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I teach Screenwriting at Stanford University's Pre-Collegiate Summer Institutes, where this summer, I was the #1 rated teacher out of nearly 100. I have a BA in English from Stanford University and an MFA in Screenwriting from Chapman University.

More importantly, I absolutely love working with students, and seeing them get inspired is the most rewarding thing in the world. Watching students go from struggling with material to embracing and sometimes even falling in love with that same material is a magical experience, and one I try to facilitate at every opportunity.

My own writing has won numerous awards, and my first feature film is currently finishing post production. I've held multiple jobs where my entire role is to read scripts and provide feedback, working with the writer to improve the story. I've also worked as an admissions counselor for Expository Writing courses, so I'm well versed in how to craft a beautiful, persuasive essay.

Here are some comments from my most recent students:

"The instructor was very good in every way. His explanations were clear, the lectures kept me interested, the assignments were great."

"Mr. Nickel's positive energy in regards to screenwriting is nothing short of infectious! Just his smile and his tone created an environment of support and a healthy writing place."

"Mr. Nickel was very good at making an interactive classroom, making sure that all of the students participated. He always had amazing feedback to give to your script, even if it was major or minuscule. He made sure that you were set up and had all of the tools you needed before starting the project."

"Mr. Nickel managed to make class very interesting and he gave solid, helpful feedback that really pushed our work to the next level."

"Mr. Nickel was really friendly and easy to talk to, so everyone was really comfortable with asking him questions about their writing or about what we were learning in class."

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Russ’ Qualifications

Education & Certification

Undergraduate Degree: Stanford University - Bachelor in Arts, English with a Creative Writing Emphasis

Graduate Degree: Chapman University - Master of Fine Arts, Screenwriting

Test Scores

SAT Composite: 2340

SAT Math: 770

SAT Verbal: 770

SAT Writing: 800

AP Biology: 5

AP Chemistry: 5

AP Calculus BC: 5

AP Statistics: 5

AP Latin: 4

AP English Literature: 5

AP English Language: 5

AP US History: 5

SAT Mathematics Level 2: 800

SAT Subject Test in Chemistry: 720

SAT Subject Test in Biology E/M: 750


Writing, literature, tennis, food, movies, and going to the beach.

Tutoring Subjects

College Essays

Creative Writing

Essay Editing

Expository Writing

Fiction Writing

Persuasive Writing

PSAT Writing Skills

SAT Writing and Language

Test Prep


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