By Susan Doran

You might think that the real estate and film businesses have nothing in common, but according to Carl Laudan you’d be wrong.

He should know – besides being a real estate sales representative, he’s an independent filmmaker with many projects to his credit, including The Big Thing, which won awards south of the border and was nominated for a Genie here in 2005 for best live action short film.



Laudan has a foot in both businesses and he has found that the skill sets required for each are often remarkably similar. For starters, “connecting with your audience and knowing what they are feeling” is crucial in both real estate and film, he says.

Carl Laudan
Carl Laudan

Somehow Laudan continues filmmaking with his company Cinéman Films while also navigating a successful career as a full time salesperson with Bosley Real Estate, a family run brokerage headquartered in Toronto. Loss of sleep is par for the course, he says.

A direct result of Laudan’s career duplexing is his new feature length absurdist comedy, The Death (and Life) of Carl Naardlinger.

The film, which was shot in Toronto, funded in large part by the crown corporation Telefilm Canada,  produced by Laudan, and written and directed by his partner, Katherine Schlemmer, will soon have its world premiere at the Whistler Film Festival, where it is up for various awards. Among projects the two have previously teamed up on are the feature film Sheltered Life, which Laudan directed and Schlemmer wrote.

The Death (and Life) of Carl Naardlinger is a bit of a bouquet from Kate and me to Toronto, which has treated us so well,” says Laudan.

The plot revolves around two men with the same name and the coincidences that bind their lives together. Actor Grace Lynn Kung has a central role as – wait for it – a real estate agent. And not just any agent; in the movie Kung plays a Bosley agent and drives one of the brokerage’s signature electric Smart cars.

The film is infused with these touches of “Bosley corporate culture,” Laudan says.

The company has been supportive of his filmmaking in every conceivable way, viewing it as an asset where others might not, says Laudan. He is grateful, and in turn his advice to new agents is, “Choose the right brokerage. It’s important to be with a manager you can trust. Trust is everything – you need a great working relationship.”

When Laudan started in real estate he initially concentrated on it to the exclusion of filmmaking in order to build his client base. But he is adamant that filmmaking “brings a lot of success and confidence” to his real estate career.

“Both careers appear to feed each other,” he says. “This film has powered me forward, given me confidence and led to me doing the best I have ever done in real estate.”

It has taken him this long though to surpass the success of his first year in the business, he admits, laughing.

“Right out of the gate I was doing well. In my first year I passed a company threshold for gross earnings, which led to receiving a black Bosley Real Estate notepad/binder,” he says.

He now looks back on that as beginner’s luck.

“I’ve found that a successful practice is something that must be built over time from consistent learning and conscientious service.”

For the past couple of years Laudan has been part of Bosley Real Estate’s Urbaneer team, which specializes in the marketing, promotion and sale of what he refers to as “unique urban spaces,” including everything from freehold and condominium housing and loft conversions to investment properties and renovated and restored character dwellings.

“I found myself drawn to the loft conversion market,” Laudan says. “I feel surroundings matter, architecture matters. It can be a great determinate of how we live and how happy we are. So working between residential and commercial has always made sense to me. Homes aren’t just boxes to put people in. I try to find creative solutions for creative people when I’m lucky enough to represent them.”

Needless to say, a lot of his clients are drawn from the film and television industries.

Laudan turned to the real estate business six years ago, attracted both for practical reasons (in Canada there’s “not much” financial security in being a feature filmmaker, he points out) as well as by fond memories of his mother becoming a real estate agent back when he was a teenage math whiz finishing high school in Vancouver, where he grew up.

“It was exciting to get into something that would, as travelling had done, bring me to new people and relationships,” says Laudan, who is a film school graduate and along the way spent a lot of time teaching English and making experimental films in Europe and the Czech Republic. (He says it was “kind of a free-for-all” at the time. “The wild, wild East.”)

He also has a liberal arts education. Although he missed getting a degree (“just a few credits shy,” he laments), he distinguished himself at the University of Kings College in Halifax by founding the King’s Independent Filmmakers’ Society.

On becoming a real estate agent he was pleasantly surprised at how well the skill sets from his two careers meshed.

Laudan is mainly a residential agent but he has some commercial dealings, and in both he finds the business, computer, financing, investment and production skills he has honed in the film business useful.

“The more closely my film’s financials stick to reality the better the film will do, so I really feel how important thoughtful forecasting can be to all involved in real estate,” he states. “And there is virtually no skill we use in film direction that isn’t excellent to use in real estate negotiations.”

