From Screenwriter to Novelist: Worst Knights Ever by Dane Hanson

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Dane Hanson

Dane Hanson

A Healthy Mix of Fearlessness and Stupidity

Award-winning filmmaker, television producer and comedy writer, Dane Hanson, on how he made the change from screenwriter to novelist for his hilarious book, Worst Knights Ever.

Some of the greatest things in my life have come from being too stupid to know not to do it. After college in Cincinnati, I moved to Chicago (a six-hour drive) with $15 total to my name. I had auditioned and gotten into the advanced level at the world-famous comedy school, The Second City. I had been commuting once a week for about a month when it was getting too difficult. I had to move to Chicago, so I went even though I was broke. I got the $15 from selling every CD I owned. Miraculously, it worked out.

When my critically acclaimed sketch comedy show, Sitcoms Blow, was replaced at the last minute by a group related to one of the producers, we went and crashed the Aspen Comedy Festival anyway. We rented a youth center across the street and performed in a gym. We were the buzz of the festival and were given a great review in Variety.

(Two of our most famous sketches are viral videos. One is about a wireless lie detector that is a problem for everyone in the office.  Another, Female Orgasm Law, is about men finding out there’s a new law – If you have an orgasm with a woman, then BY LAW, you have to make sure she has one too. The men aren’t exactly handling this news well.)

So, it’s no surprise how I came to write the comedic novel Worst Knights Ever. In 2001, my friend Jimmy Paulsen and I were writing movie scripts. Due to the popularity of my sketch show, we were getting attention from Hollywood producers. This is all covered in greater detail in the preface of the novel if you’re interested. Long story short, Worst Knights Ever was a 3-page outline and was nearly made into a movie starring Michael Caine and Sean Connery.

Cut to 21 years later, after years of producing TV, I was still thinking about Worst Knights Ever. It was the one that got away. The premise was too good, I had to finally do something with this.

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Worst Knights EverWorst Knights Ever has been called Ricky Gervais’ Extras meets Jaws. Here’s the elevator pitch:

“It’s autumn 2001, and a fire-breathing dragon is destroying London. With most of her military overseas, the Queen decides to do what previous Queens would’ve done and call in her Knights!

The only problem is that the Queen has only knighted celebrities.

Worst Knights Ever is the hilarious tale of four celebrities who volunteer to hunt down the dragon and try and save all of London.”

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My brother is an author, E.C. Hanson, and had he not written a bunch of books, I never would’ve thought to do this.

Do people even write novels that are outright R-rated comedies? I didn’t know of any. From the early reviews I’ve received, it doesn’t seem so. Even my favorite comedy writers, like Tina Fey, tend to write funny memoirs rather than novels. I’m not saying there aren’t any comedy novels, I just haven’t heard of them. Feel free to yell at me for that on Instagram @danevanhanson

Are you allowed to use real-life celebrities as characters in your book? No idea. Again, just fearless and stupid. I knew that South Park used celebrities in a satirical way all the time, so why not? I gave it a shot.

To help write my first-ever novel, I took a class at UCLA Extension that promises to help you write a book in a month. I wrote at least 1700 words a day based on my 3-page outline from 2001, and at the end of November, I had a 55,000-word novel. Exhausted, I didn’t look at it again until the new year.

From January until April, I edited every day. I still had no idea if this book could even be published. Undaunted, like a real dummy, I sent the manuscript to 55 publishers and received two offers.

So, miraculously, Worst Knights Ever is now a paperback, ebook and a fantastic audiobook narrated by Mitch Benn. It was even a number-one new release on Amazon. I hope that it someday achieves its original goal of being a movie, but for now, I’m thrilled it’s a novel available to everyone. That’s a vast improvement from my screenplays that are read by four people and die on my agent’s desk.

Amazing things can happen when you block out the fear and clumsily make an effort. I highly recommend it.

(c) Dane Hanson

About Worst Knights Ever:

Worst Knights EverIt’s autumn 2001, and a fire-breathing dragon is destroying London. With most of her military overseas, the Queen decides to do what previous Queens would’ve done and call in her Knights!

The only problem is that the Queen has only knighted celebrities.

Worst Knights Ever is the hilarious tale of four celebrities who volunteer to hunt down the dragon and try and save all of London.

This novel is an R-rated fantasy satire that has been called Jaws meets Ricky Gervais’ Extras. Its outrageous irreverent humour and surprising heart have delighted early reviewers.

The novel is very inclusive and features LGTBQ heroes.

If you like quick wit, some dirty jokes, loving relationships, and brave celebrities who are under-prepared and in grave danger – You will love Worst Knights Ever!

Order your copy online here.

About the author

Dane Hanson is an award-winning filmmaker, television producer and comedy writer. Dane got his start in Hollywood playing the dumb guy in more than 60 national commercials.

Dane is internet-famous for “Lie Detector”, a video that is still constantly going viral all over the internet. It has over 100 million views combined, has been translated into 16 languages and even used verbatim in a porn film. (not bragging)

Dane is the brother of author E.C. Hanson.

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