We had the good fortune of connecting with Taunya Gren and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Taunya, can you walk us through the thought-process of starting your business?
I started life as an actor. Seriously, I was stealing my mothers Shakespeare comic books at the age of three and acting out all the roles in my closet. After years of theater in Utah, California, Ireland and more, I made the transition to film and television acting which fit my style better. But after time I found myself becoming very dissatisfied with the kinds of projects and roles out there for women, particularly older women. So, during a divorce and a job change I really pondered and decided that the best way to take control of the roles and films I was part of was to begin producing them. One of my favorite quotes is “No man has more power than the one who speaks to you for two hours alone in the dark.” Well, this woman is trying to utilize that power (the power of film and media) to build rather than destroy and to grant opportunity rather than steal it away. And that is done through the power of producing with my own company, my own films.
Let’s talk shop? Tell us more about your career, what can you share with our community?
Is it easy you ask? Well, the answer would be no. Making film is not easy. First, it’s a business so you have to have a business head to handle money, insurance and more. It’s also a collaborative venue… when you get an entire cast and crew of artists together, there is always a bit of bruhaha involved. It’s not easy… but it’s worth it. How many film quotes do you use in your daily life? How many films truly changed your view of the world or yourself? it’s a powerful thing. Of course, the truth of the matter is that that isn’t why we do it. Once you’re an artist (in whatever role your art requires) you can’t NOT do it. How hard it is, how much of a struggle… that isn’t the metric that helps us choose. We have no choice. We’re artists and we must art.
Any places to eat or things to do that you can share with our readers? If they have a friend visiting town, what are some spots they could take them to?
First day I would take them to all the typical tourist traps. Hollywood and Highland, Grohmans, Venice Beach, The Museum of Death if their constitution is strong enough, and so on. (seriously, the Museum of Death is not for the faint of heart. It’s not what you think it is.) Once that was out of the way, the next 5 days would be all about the small places where the reality of LA lives. The tiny coffee shops filled with screenwriters and film execs having coffee meetings. Seriously, if you want a slice of real LA, go to a coffee shop in Culver City or Studio City and you won’t be disappointed. The bars where joy and sadness live hand in hand in this crazy city. The hole in the wall Mexican diner by the La Brea tar pits with the amazing food and the owner who will help pay your parking meter if you need it. The myriad of ethnic cuisines you can’t find in most other cities. Ethiopian, Nigerian, Persian, Moroccan, real home made Thai food and more. The colorful Hispanic strip malls with fountains and wonderful clothes and food. The myriad of festivals from the Cambodian parade to the HIspanic days to the Holi colors and lights. The science museums and yes, the La Brea tar pits which are more science than tourist to me. One day would be taking them out to the Griffith Observatory and a nature hike up to the man made waterfall and ruined house in the Grenada hills. The wonderful Thrift Store in Topanga Canyon where you’ll find the most amazing and unusual items. The last day.. well, the house of Mouse deserves an honorable mention to me. Yes, it’s trite, yes it’s corporate and expensive, yes it’s so many things…but it is also magical. Even my adult children will go to Disneyland when life is just a little too rough and it always helps. Eat at the Mexican restaurant in classic Disneyland by Thunder Mountain for shade, a generous amount of food and decent prices. Do Space Mountain twice and close your eyes the second time to get the woosh and the music and the scent. Hit the Tiki Room in the heat of the day and enjoy the pineapple ice cream. Both parks are wonderful, but original Disney has my heart always.
Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
My children have always been my biggest driving force, biggest supporters and strongest moral compass. I have a LOT of people who have helped me over the decades, but they are the ones with the largest influence.
Beckett Gladney, Gretchen Faulk