Brooke and Colette wrote the grand prize winning script – THE LAST BOOKSTORE. It is a fun, thrilling, and daring story about the technological age which has brought humanity to its brink, but ultimately five kids, their love and a book that save mankind. What really made the script stand out to all of our judges was the heart at the core of the story. There were laughs and scares and thrills and beauty, but it was all wrapped around a story with a bold emotional core. This script really sums up why we go to the movies. After winning the grand prize, Brooke and Colette will continue to perfect their (nearly perfect) script with a reader from a major studiom(Fox, Universal, Disney, etc) and then it'll be distributed to WeScreenplay's partners at over 60 production and management companies.
1.) Why did you write your winning script? What inspired the concept?
Brooke: I wrote The Last Bookstore for my son, Max, 12 when he asked me to write something for kids his age that was “truly scary and thrilling.” We had recently been to an event at the actual "Last Bookstore" here in L.A. and I was obsessed with placing something there because it's just such a remarkable space. In addition to that- I have 2 kids that are bombarded with technology. I always play with the concept of that all being removed and how they- and WE would function. So, with Colette Freedman I set about to please one person- my kid. It turned out to be one of the most challenging and fun scripts I’ve undertaken. He loved it so-we win.
2.) Who was the first person you told when you found out you won Diverse Voices?
Colette: I was on a plane when I found out. I texted Brooke and told the obese octogenarian next to me… I was thrilled – the obese octogenarian was nonplussed.
3.) What types of stories do you like to read or watch? What type of stories do you like to write?
We have become stubbornly obsessed with HEART. In what we watch, in what we read, in what we write. We have seen several films and have read quite a few scripts that seem to nurture "Style over substance." At the end of the day- we just want to be MOVED.
4.) If you had one piece of advice to give other writers, what would it be?
WRITE WHAT YOU KNOW. Not necessarily specifically- or we would have 8000 scripts/stories about struggling writers working temp jobs BUT: write from REAL perspectives. How would YOU react to a certain situation, how would REAL people TALK, how would YOU react to a set of circumstances. Be YOU, then go from there.
5.) How do you feel about the current state of diversity in entertainment? Do you feel like Hollywood is making improvements or only digging its heals into the way of the past?
We just heard a report that this year’s awards shows actually had LESS diversity. After what was seemingly a "call to action" the year before to have more minorities and underrepresented be heard, seen and considered. As with all things – the pendulum will swing… it is just swinging a little too slowly.
6.) What are the big and little successes you've had with writing?
Brooke: Winning Diverse Voices- for one! Aside from the wins- a BIG success was teaming up with Colette Freedman as my writing partner. Prior to that I had some limited, small "successes" but was never able to become CONSISTENT. Add a husband, 2 kids, 2 small businesses and LIFE to that and I had been in a 4 year writing SLUMP. Colette came along and she is SO PROLIFIC and disciplined about her attack and output that I just "drafted" on her momentum. I still stall, get sidetracked and stumble- and (thank God) she's patient- and there for when I emerge, ready to produce.
Colette: I've been fortunate to enjoy big and little successes with several of my projects, but meeting Brooke Purdy while she was writing her screenplay Quality Problems changed my life. Her writing was so funny and layered with dynamic and emotional depth that I knew I wanted… no, needed to partner with her. I jumped at the opportunity of coproducing her film and we have worked on several projects together since then. It doesn't hurt that she's one of my favorite people in the world because it makes the successes sweeter and the failures less painful.
7.) Have you ever thought about giving writing up? Why didn't you?
Brooke: I never considered a definitive "I Quit." moment. I have, however, taken long… "Breaks". Life gets in the way. Things get complicated and messy and hard… But, I am always called back by the BEAUTY of writing. It is the ONE thing (industry-wise) that I can totally control myself. NO ONE can keep me from writing. No one (at least in the concept stage) can tell me WHAT or HOW to write… Writing is one of the last truly autonomous art forms.
Colette: No (and what Brooke said)
8.) What's the most important part of your writing process?
Brooke: Inspiration. It's hard for me to "muscle past" a bump if I'm not inspired by something in the material. It can be anything- the action of a scene, a character's voice, etc… But It's hard for me (personally) to just "Clock pages" if I cannot be inspired or see where the action is going.
Colette: Getting down the first draft. I often to equate writing to baking a cake – the most laborious part is actually baking the cake which is crafting out a first draft of the script, play, or novel. The frosting/ rewriting is the really fun part… Adding nuances, layers and doctoring it to be truly special. So the most important part is initially getting it from my head onto the page and knowing that the fun part is ahead.
9.) Where will you be as a writer a decade from today?
Supporting ourselves through writing. We have BIG plans and actual LISTS of stuff we want to do once we start selling & making our way in this industry… Mostly we just want to be able to shop at Whole Foods without a bank loan.
For more information about the Diverse Voices competition, make sure to head over here and check it out.