Loren’s been a producer at Clockwork Films since 2021, and working as a producer for almost 25 years. He’s endured almost every type of shoot it’s possible to endure, and enjoyed nearly all of them.
He speaks to LBB about how he managed to make a career doing what he loves, and, somehow, never fall out of love with it.
What first attracted you to production – and has it been an industry you’ve always worked on or did you come to it from another area?
Story. I love characters. The art of film…movies or content. I’ve wanted to do this since I can remember. It’s all I ever done.
What was your first role in the production world and how did this experience influence how you think about production and how you grew your career?
In high school I volunteered for film festivals…handing out brochures and checking I.D.s I started as a PA. I’ve never looked back. I was good at what I did. And I cared and was smart…as lame as that might sound…but you have to think on your feet. So, I got more responsibility.
How did you learn to be a producer?
Mistakes. I think it’s part an innate talent and part knowing when you lost the plot. And learning from that. Being yourself is important too. You’ll find work that fits who you are.
Looking back to the beginning of your career, can you tell us about a production you were involved in where you really had to dig deep and that really helped you to grow as a producer?
I mean…really…all of them. They are all the same, but all different. Each one is a challenge…and a test. It’s like being able to start your marriage over time and time again until you get it right.
A good producer should be able to produce for any medium, from film to events to digital experience. Do you agree or disagree with this statement? Why/why not?
I don’t agree. And I do. I don’t do events. Different skill set. TV, film, commercials…they are all very different businesses with different people in power. It’s the writers for TV, directors for film, creatives and client for commercials. The part that is the same is making it all come together…without ego. I could learn digital….but I’d rather hire someone who knows it better than me.
What’s your favourite thing about production and why?
The team mentality would be my first instinct here. It’s a well planned, to the minute exercise. The object is not taking the beach head, but creating art…even if it’s a dog food commercial. So, we are all in it together. But, things change and you have to adjust…you have to trust the person next to you. As a producer…if you can create that vibe…it’s a much better day.
How has production changed since you started your career?
Money. But, it’s always been fun, and stress, and counting on people you might have met that day. I’d say not much has changed…it’s still production.
And what has stayed the same?
I’ve walked onto a stage or pulled up to a location and it’s no different than it was 20 years ago. I got in when I was young…I see young people on sets. The desire to be on a set and create something is the core of it all…and that hasn’t changed. The rest is just different boxes to tick and different phone calls to make.
What do you think is the key to being an effective producer – and is it something that’s innate or something that can be learned?
I’ve used the word innate here a few times. Completely. Can you be a good producer by working and learning and going to a film school…possible. But, there is still a thing about art and I’ll always call it art…where you have it or you don’t.
“Choose your corner, pick away at it carefully, intensely, and to the best of your ability and that way, you might change the world,” -Charles Eames
Which production project from across your career are you most proud of and why?
Too many….and all of them…truly. The fact that I’m still working makes me most proud.
And in terms of recent work, which projects have you found to be particularly exciting or have presented particularly interesting production challenges?Each one has it’s own problems. The exciting ones…they are the ones with directors or people I like to work with. Location searches. Casting…one of my favourite things. The one where the rain stopped right as the sun was about to set and we got the drone up just in time. That was a good one.
Producers always have the best stories. What’s the hairiest / most insane situation you’ve found yourself in and how did you work your way out of it?
I’m sorry…this is like a book to write. They all are great. Walking up to a talent and saying a couple of words and it only took one more take because it finally clicked and we could move on. Helicopters in the dessert. Last minute…director says I need a helicopter to rise up below this bluff and reveal the actor. Wasn’t planned. Not in the budget. Phone calls and luck. But, I’ve had hungry crew and no restaurants close by on an overtime shoot. That can be hairy, too. Have you ever shot jewellery….I mean that’s hairy. I’ve been in this business long enough to know that any crew member can tell you a good story.
What are your personal ambitions or aspirations as a producer?
To work with people I like and admire. But, admire because they are talented and also good people. I produce all day long…at work and at home. So, doing it well. Creating art with great talent and crew. I’ve done that. My aspiration is to keep doing it.
As a producer your brain must have a never ending “to do” list. How do you switch off? What do you do to relax?
Trick question. I’m writing this at 6:30 at night. It’s 24/7. I don’t have to switch off in a way because I love what I do. As long as I make sure my daughter’s homework is done and we take a short hike, she knows I’m always thinking. But, spending time outside. Sun. Salt water. You have to disconnect in your way. Several times a day. Laugh with a friend. Music and cooking at the same time. I meditate….and I write…even as bad as this grammar is.
Producers are problem solvers. What personally fuels your curiosity and drive?
You’d have to talk to my therapist and interview my parents. I’m just curious about certain things…that doesn’t end. I don’t care much about the Hadron Collider. I’m not that curious about that. But, I’ll say, “wow, cool.” Show me a movie or TV show or a TikTok….my brain ignites.
What advice would you give to people who are interested in becoming a producer?
It’s a learning process. Be patient. Work as hard as you can. Do it because you love it. It’s not for everyone.
From your experience what are the ingredients for a successful production?
How long is a piece of string? It takes so much. And so many people working hard. I’ve never had an unsuccessful production. So, I really can’t say. Hire good people. Cross your fingers. Be ready at any moment for anything. Solve the problem when it’s a problem. Stay in the moment, but look ahead. Failure is poking around all the time…just keep an eye out…and don’t let fear keep you from thinking. There’s a way out. And then it’s a masterpiece. And….most importantly, fun.
What’s the key to a successful production-client relationship?
That’s a hard one. That’s the innate part. Knowing what they want. Slowly feeding in what they should have. Making sure your director is still in the game. That’s years of experience and knowledge to figure that out. Trust. Build trust in the best way you know how. But, that goes for any relationship.
One specifically for EPs: Producers are naturally hands on – they have to be. How do you balance that in the more managerial role of an EP?
I’m a hybrid. I can’t not produce. But, staying in touch with our producer and letting them be themselves, but making sure that they represent you and your ethos at all times. I like working with directors and crew too much to be a true EP, but I want my client relationship built my way…so I have to focus on that. Build that trust. And, let my producer do their job. Plus, their job is way more stressful. So, I’m good stepping back when I feel like it.