Through our Volunteer and Mentorship Program, we pair WGAW members with likeminded organizations that provide writing, filmmaking and literacy services to youth and underserved communities. In our collaborations, it goes without saying that we meet incredible young creatives every day. Nadjee is one of them. We met Nadjee, 23, during a visit with Digital Dove, a filmmaking and youth empowerment program at Covenant House California. During that session, writer Diana Mendez (Rizzoli & Isles, Rosewood) inspired the students to think about the role of conflict in storytelling and using personal experiences to inform their stories. Nadjee opened up about his personal experiences and overcoming the obstacles that led him to the inspiration for his script.
We invited Nadjee to tell us more.
More information about Digital Dove and how to get involved can be found on their Facebook page.
What is the script about? The screenplay “Glamor” is about two teens coming of age and coming to terms with their feelings in the final week of high school. The lead protagonist and his best friend are LGBTQ with very different personalities, but great chemistry. Running in parallel to their journey of self is a mystical force called glamor, the personal magic of soul and character. As the boys come to terms with who they are, they also come to terms with a spiritual power.
What inspired you to write this story? Writing became like therapy to me as the floodgates of my own feelings were coming unhinged during high school, and I needed a creative outlet. I’m very introspective, accommodating spiritual ideas and psychology into my work by creative means. Though it all stays grounded and easily relatable.
What challenged you most when writing the story? The most challenging part was finding a direct and simple approach to selling the main points of plot and character development without breaking the SHORT FILM mold. I learned to keep it simple, don’t beat around the bush, and grab peoples’ attention.
What moment are you most proud of in the script? The scene I’m most proud of is probably the bedroom scene for its intimacy and vulnerability. Since I didn’t want to add sexual content, this scene cuts right to the point and shows the characters as open and honest. It felt natural to me as I read the action scenes and dialogue aloud.
When and why did you start writing? I began writing with a purpose back in 2012 when I started on my first novel, which this screenplay is based on. I started writing to let loose some of the racing energy I had. Many frustrations plagued my mind when I started, and it was sort of like venting. Later, I saw it as a way to redeem my thoughts from the selfish, racy and confused mess they were to something people would be patient with, interested in and try to understand.
What makes your voice unique?
My voice is willing to go places I feel many people overlook or ignore. I consider myself a heartful writer with vulnerable, and courageous content.