It's me. I don't come out often because I'm usually writing or teaching or living, but I'd love to visit for a while. I don't think anybody's ever posed as me before, though I'm sometimes confused for the actor who played the bass player in Freaky Friday. Not me. But this is me. On Twitter I'm known as @groundhog_guy. Elsewhere I'm webtoe because of my fancy feet, plus I figured if I ever became a blues player it would make a great name.
Ask me anything!

Comments: 336 • Responses: 68  • Date: 

[deleted]72 karma

DANNY? DANNY RUBIN? IT'S ME DOCTORWHOROCKS! WE WENT TO HIGH SCHOOL TOGETHER! REMEMBER? I whistled out of my belly button for the talent show! Say do you have life insurance?

So, was Bill Murray your original intention for the role?

webtoedan148 karma

I remember you. Gotta go.

Nah, I wasn't thinking Bill Murray. Loved his work, but I wasn't thinking of comedians. I was thinking that the part would require an actor, but an actor who could do comedy. I suggested Tom Hanks and they actually asked him, but he declined. He later told Harold that he was right to turn it down because he wouldn't have worked in the part. He said everybody knows that he's a nice guy, so if he started out as nasty everybody would anticipate his transformation. With Bill you have no idea what he's going to do. And that's all true. And Bill really did an amazing job, didn't he?

hexagoon16 karma

I just want to thank you for making all the right choices with this movie.

Its still one of my favourite movies since the day I saw it as a child. Pure genius.

webtoedan23 karma

I made many of the right choices. Harold Ramis also made many of the choices you admire. But thank you for the gratifying assessment.

DoubleAcesHigh50 karma

I do not have any questions for you, I would just like to tell you how much I appreciate the work you put in to Groundhog Day. I enjoy it so much I can't begin to explain it. Thank you so very much!

webtoedan51 karma

You know what? You're welcome. I appreciate the unsolicited niceness.

DoubleAcesHigh19 karma

I grinned like a schoolgirl. You deserve the niceness and so much more. It is awesome. It made me laugh, made me cry, and it made me appreciate every day. The concept of living the same day over and over or living forever would drive me nuts. Humans aren't built for such things (well, maybe Connor Macleod is...). I have spells of tachycardia watching it due to how everything is played out. It's brilliant. :) I would love to be able to create a story that captivates the audience as it did.

Too early for flapjacks?

webtoedan19 karma

Come on over!

webtoedan44 karma

I think that's it for me, folks. It's been fun, and I hope you got something out of all that. If you have any more questions for me or about me please check my website, my blog, or just check out the new eBook and you'll hear more complete answers to pretty much everything you asked -except for the one about laundry detergent. Goodnight, everyone!

PalermoJohn38 karma

How much time did he spend in the loop?

How did the story progress from first idea to final draft?

How much time did he spend in the loop?

How did the story progress from first idea to final draft?

How much time did he spend in the loop?

How did the story progress from first idea to final draft?



webtoedan24 karma

Slow down! You guys are blowing my mind! I'm going out for dinner. I'll be back around 9 EST and we'll talk. Okay? Very cool. Come back.

PalermoJohn13 karma

You'll probably need to verify that it's you. Then people will get excited.

webtoedan20 karma

Wanna see my birthmark? What can I say? The moderators have allowed me. Won't you? What can I do?

nocode41623 karma

You could state on your twitter that you're doing an AMA...

webtoedan23 karma

Done! Thanks.

[deleted]32 karma

What was the inspiration behind playing "I've Got You Babe"? Any special meaning?

webtoedan63 karma

Here's why I thought of it: if you listen to the recording at the very end it sort of winds down with a big slow "I got yououououou baaaaaaaabe." You think it's over, then it creeps back in: "I got you babe! I got you babe! etc" I thought this repetition was perfect. The timing never worked out for them to use it in the movie that way, but I guess because it's a love song and because even though it's catchy it would drive you crazy after a while, it was always a good idea.

hydro12345630 karma

Sorry for being too lazy to look up the details, but I heard one person wanted to make the movie more serious, and another guy wanted it to be more of a comedy like it was. If that's true, which one are you?

webtoedan50 karma

I heard that too, and I heard it was Harold who wanted it more funny and Bill who wanted it more philosophical - but I was there and I don't remember it that way. There was a bit of a tug of war between aspects of my original draft and Harold's studio draft, but I never thought of it as between comedic and philosophical. We all saw it as both, I think.

kcg526 karma

Do you have any thoughts on how the film is viewed in certain circles of the Buddhist community?

