Five Minutes With Lucy Campbell

03 July, 2024

Lucy Campbell is an Australian writer and director. Her short films and online series have screened at festivals around the world and her sci-fi series The Big Nothing has over 1M views on Dust. Lucy cut her teeth working as a script editor/coordinator for shows including Firebite (AMC), The Tourist (BBC/HBO Max), Stateless (ABC/Netflix) and Wolf Creek S2 (Stan).

In 2022, she was in Screen Australia’s prestigious Talent USA program. Her debut feature screenplay for sci-fi feature Monolith was produced by Bettina Hamilton, directed by Matt Vesely and stars Lily Sullivan, and had its 2023 international premiere at SXSW Film Festival. It recently won the John Hinde Award for Excellence in Science-Fiction Writing. 


When did you first realise you wanted to be a writer?

I always loved reading, and I became kinda obsessed with words early on. Literally looking at words became a past-time (what? I was an only child!). I was very shy and writing little stories and journals became a way I could say something, I suppose. My mum was always very encouraging, and I had a couple of teachers at high school who thought I wasn't half bad. I tried my hand at different formats – novels, short stories, plays, music journalism, songwriting – but it wasn't until I got to film school that I realised screenwriting could be a valid career.

What inspires you?
Watching a great movie never fails to inspire me. Sometimes watching a bad movie is also inspiring, but in a different way. I also try to look outside of film – art, books, poetry, music, science, politics etc. I often turn to reading journalism – essays, articles, scientific journals and that sort of thing – and honestly there are some articles that are so beautifully written I'll just go back to time and time again to remind myself of how incredible and world-changing ideas can be.
Why did you join the Guild?
I joined partly because I really love membership cards and saying "I'm in the Guild", but I think at a more practical level I wanted to take advantage of the legal advice early on and apply for competitions (such as the John Hinde Award!)
Best moment of your writing career?
Going to the premiere of Monolith – a strange, surreal moment to unveil our film to an audience, and to realise that I'd made my first feature as a writer. Features always seemed like strange pipe dreams to me, so to actually get there and do it was incredible.

Best advice you’ve received about writing?
It's advice for writing, but also for life – somebody once told me to "go all in". Don't pull your punches, don't undersell yourself, embrace failure, and always, always go all in. There's only so many days in a lifetime, so why spend any of them writing bland, undercooked films?

What is your best tip for writers?
If you're stuck, take a walk. Don't listen to music on the bus. Pay attention. Write and fail, fail and write. Don't take it too seriously, it's just showbiz.

What are you working on now?
I'm working on my own horror thriller feature as a writer/director, along with a follow-up cosmic horror feature with the Monolith team. I'm also putting together a short film as a writer/director to shoot in June and working as a script editor on film and TV projects.

What are you currently reading?
I'm one of those idiots who tries to read too many things at once – I'm in various stages of reading Joan Didion's Slouching Towards BethlehemFinding the Mother Tree by Suzanne Simard and Heat 2 by Michael Mann and Meg Gardner. 

What are you currently watching?
I recently watched Band of Brothers for the first time – what a series! Features-wise I'm a big Alex Garland fan so I devoured Civil War and I loved Alice Rohrwacher's La Chimera – a strange, surreal leap with incredible atmosphere and performances. It's really stuck in my head.

Catch Lucy's John Hinde Award-winning film Monolith on Binge HERE.