Writer’s Corner is a place to get to know outstanding writers, talk about the craft of writing, career advice, share horror stories and find out more about compelling films, television shows, plays, etc. There’s so much great content out there being made by female creators, we should all be keeping an eye on these women.
Today we are featuring Nicky Hawthorne.
Hella cold, uphill both ways, that was life growing up in small town Minnesota. Relocating to sunshiney Santa Monica was the best decision Nicky’s ever made. Woot. Prior to SoCal, Nicky was an actress in theatre. Her claim to fame was multiple callbacks to play Elphaba in WICKED on Broadway. But after some national commercial bookings in Los Angeles (proposed to by a German Shepherd for Petco; ate wings for Applebee’s), Nicky turned to writing. The first feature she wrote got made. What?! THE TANK. Open Road picked it up for distribution. After that, since she’s obsessed with female characters, she turned to TV. Wrote an hour-long drama pilot that Anonymous Content optioned. And then had a blast working for Ed Bernero on the staff of DirecTV’s action/mob series ICE starring Jeremy Sisto. On the reg, Nicky cares for her 12-year-old pitbull Nikita (she came with the name). Nikita’s basically deaf now but sista still got bite. Nicky’s repped by 3 Arts and Paradigm.
Nicky, how did acting lead to writing for you? Was there a specific moment where you felt compelled to write?
I think more than anything, singing led me to writing. As a kid, I’d draw chalk roads on our driveway and rollerblade around on them, all while making up songs. I was writing but didn’t realize it. ‘The moment’ was at Sundance. Saw a film there called THE END OF LOVE. At the Q & A after the screening, the writer/director admitted he didn’t have a script. Just shot off an outline, had the actors improv around it. I went home and made a short that exact way. Got me going.
Your first ever screenplay was sold! What an amazing accomplishment. How did you get from typing fade out to sold?
Thanks. I feel like every time a feature gets made, it’s a miracle. As for how, it was a combo of good timing, luck and having done the work. I wrote the movie with my friend and she knew the CEO of Open Road at the time. He read our script and was into it. Once we had distribution locked, we backed in everything else.
Is there something you feel defines you or guides you as writer? A genre, a type of story or a type of character?
Women. Doing jobs we used to think only men could do. But writing about them and their lives without calling that out. Subliminal messaging almost.
What is the best and worst piece of career advice you’ve ever received?
The best life advice I’ve gotten that also 1,000% applies to career is to always think of things from the other person’s point of view. The worst was prolly when a well-meaning producer told me not to put my short film on YouTube.
Are you still acting? Do you feel that coming from a performer background changes how you approach writing? Does one help the other or inform the other? In what way?
I’m not, but am grateful for that experience. Especially my work in theatre. I studied at the Moscow Art Theatre for a time so objective vs. obstacle is burned into my brain. It serves me now. That and I don’t fear pitching. I think of it like a show.
When working on something new, how do you approach the blank page? Do you have ritual, do you write character bios, do you outline? What’s your process?
I kinda go by feel. My dad still makes fun of me at the grocery store cuz I never look at the signs in the aisle that tell you what’s there. I’m always like — I feeeeel like the potato chips are this way. In writing I do the same. Sometimes I dive in and then go back and research later. Other times it’s the reverse. Just depends, I guess.
What are you working on now?
A series pitch for a pilot I wrote. That and taking staffing meetings.
What’s your website and social media handles?