Shintaro Shimosawa Transcription

NICKEL :

Hi everyone and welcome to the In The Shoes Of podcast where I make it my goal to see life as much as possible from someone else's point of view; just like we all have a unique heartbeat, every single one of us sees life only from our own perspectives. Think about it. Can you see and process life exactly as Elon Musk sees and processes life? The answer is you can't, and it applies to every living conscious being here on this pale blue dot.

[intro music] 

To quote Zaphod Beeblebrox from Hitchhiker's Guide To The Galaxy, 'Hi.' [pause] Wait, there's more, there's more -- I'm going to say more than just 'hi.' So, I have a great episode today! I had the privilege of interviewing Shintaro Shimosawa. He's a writer, a producer, a director in the film world over in L.A. He's worked with greats like Al Pacino, Anthony Hopkins, and just about a million other names that would be fun to drop, but we just don't have the time. And he has some really cool perspectives to put forth here and some great advice about taking some risks and actually doing the things you want to do in life, as well as some really cool advice you received from a head coach back in high school. Shintaro Shimosawa -- did I pronounce that right?

SHIMOSAWA :

That's correct. 

NICKEL :

Boom! All right, cool. ...When did I start saying 'boom'? Where does that originate from - the last name?

SHIMOSAWA :

I'm Japanese. My father is from Nagano. Now you know my mom was from Kobe, around Osaka.

Nickel

That's so awesome, man. We're going to have to get into that a little bit because I really want to go to Japan... Really bad, so you--and I'm sure you're probably familiar with the country.

SHIMOSAWA :

It's the coolest country in the world and-

NICKEL :

[laughs] Dude! Man, now I'm going to have to get a plane ticket and go, like, tomorrow. 

SHIMOSAWA :

I highly encourage it. 

NICKEL :

Yeah. All right. Well, it's settled then. I'm going to do it. 

NICKEL [narration] :

Shin and I talked a little bit more about Japan and how freaking cool it is. He had some excellent Airbnb advice which also contains some good cultural differences that I thought were really relevant to the podcast.

SHIMOSAWA :

I recently Airbnb'd my stay in Tokyo and, it's a cultural difference, but the way that the Japanese kind of take care of their homes is pretty pristine so any Airbnb you go to, including the one my friends stayed at, any Airbnb you go to is, like, absurdly clean and very well-serviced. So, I'd highly recommend doing that, because hotels are very expensive. 

NICKEL {narration]:

While we were on the topic of Japanese culture, I wanted to get Shin's opinion on Haruki Murakami.

NICKEL :

Have you ever heard of Haruki Murakami?

SHIMOSAWA :

There's two Murakamis. There's a poet and an artist. Which one?

NICKEL :

The poet. Well, the author. Yeah. I really like 1Q84. Oh my, this guy is awesome man.

SHIMOSAWA :

He's pretty intense, yeah. I mean, he's a very internal guy. It's very seldom that you find a truly soulful Japanese artist. I know that sounds weird, but again I think it's a cultural thing, that they don't put that much currency into it creative. They put a lot of currency into business.

NICKEL :

Yeah, he embodies what all that is creative and introspective, like you said. All right. I think it's time to get to the first question. What shoes are you wearing right now?

SHIMOSAWA :

Uh, Nike Frees.

NICKEL :

Nike Frees, nice! 

SHIMOSAWA :

Yeah, they're like, they're like running shoes. They are insanely light. I got them on Black Friday last year. 

NICKEL :

Nice.

SHIMOSAWA :

For really cheap and I love them. They're so light. It's like walking on air.

NICKEL [narration]:

You are welcome, Nike.

NICKEL :

Dude... So, that's cool. So, how would you, if you had to, define yourself in the third person? How would you do so?

SHIMOSAWA :

Creative. Not confident. Wishy-washy. And Japanese.

NICKEL :

[laughs] That's awesome. That's super cool though. I admire and respect the honesty there - the wishy-washiness - because I can totally relate. And you reminded me of, well, Henry Rollins, who said, "I don't have any confidence and I don't want any." It kind of keeps him going I guess, I don't know if you can identify at all with that. 

