In the Spotlight: Dean Nichols
Dean Nichols is a writer’s writer. He is as dedicated and consistent as they come. Fiercely committed to his passion, he’s mastered the subgenre of the paranormal/supernatural. He is able to spin a tale and create a character based drama with a distinctive style and tone that is hard to match. He has an ability and insight into story that is earned from years of hard work and study, I am glad to introduce you to this unique writer. This is Dean Nichols…
My name is Dean Steven Nichols, aka Constantinos Hatzinikolaou, I was born in Greece March of 57. I graduated as an electrical engineer, and for about 20 years I worked in the merchant marine, to include two years on an oil platform in the black sea. I moved to the USA in the early 80s, like many immigrants, I worked in security for a few years, and persuaded by my supervisor, an active SFPD officer, I graduated from the San Francisco Police Academy as level 1 reserve. Though the desire to become a full-time cop grew on me, though when I became an American citizen in 2000, I was already established in maintenance.
Q: How did you stumble upon screenwriting?
A: It all started in grade school. I was part of a school play that I was not fond of, and I decided to rewrite it. That moment a door opened and the magic of screenwriting presented itself. I was hooked.
Q: Who/what inspired you into taking this path?
A: I’ve always kept notes, impressions, and experiences throughout my traveling years, which I wrote as short stories, and many of these experiences can be found in my writing today.
Q: Who was the first person who believed in you?
A: Over the years I've received several positive comments about my writings, though many disagree with my genre, they still find my ideology intriguing, but, the one person who made all the difference in the world, was my instructor, James Dalessandro. The writer of the House of Blues RadioHour, which hosted by Dan Aykroyd as Elwood Blues. Also the writer/creator of“Rock On” with The Doors keyboardist Ray Manzarek. I was in class, when he said to me, “You have talent.”
Q: What was the moment you knew you wanted to be a screenwriter?
A: I wanted to share my ideas and experiences with the world, and though, as I mentioned earlier, Screenwriting, presented itself to me the moment I re-wrote the school play from my childhood. I didn’t know how to go about it
Q: How do you define success for yourself?
A: Success has many definitions, to me success is defined as the recognition of my work, and may have nothing to do with material earnings.
Q: Give us a typical day in your life:
A: A typical day starts at 2am, and by all means, I am not a morning person. I just shifted my hours so I can have time to write. Morning time I’m at my best. At 5-5:30, I walk my dog Merlin, a 10-year old Lab/Terrier. By 7:00 am, I have to beat work, lunch from 11:00 to 12:00, and that’s one hour that I keep revising notes with Evernote, on my phone. Getting home at about 4:30 – 4:45, I’ll have a cup of Greek coffee, I’ll take Merlin for a 20-30 min., walk, after dinner. I’ll sort out my notes, cook for the next day, (overnight slow cooker,) and between 7:30 -8:30, I call it a day.
On my days off, I’m getting a little domestic, laundry, shopping cooking and writing, oh yes, walking Merlin. By average, during my workweek, I write approx, 6 – 7 hours, on my days off, I’ll still start early -am, and on my Saturday, I’ll write until 10 – 11 pm; roughly, anywhere between 10and 15 hours.
Q: What’s been the most important skill you've developed on your path to screenwriting?
A: The most important skill I've developed, it’s the simple fact of analysis. I’ve learned to analyze my outlines, which makes a more refined development with fewer story holes and fewer revisions.
Q: What’s been the greatest challenge in your writing so far?
A: Selling my work. Why? As I mentioned earlier, many have questioned my Genre, and few label it as unsaleable because I do have very complex ideas. For example, my story Nunnery, dramatizes a young wealthy woman, who left her house for the one she thought she was in love with. She became a prostitute and a junkie, and when she decided to find shelter as a Nun, discovered that she is destined to become the mother of the Antichrist, by the end of the story she becomes the biblical character, Lilith.
Q: What’s been your greatest reward in the choices you've made?
A: My greatest reward is to see my work completed. And eventually on the movie screen, but the real award is the feedback from the audience. Whether positive or negative, you can’t please everybody!
Q: What do you want to learn from a community of your peers?
A: Writers developing their own techniques and tricks and approach to the craft, that can make the story come to life. I’m always looking for those who are willing to share their knowledge and experience.