Love the movie, by the way!

webtoedan34 karma

Well, they love it, so I love them. You know, Buddhists aren't the only ones who seem to have embraced the groundhog. Priests and Rabbis from all over the place have sent me sermons they've written, and apparently everybody tried to claim Ghog in a symposium on religion in film. I think it's all wonderful. It really was always intended as a very human story and not just a funny story, and to see so many recognizing that and celebrating that just makes me very proud and happy.

kcg512 karma

Thanks for the reply, made my night!

webtoedan8 karma

Thank you. It was fun.

Brewer73025 karma

Were any groundhogs harmed during the making of the film?

webtoedan62 karma

Yes. Wait... No. I'm instructed to say no. Actually I think the groundhog bit Bill Murray a couple of times, so fair is fair.

BeardedAxWound20 karma

Craziest Bill Murray story?

webtoedan52 karma

Oh, man. There wasn't anything really crazy, and some of the personal stuff I like to keep personal. But one of the coolest things I ever did was play basketball with Bill. Him, me, Dan Aykroyd and Tom Davis played some two on two. It was a spontaneous game played on an indoor court and none of us had sneakers so we played in our socks, which if you've ever done it you'll know is impossible. At one point Bill is passing the ball to Tom and hurls the thing pro style at my head. I ducked. And that's my crazy Bill story. He liked me a lot more after that game. He appreciated that I had the kind of moves that would allow me to duck in time. Maybe that's a good skill for a screenwriter.

alecsteven617 karma

Finally, a famous IAMA that uses proper grammar. Celebrities these days...not caring about proper capitalization and punctuation.

My question: If you could do "Groundhog Day" all over again (no pun intended), would you change anything about it?

webtoedan26 karma

Yikes. Now the pressure's on for the spelling and grammar! The truth is after 19 years the movie is so well-cemented in my mind that it's hard to imagine anything different, and it would be ungracious assert that it should be different.

TexasKevin14 karma

How many screenplays did you write before you got your first option? What did you do to get your work into the hands of the right people?

webtoedan27 karma

Note that I'd already been a writer for a while before writing feature films. I was living in Chicago writing industrial films ("How to build a pole barn" for Wicks lumber), a children's tv show, sketch comedy, plays and songs. Then I wrote a spec feature that I never did anything with. That was my warm up. Then I wrote another spec feature, and it got optioned! It eventually became "Hear No Evil" starring Marlee Matlin. And to set that up I just asked everyone I knew if they knew anybody in Hollywood, I sent my script to ten people who never heard of me but knew people who I knew, and one of them was an agent who would read anything and he read my script. And he sold it. See? Easy.

parrotforpresident11 karma

did you have any ideas that didn't end up in the final movie.

webtoedan35 karma

First thing I thought of: I wanted to have a much more meaty escape sequence. I thought he would try a lot harder to get out of town, and I had him driving and riding snowmobiles and stealing a plane and trying to teach himself how to fly, etc. That was fun.

catsfive8 karma

I think you just let the Criterion edition's deleted scenes out of the bag there, pal.

webtoedan13 karma

Honestly, my whole book is one big criterion collection paradise. If this stuff is fun for you there's more where that came from.

ZeroSum010111 karma


webtoedan20 karma

A lot of the coloring of the lines came from Bill. "Hairdo". "Side of your eye..." and his line to Ned "I don't know where you're going but could you call in sick?" Most of writing a screenplay involves deciding which scenes of a story to show more than what the lines are. Dialogue is fun and can be great or awful, but the scene dictates what a character might say and the final choice of lines could be any number of things. Harold Ramis likes to keep comedy fresh in his movies and so if there have been several takes of the line as written he encourages improvisation just to keep it all fresh and funny. So anyway there was a bunch of Bill stuff in there, but proportionally to what was written not really a lot.

corbalt10 karma

Do you believe in deja vu? People actually getting stuck in time? Time dilation? Anything similar to what happened in the movie? Or was it pure fiction straight out of your imagination? After all, time is subjective and events like what happened to Bill Murray in the film could very well occur.

