I knew I
wanted to be a screenwriter.......
I have been writing
stories ever since I was a little kid. Of course, I can’t say that I
realized I wanted to be a screenwriter at such a young age. But I used
to show the stories I wrote to my mom and asked her what she thought
Being a film
director, I have to be able to write a good script because nobody is
going to hand me a brilliant story on a silver platter. Also,
filmmaking requires a lot of time, energy, and effort from all parties
involved. So I definitely need to be satisfied and happy with my
screenplay in order to ask so much of people.
To me, writing is
the ultimate way of expressing myself at any given point in my life. I
just pour my heart into it, read it over, and think, “Wow, I never
thought I could think this way….”
I know I've
Success for me is when I finish a screenplay, let all kinds of people read it, and listen to their opinions—good or bad.
I have found through my own experiences that women are superior to men when it comes to mending a relationship which is about to fall apart. I believe this is because women know how to express their love and affection much better than men do. I find this female attribute to be beautiful, so decided to try to represent it in my writing. In a way, “Lily” is my way of saying thank you to all of my ex-girlfriends.
What inspired you to write?
Nakajima: Writing allows me to make connections with people who I would not otherwise meet. I’m the happiest when I influence people—in any way—through my writing.
FilmMakers Magazine: How did you prepare yourself to
write your first script?
Hiroshi Nakajima: Watching films by Akira Kurosawa is one of the ways I prepared myself. While I’m in the midst of working, I ask myself if what I’m writing is as good as Kurosawa’s work.
Is this your first script and how long did it take you to write
Although I have
already written three feature screenplays, this was the first time
writing a short story. The toughest part of writing any story is
coming up with the basic story line and synopsis. That took me about a
month or so to complete. The actual writing process was done in about
Do you have a set routine, place and time management for writing?
Hiroshi Nakajima: Not particularly. But I do sometimes sit and think in
front of a computer for long hours. But forcing myself to write is a
moot process because it’s not coming from my heart. It’s never as good
as when I get a sudden surge of inspiration.
FilmMakers Magazine: Do you believe screenplay contests
are important for aspiring screenwriters and why?
screenwriting contests give filmmakers, like myself, a great
opportunity to showcase their talents and receive unbiased opinions.
FilmMakers Magazine: What influenced you to enter the
American Gem Short Script Competition?
I had been
looking for a professional and highly renowned screenplay
festival—like the American Gem Short Screenplay Competition—to submit
my story. I am honored that you have chosen my screenplay. Thank you.
What script would you urge aspiring writers to read and why?
Kurosawa’s film would be a good place to start. The stories are well
structured and flawless. Most of his stories are actually comprised of
many different ideas from different writers. I would recommend “Seven
“Stray Dog,” and “Rashomon.”
Beside screenwriting what are you passionate about and why?
I’m a big fan of music from Britain like Radiohead, Muse, The
Streets…I love those bands. And I’m a baseball fanatic. I have to say
that I’m a big Yankees fan, even though I’m in Los Angeles. I can’t
wait to see them in the World Series this year.
Also, earlier this year, Team Japan won the World Baseball Classic
Championship. That was one of the greatest moments of my life.
Who is your favorite Screenwriter and Why?
To me, Shinobu
Hashimoto is one of our best writers. He is a legendary Japanese
screenwriter who has co-written many of Kurosawa’s films—notably
“Seven Samurai”, “Rashomon”, “Ikiru”, and “Bad Sleep Well.” Although
his career ended in the 80’s, there still aren’t any Japanese writers
who have come close to what Shinobu did.
Name the director you would love to work with and why?
Quentin Tarantino, Jean Luc Godard and Wong Kar Wai. They have been my favorite filmmakers for a long time. And I think they are favorite to many other writers as well. To be honest, I think I would have a heart attack if one of them actually picked my screenplay for a feature film.
Name the actor you would love to work with and why?
Nakajima:II like both Tony Leung and Cillian Murphy for their ability to elevate
the quality of a film. Tony Leung, of course, is one of the greatest
Hong Kong actors. I still get the chills when I see him in such films
as “Infernal Affairs”, “2046”, and “In the Mood for Love.” His acting
is convincing and memorable to the audience, and the same can be said
for Cillian Murphy. I love their acting. They are definitely two of
Any tips and things learned along the way to pass on to others?
Write a story that comes from your heart. A story without a soul will
not capture an audience. Even if your story strays from what’s
considered “normal”—as long as you believe in it—the rest will take
care of itself. As I said before, writing is the ultimate form of
expression and you will be surprised what comes out of you.
What's next for you?
Nakajima: I will be directing my first feature screenplay. It is a very exciting
time for me. I hope everyone will enjoy it.
FilmMakers Magazine: Where will you be five years from
Nakajima: Working as a director/screenwriter and just making one film after the
other. Filmmaking is my life and I cannot live without it.