Notes From The Margins: Meet Danny Manus… Again

In 2004, Script Magazine published my first article on screenwriting in its hard copy magazine. It was called “The Pass Pile: 10 Reasons I Passed on Your Script.” It was a big moment for me. I had studied journalism in college before switching over to Film/TV, and I always wanted to see my name in professional print. My parents still have copies of the issue hidden somewhere (pretty sure I do too).

notesI have written quite a few articles for ScriptMag since which you can find on this site and have written over 200 articles on screenwriting and the entertainment business for other places, but it only seems fitting that over eight years later, I return to ScriptMag as a regular contributor with my new column – “Notes From the Margins.”

Script margins are dangerous places. Never has an inch of space contained so much important information. Information that will dictate whether or not your script is ready, is good enough, is workable. Information that decides your project’s fate.

Executives love white space. And not just because the more dialogue there is, the quicker the read; but also because the more white there is, the more space they have to make their extensive notes. Same goes for agents, consultants, actors, directors, and everyone else who is going to have thoughts on how to change and improve your script.  Some you will agree with, some you’ll hate. But there will always be notes. And as a consultant, my job is not only to give them, but to help you address them, interpret them, fix them, and learn from them.

For those who had been following and reading my hundreds of articles for BOSI the last few years, my new ScriptMag column will be all new material! And for those who haven’t been following my articles, well, here’s your chance, and I hope you enjoy them.

As a former development executive and now script consultant, I’ve read and done notes on THOUSANDS of scripts. I’ve worked with A-List writers and writers there are no letters for. I’ve developed studio projects, indies, and projects from first time writers that had no shot in getting made. I love helping and encouraging writers to grow and improve, and showing them how to find and write the best versions of their stories.

But I’ve also told a few writers that maybe screenwriting isn’t for them, because quite frankly… screenwriting isn’t for everybody. Certainly not professionally. And learning that might be the most valuable lesson one can learn. With estimates of over 25,000 new scripts being thrown at Hollywood every year (not to mention screenwriting contests), it isn’t easy to stand out and break in. And giving and getting notes is not an easy (or quick) process at any level.

My hope with this column is to make that process easier by giving you the honest truth and no bull advice. I’ll share notes, tips, lessons, anecdotes and information that will hopefully improve your writing, enlighten you about parts of the business that aren’t talked about, lessen the number of notes you get in YOUR margins, and help you further understand what breaking into this business and staying here really entails.

I’ll be posting a new column every couple of weeks, and I’m always open to suggestions on what YOU want to hear about.  Good luck, and keep writing!

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