SHIMOSAWA :

Yeah. Yeah, that's interesting. 

NICKEL :

Yeah, because he looks like an absurdly confident guy.

SHIMOSAWA :

100 percent.

NICKEL [narration]:

Don't worry, I'll throw in a link to the discussion Henry Rollins had about confidence in my podcast blog notes at InTheShoesOf.Org.

NICKEL :

So, in light of that, what is your fundamental passion in life?

SHIMOSAWA :

Well, it depends. If going from like, a macro... I like inspiring people or being creative or moving people in some way. A little more micro, my passion... I was a DJ in L.A. for about ten years, that was my day job-

NICKEL :

Oh.

SHIMOSAWA :

And I still voraciously DJ every night, just in my bedroom and I just, I just love music. I love blending things and mashing things up, so DJing is my passion. And I guess filmmaking is my passion under the umbrella of being creative. 

NICKEL :

Dude, that's really awesome. To you, is there absolutely no other way? No other thing that you would even consider in life?

SHIMOSAWA :

Yeah, I mean, if I had to start over, I would love to be working for a couple of more charities. You know, as you get older, you realize that there's a lot of people in need in the world and I wish I was doing more, in that regard. So, if I had to roll it back and start over, I would do that.

NICKEL :

Well that's super cool. But there are probably a lot of opportunities, right, to do it--well, it depends on how--you're probably pretty busy, right?

SHIMOSAWA :

You know, I help out where I can and I try to belong to a couple of groups that do help out. But, you know, it's very localized. I meant like really dedicating your life to--like a friend of mine, one of my best friends, his name is [5:57]Erica Tortiells, she moved to New Orleans after Katrina hit and helped and joined an organization that helped rebuild homes. And it was a big life change for her and I really have always admired that.

NICKEL :

Yeah. It's super cool, for sure. I think, well it's pretty obvious too, that it just impacts your life so much when you can actually get out there and help others truly. Can you expand on where and how you grew up?

SHIMOSAWA :

I grew up in Chicago, Illinois, in the not-so-greatest neighborhood; it's called West Rogers Park. And back then in the 80s, it was a pretty bad neighborhood, so it was... I had a very interesting upbringing. I went to a grammar school that was kindergarten through eighth grade and it was all pretty rough. And then we moved to a suburb for high school and then ended up in Washington D.C. for college at George Washington University.

NICKEL :

Oh, no kidding? In D.C., nice. Like, when you talk about it being a little bit rough, what do you mean?

SHIMOSAWA :

I was held at gunpoint probably three times before the age of 14. It was constant fights. There was gangs. It was probably about 96 percent black, and I know it's not PC to say that now, but back then it was a thing, it did matter. Like, there was a black neighborhood in Chicago and in those neighborhoods happened to be really, really rough. And since then, things changed quite a bit, but you know in that little pocket of time there were--Chicago, I mean for what it is I love the city, but it still feels segregated sometimes. But it was always very segregated when I was growing up.

NICKEL :

Yeah, and you growing up, you know, with your ancestry being Japanese, how did that come into play in those types of neighborhoods?

SHIMOSAWA :

Well, it was funny like, in that neighborhood everybody's racist. It just happened. And, you know, I got my taste of racism, you know, like, I got into a lot of fights because of it. It was part of my identity and, you know, to be quite honest, growing up when you were a little kid you kind of--and you know Chicago was my world and the world was white and my neighborhood was black, and I had wished I was black or white when I was a kid because it was just easier to assimilate, to fit in, when you were a deep minority. Not just the slight minority, a deep minority. So, it did affect my upbringing. You know, I probably didn't embrace my culture as much until I got a little older. Meaning, I didn't speak English until I was about five-years-old, then I didn't speak Japanese, even though my mom forced me to go to a Japanese school, I didn't really speak it until I was out of grammar school an into high school.

NICKEL :

Yeah. And did you--growing up, did you take trips over to Japan to kind of get to know...

SHIMOSAWA :

Yeah, all the time and I loved it. 

NICKEL :

Aw, I bet, man. That's awesome. 

