B.F.A. Screenwriting Major's Work Awarded at Pittsburgh Independent Film Festival Student Profile
Meet JW Nicikowski '21
- Greenville, Pa.
- High School
- Greenville Area High School
- Dream Job
- Owning a cafe/bar
- Hobbies & Interests
- Cooking, baking
"The greatest experience I've had at Point Park is meeting so many people dedicated to the craft. It's one thing to know how to write a script, but it's another to have people to fall back on for input and support."
Why did you transfer to Point Park University?
I completed my associate's degree and wanted to earn a bachelor's degree two years later. Unfortunately, many film programs have strict guidelines/requirements that would have extended my time in school.
A family friend suggested Point Park and I was thrilled to find it, especially because the Downtown Pittsburgh location is close to my hometown of Greenville, Pa.
Tell us about your experience as a B.F.A. in screenwriting major.
I use to think that I could get any degree and learn how to write a script on the side. Boy, was I wrong. My scripts have advanced so much — from poorly formatted Google documents to now writing a script with fully fleshed-out details.
The greatest experience I've had at Point Park is meeting so many people dedicated to the craft. It's one thing to know how to write a script, but it's another to have people to fall back on for input and support.
Your work Shell of a Man was selected as Best Feature Screenplay at the 2021 Pittsburgh Independent Film Festival. What does this mean to you as a screenwriter?
I never expected my work to be chosen out of more than 300 applicants. It is a tremendous honor to be recognized because it means that I am moving forward with my concepts and my craft.
Some of the positive feedback I received was that my script was shorter in length. Many others were tossed out because they were simply too long. I should also mention that many competitions are left up to the judges' tastes, and I was fortunate to have judges who enjoy thrillers read my script. A lot of people wish judges would be impartial, though they are the audience and have their own preferences.
About Shell of a Man
Shell of a Man is an avant-garde thriller/drama. It pays homage to film and television, following Anthony Taylor, a method actor trying to break out of his typecasting. The story takes a dark turn when Anthony portrays a serial killer in an upcoming film.
How have Point Park’s classes and faculty helped you as a screenwriter?
I've learned so much about format and story structure from the faculty and in class. Rewriting the Script with Elise D'Haene has been one of the most important classes. Elise taught me how to not only work through a great story, but the importance of having my own voice in it to stand out from everyone else.
What are your career goals?
To sell a script like everyone else. I'm beginning to look for positions in writer's rooms as my senior year comes to a close. I looked over television most of my time at Point Park, but have a new found respect for it and would love to be a part of it.
Is there anything else you would like to add?
Keep writing and rewriting. A good story always changes.