Dan⁠i⁠el Knauf

April 28, 2023

April 28, 2023

“When Imagine Kids and Family came to me to do ‘The Astronauts’ for Nickelodeon, I said I had three rules. First, it was going to be a real drama with real danger. Second, the parents weren’t going to be stupid. The third rule was that we are going to celebrate the values that all human beings share. Respect for courage, the spirit of exploration, the importance of family and other things we have in common.”

“No matter what your race, religion, sexual orientation, gender – the things we share in common are the vast majority of things. And the things that divide us are angels dancing on the head of a pin.”

“Unfortunately, a white-hot spotlight is put on those differences by the media and so forth, because they like to stir the pot. And it’s a sad state of affairs. But in my work, I’m not going to have any part of that.”

“It’s the same with my new project, ‘Gingerland.’ I thought about going to Disney or somewhere with the idea, but I want to retain the rights to my own story. And I promised myself this would not be ironic or cynical. It would be completely sincere and from the heart.” 

“The fact of the matter is that our eyeballs are being directed by very powerful third parties – like mass media and politicians – forcing us to focus on these areas of conflict. So many people’s most deeply heartfelt values are routinely trashed and mocked. It’s gotten nasty and it’s alienating half the audience. Meanwhile, we’re ignoring all these things we do have in common.”

“This is all a big game to the idealogues who see the world through very, very narrow lenses. They try to normalize their points of view, through lies, through propaganda, through whatever means they’re going to use. And they tend to be the ones who have access to the megaphone.” 

“But I get a crack at the megaphone every once in a while, so I’m going to say something different. I’m going to say ‘Let’s have a cup of coffee and discuss our differences.’”

“There’s nothing in ‘Gingerland’ that doesn’t reflect universal human values. I write stories to appeal to people’s better sense of who they are and what a great species we belong to. Why not enjoy that? Why not celebrate it?”

“I would like my work to move people to do good things, to treat people a little bit better.

I don’t want to waste anybody’s time and I certainly don’t want to mock people’s convictions. I don’t want them to have a bad time watching and be angry. Or, if they’re going to be angry, they’re going to be angry at injustice, or evil – the characters who do the wrong things and show selfishness, or greed, or cruelty. But not to be angry at some political straw man I made up.”

“When you find yourself experiencing a common emotion, there’s a thrill or the ecstasy of recognition. You think ‘Boy, I thought I was the only person who felt that way. But there’s a whole theater full of people that feel the same way.’ That pulls you together with them and it reminds you of your humanity.”

Daniel Knauf,

Daniel created HBO’s “Carnivàle,” and was both writer and showrunner for NBC’s “Dracula” and “The Blacklist,” and Nickelodeon’s “The Astronauts,” for which he was nominated for an Emmy Award. His current project, “Gingerland,” can be found on substack.