SHIMOSAWA :

It was tremendous. It's one of the most beautiful countries, in my opinion. The people are just so unbelievably nice there, and they're unbelievably gracious and giving, and I have a major love for that place.

NICKEL :

And so, Shin, you're a filmmaker, a producer, a writer, all that. Is that, if I'm not mistaken?

SHIMOSAWA :

That's correct. 

NICKEL :

When did it come into play that you realized, "You know what I am? I'm a creative here, I don't care, you know, whatever is going on here or whatever kind of obstacles I'm facing." When did you decide, "You know what, this is what I'm going to do. This is my purpose on earth."

SHIMOSAWA :

Creative... You know, I was always, you know, drawing and just thinking about things and thinking about how to interpret things. But I think, once I was out of college and, you know, I moved to Los Angeles because I wanted to make films and just kind of get my foot in the door. What's really great about L.A. is it does have a collection of people that are very like-minded so you don't feel like you're different or you're a pariah. You come in and you just feel like you want to be creative and you don't know exactly what your outlet's going to be yet, whether it's making films, or writing, or writing novels, or composing music. I mean, there's just so many creative people here and, you know, there's pockets of New York City that are much the same. I think when I got here in L.A. I really just started to embrace it.

NICKEL :

That's so cool. And I know exactly what you're talking about, whenever I go to L.A., I don't know what it is, but I tell people, and not everyone agrees with me. Some people don't like L.A. But when I go to L.A. I'm like, "Dude I love--I feel so at home and I feel like, my god, the people are--it just resonates with me. The vibe is, I don't know, it coalesces really well with me. 

You grew up in Chicago, you went to college in D.C., and then you landed in L.A. What kind of struggles did you face there trying to get in, especially for the rest of us who were in various parts of the country we think of L.A. and we probably think of Axl Rose and Welcome to the Jungle, or something you know. People trying to go out there and making it. How--did you find that it was, you know, a struggle?

SHIMOSAWA :

Absolutely, I mean, it was it's really tough. When you first come to Los Angeles, in particular as an actor, or as writer, or as a director, can be very difficult. Only because there are so many people that are coming at the same time and wanting to do the same things. It can feel very competitive. The one thing I did learn was if you are able to navigate and keep your head above water and basically just get a job right off the bat - waiting tables or just having money to live - and being creative at night. Eventually those two things will coalesce; eventually, you will be working at a job where you can be creative. But it does take a little bit of time and it's very scary for a lot of people to come and feel like they're in a sea of others. But if you are creative and everyone in your family is telling you you're creative or you should be making films and people, whether it's teachers, or whether it's peers are saying you should be in Los Angeles either acting, or directing or should be writing, then you probably have it and you probably have a lot more than the flood of people do come to Los Angeles, so I highly encourage it.

NICKEL :

If it's obvious that you have that little spark of something where it's like, you have a natural knack for it maybe, then most definitely. 

SHIMOSAWA :

Yes. I mean, there's--well, for all the flood of people that do come to Los Angeles, there are people that don't have a natural knack for it. There are people that are just saying "I just want to do it" and they might not have exactly what's required and, you know, what's required isn't rocket science. If you understand films or if you understand television, and you understand that it is a fantasy world that is created by people, and that creating that fantasy world is exciting to you, and you feel like you can do that, then I would highly suggest people at least try it. I mean, you know, for me, when all throughout of my 20s and all throughout even my early 30s, there was a lot of friends that would call and say, "I'm thinking about making the move" and, it's not a marriage, you know. You can come here for a year or two, try it out. And if you don't like it, you can always move back. It's not it's not a be-all and end-all, so. For me, I always encourage it, because if people don't do it, and I've had a lot of those friends that have never done it, I do feel the regret on their end. I do feel like they felt like they could have taken their shot and they just didn't. And then, you know, as they get into their 40s, they get set in their ways. They get families and it's a little harder to make a move. So yeah. While people are young, I highly encourage just trying it out.

