002 – Curious About Filmmaking: Nicholl Fellowship Finalist Karen Lukesh Shows You How to Launch Your Career

Karen Lukesh

Karen Lukesh

I recently had the privilege of spending some time with writer Karen Lukesh. If you are considering becoming a produced screenwriter, she may just be able to help you do it. She has been able to transform an early career in underground sketch comedy writing and performing into one that has garnered her over fourteen screenwriting awards with one of them coming from the Academy Nicholl Fellowship (trust me, it’s a big deal.) To give you an idea about how impressive that is, over seventy-five hundred scripts were submitted to the Academy Nicholl Fellowship in 2014. She now has an agent and is selling her work in Hollywood.

Thousands of people are looking for ways to break into the movie business, and after talking with Karen I am convinced that it is more possible than ever despite the competition, or perceived competition out there. In the podcast, Karen talks about a “chance” encounter with a fellow actor who asked her to start a comedy troupe. Without hesitation she said yes, and started out on an adventure that is still going strong. She mixed hard work with opportunity and set herself on a path to pursue her dreams of working in the movies. She is a dogged person who doesn’t give up on a script, period. She creates characters that she is passionate about and works and works until those characters have a story befitting their existence.

(Listen or subscribe on iTunes or on Stitcher)

In between her own projects she has decided to offer herself up as a consultant to help new and proven writers make their scripts the best they can be through her coverage service. I’ll let Karen explain her process for working with writers below. After you read through her post and listen to the podcast, make sure you check out her story about the grocery store cowboy who got a little too close for comfort. Enjoy!

Enter Karen.

Having done script coverage for various production companies and screenwriting contests, and having placed well in numerous contests and being an optioned screenwriter myself, I am embarking on a super writer-friendly script coverage service.

Receiving feedback on your work can be daunting.  I, too, would rather go to the dentist, but it’s an important step in taking your script to its best level before you submit to producers.  Your friends mean well and it feels good when they tell you they “really like your script,” but serious writers know that isn’t sufficient feedback.

The best time to receive coverage is when you’ve finished a draft that you’re happy with BUT still have an itching feeling that something is missing in the story, character relations, action pacing, etc.  It’s easy to overlook even the most obvious missing pieces after countless hours of working on a script and being so close to the work.

How it works: Send your script through the ISA submission page, and I will email you a personal confirmation that I received your script.  Unless otherwise stated in my confirmation, I will have your coverage returned within 48 hours.  Feel free to email me directly with any questions before you submit your script.  If there are any notes that aren’t clear in the feedback, you are more than welcome to email me with any questions.  I won’t just disappear on you :)

(Listen or subscribe on iTunes or on Stitcher)

Show Notes and Links from Episode 002

  • How comedy troupes get their ridiculous names
  • Why joining a comedy troupe in LA was the best decision for Karen’s career and her finances
  • The benefits of writing sketch comedy when joining Saturday Night Live doesn’t matter
  • How sketch writing teams use the power of “AND”
  • Failure is the gateway to your next career opportunity
  • Karen’s fear of telling the truth in her writing and why it was more scary than performing on stage
  • Getting the adrenaline rush: Authenticity v. Jumping out of an airplane
  • Why Karen’s favorite screenwriting book is still The Screenwriter’s Bible
  • What placing in the Academy Nicholl Fellowship screenwriting competition meant to Karen and her career
  • Why Karen doesn’t work in coffee shops
  • How Karen works with new writers (Hint: She really really likes you!)
  • What Karen does when she comes up against a creative block
  • Karen’s favorite SNL characters

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