YPDaily: Lauren Grant

The principal of Clique Pictures, Lauren Grant established her company in 2006 to focus on developing feature film and documentary production. In 2011, she won Best Live Action Short Genie Award for the residential school musical Savage. Lauren recently completed the feature film Picture Day, which will also have its World Premiere at the 2012 Toronto International Film Festival. Grant is an alumnus of the Cineplex Entertainment Film Program’s Producers’ Lab (’06). Originally from Hazelton, BC, Lauren now resides in Toronto.

Elevator Pitch: Describe your job in a nutshell.
My job as a film producer is to develop, finance, execute, complete, deliver and release a motion picture. Even within the film business, producing is a tough job to describe. Unlike other titles in filmmaking, the producer credit is given out to people who do a portion of the job. I’m focused on the full capacity of producing and I’m inspired by producers who are involved in a film from concept to release.

It is also about nurturing talent and projects that have an audience and market – whether large or small. Film producing is creativity within a box. The box is rules, budget, time, but I don’t see it as limitations. 

Google defines a producer as a filmmaker. It has also been compared to herding cats!

Why did you start working at your company? What was the inspiration for this career route?
I started my own company, Clique Pictures, in 2006 to produce a short film. The same year I started developing my first feature film project and I haven’t stopped since. I was inspired to pursue a career in filmmaking when I was 11 years old in Hazelton, B.C. My parents let me stay up late to watch the Academy Awards and 11-year-old Anna Paquin won the Best Supporting Actress Oscar for The Piano. I thought, ‘if she can do it, maybe I can do it, too’. 

What is the best part of what you do on a day-to-day basis? The most challenging part?
Producing is about creativity, teamwork and business, and I love the mixture of it all. The job requires balancing all of these seemingly conflicting interests to make one product – a film. The challenge is how all encompassing it can be. When I’m in production, the world outside the film disappears and all waking hours are dedicated to the movie. 

Where do you see yourself in 5 years?
Producing is ever-evolving and I love the constant learning involved. In five years, I want to continue being a producer of content – the size of the screen doesn’t matter and it is definitely changing. There are many directors, writers and producers I would love to work with as I build my career so hopefully I will have the opportunity. I also hope I have the wisdom to take a deep breath and enjoy what I have accomplished.


What does success look like to you?
I gage my success on my own satisfaction and whether I’m proud of my work. Film exists for audiences so of course I want people to like it, but there is something magical about watching a finished film that I was involved in making before it is released. 

What is the most memorable milestone in your career?
Winning the Genie Award for SAVAGE with writer/director Lisa Jackson and producing-partner Lori Lozinski. To have a film recognized by our peers and to win with friends was incredibly exciting. It was a wonderful pay off for a project that we worked so hard to create. TIFF 2012 will also be a huge milestone with two films in the festival (PICTURE DAY and FROST), as well as participating in the Producers Lab in Toronto and the inaugural TIFF Studio. It hasn’t sunk in yet though. 

Do you have any advice for other young professionals?
It takes hard work to achieve your goals but the best piece of advice I’ve ever read is in US Producer Lyndo Obst’s book Hello, He Lied: “It is just as important to move on in the wake of stunning success as it is in the wake of disaster.” It is great advice. It is too easy to get caught up in success or failure and it prevents you from moving forward to new projects, new partners and new challenges. 

Do you support any charities? If so, which one(s) and why is that important to you?
I support various charities throughout the year. Last month I donated to the Canadian Film Centre to support local independent production and the Lung Association in support of my father’s two-day cycling ride. I’m inspired to donate to causes where people are doing something as well as fundraising. My husband and I also support the Humane Society. I’m developing a feature documentary about social change so I often think about where my money goes and if it is affecting change. 

What to you is notable?
I’m inspired by risk takers – people who are willing to strike out on their own. I know how scary it can be and I understand there are moments of doubt. It would be easier to work for a larger company but I love the hands on aspect of owning my own business and the ability to choose my own projects. Two of my best friends recently started their own companies, Keltie Leanne Designs and Bailey’s Brides, and I’m so proud of them both. It is hard to take that leap but the challenge makes the success all the more satisfying. 

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Describe your ideal retirement: how old will you be and how do you plan on spending your retirement years? (Sponsored by the TD Redefine Retirement Contest)
My ideal retirement will probably not be complete retirement. I hope to be in the position to be very choosy about what projects I’m involved with and my role as producer or executive producer will evolve. I hope that my semi-retirement allows for me to travel.  

What are you looking forward to most about retiring? (Sponsored by the TD Redefine Retirement Contest)
I haven’t really thought too much about looking forward to retirement. There is so much in life that is about doing something for an end goal. It seems like wishing my life away so I’m happy with what I’m doing now and I hope that as I move forward in my career, and in life, that I will continue to be inspired by working with others and creating projects for others to enjoy.