NICKEL :

Yeah, I mean, if you think about it, at the end of our days--I always bring this up and, especially when we get into more, like, deeper discussions about life and actually doing what we want to do and not in accordance with what society dictates or what puppet masters dictate, like, when you look at your deathbed self, you know, what you want to look back and think--you don't want to have those kinds of regrets. 

SHIMOSAWA :

Absolutely not. 

NICKEL :

You know, like, what we have to lose, right? So, yeah.

SHIMOSAWA :

What do you have to lose. You definitely don't want to be there saying "I wish I would have taken my shot" and, you know, there's even films about that, that are really interesting.

NICKEL :

Totally. 

SHIMOSAWA :

You know, so if you want to make sure that if you are a storyteller, or if you are an actor and you want to interpret something, you're a very emotional person that feels like that emotion can translate on screen, why not?

NICKEL :

Yeah. Well, that's super cool, man. Seriously. That's--that's encouraging, man. I appreciate that. 

SHIMOSAWA :

Oh, of course. 

NICKEL :

I'm sure a lot of listeners will appreciate that, too. So, I want to get a little bit deeper here then. We talked a little bit about--even just mentioning the deathbed self--when you die, how do you want to be remembered?

SHIMOSAWA :

I don't know why, but I have had this idea in my mind where, I just want to have a bunch of friends there and two big speakers and just blast Radiohead's The Bends. It's not that the lyrics feel like they're my life or anything, but I just like the cadence of the song and I like how it builds. To be remembered, you know, obviously like, one of the great things about making films is that they last forever. So, you do have a legacy. And having children would be something that that's in my future also. But you know, having those two things as a legacy would be really satisfying for me. 

NICKEL :

Yeah. 

SHIMOSAWA :

And, you know, being remembered... I don't mind if I'm not remembered just as long as I get to keep the family bloodline going.

NICKEL :

That's awesome.

SHIMOSAWA :

It'll be like, "Oh yeah, that guy. That guy used to make movies." Watching his crazy ideas on TV.

NICKEL :

It's awesome. And so, you said you're planning on having kids at some point? Not to get too personal.

SHIMOSAWA :

Yeah, at some point. 

NICKEL :

Yeah, cool.

SHIMOSAWA :

For sure. 

NICKEL :

Yeah. Do you believe that all humans have a purpose here on earth?

SHIMOSAWA :

I do. Yes, 100 percent. It's interesting, because when you make decisions and affects people on a very micro level, you can see how it does change the world; it changes people's perspectives. A great example of that is, for whatever reason, sometimes I remember somebody saying something that was probably insignificant to them, but it was very significant to me. And it did change the way that my life path has gone, or at least it did influence it, it influenced the type of person I am and if I do have children, or even in in the stories that I try to put on screen, those two things are always permeating to me and hopefully if those two things do affect somebody else down the line, then I do believe that the purpose of humans is to interact with one another, love one another, and then create a future for one another.

NICKEL :

Yeah. No, I agree with that. 

SHIMOSAWA :

It was Bill, Coach Bill Richardson at Niles West High School. I was a junior in high school and I was playing on the varsity team and our football team was playing for the state sectionals. And I remember him pulling me aside during halftime and saying, "You really have to know the plays." Which I didn't, and then I assured him I did, and we went out on the first play - it was a really important play coming out of halftime. I ran the wrong direction and Coach Bill Richardson yanked me aside. I remember, he gripped my face mask on my helmet, he yanked me towards him and, in a very growling voice said, "When you don't know where you're going, just put your head down and run as fast as you can." And at the time he had referenced, you know, clearly, he's referencing my plays, or lack of knowledge of those plays. But that phrase always kind of stuck with me and I remember when I was on a TV show at my first staff job, we were on a show called The Dead Zone, and I had a writing partner at the time. And our show runner was really angry at how we were handling certain situations and he was kind of coming down on my partner, and he looked to me and said, "Do you understand what I'm saying to you guys?" And I remember just repeating that phrase back to him, because it was what I always thought of--but it was true--when I didn't know what I was doing I always just kind of ran as fast as I could, and I repeated that phrase to him. And he kind of smiled and wanted to know where I learned that because he was going to use it in a script; he thought it was very funny. And I told him it was just one of those things that always kind of stuck with me no matter what I was doing or what I was trying to do. I always just follow that mantra and thank you Coach Bill Richardson for saying that to me.

