An interview with Felise Garcia | The Honey Trapper | VMA20 BEST WEB/TV SERIES | April Edition
When it comes to giving space and voice to one's inspiration and artistic skills, a true artist finds comfort in wallowing in the sea of their creativity.
And from this point of view, one cannot say for sure that the artist Felise Garcia is backing out.
Felise is a multiple Vegas Movie Awards winner in April as 'Best Web/TV Series', ‘Best Producer’, ‘Best Actress’, ‘Best Actor”, ‘Best Supporting Actor’, and ‘Best Duo’, with her Web series The Honey Trapper, of which she is writer, actress and producer.
An immense amount of work, which impressed our jury for the mastery and care with which it was packaged; especially considering that it was Felise’s debut project.
We had the honor to interview this young and very promising filmmaker. Here is her story.
• Hello Felise, congratulations again on your VMA successes! We read a little bit of curiosity about you, you are passionate and talented. We know that your work initially wasn't in the world of cinema: do you want to tell us about your past career in healthy nutrition and why you decided to change your vocation?
Thank you so much! I did work in nutrition and supplements for over ten years, but I graduated from college with a Bachelor of Arts in English. I’ve been writing since childhood, and I was also taking acting classes regularly throughout my career in nutrition, so the love for writing, performing, and cinema has been present in me for a long time. I’m incredibly thankful for all that I learned while in the nutrition and supplement industry because it helps me to maintain good health and stamina in my life that is also beneficial for working in the acting and filmmaking industry. I had been working on the concept for “The Honey Trapper” for a while, but I used to travel a great deal for work and never seemed to have enough time to fully expand on the script and gather resources to do filming. A few years ago, the supplement company that I worked for experienced a huge number of job layoffs, which included my former position. When that happened, I saw it as the opportunity to pursue the path that I hadn’t been able to reach before, and I went full force into finishing the scripts for “The Honey Trapper” and preparing to film the series.
• Every filmmaker knows how difficult it is to execute a project. You've written it, produced it, acted in it as the main character, handled the main cast, plus location scouting... Wow! Do you want to tell us about how you managed to handle everything, without ever diminishing the quality of the product you presented to us?
There’s a few reasons for that! First of all, this project was my baby, and anybody who loves their baby will do what needs to be done to take care of it no matter how much work it is. I do have a background in management also that translated well to my role as producer, and the key to a lot of this is applying a great deal of time management and preparation skills. Another part of effective management though is understanding it’s impossible to do everything by yourself and having people you can delegate things to and trust. I have some incredible friends who really stepped up when I needed it on this project. My associate producer/1st A.D. Amanda Sanchez and 2nd A.D./supporting actor Justin Morfin consistently rotated and helped me with managing various things both on and off set each filming weekend. This relieved a lot off my shoulders and because of them, I had an easier time this season being able to switch to “actor mode” when I was on set and had scenes to perform without having to worry about production duties. Yes, I did a lot, but I had some amazing help and support as well.
This project was my baby, and anybody who loves their baby will do what needs to be done to take care of it no matter how much work it is.
• The TV Series was a big challenge: what persuaded you that it was the perfect format for your first project?
My favorite books growing up and stories I’ve written have been in the series format, and I’ve always especially loved watching TV series. The fact that you get to follow these characters for an extended period of time in their lives has always reeled me in and made me develop an emotional investment. I remember even crying as a child if a series ended or characters got changed because it felt like I was saying goodbye to some dear friends! I wanted to give the audience the opportunity to really get to know and become invested in the lives of the characters in “The Honey Trapper” as much as I did when I created them, so I knew right away that it was going to be a series. • What difficulties did you encounter during the making of The Honey Trapper?
Oh my goodness we could be here all day with that. I’m sure so much of it all filmmakers can relate to but that didn’t make it any less stressful when we were dealing with it! Just to mention a few things, there were days we had storms when we were trying to film exterior shots, a location fell through at the last minute and an alternative had to be found within a week, a crew member ended up in the hospital and we had the 1st AC also handling sound for two days. No matter how much you prepare, things are just going to happen, but I had a hardworking and dedicated crew that was determined to help me stay on schedule and get everything figured out!
• In The Honey Trapper you wisely mix action, humor, mystery and emotion. Who or what inspired you to write the script?
So first, life in general inspired me to incorporate all of the elements you mentioned because they are all experiences we have in life. I’m sure anybody can attest to how suddenly a day can go from good to bad or calm to chaotic, how one minute you can be miserable but the right person can make you laugh, and how unexpected things can get thrown at you. Additionally, I live in an area where TV and film production are scarce, and even more scarce are projects with female leads, so I decided to take matters into my hands and create my own content. I figured out that if you’re not getting the opportunities you want, it’s in your power to make them.
• In the series we see you playing alongside Brian Shorkey, with whom you won the Best Duo award here at Vegas Movie Awards. The feeling between the two characters is perfect. What made you choose Brian as your ‘partner in crime’ on the set?
I’ll try not to embarrass him too much, but Brian is not only a great actor, he’s also a great person. Those two things combined make him an incredible acting partner. I was fortunate to have had a chance to work with him before the casting for Season 2. I really admired the unselfish goal he always had, which was to be sure he was honoring the story and character he was performing as the creator envisioned, and he wasn’t afraid to take risks. His energy, talents, and qualities embodied what I had in mind and needed for the new co-star character I developed and that he played in Season 2. I honestly couldn’t see anybody else in that role. I had no doubt that he was going to bring even more to the character than I could’ve imagined, and I always had fun working with him on set. I will forever be grateful to him for how much he took this project to heart.
• Which of the many ‘hats’ you wore in this first project best expresses your talent and why?
One thing I learned on this project is that each hat I wore is a big part of who I am in its own way, no more and no less. I can’t say that I express my talent more in acting or writing or producing because each one is a unique skill, but I can say that I feel incredibly fortunate and thankful to have different talents that I can enjoy!
I’m sure anybody can attest to how suddenly a day can go from good to bad or calm to chaotic, how one minute you can be miserable but the right person can make you laugh, and how unexpected things can get thrown at you.
• We know you are studying stenography: with what other studies do you plan to enrich your already prodigious talent?
Stenography takes a lot of daily practice because it is like learning a new language and instrument simultaneously, so I’ve been spending quite a bit of time on that. I do have a great love for learning new things and staying mentally stimulated though, so my next goals are to learn yet another new language (in particular Italian), take fight choreography lessons for film, get back to learning dance choreography, and continue working on the craft of screenwriting.
• What are your future plans? Do you want to give us some anticipations?
I’m going to continue pursuing all my loves of acting, writing, and filmmaking. I’m also excited to say I have a few project ideas and scripts currently in the works. As I mentioned earlier, I love the TV series format, and I plan to bring another series to life in the future. I have a few other things in mind, but I have to leave room for some surprises. Stay tuned!
• The Honey Trapper is a series that at times like this can definitely satisfy our hungry Series/TV fans: where can they find the complete series and know more?
I plan to release Season 2 online later this year after it has completed its rounds in the film festival circuit, but Season 1 is available on Vimeo.com for those who would like to catch up and be ready for when Season 2 premieres! You can also follow us and find the direct link to the channel on our Facebook fan page at facebook.com/thehoneytrapperwebseries.
• Thank you for this interview and for being part of our Film Festival with your project. Good luck with your career, Felise!
Thank you so much, and thank you for the wonderful experience of being a part of this festival. Filmmaking is a lot of hard work, and it’s a great feeling when your work is appreciated and acknowledged. I look forward to submitting future works to Vegas Movie Awards!