While success in Hollywood usually takes years of long hard struggle, screenwriter Iris Yamashita reached the pinnacle of her career with her first script, "Letters from Iwo Jima" (2006), the Clint Eastwood directed war epic about the famed Pacific theater battle told from the perspective of the Japanese soldiers. Prior to landing the assignment, Yamashita had a day job as a web programmer while working on writing during her spare time. Her only recognition as a writer was taking first place at the Big Bear Screenwriting Competition with her script "Traveler in Tokyo" and publishing a couple of short stories in Wingspan, All Nippon Airway's inflight magazine. Despite never having been paid as a professional, Yamashita landed the job thanks to Paul Haggis, who championed the fledgling scribe to Eastwood when she was helping to research "Flags of Our Fathers" (2006), the companion film to "Letters" as told from the American point of view. In a matter of months, Yamashita went from unknown commodity to Oscar nominee - a leap most writers dream of, but never achieve.