Screenwriter Spotlight: Teresa Nigolian

What’s your name? Where were you born? Where do you live? And what’s your hobby?

Teresa Nigolian. I currently reside in NYC. One of my favorite hobbies is “gardening” from my apartment window sills. 

Where did you come up with the concept that just placed as Finalist in the screenplay contest? How long did it take you to develop it into the screenplay it is now?

I had a similar experience to my main character, in that I had mice in my apartment, and was instructed to “whack” them against the wall if they got caught in a glue trap. Unfortunately, I didn’t have the stomach to do it. But I asked myself, what kind of young woman would? Once I was able to answer that question, it only took about a week to develop and write the script.

From concept to finished draft, can you take us through your screenwriting process?

IOnce I get a nugget of a story in my head, I grab a fresh journal and scribble out everything and anything. I ask myself questions about the characters, jot down ideas, dialogue, nonsense. The notebook makes no sense really, but I fill it up until I can’t fill it up anymore. Then, I sit down and lay it out on the computer.

When did you realize that you wanted to become a screenwriter?

I’ve always known I wanted to be a writer, since I was a kid I’ve always been a story teller. It wasn’t until a few months into the pandemic that I considered screenwriting.

Who are your biggest filmmaking/screenwriting influences? What about their style do you like or borrow?

Top three would be Aaron Sorkin, Diablo Cody and Greta Gerwig. Sorkin’s quick and heavy dialogue is absolute poetry. Cody’s storytelling and dark, but relatable humor really resonates with me. Gerwig has mastered character realism and constructs such compelling characters. 

Have you ever been obsessed with a movie or TV show? If so, which one? Why?

Definitely! When I fall in love with a movie, I could watch it a thousand times. Little Miss Sunshine and Juno are definitely at the top of my list.

If you could talk to anyone from any era, who would it be and what would you ask them?

I would talk to my great-grandmother, Monushag. She escaped the Armenian genocide and came to America with her two children. I’ve heard she was an incredible woman I would love to get to know her and hear her story.