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Nourishing Creative Minds

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Director of the School of Writing for Film, Television & Digital Media Nancy Nigrosh. Photo courtesy of Nancy Nigrosh.

Director of the School of Writing for Film, Television & Digital Nancy Nigrosh looks to pass on her experience and prepare Academy students for their careers

Academy of Art University recently announced that Nancy Nigrosh has taken on the role of Director of the School of Writing for Film, Television & Digital Media (WRI). Nigrosh first joined the department as an online director in 2015. 

Nigrosh’s career is steeped in the entertainment and publishing industries and she is sure to be an asset to the Academy’s curriculum. She is teaching a new class this semester that will help students learn how to not only nab an agent, but how to survive in the industry. Nigrosh will lean on her professional experience in these areas to pass down the hard lessons that are obtained when working hands-on.

“I’m always looking for the most effective, most up to date ways to provide the best possible curriculum. I’m committed to discovering whatever means I can use that will help foster the kind of self-awareness our WRI students must acquire in order to have professional writing careers,” said Nigrosh. “Students need to build a strong portfolio from which they can launch their professional careers.”

Nigrosh has spent over 23 years as a Hollywood agent and has worked with popular directors, writers and authors with the renown Gersh Agency, where she was Head of the Literary Department. She has also worked for Innovative Artists, where she was active on both the literary and talent teams. 

Involved in the hustle and bustle, Nigrosh has represented the likes of Kathryn Bigelow (Zero Dark Thirty), John Cameron Mitchell (Hedwig And The Angry Inch), Amanda Brown (Legally Blonde) and Stuart Beattie (Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl) among many more. Some of her clients have gone on to earn prestigious awards at the Academy Awards, Golden Globes, WGA Awards, Emmys, DGA Awards, SAG Awards, BAFTA Awards, The Peabody Awards and the Independent Spirit Awards as well as being honored by various film festivals including, but not limited to: Cannes’ Palm d’Or, SXSW and Sundance. 

However, it wasn’t always this way for Nigrosh. She understood that it would be a long and challenging road to success in her respective field and wasn’t afraid to ask questions, seek out advice and perform well under pressure. “When I first arrived in Hollywood as a young screenwriting student, I was eager to understand how the entertainment industry worked,” shared Nigrosh. “I soon learned that literary agents piloted the careers of screenwriters and directors. I was very fortunate to find skillful mentors who taught me those mechanics, and also taught me that any given time, literary agents number in the 100s, so it really is an accomplishment to be one of them.” 

There is an art to learning the way an industry works and finding the right people of position to gravitate towards. She believes that WRI has a “similar DNA” to developing and expanding what she did while a talent agent specifically for writers. “[WRI] focuses on educating writers about the tools they’ll need to establish and maintain professional careers,” said Nigrosh. 

Transitioning from the entertainment industry to the world of academia was an interesting and yet fulfilling process for Nigrosh. She is looking forward to her new class at the Academy this semester and the wealth of knowledge that she can bring to young, eager creative minds. “I’m in a unique position in that I had a long career supporting entertainment industry artists’ careers, and then returned to graduate school to earn two Master’s degrees in 2011,” she said. “I’m creative when it comes to having insight into professional behavior choices made by Hollywood bound artists and crafting corresponding career strategy.” 

Nigrosh’s extensive education includes a B.F.A. in film and television from New York University’s Tisch School of the Arts, an M.F.A. from the UCLA School of Theater, Film and Television, as well as a Master’s in education and two California Clear Credentials from Antioch University. 

Seeing that she has recent experience as a student and now as an instructor, Nigrosh knows “exactly what it’s like to attend a university heavily communicating through digital channels.” “My recent experience … gives me a lot of insight into the student perspective and students’ needs,” she said. 

With the hybrid of experience and extensive schooling, Nigrosh will be a key faculty member and mentor at the Academy for students who are working towards achieving similar career goals in the future.