Mike is an aspiring screenwriter, new to the business as of 2019. He’s been a writer/editor for over 20 years, across a range of communications fields, including publishing, pharma and consumer advertising, and marketing in the insurance and banking industries. Mike is a lifelong resident of Columbus, Ohio, a place that has taken shape as one of the most progressive and inclusive cities in the country. For which he is grateful.
Exclusive Interview with Michael Shugert- Screenwriter
NY Glam: What projects are you currently working on?
I have written two screenplays so far. The first, “Rainbow in Budapest,” focuses on a gay love affair between a young American ambassador and a handsome prince in Budapest, who face a malevolent uncle and an unforgiving country. “Rainbow” won an award for Best Screenplay in the Red International Screenplay Contest for 2019. My second screenplay, and so far my favorite, is “Project Bastien.” A tale of romance and political intrigue and set in Paris, “Bastien” follows a hard-living CIA agent to the city of lights, where he falls in love with a Parisian man—who turns out to be a cold-blooded Russian assassin. A game of cat and mouse ensues as each man struggles with their love affair and the gray area between right and wrong.
NY Glam: What makes a great film for you?
I love anything that holds my attention and makes me feel something—whether it’s anger, joy, sadness. My favorite film is “The English Patient.” I love doomed love stories between flawed characters like Katherine and Count Almasy. This is much in the vein of “Casablanca” and other films that explore complex characters that we both root for and hiss at. The afore mentioned gray area.
NY Glam: As a screenwriter, what is the most important aspect of building a character?
Your central character needs a goal which he/she strives for throughout the story. And they also need a good antagonist, someone in a position of power who can do great damage to our hero. Additionally, the protagonist needs to be relatable—with human emotions, traits and imperfections with which people can identify.
In “Bastien,” the protagonist, Racer, has a long history of mental and physical abuse that has left him damaged and feeling unloved. My driving force throughout the story is to overcome this dark past, and find love—both with another person, and within himself.
NY Glam: Do you express yourself creatively in other ways?
I am a lapsed painter—acrylics mostly. I got this creative gene from my mother. She was a vibrant, thoughtful person who also used her imagination in everything she did—she was larger than life.
NY Glam: What advice would you give to someone who wants to have a career in film making?
Believe in yourself and stick with it. And have a very thick skin. You will have lots of rejection. But maybe some successes, so don’t give up! I suggest taking online writing courses and immersing yourself in Facebook groups, like Amateur Scriptwriters and other similar sights. Build a network of contacts in the business. Also, buy “The Screenwriter’s Bible” by David Trottier. A brilliant book on building your screenplay and characters from the ground up.
NY Glam: What can we expect from you in 2020?
I just completed my screenplay for “Project Bastien” and hope to circulate that among the various screenwriting competitions, both here in the U.S. and abroad. I would love to see Bastien on the big screen someday.
NY Glam: Where can we keep up with you on social media?