Brony.com Interview: Amy Keating Rogers
My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic writer Amy Keating Rogers, talks with Brony.com about writing My Little Pony, her love of The Brady Bunch, the upcoming Equestria Girls movie, and Season Four of My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic. Here’s how it went:
BRONY.COM: Hello Amy….Thanks for allowing us some of your time today.
AMY KEATING ROGERS: Not a problem.
BRONY.COM: So I know that from reading various interviews with you in the past, you had originally wanted to pursue a career in acting? Where do you think that interest in acting came from?
AMY KEATING ROGERS: You know, I was just a ham bone as a kid growing up. When I was in kindergarten we were supposed to do a performance. We were supposed to do this Hawaiian dance called the ” Hukilau”. Everybody else in my class forgot how to do the dance. I can remember now distinctly being really annoyed with them that they had forgotten it. It was a dance that I knew very well so I sort of took the lead and did this dance with our teacher. Later on, when I was in elementary school….I would do very strange things like put on plays. I remember putting on a version of Annie at some point. I can only imagine now how awful it must have been. I can remember singing along with the record. We didn’t have a dog to be ‘Sandy’ and we didn’t have a bald man to play ‘Daddy Warbucks.’ We had no sets or costumes either. It was just a vehicle for me to be Annie. I would do things like that. I did plays in junior high and high school too. I did plays in college. Then I started writing plays in college as well. Acting…..It was just something that I always wanted to do. I grew up in Los Angeles and I went to school with kids that became actors, and I wanted to be a child actor too, but my mom wouldn’t let me.
BRONY.COM: With an interest in acting….How much does that help you in regards to being a writer on My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic?
AMY KEATING ROGERS: I think it helps a lot. Having written plays in the past makes what I’m writing now dialogue wise for the ponies seem very natural to me. It’s great experience to have because as I’m writing dialogue now I can hear the voices of the ponies in my head and I think that my acting experience has really played into that.
BRONY.COM: So as one of the writers for the show…What’s your process internally? How do you develop situations or dialogue or other stuff like that as a writer?
AMY KEATING ROGERS: The situations are often given to us. You go in and have a story meeting and you really figure out the story in that meeting. That’s very helpful, because you have everything mapped out. That makes sitting down and writing much easier, because you’ve already done your homework. You have a outline ready and that’s fantastic. It’s not like you’re sitting down and writing 33 pages from nothing. Getting to write the dialogue is like the icing on the cake. You already know what’s going to happen to the characters, and it’s up to you to fill in that world and make those characters live and breath. For me, its always a bit daunting when I sit down to write a script. I always freak myself out, and for no good reason. I’m always worried that I’m not going to get it done on time or that it’s not going to be good or funny. I try to parcel things out so that I can get it done without freaking myself out. I’ll usually start out writing the teaser, and that takes some of the pressure off, because now you’re on your way into the story….
BRONY.COM With your writing on My Little Pony are you your harshest critic?
AMY KEATING ROGERS: Of course…I’ll go back and ask myself if what I’ve just written is funny enough. I’ll go back and look at what I’ve written for the characters and see if its funny and if it advances the story, and it it doesn’t I’ll cut something out or change it.
BRONY.COM: Have you ever found yourself consciously or unconsciously favoring one pony over another when you’re writing an episode?
AMY KEATING ROGERS: Sure. There are certain characters that are easier to write than others. Then there is a character like Fluttershy who doesn’t speak up often. So Fluttershy can get lost in a scene when all six of the ponies are doing something together. ‘Rainbow Dash’ for example is going to put her two cents in before Fluttershy does. It’s very important to me to give each pony their own voice in whatever I’m writing though. I always try to do that in whatever I’m writing. Pinkie Pie is the easiest for me to write though, because she is so silly and she can throw in the most random comments at any time. She can really lighten the mood in any situation.
BRONY.COM: When you’re writing for the ponies….Do you ever find yourself interjecting elements of your own personality into them?
AMY KEATING ROGERS: For sure. Especially with Pinkie Pie and Applejack. In my own life, I’m a very silly and goofy person, and I like that I can express that with Pinkie Pie. I can’t always express my silliness in my own life so having Pinkie Pie express that for me is really fun. Then Applejack expresses my strange “country-isms.” Not that I’m from the country or anything…laughing…But I do like to come up with corny sayings.
