How to become a full-time screenwriter - An interview with Mike Rogers

Like many of us, Mike Rogers dreamed of a career in film. Except, something made Rogers stop dreaming, and start writing. Winning Sunday Shorts Script Competition with 'Sugar', meant Rogers had won the first competition he'd entered, with the first script he'd written. Not bad, Mike.

Screenwriter Mike Rogers at Comic Con, Denver

I thought I'd try to catch-up with Rogers with some questions about his prosperous new hobby, and within an hour, I had his response:

"Two months ago I quit my job and just started writing. I saved up some money for this purpose, which I'm burning through now."

But what can you do without contacts or experience?

"I work 16-18 hours a day just writing, listening to podcasts, entering contests and taking classes. One site I found that has been very instrumental in learning the craft from others was Stage 32.

It feels very natural and I hate to think about going back to a 9-5er. My wife and I try not to talk about it too much, for obvious reasons."

So where do you get your ideas from?

"'Sugar' was the culmination of 1000 cups of coffee at 1000 different diners. Real life happens in diners for some reason. People are exposed, everyone looks out of place except for the guy with the paper hat, and his wife or mother who works the cash register at the door."

What d'you think makes you a great screenwriter?

"At heart I am a poet with Dyslexia. And I love the way words sound against one another. Words with opposite meanings to describe the same thing in very different ways. I will say that there is a voice, not my natural voice, that writes a lot of my dialogue, but I am not sure where it comes from at all."

What do you hope becomes of your script now?

"I would want a director to find my script on the street without a title page and make something I would watch, but not recognize as my own."

Do you have any final advice for aspiring screenwriters?

"The bad stuff people say about your work is a hell of a lot more motivating than the good stuff."

Mike Rogers received feedback from Sunday Shorts that proved "instrumental to making (Sugar) a better screenplay."

Get script feedback by entering

Sunday Shorts Monthly Script Competition on FilmFreeway:

Read Mike Rogers' script now on Stage 32: