We had the good fortune of connecting with Karen Lukesh and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Karen, let’s start by talking about what inspires you?
I’m inspired by people, specifically the human condition and how we behave to achieve the lives we want. It’s pretty wild to sit back and observe us! People are everyday walking stories. For better or for worse, the choices we make based on perspectives we have against challenges we face is what I find absolutely stunning. Two people born into the same journey scenario can have polar opposite outcomes, and two people who have the same outcome can arrive there through polar opposite journey scenarios. Choices, amiright? Collectively, I think people are a beautiful mess that I find myself always wanting to fully understand, hence my love of storytelling.
Let’s talk shop? Tell us more about your career, what can you share with our community?
I’m most interested in telling stories that don’t perpetuate tired stereotypes. If we’ve already seen and heard it, then I’m not interested in writing about it. We are all SO much more than the limited categories (gender, class, ethnic, political, etc.) mainstream society puts us in and that’s what interests me when creating. This can be challenging in an industry where many in power still hold onto those limited categories, but audiences are demanding better because they ARE better, and so I’m encouraged by the changes I see…but also let’s pick up the progression pace! Ha! My scripts are my strongest currency, and so I’m always on the hunt for producers who align with my thoughts on authentic representation to maintain their value. Nearly all of my scripts are led by memorable, layered, complex characters with emotional depth…so, women. With characters in focus, the subsequent stories trend with the tone of relationship realism. Story themes recycle themselves as they do in real life, but the characters in both stories and real life have unlimited potential to be unique based on the choices they make. Unravelling and dissecting and pulling knowledge and lessons from, as mentioned earlier, observing people who inspire me is that LIFE STUFF that feeds my creative soul. I honestly can’t imagine doing anything else.
If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
I’m a Valley gal, so hopefully I’m picking up my visitors from Burbank Airport and not LAX! Either way, our lunch stop would be Aroma Cafe in Toluca Lake. It’s my favorite spot and I take all my visitors there. The food is great and they cover the full spectrum of dietary preferences and cravings. Their outdoor patio feels like a getaway and the vibe is always Zen. For caffeine jolts and good conversation, I’d take them to Harvest Moon in Valley Village. Their clean, minimalist decor is relaxing and inviting. Our first full day together would be spent at Eaton Canyon Falls Trail in Pasadena. A 3.5 mile hike AND a forty foot waterfall? All the yesses! That evening, we’d go to the Getty Center to view L.A. during the golden hour (swoon). The next day is beach day!! We’ll head out to Malibu – maybe stop for a quick hike – and be beach bums all day. For evening drinks, Bibo Ergo Sum in West Hollywood is my go-to trendy scene for when I don’t want a trendy scene. Its location is completely unassuming and remains one of my favorite finds. If we want low-key, Tom Bergin’s on Fairfax is an Irish Pub that has all the feels of my beloved east coast origins. It’s an atmosphere you simply have to experience…like so much of L.A. (more swoon).
The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
I’m beyond grateful to have been born into my family, whose love is boundless. Their shining work ethic taught me how to push through the challenges of a challenging career. My girlfriends are my lifeblood. In no particular order, the following women have always supported, encouraged, and lifted me: Katie Booker, Stephanie Petner, Beth Haggerty, Marlene Katz, Cherise Bangs, and Natalie Khoury. My family and friends are true gems!