NICKEL :

Thank you, Bill. Can you elaborate a little bit on that? I was honestly expecting more of a "you know, when you don't know where you're going, 'insert platitude here.'" You know, one of those pictures on the wall, you have a mountain in the background and all that. Yeah, so if you could elaborate on maybe some recent experiences where that was very applicable in your life.

SHIMOSAWA :

All the way through. I don't know, I think after I heard that it was one of those things that carried over into college and then moving to L.A. for the first time. And then, the first time I ever produced a picture was a film called The Grudge with Sarah Michelle Gellar and we had hired a Japanese director and a set of Japanese producers to film the movie in Japan and Tokyo. And Sony Pictures had sent a bunch of us out there as American side, as the American producers, to co-produce the film with them. And I kind of talked my way into doing it because I was bilingual - I spoke Japanese and I spoke English and I speak Japanese very well. But when I got there, I realized that I had never been on set and understood the real mechanics of making a film before. Which is hard enough, but to be in charge of doing that for another country was also very, very difficult. But I remember getting there and just kind of putting my head down and running real fast and working really hard and, probably towards the middle the shoot it was very clear to the crew, and to Sarah Michelle Gellar, and to a lot of the other actors, that I really--this was my first time but I was working so hard and I was like, the first one there and the last one out, and I was working so hard that I was able to do my job correctly and just kind of navigate through a very complicated process of making a film. And more recently, I was given the opportunity to direct my first feature film myself. I had been a writer and a producer for a long time, but I got to direct my first film and it was with Anthony Hopkins and Al Pacino. And these two guys are incredible personalities in the business. They both won the Academy Awards and they rarely work with first time directors, but the idea of working with these two guys, with these two kind of titans of the industry, was so intimidating and so scary and the same rule applied. I remember just saying, "Okay I'm going to just put my head down and run as fast as I can because that's the best thing I can possibly do," and you know to call cards up with them. I told them that I had never directed a film before, I'd never ever directed a short film, or a scene, or a commercial, or a play, or anything like that. So, this is my first foray into it. However, you know, I was able t--with the one thing I do understand is film making story just because--more because I watch a lot of films, more because I understand what should happen at certain points, and you know, without knowing everything technical that I should have learned if I had I gone to film school and directed my own films. In lieu of that, I was talking to them as a writer; just through story and through elements of how to tell a story and kind of how to tune a character over the course of the film and then, you know, what is building up to a certain climax, and then what is happening after that. So, it was a language they could both very much understand. So even though I didn't really know what I was doing technically as a director, I did know how to talk to them on a very film-maker level. And that's one thing they both really appreciated.

NICKEL :

That's super cool, so they didn't come down on you like, "How dare you, Shin, bring us-" well, you know. I don't know how they'd actually-

SHIMOSAWA :

At least not to my face. 

NICKEL :

[laughs] Right? I mean, I can imagine. Al Pacino, I mean, hopefully wouldn't break some of his crazier cartel mafia boss roles and, you know, that would've been crazy.

SHIMOSAWA :

He's a very large personality and for good reason. He's knows how to become many different characters. It's very interesting to watch. You know at the end of the day we all know Al Pacino as like, as Don Corleone, or Michael Corleone, sorry, or Scarface, or de Brasco, or Scent of a woman. But, you know, he's effectively been able to embody a bunch of different types of characters and wear many different masks and-

NICKEL :

Totally.

SHIMOSAWA :

-Over the years. He knows--he just knows exactly how to tune that stuff so, it was just very interesting when we got to talking about character and we're talking about a hypothetical person that he had never met before, so we were talking about how to make that person into a reality - it was pretty awesome.

NICKEL :

One of my big takeaways here from what you're just telling me is that, probably you know for the rest of us, it's a good take away, is that despite not having necessarily 100 percent confidence in something or, I don't know, feeling like "oh, you know, that's only those people over there in Hollywood that can do that stuff." But, you know, whatever it is we want to do to... Hey, you know, whatever it is we're doing, even we don't know completely what we're doing. I mean, seriously, just run like hell towards whatever. Run. Right?

