Danny XY Kalifornia-feature by Steve Sherman | Script Revolution

Danny XY Kalifornia-feature

A meek young man struggling with his identity winds up in prison and reinvents himself as an empowered woman with nothing to lose.

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Status:

Page Count: 
122pp

Genre:

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Age Rating:

Synopsis/Details: 

From a young age, Danny Peterson never really felt like a boy as he identified more with his feminine side. From the age of ten to eighteen Danny has been tormented and bullied relentlessly by a high school jock named Billy. At home, Danny’s father struggles with his son’s femininity. After an assault by Billy at the dairy shack brings back old memories of a past violent encounter, Danny steals one of his dad’s guns and, during a scuffle at school, shoots Billy in the leg.

Danny is sentenced to three years in state prison. Danny is thrown to the wolves and put into a cell with Nero, a violent rapist who is supplying drugs in the prison via one of the correctional officers. Danny is raped by Nero his first night in prison and forced to be Nero’s bitch.

Danny, struggling with this turns to a friend - Sweet - and his gang made up of Mexican misfits headed by Romero. Sweet guides Danny through the emotional trauma of his past and what he’s going through. Sweet knows Danny prefers his feminine side but also knows Danny’s not gay. Sweet gives Danny the label of being “transgender” and everything starts to click into place.

Meanwhile, Romero gives Danny a tool to defend himself against Nero - an anal plug fitted with spikes. He does and Nero is taken to the prison infirmary.. CO Sargent Greg Maslik, Danny’s dad’s friend, fires the corrupt CO and Danny's life in prison takes a turn for the better. As a prison right of passage, Danny gets a tattoo of “Kalifornia” on his back.

Danny is released and goes back into the world. After learning that his dad is dead, Danny gets permission to be whoever he wants and finds himself in California. Now living as a woman, Danni is subject to various prejudice but finds herself at home working in a cafe.

One chance encounter finds her being outed in front of the shop but, as luck has it, Madison - an old school friend turned porn producer - is in the cafe. This leads to an opportunity in alternative porn and, soon, Danni and Madison become rich and well-known for their videos.

Still, problems arise for several reasons, primarily that Danni and Madison become intimate emotionally to the chagrin of Madison’s gangster boyfriend. On top of this, Danni is never properly recognized as being a star and, through the dismissal of her new personality, Danni becomes more rage-driven and unstable. Danni confronts Nicki about contract money owed from video sales and Nicki goes gangster on Danni threatening his life. Danni gets a suprise visit from Kimberley - the only person to truly accept Danni - She asks Danni to come home for the Holidays.

Danni goes home and waits for Kimberly at a local bar. Billy is there but does not recognize Danni and tries to pick Danni up. Danni plays along and traps Billy in a web of lies giving rise to Danni's anger just as Kimberly enters the bar. When Billy becomes aggressive Danni pulls a gun on him threatens to finish what he started in high school.

After leaving the bar Kimberly is upset and tells Danni she's not the person she remembers (that Danny would never have pulled a gun on any body)She tells Danni to leave California and stay with her. Kimberly introduces Danni to his four year old daughter. Danni promises Kim he will come back for her but he must return to California first.

Motivated by the rekindling of their relationship, Danni decides to steal her cut of the porn profits from Nicki. She does and makes her way back to Kimberly. Knowing Nicki will come after her Danni hides the money and writes a letter to Kimberly. As Danni waits for Kimberly in the same bar where he confronted Billy, Danni is caught and killed by Nero's brother who we learn was tipped off by Billy.

At the end we see Kimberly go to the mailbox and read the letter in a voice over from Danni, a heartfelt apology and where to find the money.

All Accolades & Coverage: 

COVERAGE INK

OVERALL

DANNI KALIFORNIA energetic script that does well in putting the protagonist’s journey at the core of the narrative. While there are some intriguing shades of movies like BOYS DON’T CRY, ANIMAL FACTORY, and BOOGIE NIGHTS, the script never completely falls in line with a particular genre and instead chooses to follow its manic and constantly evolving protagonist. This decision allows for a dynamic movie in the style of something more profound in a three act structure.

While the structure feels solid and the overall story works, the script could use a shuffle with regard to where certain scenes occur in order to make the journey more effective.

With that said, this is a great effort that never struggles to find its identity. Let’s crack it open and see how it can be made even better…

NICHOLLS COMMENTS:

The premise for Danni-XY Kalifornia was interesting - a young man feels he is in the wrong body and is bullied for his difference. He shoots his abuser and goes to prison. When he gets out he becomes a well-know alternative porn star. Danny/Danni was a mostly likable protagonist - he struggles with his identity, isn’t supported by his father and has to learn how to protect himself/herself.

Overall, the script does a good job addressing a very difficult subject matter and exposes the prejudice and abuse of being trans-gender in the mid 1980’s. This is a timely, topical script with some important subject matter. And I think the script does a really solid job of conveying the struggles of Danny’s childhood before he realizes he’s trans-gender.

Structurally I think the story works pretty well. There’s a solid shape here and looking back at the narrative everything fits together pretty well, even though it feels like it’s broken into three episodic sections — childhood, prison, and porn.

Thematically there’s a lot of nice work done on trans-gender awareness, identity struggle and anti-trans sentiment. The voice is engaging and the world feels well-realized and mostly grounded. Each character has a unique voice. The description is clear and it’s easy to visualize the settings and characters. There’s definitely something here.

Submitted: September 18, 2019
Last Updated: December 3, 2019

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The Writer: Steve Sherman

I grew up in Dutchess county New York about 75 miles north of NYC. My family bought a farm and opened a Horseback Riding Stable in 1965 and I became a barn hand and a trail guide, by the age of ten I could handle any horse you threw at me. I shod (put horse shoes on) my first horse at the age of fifteen. By the early 1970's we switched to racing and breeding Standardbred horses. I graduated from Arlington Central High School in 1979 and continued within the Standardbred horse racing industry, working for the top horsemen in the Northeast. I became a professional trainer-driver by the age of 21 and won my first pari-mutual race at Monticello raceway that same year. I opened my own public... Go to bio
Agency: nope
Agent: nope
Law Firm: The Sherm Firm
Lawyer: Pro se"
Manager: Me myself management

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