John Rogers Extended Interview from Fiasco - TableTop ep 8

Uploaded by geekandsundry on Jul 13, 2012


My name is John Rogers.
I am a screenwriter.
I currently run the TV show Leverage on TNT.
Chris Downey, Dean Devlin, and I created the show.

Well, there's this weird story is Dean Devlin was talking
about doing a series with TNT at the same time Chris Downey
and I were talking about, where's that great Rockford
Files con and heist show?
We just don't have those anymore.
And coincidentally, Dean and I had lunch the next day.
And he said, TNT wants me to do a show.
And I want to do a group.
And I said, well my buddy and I were talking about this.
Dean and I were friends.
We pitched it and sold it within two weeks.
I actually wanted to be a mystery writer.
And I wanted to write sparkling banter and dialogue.
So I became a stand-up to kind of learn how jokes worked and
just get a better sense of it.
I was doing my physics degree at the time.
And it turned out I was a much better stand-up
than I was a physicist.
So I wound up doing stand-up, did a bunch of specials, got
my own sitcom for a minute and a half.
But after the sitcom didn't go, I was back auditioning.
And the writers went to the next job.
And I thought, that job, the one where you fail and get
another job, I want that.
So I eventually wound up circling back into writing and
became a television writer.
I don't just write television and movies.
I've also written comic books over the last 10 years.
I started by doing independent work for BOOM!
Studios in their anthologies, like Zombie Tales and Ninja
Tales and that sort of thing.
That eventually led to writing Blue Beetle for two years for
DC on the old line.
And now I'm writing the Dungeons and
Dragons comic for IDW.
So my geek cred is firmly established.
It was a little daunting to do the Dungeons and Dragons comic
book, because everyone is so very attached to it.
And that's why I didn't do one of the worlds.
I didn't do Forgotten Realms.
I didn't do any of the other ones.
I took the core world that was very undefined, so I wouldn't
be walking on anybody's previous work.
And I wouldn't be walking on any preconceptions.
Interestingly enough, we actually did much better in
the comic press and got much better reviews than amongst
the role playing press, because role playing fans tend
to read very big, thick fantasy books and aren't
necessarily into serialized storytelling the way
the comic books are.
So it wound up being more I'm writing a Dungeons and Dragons
comic for the comic fans.
It goes role playing game, video game, table top, I
think, just because I like the story elements.
If I can't get a role playing game group on a regular basis,
I play video games.
And it splits between the strategy games and the big
open world games.
But, to be honest, most of the fun I have is dissecting games
almost more than playing them.
I love game design, because game design boils down to how
you tell stories through mechanical means.
And screen writing is all about how you tell stories
through mechanical means.
You're bound by act breaks.
You're bound by characters.
You're bound by genre.
You're bound by budget.
And so there's a lot of crossover in game design, game
space, storytelling games, and writing.
I think, really, I'd love to do a modern fantasy show.
I think America, I think the audience is receptive to magic
in a way that mainstream publishers and broadcasters
don't understand.
Harry Potter was huge.
Lord of the Rings was huge.
And we have no TV shows reflecting that in any way,
shape, or form.
And, to me, that's just money left on the table and
storytelling space left on the table.
Gaming is creativity.