SHIMOSAWA :

Absolutely. 

NICKEL :

I really like that. As opposed to just like staying in one place. So that's something we can all take away from that. I don't think we have anything more to learn now, Shin. What kind of future do you think we have as humans?

SHIMOSAWA :

You know, it's interesting - when I was, like, a little kid, I used to, like, read these comics and I was like, "You know what, In the future this is what it's going to be like. In the future, they're going to cure cancer. In the future, if I have anything wrong with me, they should have some technology that will fix it." And not much has changed and in a good way. What I'm saying is, I think the future of us, I don't think things are going to change all that much. I'm writing on a TV show right now where it's 10 years in the future. It's just 10 years, right? But however, there's a lot of care and attention put into what things will look like in 10 years, whether it's how doctors operate, or how cell phones are being used. But there's a lot of other considerations that get thrown into these creative meetings, where we're like, "I don't think fire trucks are going to look as different as we think they're going to look in ten years."

NICKEL :

[laughs] Right.

SHIMOSAWA :

Because if you go back to 2007, nothing looks all that different. I mean, you know, we had the iPhone4  maybe, or EGS .

NICKEL :

[laughs] Right.

SHIMOSAWA :

And right now, we're at the 7, so I don't believe things are going to be all that different in the next few decades. However, there are things that we are doing now that might affect how that how that turns out, so.

NICKEL :

Yeah. I want to watch the television show, man. Can you give out the name, is that, or is that under an NDA or something?

SHIMOSAWA :

Oh sure, it's called Zoo and it's on CBS. It's going to be premiering this summer; the third season is premiering this summer.

NICKEL 

What are some things that you're completely, just, thankful for?

SHIMOSAWA :

Friends. My mom was a single mom raising me and it's just my mother and I. So, number one thing I'm thankful for is her. But outside of that, without a family, you know, the rest of my family was in Japan. What's great is my friends have become my family by proxy and I'm just very thankful that friendship exists in the world, that people do support each other when it's really necessary. And I'm also thankful, like, you know, when I see tragedy on TV it burns me every time. But I'm also thankful when I see how people just rally in support and kind of come in and, you know, like, when 9/11 happened, I remember watching the news and just seeing people from all over just want to come to New York and help and that is really inspiring to me. So that I'm very thankful for. I'm also very, very thankful for creativity because it allows people like me an outlet to put our ideas out into the world. Whether it's on paper or whether it's on screen.

NICKEL :

Yeah most definitely. That's an awesome thing to be to be thankful for, for sure. So, let me get to the last question here and it's kind of--I'm going to set the stage a little bit. So, let's imagine that you're strolling through Manhattan on a clear day, when suddenly a Firefly-esque spacecraft appears and out steps an alien who looks remarkably like Harrison Ford. Now, for some reason nobody finds this unusual. You're in Manhattan, after all. And the alien proceeds to ask you some questions. So, after you explain where to find the best pizza and how to use Twitter to reach out to Val Kilmer, you know, things like that, The Harrison look-a-like gets real with you. He lets you know that he's been sent on an intergalactic journalistic mission to find out, not only the top things to do on planet Earth, but to ascertain how you see and understand life on this planet. And you have about, I don't know, five to ten minutes, and he has a lie detector - you can't lie you, have to just be straight up honest with him. What would you tell this alien? You represent the human race here.

SHIMOSAWA :

Wow, this is a lot of responsibility. You know, it's interesting because like, if you ask a writer this, they'll be able to tell you what their hero of their story would say. They would be able to embrace those great things about humankind. And some of the pratfalls in a very elegant and eloquent way. If he asked me, I would be like, "Holy fuck, I don't know, man. People are complicated. You know. People are loving, and they also backstab each other. I mean, it's going to sound like a lot of hypocrisies.

NICKEL :

Yeah.