AMY KEATING ROGERS: We usually figure that out in the story meeting. For example in the episode A Friend in Deed we knew that Pinkie Pie was going to have a song in that first act of that episode. We knew that it needed to be an important song. When I write the songs for the show, I usually just pick an existing tune and base my song off of that. With that song though in A Friend in Deed, while I didn’t really base it off of anything, I knew that I wanted it be something like the song “Walking On Sunshine” or “It’s A Sunshine Day” by The Brady Bunch. I really struggle with the songs that I write. But I enjoy the struggle. I’m not a song-writer by trade, and I have to work painfully hard at writing songs, but they are something that I’m really proud of once I’m able to finish them.
BRONY.COM: I’ve seen you mention “It’s A Sunshine Day” by The Brady Bunch in a few other interviews…What makes that song so great to you? What is its appeal do you think?
AMY KEATING ROGERS: Well, it’s so groovy! That’s never bad. I’ve always loved The Brady Bunch myself too, and I grew up watching re-runs of the show. I always loved when the Brady’s sung. I don’t know what its appeal is. Maybe because Bobby Brady gets a solo in it? “Can you dig the sunshine....” It’s just a cool funky song.
BRONY.COM: The musicality in the episodes of My Little Pony seems to be increasing. Are more musical numbers being put into each episode of the show because of the previous successes that the other shows have had with the show’s audience?
AMY KEATING ROGERS: I think its because of how the series has progressed. Plus its also because Daniel [Ingram] has gotten more involved in the show, and I think its because of how the characters have progressed too. Everything has grown.
BRONY.COM: Are you a musical fan?
AMY KEATING ROGERS: Of course. I was in a bunch of musicals when I was in college.
BRONY.COM: What are some of your favorite musicals?
AMY KEATING ROGERS: I have so many! I love Singin’ In The Rain, West Side Story, Peter Pan…I was in Hello Dolly. I was in Guys And Dolls. I’ve been listening a lot lately to The Book Of Mormon...laughing…Bye Bye Birdie is another one I really like. I’m a big musical theater fan.
BRONY.COM: As a writer on the show… Is there an idea or character that you’re interested in exploring specificially over anything else now?
AMY KEATING ROGERS: Not really. I really like where the show is going now. The direction of the show in the upcoming Season Four is really awesome, and the fans are going to love it.
BRONY.COM: We have Equestria Girls coming out into theaters on June 16th….There seems to be somewhat of a fan backlash towards it…What are your thoughts on that?
AMY KEATING ROGERS: Well, I wasn’t involved in it. But I have seen pieces of it and what I’ve seen of it so far is really awesome and fun. So I think that the fans of the show are really going to like it.
BRONY.COM: Then what about the MLP fan fiction that’s out there? How does it make you feel when you know that your work has inspired others to create? Then also, what about the erotic pony fiction that is out there as well? Can fans go too far?
AMY KEATING ROGERS: I think it’s great that the show has inspired others to create. That’s fantastic. Anytime anyone is inspired to create anything is wonderful. As far as the erotica….That is just what happens. It’s something that has happened well before My Little Pony. Any fan of any show or what have you could create something like that anytime. It’s not a new idea. It’s just where people’s minds tend to go.
BRONY.COM: On the subject of Bronies….I’ve seen you say in the past that when you started writing on Season One of the series, the original idea was to write a smart and clever show for young girls, that didn’t talk down to them…So when a male fan-base develops out of a show like My Little Pony, how did you perceive that? Was it shocking to you?
AMY KEATING ROGERS: It wasn’t shocking for me. Remember I had worked on The Powerpuff Girls before I ever worked on My Little Pony. Powerpuff Girls had a very large male following as well. While the My Little Pony fan-base is infinitely larger, it is also a more vocal fan-base as well. The internet is very different today in comparison to how it was then when I was working on The Powerpuff Girls. When I was working on The Powerpuff Girls, I would have interaction with the fans of the show. There was a big fan website for Powerpuff Girls at that time and I would go on there and read what the fans of the show thought about episodes that had just aired. We would all check what the people would say about the show. That’s when we knew that Powerpuff Girls had a male fan-base. So the fact that My Little Pony has such a male fan-base isn’t surprising to me. The fact that the show has become so well liked is wonderful. I’ve been to six conventions now, and the response from the fans has been phenomenal.
BRONY.COM: With such a male fan-base….Do you let that influence how you write episodes of My Little Pony?
