It all Started when…
Karen and Larry Grau officially launched Calamari Productions in 1998, after a decade of journalism and education policy experience. Founder and Chief Executive Karen Grau brings 25 years of broadcast experience to all Calamari projects, from her time as a radio and TV news reporter to the two decades she’s spent creating and producing award-winning documentaries and series under the Calamari banner. Her career also includes three years as Deputy Legislative Director to former Indiana Governor Evan Bayh, where her work included analyzing the content and fiscal impact of legislation drafted by state agencies under the jurisdiction of the Governor's office. Karen also assisted in writing three State of the State addresses. In 2014, she was named a Knight Foundation Fellow in Ethics at Washington & Lee University.
Larry Grau served as Senior Education Policy Executive to former Indiana Governor Frank O'Bannon, where he drafted and directed several major initiatives enacted into law, including creating a stakeholders' education roundtable, a statewide comprehensive education accountability system, establishing the state's first alternative education program, and creating Indiana's initial early education reading diagnostic policies and programs.
Today, Calamari Productions remains the only production company in the United States with special waivers granted by various state Supreme Courts to bring documentary cameras inside child welfare juvenile courts, venues that are—by law—closed to the media and the public. Calamari has turned that trust and extraordinary camera access into unprecedented, award-winning documentary series and video content used around the globe, from television outlets and networks such as ABC, NBC, MSNBC, A&E, MTV, Dateline NBC, Hulu, Nightline, Good Morning America, 20/20, Court TV, PBS, Bio and Channel 4 (UK), to universities and state governments around the country. Calamari video content is used for education and training purposes in over 14 countries, 200 universities, 25 Policy and Advocacy organizations and 85 state government agencies and facilities.
Karen opened the doors at Calamari Productions back in 1998, when female-owned TV production companies were barely an ‘ink splot’ on the radar. Her years in radio and TV news along with her time as deputy legislative director to governor Evan Bayh, gave her a unique window into the power of storytelling that eventually put Calamari on the award-winning map. Today, she continues to take a hands-on approach to all Calamari projects and—true to her Italian heritage—insists on lots of food at Calamari HQ for members of the “Squid Squad” family. In her spare time you will most likely find her rescuing homeless animals when she’s not behind a camera or in front of a plate of pasta.
Larry brings the research and policy braun to the Calamari team (and the donuts when we’re on location!). From his time as senior education policy executive for Governor Frank O’Bannon to his published books and reports on early education reading diagnostic policies and programs, Larry understands the deep connection between explanatory journalism and public policy issues. He’s the guy who helps turn Calamari TV series and films into new laws and policies that effect change for a better world. When it comes to the education, policy and research tentacles of Calamari, Larry is the guy who gets it all done.
Piers has managed to bring breathtaking beauty to every film and TV project produced at Calamari, even when he's confined to filming inside America's most difficult prisons. His extraordinary talent and ability to handle any production crisis, large or small, has made him an invaluable family member here at the Squid. Piers’ director of photography skills have also been featured on TV series for ABC, Food Network, Animal Planet, TLC, A&E, MTV and numerous other media outlets. There’s even the legendary story of an octopus leaping out of the water to greet him during a film shoot early in his career — clearly foreshadowing epic Calamari adventures ahead. Simply put, there's no one we want leading the Squid Squad more than Piers!
If you’re lucky enough to have a family member who keeps everyone entertained while effortlessly creating content and TV series that do the same, you know you’re in special company. That’s Gabe! His work has appeared on numerous network and cable TV outlets, including A&E, Animal Planet, Bravo, NBC, Lifetime and Discovery, to name a few. Here at Calamari he’s the nerve center of show development and production, and we’ve stopped trying to keep up with his travel jiu jitsu. Gabe’s the guy who keeps ideas flowing, productions on track and his fishing poles at the ready no matter where the squid squad roams.
One of Calamari’s most seasoned and creative talents, Jim is always the hardest working guy on the team. His director of photography talents have been featured on NBC, CNBC, Bravo, A&E, Discovery and MTV, and that’s just for starters. From gorgeous camera work to in-depth documentary development and production, Jim is a force of nature here at Calamari Productions. When he’s not running circles around other team members half his age, you’ll definitely find him jamming on one of his wicked bass guitars, or behind the wheel of his legendary RV traveling the country with his family.
Chandler absorbed all-things-Calamari from an early age (the company, not the appetizer) learning every aspect of the production world through his own curiosity and creative talents. His love of photography has taken him from gigs such as photo assistant for Golf Digest, to some of the most remote mountain locations in the Pacific Northwest for the Oregon Dpt. of Fish and Wildlife. Here at Calamari, his artistic diversity is on full display from content creation and still photography, to film, editing and social media. In other words, Chandler ushers in a whole new era at Calamari Productions, one poised to be the most exciting and creative in the Squid’s two decade history!
Alex, or “Chaps,” is part of what we call the “Dynamic Duo” at Calamari. When he and Chandler are shooting, editing and churning out content together, the rest of the pod relinquish the creative juices to the young guys! Alex brings a distinctive vision to Calamari’s video and post production process that helps set the company apart from the rest. From his experience and dedication as a video assistant with the Los Angeles Rams, to his immense love of photography and post production from an early age, Alex is a stellar team player at Calamari!
Within just a few years of relocating to L.A., Riley has solidified his name and place among the giants. Because of his creative vision and talent, he’s worked with everyone from Pepsi, H&M and Pharrell Williams, to Karl Lagerfeld and Kevin Durant. Using his camera to tell stories from New York to Macau, Riley’s rising popularity is also a result of his unique perspective, combining the flavor of his own artistry with what his audiences crave — not just image, but feeling. With his rare talent and amiable personality, he’s a perfect family member here at Calamari.