SHIMOSAWA :

It's going to sound like a lot of conflicting ideas because, you know, with every good thing there's also a bad side to it. I mean, when we talk about what makes earth so special or what makes mankind so special, there's always the good and the bad, and there's always the darkness and the light. And I guess that's what keeps it interesting for us, and that's what keeps storytelling interesting. But on the reals, if an alien were to say, "I'm bringing this back to my people and they're going to make a decision on whether to attack you guys or how to attack you guys," I mean, you know and he has a lie detector test and I was honest... I don't know if they would walk away with the most clear ideas from me, in particular.

NICKEL :

[laughs] I appreciate the honesty, though. But what if he asked you to elaborate on what, like, what do you mean when you say that the darkness and light - maybe that's a--for a-- a little bit of a foreign concept to him.

SHIMOSAWA :

I guess when you leave people to their own devices and they're completely autonomous, humans will have a tendency to, for every good thing that they do, may end up doing something bad. Or it may have the inclination to do something bad. And that is kind of a bummer, but that is that is what happens, so that's what I mean by light and dark. There's people that spend their whole lives going to the light and then they'll have a mishap and dip their toe into the dark. Or there's people that just sprint straight for the dark - and they understand what light, is but they just don't go to it.

NICKEL :

Yeah. Do you think in what if he asked, you one last question from the alien, then he has to go get that pizza that you recommended. He asks you, "So-"

SHIMOSAWA :

It would be artichoke. 

NICKEL :

It would be - oh, artichoke. Oh, okay. Excellent. So, what if he then asked you, "So do you believe that there are more people heading toward the light here on the planet or more people heading toward the dark? Or is it just a mishmash?"

SHIMOSAWA :

I'm an optimist. I would explain that to him, first and foremost. I'd say that I think about 80 percent want to go towards the light.

NICKEL :

I agree with you, man. Especially after traveling through, you know, whatever nation it is, I find that most people just want to do good by, you know, their friends and family and those around them in their communities. I'm an optimist too, so. 

SHIMOSAWA :

Yeah, and one of the one of the hard things is, when you watch people do horrible things on television, in the news, and in fictional TV, it does mess you up a little bit. You're like, "Wow, there's a lot of darkness in the world. However, you know, the reality is like, I was on a spin off for a show called Criminal Minds, and they have a serial killer every week and there really isn't that many serial killers in the world. But the ones that we do know about, we want that information graciously because we are afraid for our own safety, our children's safety. But the reality is, there's not many.

NICKEL :

Right.

SHIMOSAWA :

So, you know, for the most part they're very good people in the world. So, for the select few, there's some really bad.

NICKEL :

Yeah. And the really bad get quite a bit of attention, unfortunately. You know?

SHIMOSAWA :

Oh, 100 percent.

NICKEL :

Cool. Well, dude, I appreciate you doing this man. It really does - it means a lot to me, especially since I'm just getting this off the ground and everything. So is there any site that you would want people to go to learn more about you, or any other, you know, movies or television shows, or any creative endeavors or, I don't know whether you're DJing somewhere that you'd like to plug in right here.

SHIMOSAWA :

Last year I got the opportunity to direct a film called Misconduct and it's on iTunes now, it's on probably Stars or some kind of cable outlet. If you get a chance, check it out. We got to create an art film wrapped around a legal thriller and it's, I think it's a really fantastic film. So, check it out if you can.

NICKEL :

Awesome, thank you. Miss Conduct - I'm going to check that out too. Maybe I'll get some--maybe I'll go up and get some good pizza. I got to go to New York now too. Again. 

SHIMOSAWA :

Go to New York, go visit Tokyo. I mean, life is too short.

NICKEL :

You're totally right, you know? Seriously though, I'm going to reach out to you and be like, "Dude, I'm actually going now to Tokyo, and this is why my credit card statement looks like this."

SHIMOSAWA :

You know, there's this new--I just caught the end of this on the news the other night, that there's this new website where you pack a bag, go to the airport, and they kind of don't tell you where you're going until you get on the plane. 

NICKEL :

No way! Whoa! 

SHIMOSAWA :

Yeah, and it sounds pretty insane but, like, you know, when they were interviewing people you can really see the types of people that were down to do it. And then there were people that just weren't. And what was interesting to me was there were--there was like a single mom who had like, two kids with her and she was like, I would totally do it. 