webtoedan35 karma

I guess I don't believe in any of those time ideas, or rather I don't spend any time worrying about it. Still, I find you can learn a lot about how things really work when you imagine things that are not possible. Phil's time loop is not something I believe anybody has ever really experienced. But the life he lives as a result sure does feel familiar, doesn't it? The aspect of life that is a kind of repetition of days, a repetition of very similar experiences. And the other aspect of Phil's dilemma, that he is unable to escape from his life, is certainly a fitting metaphor for what we all experience.

bravetoasters9 karma

What are your thoughts on the movie Source Code? Clearly, it drew inspiration from Groundhog Day.

webtoedan16 karma

I thought it was a lot of fun, actually. The ending was sort of cheesy, but I forgive them that. Endings can be really tough. Hey, whenever another movie comes out that references Ghog I love to see what they've done with it. It seems to me there are tons of ways to exploit this idea, lots of potential, and I welcome people to play with it. Friends will sometimes see something and say "What a rip-off!" but I never feel that way. More of an homage.

MurrayKatz9 karma

How much do you hate your writing while you are writing? Is negativity a natural part of the process or do you just love every minute of being at your desk?

webtoedan23 karma

Good one. Dig this: sometimes I'll have a knotty problem, I'll chew, I'll chew and bam! I solve it. It was so simple! And after congratulating myself for my cleverness, it then occurs to me how long I had been an idiot.
I think that is the level of joy and hate in my writing. Usually I like it while I'm writing it, I doubt it mightily when I reread it, and when I pick it up a lot later I think, "Damn. This was good. What's wrong with everybody?"

omega6978 karma

Why on earth would you have a character that didn't like fudge OR white chocolate? That movie is so unrealistic!

webtoedan15 karma

Ha! And who could love such a misfit? What was I thinking!

pandas7958 karma

If you were stuck in a loop like Phil Conners was, what day would you pick?

webtoedan13 karma

First of all, strange as it may seem, I don't think this way. I know that for some people it's the first thing they wonder after seeing the film. Not me. But here's why it's tricky: any day I pick will necessarily become my whole world and its nature will change. So if I pick a great day it will never be great in the same way again. And now I'm gaming the system, picking days where I knew I was going to say be in a big city like San Francisco, and on a sunny day. That would keep me busy for a long time. Sorry. That's the best answer I can come up with.

warmyellowsnow7 karma

I love Groundhog Day and SFW. Did you keep any props or momentos from either film?

webtoedan12 karma

I have a groundhog! A big wooden groundhog with a top hat and an umbrella. I used to put it on my front porch early on Feb 2nd back in Santa Fe and people would leave gifts for me! That was really awesome. And I think I have an SFW T-shirt. Free Cliff Spab!

vegeta818997 karma

Hey Danny, I loved Groundhogs Day it was one of my favourite movies. How does it feel to have created a very successful movie? Also what is your favourite brand of laundry detergent?

webtoedan11 karma

It's really important to get the stuff that's fragrance free. I really hate that fake soapy smell. And how do I feel to have created one of the world's most beloved films of all time and in perpetuity? Pretty good. And very lucky. I like to be proud of everything I do, feel that even if unsuccessful in how it's received by anybody else at least I can stand by it. So I feel very proud of this film, and also, for instanace, the workbench I built in my basement with no woodworking skills whatsoever. Very proud.

framk207 karma

Any tips for a piss poor writer like me?

webtoedan52 karma

Just keep writing. If you're really piss poor then I heartily recommend that you get better.

hoopstick7 karma

It seems like everyone I know has a different favorite scene...personally, anything involving Ned Ryerson steals it for me. What was YOUR favorite part of the script?

webtoedan21 karma

Well, Ned kind of stole it for me, too, but that was all Tobolowsky. He did the scene as written, but wow. But in the writing my favorite part of the script was the Rita pickup sequence. That was the first idea I got when I thought of the movie, it was terrific fun to write, and it worked just as I imagined it. So it's a win win favorite. But I also have had a fondness for the old man dying scene. I thought that was a good piece of the story since it shows Phil that no matter how powerful he has become here there are limits to what he can do.

catsfive5 karma

I 100% agree. Most of my favourite movies have been ones that were funny, but also not afraid to get dirty with feelings and true connection to humanity (I think: Harold and Maude).

webtoedan7 karma

I love Harold and Maude.

