Interview - Screenwriter Mike Boss

Mike Boss is the writer of CHECKMATE, the well-plotted and maturely written screenplay about a deadly chess game where chess pieces represent real human beings and two psychopathic men with an egocentric need to be the best put everything on the line by making the stakes of the game their own lives.

CHECKMATE took the winning spot on the Breaking Walls Thriller script contest after contending with a number of highly commercial and strongly written competing screenplays.

We asked Mike about CHECKMATE and his background as a screenwriter.

How did you first become interested in writing?
After studying acting for a number of years, I wanted to jump-start my career, decided to take a page out of Sylvester Stallone's book and wrote a boxing film with the intention to star in it myself. A year later my screenplay THE 13TH ROUND received not only great coverage, but also ranked high in competitions and even attracted Paul Newman who considered coming out of retirement in order to play the part of the boxing coach/philosopher. Although the script has been subject to rewrites and is still available, it certainly exposed my knack for storytelling and made me discover my true passion for screenwriting!

CHECKMATE is a very well-plotted and highly researched script. Who or what inspired you to write this particular story?
My father taught me chess before I was ten years old, and I was fascinated by it ever since. Over 600 million people worldwide play chess. Two years after becoming chess champion in high school, I was challenged by my father to play for something I really, really wanted -- his old car! This was the most thrilling game ever and even though I lost, I still got the car a few days later. Now, as a screenwriter, I have taken this concept and have made my insane characters keep raising the stakes until the ultimate chess game was born, a game that could only be played once, a game for one’s own life!

Who would you consider your greatest influences as a screenwriter?
My greatest influence as a screenwriter is the observation of life itself. I'm somehow compelled to tell stories about regular people who find themselves in highly emotional, tragic or turbulent events that test the strength of their beliefs, their integrity and the depth of their desires. Writing often feels like therapy.

What advice would you give to aspiring screenwriters who are working on finishing their first script?
Screenwriters must choose something to write about that's close to their hearts. Then I would urge them to finish the first draft as well as they can and then hire several different and professional coverage companies in order to COMPARE their feedback. If everyone says the same thing, i.e. "The second act is too slow," I would believe them, learn from it and start the rewrite. After that, repeat the same step as many times as needed! - And of course, never give up!

What else would you like the people to know about you as a screenwriter?
I love writing and I do it with a Swiss work ethic. I have written over a dozen feature films with broad commercial appeal. I'm open for notes, I meet the deadlines, and I always aim to fit the producer's slate and mandate. Industry professionals can check out my personal screenwriting website at - Two on the slate were optioned recently, and a third is under consideration this next week.

A big thanks to Mike for his time and congratulations on the win!

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