We had the good fortune of connecting with Lauren Kleeman and we’ve shared our conversation below.

Hi Lauren, do you have a budget?
I’m an adamant believer that financial literacy should be part of the school curriculum because money is something that every single person has to deal with every single day. Through the years of freelancing I have gotten better at treating every month like it’s a “slow month” to make sure I always have a security blanket for emergency needs…or spontaneous trips. Living below my means is a big factor in saving money; it’s all about the ratio of money in, money out. You can be a millionaire and still live paycheck to paycheck! Plus, I was fortunate enough to grow up in a family that valued saving money – though we took frugality to an extreme! I stick to my financial goals by being hyper aware of every purchase I make and avoiding sales and hasty spending. When I bought my camera, I saved up and researched for 6 months before I finally decided on the body and another 6 months before I purchased the lens. But this gear will be with me for a lifetime and I know those extra few months of waiting were worth it. I want everything I spend money on to have a purpose, whether it’s a camera, a film class, or a spur of the moment adventure to the Grand Canyon. It’s also really important to me to support businesses that stand for a cause. If I can find a small business that is ethical, vegan, and sustainable or is involved in feeding children or fighting racial and economic injustice, I will pick it any day over a big box store. BUY the change you want to see in the world.

Alright, so let’s move onto what keeps you busy professionally?
As a shy, soft spoken person I have found art to be the greatest medium to express myself loudly and proudly whether it’s through writing, directing, sound mixing, music, dance or painting. My main focus is parody, satire, psychedelics, health food, fighting injustice and astronomy – a hodge podge collection of things that make me, me. I’m very excited about two projects currently! Last year I took the plunge and recorded my first album, which is near completion. It’s a space rock concept album accompanied with animation about a girl who dies and goes on an intergalactic journey through space as she returns her molecules to the universe. It’s atmospheric, cinematic, and has lots of fun science! Growing up I was never big into sci-fi and I think that was largely due to the genre being male-centric. I wanted to write a space epic in an all female universe that discusses death and all of my favorite astronomical things like black holes, spaghettification, and the Fibonacci sequence. My second project is a feature film in preproduction. With the help of my friend and colleague Andrea, we spent the quarantine writing a zany road trip movie that I plan to shoot next year in the Midwest. It’s about a group of friends that go on a road trip as a last hurrah before adulthood to see the farewell show of their favorite band. It’s inspired by movies like Naked Gun, Austin Powers, and Team America – and yes, there will be musical numbers! I have been obsessed with parody since the first time I listened to Weird Al, and this film is my calling card to the parody genre from the female perspective. Film can change the world! It humanizes historical events, challenges perceptions, teaches us, challenges us, brings to light the nuances of the human experience, and provides a space to tell and retell stories for future generations. The stories we tell shape the world and my mission is to tell stories I am passionate about and uplift the voices of those who need to be heard.

If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
I’m a big fan of trying new things so if someone visited I would want to show them my favorite spots, but also experience new things with them. If I was only doing things I’ve done before and there was no money limitations, this would be my list! Los Angeles Itinerary Sunday MALIBU: -A day at the beach, a bonfire, and sleeping in a tent while listening to the ocean. Monday VENICE: -Browse Erewhon, the bougiest grocery story of all time, to try some $15 charcoal juice and raw vegan kelp pasta salad. -Visit the mom and pop shops along Abbott Kinney and stop for vegan matcha soft serve at Shuhari Matcha Café. -Rollerblade down the beach until sunset. SANTA MONICA: -Browse the obscure move selection at CineFile To Go. -End the night with a classic film at the Nuart Theater. Tuesday HOLLYWOOD/FAIRFAX: -Vegan donuts and coffee from Trejo’s Coffee and Donuts. -Hike the lesser-known trail to the back of the Hollywood sign. -Look through records and movies at Amoeba music. -Hike up Griffith, tour the observatory and come prepared with questions about the universe to ask the astronomers who work there. After visiting the inside of the observatory, go out to the lawn with our telescope for amateur astronomer night. -End with sharing a meal at Rahel Ethiopian Vegan. Wednesday USC/DOWNTOWN: -Visit the science museum while they have a cool exhibit like “The Science of Pixar.” -Tour my alma mater, USC. -Catch a private screening of an upcoming movie with a Q&A from the crew at the film school. -Eat delicious thai curry soup from the Vegan Joint. BEVERLY HILLS: -Walk down Rodeo Drive to the art museum to see the original Salvador Dali picture book of “Alice and Wonderland.” Thursday BURBANK: -Lay a blanket on the grass during Street Food Cinema to enjoy a classic flick, live music, and gourmet street food. MIDTOWN: -Hang out at a rehearsal space and play music with friends. Friday DOWNTOWN: -Explore the Last Book Store. -Grab a taro boba. -Listen to an orchestra at Walt Disney Concert Hall. MIDWILSHIRE: -Eat our weight in avocado rolls at Ariyoshi Sushi. LEIMERT PARK: -Enjoy a show at Bananas, an independent music show case. Saturday PACIFIC PALISADES -Explore the eery trails and graffiti covered building remains at Murphy Ranch, an abandoned Nazi hideaway. -Eat the best vegan buffalo wings around at Veggie Grill. MAR VISTA: -Enjoy music night at Grandview Market, a grocery store/bar/music venue.

Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
My parents! As someone who pursued a career in art I am happy to have supportive parents who never doubted me going into the field or told me to pick a “safe” option. They have afforded me so many opportunities and I will forever be in their debt metaphorically and literally.

Website: meltingunicorns.com
Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/melting_unicorns/
Linkedin: https://www.linkedin.com/in/lauren-kleeman-5a7119133/
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/meltingunicornsmovies/?ref=bookmarks
Youtube: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCNam4MguOJ3udm8mvCSrizw
Other: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCt0_xDle0xdolUkqJFhrHZQ https://www.instagram.com/explaurentheworld/

Image Credits
Ange Bui Morgan Hartman Ben Eaton Tammie Valer Skedaddle Cairns

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