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KamenConnection : Fans Interview with Nathan Long

Nathan Long: Hello, Kamen Connection readers! Thanks for all your questions, and thanks to Adam for suggesting the interview and compiling it all. Let’s get to it, shall we?

*kc1000 (KamenConnection)

First I would like to say to Nathan Long, Thank You so much for taking the time to answer these questions from us fans, we appreciate it a lot, and keep up the fantastic work!

Q1 - What other products have you worked on, and how was your experience with them?

NL - Whew! I’ve been a working writer for the last 18 years, so I have a lot of products. I think I’ll stick to what I’m doing now if that’s alright.

In addition to working on KRDK, I also write fantasy novels for the Warhammer Fantasy universe, and I love my job. Although writing for KRDK was a lot of fun, it could be frustrating at times because we had to take into account the tight schedule and low budget we were working with. With the novels, that stuff doesn’t matter. It doesn’t cost anymore to write a whole planet blowing up than it does to write about buying an ice cream cone, so I get to let my imagination run wild. It gives me a lot of freedom.

It’s also nice to have a paperback with a cool cover in my hand at the end of the process. I guess someday I’ll have a cool Kamen Rider DVD in my hands, but that’s going to be a while, I bet. Can’t wait!

Q2 - Did you also work on the "Guyver 2: Dark Hero" movie? As screenplay? Did you enjoy working on it?

NL - Yes, I wrote the script Guyver II. It was a blast for a lot of reasons. First, it was my first paid script, and the first script of mine that would be turned into a movie, so that was incredibly exciting - and also a little terrifying. Second, Guyver is a cool story and a cool universe and I really liked getting to play in it. Third, I got to work with Steve Wang, who I had admired for a long time. Fifth, I got to hang around on the set and see all the work that went into making a movie. That was cool because I’d never done it before. All in all it was a great experience.

*CHiCA

Q3 - How was it like working with the Wang brothers?

NL - Steve and Mike and I get on like brothers, which means we fight constantly... Well, that’s not really true, but we all have strong personalities and strong visions for what is cool and what works in a story, and there is therefore inevitably conflict, but I think this is a good thing. If Steve and Mike went along with every one of my ideas, or if I went along with every one of their ideas, the show wouldn’t have been as good. We challenged each other to be better, and I think the show is better for it.

Q4 - I know you've watched episodes of Ryuki. Did you enjoy it?

NL - I did. There’s a lot of cool stuff in Ryuki, unfortunately, the copies we got had terrible subtitles, so it was kind of hard to tell what was going on a lot of the time. Visually and conceptually, however, it was excellent.

Q5 - You and the Wang brothers have worked so hard on KRDK. Was it worth it?

NL - Hmmm. Good question. I am very pleased with what we were able to do with the limited resources we had. There is a lot that could have been better had we had more time and a bigger budget, but I am proud of the show as it is, so yes, as far as my artistic fulfillment is concerned, it was definitely worth it.

The part that pains me sometimes is the part that’s out of our control. Schedule, publicity, timing - sometimes I wonder if anyone other than the loyal fans knows the show exists. So I guess the question is, was it worth it if only a few people see it? Well, I think so, as long as those few people enjoyed it. I’m still hoping for a wider audience some day, though.

Q6 - If another Kamen Rider series is adapted, would you come back as screenwriter?

NL - If they ask me, I would be honored to write it.

*Chronotia Archzenom

Q7 - What are your future projects after KRDK?

NL - I am working very hard on the Warhammer novels at the moment. I just wrote two novels in five months (whew!), I have a new Gotrek and Felix novel coming out in October, and a brand new Warhammer trilogy kicking off next year. Beyond that, me and Steve and Mike are tinkering with a few new ideas and I’m working on a comic book with a friend.

*dragonknight410

Q8 - I heard from Steve that you were the one in charge of incorporating footage from KR Ryuki. How difficult was it to put all 13 riders into the 40-episode season of KRDK? What was the biggest challenge for you overall during production of this series?

NL - Fitting in all the existing fight footage was the biggest challenge. Every Ryuki fight we used, was a fight we didn’t have to spend money shooting ourselves. It was definitely a challenge figuring out how to use them all, and in the end, I think there were only around three or four fights we just couldn’t find a use for. Most often the problem was that the people fighting in Ryuki just wouldn’t be fighting in our story, but even then we sometimes found a way around it. Made for some crazy storytelling sometimes though.

The second biggest challenge was cutting down the number of locations. (You notice how all the challenges have to do with money and time?) We had limited time and budget, so we couldn’t have ten or more locations per show. It would have cost too much to drive the trucks to all those places and feed all the actors, etc. So another of my jobs was to make sure there were as few locations as possible. There were a lot of discussions that started, “Are you sure we couldn’t do this scene on the bookstore set?”

Q9 - How long did it take you to come up with the script for just one episode of this series? How much of the script was affected by the Ryuki footage used in the episodes?

