Getting to know… Randall Graham

District Ventures Plus, the marketing group that works exclusively on brands in Arlene Dickinson’s $100 million District Ventures Capital fund, has hired Randall Graham as creative director.

Graham started his career at Dickinson’s ad agency Venture in the 1990s, and spent the last 16 years at Bell Media, overseeing the brand partnership creative department for CTV and a number of other properties.

We wanted to get to know a little bit more about him, and here’s what he told us:

About that photo: I chose this photo because my family makes me feel like I can fly. (And so my kids never forget that I am the superior jumper.)

Favourite TV show of all time and why? M*A*S*H is the greatest show of all time, period. Hilarious comedy, sobering drama, satirical, thought-provoking and critically acclaimed. The finale still holds the record for most watched. Nothing else comes even remotely close, and we all know it.

Favourite thing about weekends? The cottage. I moved to Toronto about 15 years ago and learned about “cottage country.” I immediately halted all discretionary spending, and started saving for one of my own. In 2013 my wife and I bought ours; she let me call it RandalLand, not knowing the degree of branding she was in store for. I have signs, stickers, apparel, playing cards, drink coasters, a crokinole board and RandalLand Passports filled with merit badge requirements that you can earn if you visit.

Are you a morning person? What time do you set your alarm for? What time do you actually get up? I am not. I have two kids, so they wake us up around 6:30. My brain wakes up far later, substantially later than my wife would like.

Most important person in your life outside work? My moon and stars, wife Danielle and daughters Beatrix and Marigold. (And Nic Cage).

What did you want to be when you grew up? When I was a kid, I wanted to make movies. I was obsessed with the greats: Hitchcock, Spielberg, Lucas, and Burton. I would make short films with a VHS camcorder borrowed from the neighbour. I experimented with time lapse and stop motion. Carefully planning all my shots in camera. My father was a minister, and though he didn’t dissuade me from my desire to be a filmmaker, he was also very pragmatic. He suggested to me that I might never be able to support a family as a filmmaker, likening it to becoming a rock-star, and encouraged me to pursue a more practical career. In and around this time, I was reading a magazine interview with Ridley Scott. One of the questions was what he liked to do between movies, and he responded that he loved making commercials, that he loved the challenge of trying to tell a story in 30 seconds. My love of advertising began.

Nicest thing a coworker has said to you? “You’re the best boss/leader that I’ve ever known, and you’ve changed my life immeasurably. NO ONE has impacted my life trajectory more and I’m eternally grateful.” One of my crew sent this to me recently. I cried.

Favourite thing about this industry? Least favourite thing about this industry? Advertising is fun. It’s always changing and it’s almost impossible to become bored. And there’s nothing more satisfying than solving a problem. But it can be a cold place that lacks humanity and compassion. And I think we need a lot more of that right now.

David Brown