[deleted]7 karma

Dammit, I missed it. Will there be another AMA tomorrow at 9PM EST? And the day after that? And after that?

webtoedan12 karma

I'm still poking around. AMA here or on my blog, anytime.

MurrayKatz6 karma

What is your schedule (or lack thereof?)

Like, do you go to your office every single day from 8-1 and write, or is it different for every project, what routine have you sculpted for yourself in order to be such a productive writer?

webtoedan12 karma

Well, I WAS a productive writer, once upon a time. Since I started teaching up at Harvard my mind is very much on my work there, and I'm still struggling for a workable writing routine. But even when more of my time was my own I'd say every project was different. Each new script came at a different time in my life, so depending on when I was watching kids or working at a teen arts center which I did for a while or whatever my writing day would be different. Sometimes I just sat for 8 hours, no matter what, and just made myself write. I once realized that of the 8 I was only productive for 2, so I just sat down and wrote for two hours then gave myself the rest of the day off! It was glorious. Other times I set page counts, such as five or ten. And toward the end of the writing, when the end of a script is in sight, I just write all the time. Once the baby starts coming out you got nothing to do but push.

fomorian5 karma

I'm surprised how low the turnout has been for this AMA considering what a classic movie this is. From your IMDB page it looks like you aren't the most prolific of writers. All the better because the work that you do do is so well-thought out. Is there any up coming work we should be looking out for?

webtoedan9 karma

I wrote a really cool script about what happens when everyone wakes up one day and NOTHING is working: internet, phones, electricity, cars... It's set up at Big Beach Productions. And we'll just have to see.

roboteatingrobot5 karma

As a writer who has already graduated from the academic world, how can I tell if any of my writing is actually improving at a reasonable rate? Are the beats and characters of this story really any better than the last? Screen writing competitions don't seem like anything more than gambling that the judge reading your script is into the same genres you are. Writing groups often lack serious writers an are more of a safe haven to hobbyists. Where can we writers find honest mentors and writing groups for our 'aspiring' skill level?

webtoedan12 karma

Wow. That's tough. You know I just met some nice people over at where people share such ideas. THere may be more online places for such things to happen. In the real world it's like any set of relationships, you just have to keep trying, putting it out there, finding writers or even non-writers whose reactions seem helpful to you, and do the best you can. This is part of the hell of our work. Even if your fine script is blessed by a sale, there is a rewrite process, and notes, and you never know if it's getting better or worse. And then there's the actual production, and you'll never know if it's great because of what you've done or in spite of what you've done. So where do you go for objective feedback? THere may be no such thing. But there is feedback that helps you, that you find helpful. I'm pretty sure that's the best we can do.

roboteatingrobot3 karma

Thanks for the honest info! I'm doing my best to better myself at screenwriting while having the extreme pleasure of working as a Grip and Camera Operator to pay the bills! Thank you again!

webtoedan3 karma

I found a way to pay the bills writing industrial films, figuring it was better to be paid as a writer even if it wasn't the kind of writing I wanted to be doing. It's great that you're in the industry, though. Just keep being on the set of lousy movies, thinking, "I write better than this!"

warmyellowsnow5 karma

Have you ever lost your marbles in front of your students where you rip up term papers and exclaim "I don't have to deal with this...I wrote Groundhog Day dammit!"?

webtoedan16 karma

Were you there? I really apologize. Actually my students humble me every day with wonderful work.

DankoRamone5 karma

How does an aspiring screenwriter (currently doing standup, and in a burlesque troop writing sketches and performing)far from Hollywood get what he writes, or proposes, to the correct people to begin with?

webtoedan6 karma

That's the question, isn't it? Everybody has his own story of how to break in. I will say that what you write will carry more weight than what you propose, as something you've actually written proves in and of itself that you can pull off what you say.

bookon5 karma

Why did you stop writing screen plays? Or did you just stop selling them? Turn to script doctoring? What's the deal?

webtoedan12 karma

I still write them and I still sell them. I share your frustration that they aren't being made, but I've gotten used to it, and I'd still rather write a movie I want to see than a movie that Hollywood thinks people want to see. Ergo my batting average is low these days. But I'm fine and patient. How bout you?

