March 10, 2017

WIFT-T Showcase: Q&A with Maureen Grant

Award-winning editor, Maureen Grant shares her journey in the making of That’s My DJ, the importance of female and queer perspectives in the editing process, and the narrative freedom of web series.

That’s My DJ

Web Series | Fiction

Director/Producer: D.W. WatersonWriters: D.W. Waterson & Kaveh MohebbiEditor: Maureen Grant

That’s My DJ provides an unhinged look at the electronic music scene in Toronto. In this episode, Meagan finds herself in a steamy and intoxicating fling with her crush Hannah, who just broke up with her boyfriend. Despite Meagan’s better judgment and advice from her friend, she jumps head first into a relationship that may have been doomed from the start. (Summary by Alona Metzer, 2017 WIFT-T Showcase Selection Committee)

Award-winning editor, Maureen Grant shares her journey with Ryan Reaney (Producer & 2017 WIFT-T Showcase Selection Committee member) and WIFT-T Staff on the making of That’s My DJ; the importance of female and queer perspectives in the editing process, and the narrative freedom of web series.

Tell us about the creation of That’s My DJ. How was this project conceived/ brought to fruition, and how did you come on board? What attracted you most to the project?
D.W. Waterson, the series creator as well as director / co-writer / co-producer is actually a DJ herself, performing as Hey!DW. She wanted to make work about the spaces she inhabits as a musician, and the series was born. For Season 2, the series shifted focus to Meagan’s world as a promoter and her experiences as a queer woman in that space. It was important to D.W. to have a female and queer perspective in the edit suite, so she asked me to be part of it. It’s not often that you get the opportunity to help tell queer stories, and also be creatively involved from the script stage to picture lock. It helps us all craft stories that we truly connect with and care about.
That’s My DJ is a web series. How is working on this medium different than others?
Editing for a web audience is a bit different in terms of the way people are viewing it; you have a smaller window of time to tell the story and much more competition for attention. Web series are often independent, self or crowd-funded, and there’s a lot of freedom in the kinds of stories that get told, which is exciting. If you don’t see the content you wish you were seeing – you create it yourself with a team of like-minded people. I love that. 
DJ’s are mostly thought of as male but this series gives us insight from the female perspective. Was this an important part of its formation, and how were you able to use this perspective to tell a unique narrative?
The world of the series parallels the series creator’s own creative spaces. Homebrew, the party that Meagan creates and promotes in Season 2, is the name of D.W.’s monthly party. That experience definitely informs Meagan’s story line in Season 2,  as she creates the kind of party she wants to be at, invites female talent to be on board, and builds her community.
This episode deals with gay/straight issues but speaks to a universal story of relationships in the contemporary world. Can you speak to how you used these themes to illustrate the difficulties of modern romance?
The truth is that things are complicated, often! What was important to us was to allow the characters to be individuals, not labels, and to tell the story of two people who really connect and for whatever reason, it doesn’t last. No matter the outcome, it’s a relatable story of lust, love, and heartbreak.
What do you enjoy most about this episode, and like best about the series?
I love so many things about this episode, but I particularly enjoy the opening scene, which is perfectly written and executed. The performances are so strong, and we get to explore the deeper aspects of Meagan and Hannah’s ultimately complicated relationship. As far as the series, I admire the way it blends drama, comedy, and music video aesthetics to create a portrait of a music subculture.
What’s next for you?
I’m editing two feature films right now. I’ll take a small break and then we’ll see what’s next. I love what I do, so I’m always looking forward to the next project. To work with fun, creative people on projects I care about, it doesn’t get much better.
About Maureen Grant

Maureen Grant is a film and television editor based in Toronto. With a background in Visual Art as well as Film Production, she brings a strong creative sensibility to the stories she helps craft.

Since her residency at the Canadian Film Centre Editors Lab, she has been nominated for two Canadian Cinema Editors Awards, for the short film Still, and for Ingrid Veninger’s feature film He Hated Pigeons. It recently won the Special Jury Prize at the image + nation film festival “for its portrayal of grief, which says so much in saying so little”.

The short Your Mother and I which premiered at TIFF was shortlisted for Best Short at the BFI London Film Festival and won Best British Short Film at the London Short Film Festival. The web series That’s My DJ, Season 2, of which she edited 5 episodes, recently won Best Editing at the Independent Television Festival (ITVFest).

Maureen is currently editing the indie horror film Pyewacket, and the dark comedy Pretend We’re Friends.