into the right “headspace” to begin with.

LISTEN to this video for my tips on surviving the rewrite/rewrites process.

Know thyself



When I stumbled across the story for LEGACY, I got in contact with an old friend of mine (who also happens to be a producer) and I’m happy to say she gave me some STELLAR ADVICE!

We have known each other for a long time and she was aware of my love of history and my propensity for endless research. She told me the story sounded a lot like Cool Runnings and that I should watch the film and call her back.

Cool Runnings is based on the true story of the first Jamaican Olympic Bobsled team (my story is based on a famous Olympic equestrian team). Cool Runnings definitely gets my tick of approval, least of all because watching it saved me a from wasting a whole lot of time on this project.

I watched the film and my friend was right there were many similarities in both stories – including the following:

  1. It’s based on a true story
  2. The Olympic team contained two childhood friends
  3. An antagonistic relationship between two of the team members is at the centre of the story
  4. The team were the underdogs (although my actually team won the gold medal)
  5. They had to overcome immense adversity, disappointment & lack of funding
  6. The team was transformed by a “fish-out-of-water” coach from another country

Given Cool Runnings was such a big hit – I excitedly called my friend and this was her advice…

Think of the plot points in the film you have just seen, think of the equivalent plot points in your story and only research these elements of the story

It was great advice because I could still be sitting in some dusty Olympic archive repository in pursuit of the real story.  Instead I have written a production ready screenplay that I’m really proud of.

If you’re writing a screenplay based on a true story, please remember more research doesn’t necessarily deliver you a better product. Sometimes sitting down and writing (even if you don’t have all the facts at hand) is the best thing you can do to move the project forward. My advice is be true to yourself, be true to your passion but also be true to progressing your screenplay.


So getting running on your latest project!




PJ’s and productivity ?

It’s the question that has divided writers since the dawn of time…”can you really be productive if you’re writing in your PJ’s?”.

Most writers have a strong opinion on this one. Personally, I think working in your PJ’s is one of life’s simple pleasures .

LISTEN to this video to hear my take on the debate.

Please let me know your thoughts by commenting below.


Blokes, battles and biffo.



The second film that moved me from procrastination to productivity while writing LEGACY , was the Water Diviner.

One of the challenges I faced with LEGACY is that it’s essentially a very masculine story. Women weren’t even allowed to compete at the Olympic Games in the sport featured in the screenplay, until 1964 (my screenplay finishes in 1960).

Although I’m fond of a good verbal stoush… I firmly believe that violence is never the answer!

The protagonist in LEGACY is the typical, hyper-masculine Australian sportsman of the era. Throughout the entire screenplay he participates in a classically antagonistic relationship with his childhood friend/arch rival. This upshot of this was – plenty of fight scenes were required to successfully bring his story to life.

I must confess, initially I found writing the fight/ battle scenes in LEGACY extremely difficult. That was until I watched this film.

In the Water Diviner, Joshua Connor (played by Russell Crowe), travels from Australia to Turkey to retrieve the bodies of his three sons who have died in battle in the Battle of Gallipoli.

Although, the film has been criticised for it’s portrayal of the Turks, as an Australian and a writer – this film offered me a fresh perspective.

Australians frequently romanticise any depiction of the Battle of Gallipoli and of the Australian soldiers who fought in WWI. The Water Diviner avoids focusing on the traditional themes of heroism and bravery in battle. Instead the film examines the aftermath of war in Turkey.  We observe the implications the war has on the people who are left behind and come to the conclusion that although the war is over – for these people…the battle has only  just begun!

For me, this fresh take on a history was liberating.

After watching the Water Diviner I came to the conclusion that I’m allowed to offer an alternative, womanly perspective when I write about “blokes, battles and biffo”. The film gave me permission to think differently about my writing and made me realise that I can be true to my protagonists point of view, be true to the story, be true to history and also be true to my own style.

I would love to hear your thoughts on the Water Diviner and STAY TUNED for the next instalment on films that inspired me to get back to the keyboard while writing LEGACY.

by Hannah Brooks

Based on a true story

Have you ever written a screenplay based on a true story?

I have just completed a screenplay, LEGACY. It’s based on the true story of a famous Olympic equestrian. The biggest challenge I had in writing LEGACY was finding the right balance between being true to history and being true to drama!

WATCH this video to find out more about the story behind my screenplay LEGACY.

How did you resolve this dilemma in your screenplay?

A few of my favourite things


When I suffer from a severe case of writer’s block one of my key procrastination techniques is to go on a movie binge and be inspired by other writers quality dialogue. Sometimes it works…sometimes I end up rearranging my sock draw.

Just in case you’re looking for some inspiration, I thought I would share with you some of the films that helped me get back to the keyboard in the times where my creativity has abandoned me.

I can’t help but start with Moonstruck!


What’s not to love?

The idea that the course of your life could be transformed (for the better) in a matter of three short days –  is a tantalising premise. Brooklyn Heights, New York couldn’t be further away from my life here in Sydney, Australia but I challenge anyone not to be instantly hooked when they enter the world of the Castorini and Cammareri families in Moonstruck.

Performances by Cher, Nicholas Cage and Olympia Dukakis prove to us that we all lose our heads a little in the pursuit of true love.

Special mention has to go to John Patrick Stanley for writing (and Olympia Dukakis, pictured below, for delivering) one of the best lines of all time.


Are there any other Moonstruck fans out there?