NL - Another good question. First, Steve, Mike and I mapped out the whole 40 episodes. This took a long time - a few months - most of it before we started shooting, and before our producers said okay. Once the series as a whole was approved, writing the individual episodes took about two weeks each. I would give a detailed synopsis of what was supposed to happen in the episode to the writer who was assigned to write it, and tell him which Ryuki fight scenes had to be included. The writers had a week to write each episode, Once they turned in their episode, I would read it, make notes, send it back to them for revisions, and we would tweak it from there. That generally took another week.

Sometimes we went faster than that. I wrote the last five episodes of the show in five days - one episode a day.

Q10 - How do you deal with the criticism from PR fans and fans of the Japanese KR series?

NL - I haven’t actually heard any criticism from PR fans. If they don’t like it, they haven’t told me. As for the Ryuki fans, my response is that it doesn’t have to be a matter of either/or. There is room in the world for both Ryuki and Dragon Knight. If you don’t like one or the other, that’s fine, but it doesn’t mean that the one you don’t like shouldn’t exist. If you don’t like it, don’t watch.

Q11 - I know that the plot of KR Ryuki was very dark and involves a war between all the riders. How did you make KRDK dark in its own context? How difficult was it to balance the plot of KRDK with the footage that came from Ryuki (namely the fight footage)?

Well, we couldn’t kill people on the show. The standards and practices people wouldn’t allow it, so we had to try to make getting ‘vented’ have as much emotional impact as death. We tried our best to make every venting mean something, and show that the other characters’ were shocked and saddened by each one. We also tried to explore more adult themes. The stories are about more than fighting monsters or beating up bad guys. Everybody’s got a reason for what they do, and when those reasons come in conflict, things get ugly. The show is about loyalty, trust, honor, fear and betrayal, and we didn’t pull back on the emotion that those things spark in the characters.

As to working in the fight footage, see question 8 above.

Q12 - I see from your interview with HJU that you love to not only write scripts but also novels and game modules. Would you consider writing novels/books for KRDK fans to read?

NL - Well, as I said earlier, if the bosses ask me, I would be honored, but I don’t have the rights to write anything like that on my own. I would have to wait to be asked.

Q13 - There are fans out here that really love the series that they are writing fan fiction stories. Two of the stories are on KamenConnection that have gotten the attention of some of the KRDK cast members and other KRDK fans nationwide, and Adam, the owner of that website, has been generous enough to actually post these stories on KamenConnection as they are developed. Would you be interested in reading these fan fiction stories and give the authors feedback about their stories?

NL - Ah. The most dangerous question of the bunch. The short answer is, no I won’t read the fan fic. The reason for that is, it’s dangerous for me to do so. If I write a story sometime later that has some element of a fan-fic story in it, even if it’s only a coincidence, some one might say that I stole their idea, or demand that they get paid or credited. I don’t want that. It’s too risky legally for me, so I keep away. I apologize if that seems harsh, but for my own protection, that’s the way it’s got to be.

*kc1000

Q14 - Do you have an official site, or a place where fans can contact you?

NL - I don’t have a web site, but I do have a Live Journal blog that I update every now and then. You can check it out here.

LONG STORIES/a pulp circum vitae (nathan-long.livejournal.com/)

Q15 - Anything else you would like to say? Any SHOUT OUTS to your fans?

NL - Absolutely. I want to thank each and every one of you for watching and supporting the show. You fine ladies and gentlemen are not just loyal, you’re tenacious. I know the show hasn’t had the promotion it deserves, and the schedule has been changed, not to mention that there haven’t been any new shows in months, but you haven’t given up on us, and I am grateful to you for that. You’re keeping the flame alive in the dark times, and I just hope that, once things get going again, the show delivers on your expectations and rewards you for your patience.

Thanks for sticking with us, and thanks again to Kamen Connection and Adam for putting this interview together. See you in Ventara!

More Awesome Interviews

  HJU Interview with NATHAN LONG (henshinjustice.com)
  A Chat With Nathan Long

*Feel free to post a comment(s) to Nathan Long, thanks.

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From: ^^ kit kid
Sent On: 01/15/2011 02:25 AM
Message: I LOVE RIDERS

From: ^^ king
Sent On: 03/12/2010 08:44 PM
Message: great ilove kamen rider

From: ^^ DKFan
Sent On: 08/15/2009 06:01 AM
Message: do you think they be next season kamen rider next year

From: ^^ JohnnyNatalizio
Sent On: 08/03/2009 10:13 AM
Message: Did u have plans to create a movie of KRDK?

From: ^^ Huy
Sent On: 07/20/2009 08:45 PM
Message: Great interview! I seriously look forward to the other interviews! @NL: Keep up the great work!

From: ^^ CHiCA Kosaka
Sent On: 07/20/2009 08:42 PM
Message: Awesome interview!Too bad he wont read the fanfics but I completely understand his reasons.Can\'t wait for future interviews. ~Love&kisses,CHiCA Kosaka

From: ^^ DK09
Sent On: 07/20/2009 08:38 PM
Message: It does stink that you can\'t read my fan-fic Kamen Riders: Defenders of KamenConnection but I do understand your reasoning and thoughts.

From: ^^ DK09
Sent On: 07/20/2009 08:30 PM
Message: SWEET! You did an amazing job on KRDK and I thank you so very very much! Let\'s Ride!
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