Penisdenapoleon4 karma

What is your favorite color of apple?

webtoedan5 karma

I like the Fuji for taste and texture, and its color is mostly red. I have no favorite apple color separate from the fruit it represents.

sharkworld4 karma

Word on the street says you have a degree in Biology . You and 2 actors do a science fair project together. Who are the actors and what is the science fair project about ?

webtoedan12 karma

Yes I do have a degree in Biology. But I don't understand the question. Why am I doing a science fair with actors? Are they to be the subject of my experiment? Besides, sharkworld, Sharkie, if I may. Besides, Sharkie, Groundhog day WAS a human experiment. I wanted to know whether one lifetime was enough for certain people to grow up. Perhaps some people need more time. That's where it started. But my experiment was cumbersome with all of the sets and settings and characters necessitated by the passing of so much time. THen I got the idea about the repeating day and I realized I could use the repetition to get eternity, and voila! A pure human experiment in repetition and infinite time.
That's a good science fair experiment. That's blue ribbon worthy, don't you think?

CThomasFlood3 karma

Are you and Harold Ramis friends? Have you two worked on anything else together?

webtoedan3 karma

I wouldn't say we are close friends, but yes, we are friends. I see him or talk to him every year or two since we met. We've swapped scripts over the years but never found a project to do together. That's always been fine, but if it ever worked out I'd be delighted.

Fixer2263 karma

Why have him run into a train? >.>

webtoedan6 karma

But he didn't. The train swerved first! Or I think in shooting they decided that Phil should swerve first.

pablo1113 karma

Why didn't Bill Murray just rape the girl?

webtoedan10 karma

There is an answer to this! When I was first brainstorming the movie it occurred to me that it could go very dark. If Phil is really testing what is possible in a land without consequences, he would probably go through a phase of walking on the dark side. Rape, murder, arson, etc. But here's where the writer comes in: I had recently become a father, was starting out on a new life as a screenwriter, and feeling very upbeat (as usual, actually). I thought about it and decided against making this, as I thought of it at the time, as a David Lynch film. There may be a good, deep, reasonable human reason that Phil (not Bill Murray. You should be more careful) didn't rape anybody, but the real reason is because the writer didn't want him to.

Grapefruit__Juice3 karma

I've read that Groundhog Day illustrates the Buddhist concept of samsara (birth/life/death/rebirth), was that the intention? Are you Buddhist? A Jew-Bu?

And thank you for giving me my standard toast: "I'd like to say a prayer and drink to world peace".

webtoedan9 karma

I'll take credit for the toast to world peace. That's right, I wrote that. I think Bill or Harold added the say a prayer line. So, you wanna know if I'm Buddhish. You know I just like to live my life, come to my own conclusions, and if they fit one set of ideas or another that's interesting. I have a friend who thinks I'm Hindu because of how I sometimes see the world. I am Jewish but samsara didn't spring from that. You know, I was aware in a general way of Buddhist concepts and reincarnation, but it was more something I noticed after writing the original script than anything I did on purpose. Harold and I talked about this and similar things when we first met, and I know that he knew a lot about Buddhist and was particularly keen on that aspect of the story.

Grapefruit__Juice6 karma

I will now think of you when I drink world peace. I've always loved when people get the reference.

Great movie. Thanks for answering my question!

webtoedan5 karma

You're very welcome. Thanks for checking in.

MurrayKatz3 karma

How many drafts did you go through? (Goldenrod... salmon...!)

webtoedan11 karma

It's hard to know what to call a "draft" in the age of computers, where every time you reread something you're making little changes. But it went something like this: I wrote a draft and that's what I sent out. Columbia optioned the script and I got harold's notes and Columbia's notes. I wrote a studio draft. Harold rewrote that draft. The studio green lit the movie. THey cast Bill Murray. Harold and Bill wrote a draft.
I came back to work with Bill on a draft. We worked that together with Harold's studio draft. Harold and I worked that together into the almost shooting script. Harold finished up the shooting script.

