ask Danny

Every now and then people send me specific questions about screenwriting, about Ghog Day, and about my very private personal life. Glad to share. In fact, this is the place on the blog for general questions and answers. Here’s a few to start you off, and if you have more, just email ask me (danny@dannyrubin.com) – I won’t keep or use your name or address.


Q: On the occasions you have polished scripts, do you tend to fiddle based on rules or instinct? 

Q: Has Groundhog Day “set you up for life”?

Q: You submit a script you’re particularly fond of. Big Cheese likes it, but wants you to do a re-write. You confidently say “sure” and sweep out of the room. But do you ever then sit down at your desk and think, “Holy shit, how am I going to do this? How can I improve on something I loved the first time? Ain’t I just chopping and changing for the sake of it?


Q: On the occasions you have polished scripts, do you tend to fiddle based on rules or instinct? 

Instinct.  But I’m aware that the studio gatekeepers have read McKee and Field et al and will look at my script through that lens.  So, I write with instinct, but part of my instinct is to write the kind of piece that these guys may actually be willing to make.  

We’ve all seen so many movies, certain rhythms are familiar to us, so even if you’re using nothing but instinct there’s a good chance it conforms to everybody’s rules anyway.

Q: Has Groundhog Day “set you up for life”?

You are making me to laugh.  No.  It was a fine payday for a young writer and I continue to get lunch money every year from the sale of DVDs and such, but its greatest financial value to me was the many subsequent job opportunities it created.  The legendary million dollar script sales don’t seem to happen very often or to very many.  No such thing as “net profits”, either, so even with Ghog Day’s long success there are apparently no profits for me to share in.  You sure you wanna get into this business? Given that a person can’t count on selling a screenplay to make money, I hope you pick something to write that you personally enjoy working on, or what’s the point?  

Not to be gushy, but do what you love and you’ll probably be in a better place than if you, say, do what you are hoping will get you love.  

Q: You submit a script you’re particularly fond of. Big Cheese likes it, but wants you to do a re-write. You confidently say “sure” and sweep out of the room. But do you ever then sit down at your desk and think, “Holy shit, how am I going to do this? How can I improve on something I loved the first time? Ain’t I just chopping and changing for the sake of it?

Excellent question. Take a look at the Housekeeping post for an answer.

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