John Rogers, of Leverage fame, as well as, oh, Transformers and a bunch of other awesome things, like comics and ongoing writing chapters for D&D books and generally surprising everyone with what happens next.
You've been a remarkably agile writing for film, comics, TV and even a D&D book in there - in an industry where writers are repeatedly told to market themselves as only one thing, have you had any difficulties in writing for the different medias or gotten any push back on it?
Hell yes, I've had pushback. To tell the truth, after 20 years my agents have kind of given up. They assume I'll call them and tell them what weird thing I'm doing next. The biggest adjustment is learning the pacing for each medium -- movies break differently than TV break very differently than comics. I'm still learning even now.
For newer writers trying to plunge on through the warfare that is now apparently the writing trade, what advice would you give them?
Write everything you can. Write five pages a day even if its shit. Write for any job you find interesting. I wound up rewriting RUSH HOUR II because I created THE JACKIE CHAN ADVENTURES cartoon. Put your head down, type, and 20 years later there's a career.
You've said you're starting a new production company - what have been the biggest challenges in that for you, and what advice would you give other writers turning producers?
Biggest challenge -- New learning curve, learning to sell and how financing works.
Advice: Know your show, and know the EMOTION behind the show. Good ideas rain out of the sky. Tell me why you need to tell this story.
What, in your opinion, is the best non-writing skill a writer should get?
Talk to people. Get comfortable working in a collaborative way, because nobody makes TV or film alone.
Because it's fun to be contentious - what show(s) would you suggest to spec, or are you a pilot-spec-suggester?
Spec a pilot now. The audience is so fragmented, very few shows are so watched they're lingua franca. Possible exception is for procedurals -- spec a procedural if you want a procedural job. ELEMENTARY, I would do. Banter-y.