I lost count. But it went something like that.

kiwifruitfan3 karma

No question just want to say GRoundhog day is one of my favorites :)

webtoedan5 karma


SwampJew3 karma

  • What was your inspiration for the screenplay
  • How long did it take to write
  • How long did it take to sell
  • After being sold, how long did it take to begin production
  • what would you have done differently
  • Any other films in the works

webtoedan9 karma

Look, don't swampjew me, swampJew. I'm from Gainesville, Florida. Choose one question, please. Or one at a time.

How long did it take to write? Four days. That's four days of actual scripting. But first there was about seven weeks of outlining and brainstorming. So almost 8 weeks. Then some polishing. So add a couple of weeks. Nine or ten weeks. But that's all. Fast.

MurrayKatz2 karma

As a writer, are you ever feel overwhelmed by the success and cult status of Groundhog day in a negative way? Like, does it ever make it hard for you to work on something now because you wonder if it will ever be as good as or better than this huge runaway cult phenomenon?

webtoedan7 karma

You know it doesn't get in the way in that performance anxiety sort of way. I'm always writing new stuff and I never try to best Ghog, I just try to make each script as good as possible. But it's getting in the way in that this past year I haven't been able to work on any screenplays since I was writing the Ghog book, and I also feel that I won't be done with this Groundhog period of my life until I've finished working on the musical. Yeah musical. But other than these creative distractions I'd have to say that the continuing good vibe from this movie has brought me nothing but good things.

uncle_frosty842 karma

What's it like have webbed feet?

webtoedan3 karma


[deleted]2 karma

I'm an aspiring screenwriter. Any tips?

webtoedan5 karma

As far as I'm concerned if you write screenplays then you're a screenwriter. Beyond that we're ALL aspiring, right? Just be sure you're excited by the work itself.

[deleted]3 karma

Oh by the way I once read something from a guy who had written a script about a guy who wakes up every day and it's the same day. Then Groundhog Day came out. He was upset. Thought you'd like to know!

webtoedan8 karma

You might be talking about the guy who wrote Replay, which was a very interesting book with lots of loyal fans. But I never heard of it till after the movie was shot, and I certainly didn't mean to step on anybody's toes. There are several time travel / time bounce stories out there and I find all of this stuff fascinating and fun. Whoever was upset is I hope over it.

[deleted]2 karma


webtoedan3 karma

And thanks for the one you just gave me, "PumaNator"!

WoodyHarrlesonsAgent2 karma

This movie has been both my favorite and most hated movie in my short 34 years on this planet.

I watched it a dozen times on VHS when I was younger....Friggin loved it. Watched it when I was an adult and I could barely sit through it...even tho it's clearly more for adults than kids.

Not an insult! You made something great that inspires strong emotion and I admire the hell out of that.

I'm going to give it a re-watch tonight on Netflix (now that I'm an old dude with 4 kids) and see what I think.

Thanks for coming to Reddit to talk to us. I know having a bunch of anon people say snarky stuff about your work can't be easy--- So a big thanks from all of us.

webtoedan5 karma

Everyone's being really nice, actually. Well, I felt one snark, but I lept aside. Thanks for your love and hate. Hope this time is a good one for you.

crasspy2 karma

Danny, just wanted you to know that you wrote a movie that I absolutely love. I watch at least once a year and I love the nuanced script. No question, just a bit of love for you from New Zealand.

webtoedan3 karma

Love back at you!

nignogxmas2 karma

How many letters do you get regarding this film?

webtoedan3 karma

Many, all the time, from many countries, going back 19 years.

MrSmithSmith2 karma

Hi Danny! I was wondering, do you still write spec scripts and, if so, how frequently you write them?

webtoedan2 karma

Yes I do. These days about one every two years.

jbschirtzinger2 karma

Have you written anything else since Groundhog Day? If so, have you just not found the buyers for it?

webtoedan2 karma

Lots of buyers, not many makers. Or rather enough buyers to keep me and fam fed all these years. That's screenwriting for you.

