Meet Our Oscar-Winning Memoir Prize Guest Judge: Nicole Rocklin

For our Spring Memoir Prize, we're in search of revealing and emotional narratives, and that's Nicole’s speciality — from her work on the Oscar-winning film Spotlight to the upcoming HBO Max Lizzo documentary.

Meet Our Oscar-Winning Memoir Prize Guest Judge: Nicole Rocklin

You know that feeling when you can just tell you’re connecting with a story you’ll never forget? We tend to get there anytime we come across film and TV producer Nicole Rocklin’s work. We can practically remember the smell of the movie theater we sat in for her genre-defining opus Spotlight, which, no surprise, went on to nab multiple Oscars including Best Picture. So we were downright ecstatic when Nicole agreed to be a Guest Judge for Narratively’s inaugural Spring Memoir Prize. For the Prize, we’re in search of revealing and emotional narratives from overlooked points of view, which is Nicole’s speciality — whether it’s championing unsung heroes like The Boston Globe journalists who uncovered systemic abuse in the Roman Catholic Church, in Spotlight, or getting surprisingly deep with once-in-a-generation icons, like she’s done in her forthcoming Lizzo documentary for HBO Max. And Nicole is thrilled to get exposed to new ideas and voices by Guest-Judging Narratively’s Spring 2022 Memoir Prize. After all, our Heroes of Storytelling need to stay inspired, right?! (We can also reveal that Nicole has her own memoir in the works, which we cannot wait to get our hands on!) 

Nicole and our two other amazing Guest Judges (best-selling author Ashley C. Ford and podcast/radio legend Glynn Washington — more on them soon!) will help us review submissions and select one Grand Prize Winner and two Finalists. Our Grand Prize winner will even get to have an intimate Zoom with Nicole and each of our other judges to talk about craft and brainstorm ways to build on their winning memoir. 

Beyond the headlines Nicole routinely grabs for her influential work, just who is she, you ask? 

Nicole grew up in California and attended the University of Wisconsin–Madison where she graduated in 2001 with honors, double-majoring in history and Afro-American studies. She then moved to Los Angeles where she considered a career in music and worked for a time at an entertainment law firm, but, as she tells us, “It’s best to just follow your heart and your instincts on what you are most passionate about.” Which led Nicole to Jerry Bruckheimer Films, producers of a few little flicks you might have heard of (or, if you’re like us, wore out the VHS and DVDs of!) like Top Gun, Pearl Harbor and Pirates of the Caribbean. In 2009 she started a production company called Rocklin/Faust with partner Blye Faust. The two began working on the film Spotlight back in 2007, and it took seven years to reach the screen. (How’s that for perseverance?!) It was worth the wait: in 2016, Spotlight received six Oscar nominations and won Best Picture and Best Original Screenplay at the Academy Awards. It was also nominated for Best Film at the 69th British Academy Film Awards. 

Nicole has also served as a producer on movies such as Middle of Nowhere (2008) and The Perfect Guy (2015). And in 2018 she started her own independent production company, Rocklin Entertainment. When describing it she has said: “Some people put twenty things out there. We don’t do that. It’s not who we are. We want to tell stories about real people.” In fact, what storytelling needs most, Nicole tells Narratively, is “Diversity!!! We need more storytelling from the most diverse groups possible.” Amen to that. 

As always, we’re certain Nicole will continue to practice what she preaches, and her role as a Narratively Spring 2022 Memoir Prize Guest Judge is no exception. Enter your memoir featuring your unique, diverse perspective by June 27, for a chance to connect with this storytelling icon, and so much more! 

Nicole Rocklin arrives at the Oscars on Sunday, Feb. 28, 2016, at the Dolby Theatre in Los Angeles. (Photo by Jordan Strauss/Invision/AP)