Reel Women with Lauren Schwartz

Before starting at kaboom, Lauren worked as an executive at BBDO/NY and FCB/SF.  She applies this invaluable experience and massive “get it” factor to her EP role, anticipating client needs, and being a resourceful and ever-present guide throughout collaboration. Lauren’s hands-on approach includes her collaboration with agencies, clients and directors alike. Building and maintaining relationships is the foundation of this business and at Lauren’s core. She’s a member of OWNED and a West Board Member of AICP.

What’s your origin story?

I was an Army Brat growing up. And the thing about Army Brats is that they either end up being very outgoing people or totally screwed up. Luckily, I was the former.

How did you get into commercial production?

So being an Army Brat- where all I knew was what my Dad did (the military) and what my mom did (teaching)- I did not really know what to do when I graduated college. One older brother was an investment banker and the other was an Account guy at an ad agency. So I did an internship with both those industries.

And I liked advertising more. (I also applied to the CIA and got pretty far along in the process but that’s a story for another day.) I was hired at BBDO/NY into their account management training program. It took me about five years, at two agencies in two different cities (thank you FCB/SF for hiring me) to realize that I was not meant to be an account person but I should absolutely be in production.

I was given a job offer at ILM and at a small production company called Red Sky Films, opting for the smaller company. From there- I met a director who called me while I was in Bali- traveling around the world- and asked me to come back, produce a few jobs with him and be his partner at a new production company. This is the company that eventually became the kaboom of today.

Who were your mentors?

There were a number of producers at FCB/SF who I learned a lot from and really admired. A few who come to mind would be Kate Lee, Rob Thomas and Illiana Matisse.

As an account executive on Taco Bell, a fast-paced retail account, I also became a de facto assistant producer as there was only one producer on the account and there was a ton of work to do. I counted on these excellent seasoned producers to help guide me along the way as I learned production 101 on the fly.

While there will be others, what do you consider your biggest achievement to date?

Honestly, I feel like my greatest achievement has been my staying power in this industry. I have made it on my own (no investors or partners) for over 20 years…through at least 4 cycles of boom and bust, and the great Covid pandemic. The fact that we have stayed strong through all of it and continue to grow and expand – that’s my greatest achievement.

What drives you to create?

One of my greatest joys is when all the sales work is finished, the job is landed and prepped, and I can just be on set to appreciate the work my directors and crews are doing. I love taking on projects and delivering beyond what is expected. I love when agencies and clients walk away from collaborations saying it was one of the best shoots they have ever been on. Nothing beats those moments and it’s what drives me to keep on keeping on.

What shows are doing the best job of portraying strong women on TV?

The Morning Show has two strong female leads that show the ups and downs of facing sexism in the entertainment and new industry and what it means to be ambitious. The Crown reminds you about how incredible Queen Elizabeth’s story is, and the constraints she faced while shining a light on changing views over a span of many decades. Sex Lives of College Girls is equal parts guilty pleasure and smartly done series that is diverse and has complex female characters aplenty.

Coffee, Lunch or Happy Hour. Name a famous woman you would like to attend each function with.

Coffee- Gloria Steinem

Lunch- Hilary Clinton

Happy Hour- A tie between Reese Witherspoon and Mindy Kahling

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Lauren Schwartz