NICKEL :

Yeah.

SHIMOSAWA :

It was almost like the backwards effect of who I thought would do. There was kind of like a backpacker-type kid who is like, "Nah, I don't think I would." It was interesting because I think people do have an inclination to want to just, get out and do something and sometimes just taken that last step and, myself included, taking that last step is really hard. Like I want to go to Egypt but I wish I could just teleport there. I don't know if I willing to book a flight and go through all the hotels. However, you know, the reality is at any point any of us can just throw down and do it. You know, it might be a stretch financially but you can do it. And for me, again, like when you're talking about life experiences and things on the macro and what kind of regrets you would have before you pass on. Those are the things that you would you're going to wish you did, you know.

NICKEL :

Yep.

SHIMOSAWA :

I'm very guilty of it all. But as I get older, I'm like, "You know what, I'm going to tell the girl I like that I like her. You know what, I'm going to buy that bus ticket to, you know, whatever Reno and check out the casinos there. You know, it's just things that I've always wanted to do, I should just check it out and do it.

NICKEL :

Yeah. No, I agree. And, I mean it sounds almost kind of cheesy, but to... I mean really not let fear get in the way of us doing things that we really want to do because we're so good at self-sabotaging. I know I can be, so. Totally.

SHIMOSAWA :

And you know in a very real way that is how Hollywood runs. In a very ideal level, I can sit here and say it's an amazingly creative and fun space. However, commerce plays a huge part in it and you know like-  it's the business of Hollywood can be very unforgiving. Meaning: you can have a film that you really want to make, but Hollywood might dictate that you put somebody in the movie that you don't want in the movie. All right? So, let's just say, you're making a film and you envision Sam Shepard as this great stately senator. But the studio says, "You know what, you've got to put Bill Murray in there." It changes things, however, the metrics of Hollywood on the other end really do add up to, "We need to put this person in this film" and sometimes that can hamper things. So really, being creative is also by ducking and jiving and that's why lately I've just seem to like independent film more, because, you know, the filmmakers can really just embrace what they want to embrace, you know, and then talk to their financiers and say this is what the deal of a film is. But I think it'd be really special of Sam Shepard were in the lead, not Bill Murray. Those are totally random examples, but that is the financial reality of some of these things can also really, really weigh down the process.

NICKEL :

Oh yeah, I totally get that. And I think that's probably why there are some authors, not all of them of course, some authors that when they talk about Hollywood, it's almost like they have a bad taste in their mouths. Like, "Oh no, my book will never be made into a movie because there was so much"-- I don't know if bureaucracy is the right word but just, you know, like they felt their book was going to be so mangled. I don't know if that you know kind of plays into what you're talking about too.

SHIMOSAWA :

It does, I mean it is a financial machine so--I also worked on the other side of it. I worked at a studio and understanding what people respond to on a global level means you have to do particular things. Meaning like, the story has to be clear, the story has to--generally if you're packaging a romantic comedy, they don't both die at the end and have a downer ending in a romantic comedy. Because you're packaging something with certain people in the leads. And even though the story might dictate that both people must die at the very end, the metrics of 'we will make 60 million dollars' versus 'we will make 2 hundred million dollars' is a very, very large metric, you know? Like those things do--they do come into place, so it's up to filmmakers to try to change people's minds, to get them to a place where eventually they'll be like, "Oh I love that romantic comedy, it was so funny and it was so great and I loved that they both died at the end."

NICKEL :

[laughs] Right? I laughed and then I cried. You know, it was beautiful. Well, I appreciate it. And for everyone listening, this has been another episode of In The Shoes Of with Shintaro Shimosawa and, man, it's been freaking cool. And until next time.

NICKEL {narration]:

Hey, thank you so much for checking out this episode of In The Shoes Of. If you like or don't like the podcast, feel free to leave a review or reach out to me. My email is JNickel@InTheShoesOf.Org. I'm Jeremy Nickel, the host and producer of the show. Until the next time, see you later.