“A Day in the Life” with Toronto Director Matthew McLaughlin

A smile always greets you when you meet up with Matthew (Matt) James McLaughlin and his eyes tell you that he is “all in”. When you are with Matt you know that he is one hundred percent with you in the moment, wherever you are. The gift of total engagement is one he received from his late father James who passed away when Matt was thirteen. This significant life event contributed to the person that Matt is today; kind, gentle and a non-judgemental man who exudes enthusiasm, warmth and total acceptance in all his encounters.

Born and raised in Guelph Ontario, Matt’s talent, openness and infectious laugh served him well as he embraced many challenges at a young age. Never stepping back from new experiences, he found himself on stage doing a solo performance at age six leaving a crowded school gym of parents, staff and students in laughter. In high school, he became the Arts Council President, starring in plays while directing Beauty and the Beast at his former elementary school. After University, Toronto called Matt as it did many young ambitious artists and so at the age of nineteen he made the move finding work of his choice, while subsidizing his efforts working in Toronto’s hospitality and retail sector.

Initial career starts included a tenure with Peace Point Entertainment Group, working on Fresh with Anna Olsen, and doing spots on Style by Jury as he continued to find his stride. I recall a conversation with Matt where he said “always try to do something that you are afraid of.” He has always jumped into the deep end giving it his all, regardless of how insurmountable something seemed. And this is exactly what happened in 2008 when the economy took a significant downturn. As Matt struggled to find work, pay rent and put food on his table he founded his own company in 2009 and Bulldog Productions was born. He worked diligently putting in relentless hours networking, building a diverse client base, ensuring that all deliverables were met. Early in life, Matt always chose to represent the “underdog”, so no surprise that he championed many causes.

Matt’s own adolescent experiences and journey into adulthood as a gay man positioned him well to produced Courage In the Face of Hate, for Egale Canada, a documentary inspired to “prevent discrimination, bullying and hate crimes based on sexual orientation, gender equity and/or gender expression” designed for use in grades 9 through 12. His advocacy work continued as he went on to produce and direct the Embodiment Campaign promoting acceptance of body images for the Movember Foundation.

While dedicated to causes, Matt is nothing if not flexible as Bulldog Productions became involved in a diversity of projects including Fashion Week, interviews with Jeanne Beker, travelling with and filming for Out Adventures, providing one stop production services for a diverse range of corporate, commercial clients and events as well as numerous marketing and website ventures. His success in directing and producing FAK YAAS which was broadcast by OUT TV in 2019 was an embryonic and collective effort, long in the making, taking time to come to fruition; Matt always kept his eye on the goal, never lost faith in the cause or his team and demonstrated strong leadership throughout the project.

Matt’s insatiable love for animals has meant that he always had and continues to have numerous pets in his life drawing on his need to nurture and provide care, which is at his very core. His late bulldog Charlotte is credited with inspiration for Matt’s company name and now Lucy proudly carries on the name.

Friends and family would describe Matt as loyal, dependable and persistent, never stepping away from a difficult conversation, bringing honesty and integrity to his experiences. He fills a room with infectious laughter which makes you want to share time and space with him; you will always feel better after spending time with him, whether at work or play, at the gym, or on the dance floor, on a balcony sipping a glass of wine, strolling through Kensington market, walking your dog or cooking a meal together. Your spirit will be lifted!

-by Matthew’s mother

A candid photo Wade Muir captured on our recent project with Toronto Global
A candid photo Wade Muir captured on our recent project with Toronto Global
A behind the scenes shot of the infamous dinner scene in FAK YAASS the series.
A behind the scenes shot of the infamous dinner scene in FAK YAASS the series.
A behind the scenes shot of our “Make it your Own” campaign for Cornerstone Home.
A behind the scenes shot of our “Make it your Own” campaign for Cornerstone Home.
A shot Wade Muir captured while we filmed and photographed a Indian/Hindu – Mexican/Catholic fusion wedding.
A shot Wade Muir captured while we filmed and photographed a Indian/Hindu – Mexican/Catholic fusion wedding.
A shot from our FAK YAASS premiere party
A shot from our FAK YAASS premiere party
A pic from our first annual Bulldog Productions retreat, we are celebrating another year of hard work and collaborating together.
A pic from our first annual Bulldog Productions retreat, we are celebrating another year of hard work and collaborating together.
Some of the Bulldog team on our way to set.
Some of the Bulldog team on our way to set.
My partner and I with our dog Lucy, after a stroll through Riverdale Farms.
My partner and I with our dog Lucy, after a stroll through Riverdale Farms.

What hood are you in?

I live in the village in Toronto, some may call it the “Gay-bourhood as it’s long been home to the LGBTQ+ community. I have lived in this neighbourhood for over 12 years and whether I’m out walking my dog or on my way to a meeting, I’m always bound to run into someone I know, so it feels like home!

What do you do?

I’m a director, I guess is the simple answer. I work in TV & film and have also done a lot of work in the advertising world. I founded Bulldog Productions in 2009 and today I lead a growing team of highly skilled artists who create thought provoking content in a plethora of mediums.

What are you currently working on?

After directing and producing FAK YAASS the series, where I also worked as the music supervisor, I rediscovered my passion for music. So much of creating a magical moment on screen is also the audio world created around it. I feel like I am being drawn to music the same way I was originally drawn to story telling and directing a scripted scene. I can’t go into a lot of detail but for the past three months myself and a team of Toronto based musicians, producers and artists have been working remotely with the rest of the Bulldog Productions team on a couple huge projects! Although we are in the midst of a pandemic and COVID-19 has changed some of our day to day operations, my team and I are used to creating separately and then coming back to the table to piece things together. I’m using this time to dig deep into the creative process so that when we are on the other side of this pandemic, myself and my team will have several exciting new projects and stories to tell.

Where can we find your work?

You can find our current scripted series FAK YAASS on YouTube: https://youtu.be/za31vR3QizE

You can also see some of out other projects on our website: https://bulldogproductions.ca

Myself and my team are also pretty active on social media. You can find me on IG @matthewjamesmclaughlin

Our teams work on IG @bulldogproductions

 

 

 

Joel Levy
About Joel Levy 1921 Articles
Editor-In-Chief at Toronto Guardian. Photographer and Writer for Toronto Guardian and Joel Levy Photography