lily mercer​ 

Writer, Actor, World Traveler

all about lily

     Lily Mercer’s father was one of twelve children from a humble family in Kentucky. He went on to become a State Representative, so as a result, Lily grew up a cross between Honey Boo-Boo and Kate Middleton. One week she would be visiting her cousins and using the outhouse; the next week she would be eating in a five star hotel and meeting the governor. Her world view broadened further when she was chosen to be a Goodwill Ambassador for Youth, the youngest in the group at the age of sixteen, and spent a summer touring Europe.

     Her childhood instilled in her a fascination with the world, and the diversity of people, which turned into a passion for acting. She moved to New York and attended the prestigious Playwrights Horizons Theatre School. After completing the program she worked extensively as an actor and director for fifteen years, then began to teach. While working as an adjunct professor in Arizona, she founded a small theatre in Sedona, the Actors Repertory Theatre of Sedona (the A.R.T.S.). At the A.R.T.S. Lily developed ground-breaking programs including the New Growth Play Series for emerging playwrights, and the A.R.T.S. Academy, for professional training. Ultimately Lily embraced her love of writing, and applied to the NYU/Tisch Department of Dramatic Writing. In 2012 she received an MFA with a concentration in film, and won the Charles Pupura Award for overall excellence in writing.

     After moving to Los Angeles Lily embraced her new career. Since 2016 she has won the ISA Fast Track Fellowship, the Vancouver Women in Film Festival Best Screenplay, and advanced several competitions including in the Nicholl Fellowship, the Austin Film Festival, CineStory TV Fellowship, the PAGE Awads, and the Creative World Awards. Her success garnered her the honor of being named as one of the “Top 25 Screenwriters to Watch in 2018” by the ISA (International Screenwriters Association).

     Current projects include a pilot entitled POCAHONTAS: The Other Story, and THE BIG BLIND, another new pilot about a hotshot female poker player. Meanwhile, Lily continues to develop a TV series entitled LOST WOMEN OF AMERICAN HISTORY.  Yet, out of her many accomplishments, Lily claims founding and giving voice to the Bechdel Babes Writing Partners, a diverse group of film and TV writers for women, remains one of her proudest achievements.


        "After spending years as a working actor, theatre director, and producer, I became frustrated with the lack of women's voices in the business, and I wanted to change that.  So I decided to pursue a career as a writer and was accepted to the Department of Dramatic Writing at NYU/Tisch.  When I embraced my writing “hobby," my intent was to focus on the things I was sure of – that an authentic character was the most important element of any story, and that watching relationships unfold is the magnet that keeps the audience engaged.  Simply put, I write about ordinary people leading complicated lives. My kind of people.


        I was very fortunate to have been trained at Tisch. Writers there are taught all genres: theatre, film and television, which opened up a world of possibilities.  As a result, I have plays that have been produced in New York, California and Texas: screenplays that have been optioned; and award-winning TV pilots.

        So that's what I do now.  I write.  And I am extremely grateful that my change in careers has been rewarded.  My work has been recognized by the Page Awards, Creative World Awards, the Nicholl Fellowship, Austin Revolution, and the International Screenwriters Association - to name a few." 

have questions? contact  me for more information.


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My Newest Adventure

"Meet Emma, my bike. For the past few years Emma and I have been handing out holiday boxes with homemade treats and toiletries. Each year I saw more and more homeless, particularly homeless women, and I was astounded that despite their circumstances, the women often wore makeup, and nail polish, and hair clips. (It seems girls just want to be girls.) So last year I focused on gift boxes for the women, adding eye shadow, nail files, lipstick, etc., while still giving out boxes to the men. As I delivered the boxes, not only did people want to hug me (which was incredibly moving), but they also wanted to tell me their story. They wanted to be recognized, to be seen.

Then it came to me: Maybe everyone wants to tell their story. Maybe we just haven't asked.

That's why this year I am launching STORIES FOR EMMA. Starting in December 2018 these holiday boxes will include a pen, a questionnaire, and a self-addressed stamped envelope. I’m asking these men and women to tell me their story – how they got where they are, how they survive, what their greatest challenges are, their greatest joys, etc. Someday I hope to publish the results, which might give us some insight into this growing population (and perhaps the finances to help). But for now, I just want to give them a happy holiday, and reassure them that they are not invisible. Their stories matter."


Stories for Emma