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Danny Rubin is a screenwriter whose credits include "Hear No Evil," "S.F.W.," and the cult classic "Groundhog Day," for which he received the British Academy Award for Best Screenplay and[…]

The tendency seems to be toward telling the same old stories with a new kind of “visual panache.” The screenwriter wants to see “more movies of substance.”

Question: Do screenwriters have to choose between writing rneither an indie passion project or a shallow blockbuster?

Dannyrn Rubin:  Yes and no.  It’s a false choice because you never know rnwhat's going to work.  Trying to guess what will please the industry, rnwhether it’s the indie industry or the commercial industry is almost rnimpossible and trying to do that is a fool’s errand.  So, in the end, rnyou should just do what you want and see who salutes it. 

On thern other hand, it’s constantly a choice.  You're seduced by wanting to rnwrite a very blockbuster hit.  The kind of thing that would have mass rnappeal and would be most likely to be accepted by the studios because rnthat’s where most of the money is and the biggest chance of getting a rnthing produced.  But, that’s not necessarily going to work.  And same rnwith going the indie route, the indie market is very particular.  If rnyou’ve got a story with a dysfunctional family or drugs or some weird rnkind of sexual relationship, you're in.  That’s the indie world.  If rnyou're just trying to do a particularly intelligent commercial studio rnfilm, that’s what - I had a manager who called those the tweeners.  The rnsort of between indie film and Hollywood films and it’s - nobody wants rnit.  It’s going to be difficult to place.  It all comes down to luck.

But,rn if it’s written skillfully, it all comes down to luck anyway.  That rnskillful thing has a chance of making it and it might never be noticed rnat all.  I’m constantly trying to figure out how to be as commercial as rnpossible and still be original.  Those are movies that I like.  It’s notrn just because I’m trying to please some market.  But, those are the rnmovies I most enjoy and so that’s what I’m trying to create and it’s notrn - the other method that some writers take is one for me, one for them. rn

Okay, this is my heart project and I’m going to make it very rntrue to myself and consistent with my beliefs and my artistic rnsensibilities.  Maybe someone will make it, maybe someone won't, but I rnwill feel good writing it and then I’ll finish that and then I’ll write arn vampire movie.  And so, one for me, one for them and you can write a rnscreenplay quickly enough that that is an acceptable way to go through rnyour professional like.  You can get through year after year like that. rn

What current trends in moviemaking do you rndislike?

Danny Rubin: It does seem that it’s all aboutrn style.  There's very little substance.  It’s telling the same old rnstories, but with a new kind of visual panache and that’s okay, but rnthat’s seems to - it’s like candy and that seems to be the tendency.  rnNot to even attempt anything more ambitious content-wise, but they're rnalways trying new ambitious things in terms of style.  So, that’s kind rnof fun, but I’m tired of it and kind of like many people, growing rncynical about movies and would like to see more movies of substance thatrn have stories to tell that affect my life in some way.

Recorded on May 12, 2010
Interviewed by Paul Hoffman