[deleted]2 karma


webtoedan3 karma

I used to write for a comedy troupe that performed for corporate events (to make money; we mostly did education workshops with teachers), and while researching a show for Bell of Pennsylvania I learned about Punxsutawney and the Groundhog Day celebration. It was only because of this knowledge I was able to see the potential for using Feb 2nd as Phil's repeating day. I guess you just never know where you're going to pick up useful information. Thank you, Bell of Pennsylvania!

cy4nid32 karma

Was Bill Murray as fun to work with as he seems? Every time I see him in a movie, I can't help but think of him positively (case in point, Zombieland).

webtoedan3 karma

I don't know if "fun" is the right word. It was great, of course. When I went to NY to work with him on the screenplay he was a terrific host, very attentive and wanting me to feel welcome. I saw him be great with people on the street and in restaurants, giving them a little show, turning up the energy. But honestly with the actual writing it was more low key, matter of fact. Sometimes we'd walk and throw around ideas, and that was fun. But mostly it was sitting at a desk and working through rewriting scenes, and that was just work.

favorite_joke2 karma

What is your favorite joke?

webtoedan17 karma

What lies at the bottom of the ocean and shakes? (a nervous wreck).

thenewlight2 karma

what'd you think of LA?

webtoedan4 karma

Not for me. I lived there for about two years. The first year was glorious. Sunny and warm after years living in Chicago. Writers and movie people everywhere. I was visiting sets and being in the town where people did what I did and loved what I loved. Then the things I didn't like about it sunk in, and they included living in a car, living in pollution, meeting people you like but they live two hours away, and I finally decided I didn't want to live the raising my kids portion of the program in LA. So I left. But I still like to visit. Headed out next week in fact.

Penroze2 karma

Why did you structure the movie the way you did. i.e. Why was it always groundhog day and not some other day? Why make the character go to punxsutawney?

webtoedan10 karma

When I picked Feb 2nd it gave me so many things: a weatherman character who comes from a city and is stuck in a small town; a small town to go to; an event that marks the day; and a chance for my movie to show on TV every year on the holiday. It could have been any day and it probably would have worked on any day. But after all this time I still think Feb 2 was a really good decision.

19Kilo2 karma

I swear I saw this AMA yesterday.

Edit: Might as well ask a question...

How many deja vu/time loop comments do you think you'll see in this AMA?

webtoedan9 karma

This is already the second!
And I did try to AMA yesterday but I buried myself under my ignorance. Sorry. Didn't intend any breach in etiquette.

Annoyingquestion1 karma

What would you find more bothersome:a roommate that sometimes screamed in your ear for no apparent reason whatsoever or wearing a pair of shoes that doesn't fit just right?

webtoedan13 karma

I have been wearing ill-fitting shoes since last summer and I hate it. It diminishes my life. If I could trade it for a randomly screaming roommate, yes, I would take that deal.

SkepticalOrange1 karma

  • How long did it take you to write the script, from start to finish?

  • How did you come up with the story for Groundhog Day?

  • If you could recast anyone in the film, who would it be?

  • Which was your favorite and least favorite performances?

  • I've heard that Bill Murray and Harold Ramis argued on whether the film should be more comedic or more philosophical. Clearly it was a pretty perfect blend, but if it had to lean towards one of the two, which would you have preferred?

webtoedan6 karma

Wow. Listen, everybody. This was just a preview. I'm going to go grade some papers because my life is very glamorous, and I'll meet up for real at 9 EST. Maybe I'll check in between papers. Later, and thanks for your interest! I'm happy to be here.

MoistTowlette191 karma

Danny Rubin! :::giddy with excitment::: Any advice for writers who are just starting out? Thanks!

webtoedan2 karma

Keep writing. When you finish and start sending your script out there, be writing another one. And all that giddiness? Good! Use it!

porcupined1 karma

Harvard or Brown? Fudge or white chocolate? Groundhogs or porcupines?

webtoedan3 karma

Life is full of tough choices. But sometimes a choice is not required.

TadMC1 karma

You said you teach. Do you know Blake Snyder? I used to write screen plays for recreation (though I wouldnt have said no to someone wanting to pick one up), and I bought some of his books. He was genuinely nice and appreciative of his fan base, and even included me in one of his blog posts. So, if youve met him, who would win in a fingernail biting contest?

webtoedan3 karma

I never got the chance to meet the man, sadly, but I've read his books. I don't really favor his approach to screenwriting, which is very oriented toward writing to please Hollywood; but his way of slicing the genre pie is really interesting and original. And I don't bite my fingernails so anybody besides me would win.