Next up in Laudan’s filmmaking career is directing a science documentary. As for real estate, he believes that Toronto is “still under-valued in a global context.”

He expects the market to remain strong, and the same goes for his passion for his two careers.

“For me, doing the two things, I am better at both because it allows me to be who I am.”

  • Alan M.

    Coincidentally, REM is currently running an article presently about: balancing a relationship and a career in real estate. The use of the word “balance” is reasonable as it relates to working and family life, as a balanced life is a healthy and necessary objective. However, to use the word “balance” as it relates to a career in real estate and another career that one may be pursuing simultaneously, is unreasonable — when the second pursuit also involves the pursuit of money or remuneration!

    Real estate professional, REALTOR’s, can’t reasonably ask a friend or substitute to step in and take over their role as a: parent, wife husband, or partner etc.. Consequently our personal lives do often times require balance. On the other hand, a real estate professional, REALTOR, can ask a colleague to participate in their business with them, so as to cover off any gaps (times they’re not available) in their service requirements to a Client. The Managing Broker of a real estate brokerage should be ensuring that his/ her sales staff who have other jobs or sources of remuneration that require of their time, have made the necessary arrangements with a colleague to ensure that there are not any gaps in their service requirements to clients.

    While there has been much debate over the years on REM regarding the subject of “part-time” REALTOR’s, when has a Managing Broker ever stated publicly how they ensure that a part-time REALTOR’s business is covered through collaboration with a colleague? Selling real estate is a: full time job! The simple truth of the matter is that if organized real estate was Regulated in a meaningful way — meaning proactively — it would be unlikely that any Managing Broker would ever hire someone whom they knew couldn’t provide a full time effort! The reason being that a “part-time” REALTOR who didn’t effectively eliminate any gaps in his/her service requirements to clients would be in breach of their Agency Working Relationship(s) — in particular the Fiduciary aspect of these relationships. Were Agency Relationships ever really scrutinized by the Regulatory Authorities, part-time REALTOR’s would be an obvious place to start, with any brokerage review, and the Managing Broker would be ultimately held to account!

    The public is led to believe that organized real estate is a Regulated industry. However, there is something inherently absurd and even dishonest, when as it relates to the subject of Agency Law and Representation that: the most notable, proactive, enforcement (at the risk of fines etc.) of clarity and integrity around ensuring which type of Agency Representation is applicable and ergo a particular consumer is entitled to, only comes down to whether or not a check-mark has been placed in the correct box on a contract!

    The only person who should be asking a REALTOR’s “manager” as to any practitioner’s commitment status, is the Provincial Regulator!

    • Carl Laudan

      Hi Alan, I work very hard and excel at both real estate services to my clients and, occasionally, at making films. Although there is a view that it’s ‘unreasonable’ to be a full time Realtor *and* do something else too, I decidedly reject that conclusion.

      I am part of a great team led by the exacting and excellent leadership of Steven Fudge (urbaneer.com) at Bosley RE. If I have to take a bit of time off during filming or travel associated with filmmaking I know far in advance and make appropriate disclosures and work with my team to make sure our clients are well served if I’m absent for a short time. I don’t have any kids, nor do we have any family. So I recognize that my situation is somewhat different from the norm.

      I’m happiest when working. I find that when I push myself to learn and work more the rewards are clarity and purpose: neither bad for either myself or my clients.

      “I think most people can learn a lot more than they think they can.” Elon Musk.

      Sincerely, Carl.

      • Alan M.

        Carl,

        What’s the greatest length of time that you’ve had to take off from real estate, in order to work to complete a film project?

        When you have to take time off to start and finish a film project, are your Buyer and Seller client’s given the option to terminate their contracts with you, should they not approve of your absence, and could they do so without being invoiced for your time and expenses?

        • Carl Laudan

          About two weeks at once.

          I’ve never been unlucky enough to be in a position where your question has relevance.

          Question for you: Do you have a family, kids, or have you ever taken a vacation of two weeks or more?

          • Alan M.

            Carl,

            I’m afraid I can’t reconcile your response above to your following previous comment, then: “Hi Dave, it’s not an easy balance sometimes.” But, best of luck all the same.

  • Dave

    How can you be a film director, have another business with his partner( an interior design company ) and yet still be considered a full time Realtor ?

    • Carl Laudan

      Hi Dave, it’s not an easy balance sometimes. I’m most certainly a full-time realtor though, just ask my manager! Cheers, C.