• Bronycon Coverage: Amy Keating Rogers

    Just when you thought the Brony and Con was running out, we hit you with another interview from the ever so talented Amy Keating Rogers. We very much appreciate her giving EQD answers to some questions that have been lurking around since season 1! Check out after the break for answers to questions such as which episode she is the most proud of, what is it like working for Disney, and her rituals that she has before she writes an episode!

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    What was the writing process for episodes in MLP that worked well?
    Lauren started with a bunch of episode ideas in the show bible, which were assigned to people during Season 1. The writers would then create an outline out of the idea that would be sent to Hasbro. Once the idea was cleared, the script was done. Once Lauren was out of ideas in the show bible, that's when the writer's summit began. Lauren in particular loved to use index cards for story structure (act 1, 2, 3, etc) while Meghan uses a white board.

    One particular example is "Ticket Master". Lauren originally wrote a shorter "Ticket Master" and met with Amy in order to elongate it.

    What episode that you have written are you most proud of?
    Apart from mentioning the episodes that are not currently out yet, Amy is very proud of "A Friend in Deed" due to the music that she got to write, as well as her dialogue and banter with Pinkie and Cranky. Amy also mentioned "Testing, Testing 1, 2, 3" as a proud episode of hers just because of the moral that it conveys: the idea that a one size fits all education isn't exactly applicable to everyone.

    How is it working for Disney? What's the difference between working with Nickelodeon or the Hub?
    Amy has been freelancing for a while, so she mentioned that it was very odd to have her own office. Disney approached her for a permanent position concerning a numerous amount of shorts for cartoons and she accepted. Her love for Disney goes way back. She brought old posters of "Sleeping Beauty", "Peter Pan", and "Snow White" out of her garage and decorated her office with them. Her projects included "Whisker Haven Tales" from Disney Jr. and "Palace Pets". She has been going through the books to catch up on characterization. She has many projects that she works on at the same time, but she usually likes to have her door open to keep good ideas for shows and books flowing.

    What's it like working with Genndy Tartakovsky (Samurai Jack, Dexter's Lab)?
    Both "Samurai Jack" and "Dexter's Lab" were mainly storyboard driven shows. There would be a huge meeting beginning with an idea pitched by Genndy, and after everyone in the meeting spitballed towards what the episode would be, Amy would write the outline in-house. Everyone was welcome to the story meetings and it was a very open atmosphere.

    Amy started writing as a playwright, so her outlines would naturally have dialogue in them that unfortunately had to be cut because it was someone else's job to write the dialogue. When Amy moved to "Foster's Home for Imaginary Friends", that show was script-driven, much like MLP. Amy also wrote on one of the seasons of "Johnny Bravo", which was also script-driven.

    Are there any personal rituals that you have before you write an episode?
    Amy loves to acquire the idea, and then think about it before she goes straight into writing. Since she has children, she has to write when the house is empty. Episodes are normally given a two week deadline, and Amy splits it up into one week for writing, and one week for editing to make sure that the episode flows, from the act structure to the jokes. Anything that gets cut is placed into a different document just in case it's needed again.

    Notable example: in the Cutie Pox, Sweetie Belle and Scootaloo had a rap scene for Apple Bloom where they rap out what's going on.

    When it comes to the script, writers are given around 30 pages for the entire episode. This usually includes three pages for the teaser in act 1 and 10 pages for an act.

    How were you approached to write "Journal of Two Sisters"?
    Amy met with one of the people on the Hasbro publishing side at the Comic-Con 2014 Hasbro booth. Hasbro wanted a show writer to write a book about Celestia and Luna because they knew that the show writers knew the characters extremely well. Amy even met with Lauren Faust to discuss ideas for the book and Meghan read the entire book before it was published.

    One particular mention in the book is about "Lollygabbing Day", which was an episode idea that never took off. The episode planned to be about Celestia, Luna, the Griffins, and Gilda. Amy really wanted to write an episode about the two Princesses, but the book was excellent as well.

    What was the most interesting thing that you did research on for an episode?
    While Amy didn't do much research for episodes, she did have fun researching different types of desserts for "Mmmystery on the Friendship Express". She also did some research on griffins for "The Lost Treasure of Griffinstone".

    What do you think Celestia's goal was with "Ticket Master"?
    Most likely Princess Celestia just made a mistake. Perhaps Celestia thought that Twilight wouldn't have made so many friends, and was only coming with a +1 rather than a +5 and Spike. Perhaps there was one friend that only wanted to go while the others weren't interested?

    Do you love writing "Pinkie Pie" characters? (Silly and non-sequitur using goofballs?)
    Amy admitted that she is really good at writing silly old ladies. She isn't sure how. She loves writing banter between characters, which makes it even more fun with characters such as Pinkie Pie and Madame Foster in their particular episodes ("The Big Lablooski" and "A Friend in Deed" for example).

    Matter of fact, the original script for "Fall Weather Friends" had Pinkie toned down way more than what was released. Lauren made Pinkie even more silly and that set the standard for Pinkie's character.

    Which story editor is the best to work with?
    Amy joked about Larson, before admitting that all three story editors (Lauren, Meghan, and Larson) are excellent at their jobs. They may have different nuances to how they run things, but the editors are simply one of the reasons that writing for MLP was so fun and enjoyable. To her, this means a lot considering that a story editor's job is to essentially be the bearer of bad news ("we have to change this part", or "this act needs to be longer", etc etc).

    Do cons provide the only chance for you to chill with the other writers?
    Unfortunately, yes. While the writers live close to one another, life simply doesn't allow them to hang out as much as they want. Which means that cons are a nice vacation to simply enjoy the time with other show writers and staff.

    Do you have any parting words for now?
    Remember the friendship messages of the show. She still wants to come to other cons and she really wants us to see her final episodes in season 5. The music that she wrote for the three final episodes that she had was challenging, but very rewarding.

    After we went through all of our questions, we had just enough time to enjoy an awesome ukulele performance, which I wish I recorded. Random tidbits and facts are down below!

    Amy is very proud of coming up with the name "Soarin". She also came up with two character names that are in future episodes, but she can't say!

    Amy's version of the 100th episode before she switched to Griffinstone had Derpy fixing a bunch of things that went wrong in the beginning of the episode, essentially having her as the hero of part of the episode! She also wasn't supposed to talk until the end, but Amy was glad that Derpy got to talk throughout the episode. Also another visual gag was that Doctor Whooves would be changing his clothes at a Canterlot shop, and he would go through various Doctor outfits before settling on his current one.

    As mentioned in the M. A. Larson interview, Amy would always pitch seaponies and be turned down, unfortunately.

    Horse puns were always fun to come up with, and Lauren had a blast with them. Craig McCracken came up with Canterlot, as a pun on Camelot.

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    And that's all we got, folks! I am going to join Aqua and the Brain Leak Brigade. I'm sorry that there will not be an editorial this week, but next week should be back on track. Thank you for reading!