AMY KEATING ROGERS: I don’t think so. We’re all still trying to write a smart show for girls. That’s still the goal that we have.
BRONY.COM: In the process of writing the show…..Once you’ve written your script and then send it off to Hasbro for approval, how does that effect you as the writer or artist to have to deal with notes or potential changes that may be wanted by them?
AMY KEATING ROGERS: I always get a little cranky with when it comes to that. My initial reaction is a cranky one, but then I’ll simmer down after a bit. When that happens you have to take any type of note or requested change to your work and think about them. Whenever I get a note on something I’ll see their point once I think about it. When you get notes from the network you have to make the changes. That’s just the way that it is. I’ve always thought the best way to handle notes like that is to just think about them as if they were sand in a sieve. You take the sieve and shake it around and let the sand fall through it and the rocks that don’t fall through are the things you use. Getting notes from the network though is just part of the process. Your getting paid to do a job, and that’s the way it is.
BRONY.COM: Why weren’t you around as a writer for Season Three of My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic?
AMY KEATING ROGERS: Oh… I was just too busy. I was working as a story editor on The Care Bears.
BRONY.COM: We know that you can’t give away anything about the upcoming Season Four…But how will Season Four compare to the previous three seasons of My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic?
AMY KEATING ROGERS: Well, it is going to be a cool season. It’s going to be awesome. We’re keeping the show the same but we’re also growing the show. We’re really going to strive to take the show to a new place, but at (000111) the same time it won’t be losing what everyone loves about it already.
BRONY.COM: Coming back for this new season of Pony…How do you think you’ve grown as a writer since you left after Season Two?
AMY KEATING ROGERS: Well, I think I know the characters so much better now. Taking time off and working on something else really helped with that. Coming back to the show now and writing on Season Four for me is like hanging out with old friends again. Season One was more of a challenge to write because we were all finding our footing with the show, and then Season Two was really fun, but it proved to be a different experience for me as a writer because we were all developing the characters so much more than we had previously.
BRONY.COM: Tell me about your film Jason Bateman Thinks I’m Dead?
AMY KEATING ROGERS: When I was eight or nine years old I was friends with Jason Bateman. We were kinda boyfriend and girlfriend. We kissed, but then after that we broke up. He had a couple different girlfriends anyhow. This all happened to me when I was in the fourth grade. Between my fifth and sixth grade years I was diagnosed with a benign brain tumor. It was removed and when I went back to school Jason was no longer in school because he was off working on the show, Little House On The Prairie. But he called me though because he had heard that I had died. I explained to him what had happened to me. Then we didn’t see each other again for a couple years. When I was fourteen I ran into him again, and when I went up to him he said to me, “I thought you were dead.”
He had forgotten the conversation that he had had with me a couple years earlier. So I explained to him what had happened to me again, and I haven’t seen him since then. We both work in the entertainment industry. He’s done voice work on shows that I’ve worked on, and we’ve both been to awards ceremonies at the same time but our paths have never crossed again. One night I was talking to my husband about this and I asked him if he thought it would be funny if I made a documentary about it. I thought it would be funny to track Jason down and see if he still thought that I was dead.
BRONY.COM: Is the film available?
AMY KEATING ROGERS: No, it is not. I had never edited a film before this, so when I started working on it I didn’t get the rights to use any of the music that is in it now. I started a Kickstarter to raise the money so that I could clear the rights to the materials in it, but it didn’t take off. I could replace the songs in it, but being me, I just can’t let certain songs go. They’re too important to the time period. So what I’m thinking is that I’m going to break it up into segments and put it up on YouTube so people can see it if they want to.
BRONY.COM: Final question…Are you ready for the Brony.com Pony free association test?
AMY KEATING ROGERS: Let’s do it!
AMY KEATING ROGERS: High Maintenance.
AMY KEATING ROGERS: Ornery.
BRONY.COM: Twilight Sparkle?
AMY KEATING ROGERS: Smart.
BRONY.COM: Princess Luna?
AMY KEATING ROGERS: Mis-Understood.
BRONY.COM: Rainbow Dash?
AMY KEATING ROGERS: Fast!
BRONY.COM: Mayor Mare?
AMY KEATING ROGERS: (Pause)….Haughty.
BRONY.COM: Thanks for your time Amy, we look forward to Season Four!
AMY KEATING ROGERS: Thanks.
For more with AMY KEATING ROGERS please check out her official website HERE: