Rising Through The Ranks: Lucy Luna
September 3, 2020
Every day is the same for Lucy Luna, a writer on CBS’s new show All Rise: Wake up in her Los Angeles apartment at seven am, work out, shower, and have breakfast by 10 am, at which time she makes the long commute to her desk to open her laptop and prep for that day’s writers’ room via Zoom with her fellow staff writers. It’s a new and unique experience for a lot of writers since the COVID-19 pandemic hit, but this 30-year-old has learned to navigate life's uncertainties since beginning her career in Morelia, Mexico, where she was born and raised.
Luna comes from humble beginnings. Her single mother raised Luna in an area of Mexico with a strong Cartel presence. Feeling unsafe was a norm for this writer, who also frequently saw death and fear through her mother's career as a medical examiner. Luna often found herself near the dead—and at the local morgue. It was dark and sometimes spine-chilling, but had immense influence on Luna's soon-to-be life as a writer. It molded her into the horror writer she's become.
"I remember writing short horror stories and watching many horror movies," Luna says. "I also loved Mulan, Matilda, and The Parent Trap, but horror would give me something different. It's fascinating to see what fear does to people. Ultimately, it's a path to bravery, and I find that beautiful."
As Luna became interested in writing, she also began to fall in love with international films, particularly Spanish cinema. Once a year she would attend the Morelia International Film Festival, which she calls the best film festival in Mexico. Her mother also helped nurture her budding passion for cinema. Every weekend, she would take Luna to rent movies at Blockbuster, and even purchased her first book on screenwriting.
Eventually, Luna would attend a university in Morelia, studying digital art. But her passion for film only continued to grow, and she realized she had to take a chance on her dream—and herself. Luna applied and got accepted to the New York Film Academy in Los Angeles. In 2014, she moved almost 2,000 miles away from home to Hollywood.
"I moved alone, with my wallet running thin and knowing absolutely no one in the U.S. It was an adventure, not always fun, but always rewarding," Luna says.
Luna participated in a one-year conservatory program that was very hands-on. She would write for four to eight hours a day and the students would also workshop their material in class. Her professors included working writers like Matt Harry (Seriously Funny Kids), Jerry Shandy (Batwoman), David O'Leary (Project Blue Book), and Nunzio DeFilippis (Arli$$).
"All of them impacted me and helped me hone my craft," Luna explains.
She graduated with around five scripts in her portfolio, two of which she continued to re-write after graduating. Those scripts opened many doors, including internships at management companies that provided an industry education. Once those were completed, Luna went back to Mexico, hoping that she'd be able to land a job in the world's entertainment capital. While there, she worked for Sony, translating scripts and a television show that didn't move forward.
"I had to go through the immigration process first," Luna says.
That process was troublesome. Luna struggled with not knowing when her visa would be approved and if she would land a job before the visa process finished.
"The fear of missing opportunities can be scary; it was horrible to see things falling apart because I wasn't allowed to work yet. I am very happy with how it all turned out, though. This is how it was meant to be."
Luna finally got her visa in 2018, and that's when the real fun began. Her first gig was to write a movie for Mexican producer Gerardo Gática. Around the same time, she also won the HBOAccess writing fellowship and the ScreenCraft Fellowship. Luna also landed representation with Kailey Marsh at Brillstein and two agents at APA; Nathan DeRemer and Halle Mariner.
Luna's management team helped her land a host of opportunities, including numerous meetings and chances to pitch to executives. They also assisted in securing her first television job, which was only fitting for this horror fanatic: the CW anthology series, Two Sentence Horror Stories.
"Two Sentence Horror Stories helped me understand horror on a whole other level," Luna says. "And I became friends with all the writers there. It was a small room, and the people were wonderful."
And then, in July of 2020, Luna was hired as a writer on All Rise.
"I am learning how fast-paced TV is, and I'm finding that I enjoy pitching," Luna says. "I love my job. I feel like every day I learn something new, while I also feel more confident in what I'm doing."
"English is my second language, so I get insecure about that at times, and I always write with a dictionary by my side."
But despite her enjoyment, Luna says she truly misses the in-person writers' rooms. Zoom has allowed the writers' room to go on during the pandemic, but Luna says it takes away from her ability to get to know her fellow writers. On All Rise, Luna spends around five to six hours per day on Zoom, sometimes less. All that time on the computer has caused headaches, literally.
"I have had to equip myself with blue light glasses, a nice comfy chair," Luna says. "I stopped wearing headphones because my ears were hurting at the end of the day. I'm getting a monitor soon, and I have eye drops on my desk."
She also had to adapt to virtual boards and the differences in genre from her first gig on Two Sentence Horror Stories.
Luna never imagined she'd be where she is today, but she says her mother did, and, “Mom is always right.” Currently, besides working on All Rise, Luna is putting together pitches on the side and working to find the time to develop a horror feature. Her ultimate goal is to direct, get more involved in film, and have her own show. She would also love to work with her idol, Guillermo del Toro, and to one day have actors Sarah Paulson and Jake Gyllenhaal bring the characters she writes to life.
"I think I am way braver and more resilient than I give myself credit for," Luna says. "I come from a family where money was always an issue, and I come from a country and city where having the dream of being a working writer in Hollywood would cause people to laugh."
"I made it possible for me, and I'm very proud of that."
Written by: Allison NorlianAllison Norlian is a three-time, Emmy-nominated journalist who has worked as a television reporter and anchor in markets around the country. She has covered a variety of stories from the riots in Charlottesville, Virginia to President Trump’s travel ban in the fourth circuit court of appeals. Allison has also won AP awards for her work and a Catalyst For Change award from the Arc of Virginia for her reporting on the disabled community. Allison just moved to Los Angeles with her screen writer husband and two cats and is excited for all LA has to offer!