We had the good fortune of connecting with T’ana Phelice and we’ve shared our conversation below.

Hi T’ana, what was your thought process behind starting your own business?
I guess I just realized that I was plan A. When I lived in Los Angeles I attended many events at the Richard Lawson Studio and he would always say, “You are plan A. Hollywood is plan B.” That stuck with me. I refuse to be the person that sits around waiting for someone to open up doors for me. I invest in myself and I invest in creatives that share that same philosophy. Talent is one thing, gusto’s another. The more serious I became about writing movies and plays, the more it made sense to make it an actual business.

Please tell us more about your work. We’d love to hear what sets you apart from others, what you are most proud of or excited about. How did you get to where you are today professionally. Was it easy? If not, how did you overcome the challenges? What are the lessons you’ve learned along the way. What do you want the world to know about you or your brand and story?
One of my challenges as a new writer was not having a network in the beginning. I didn’t know who to talk to or what door to knock on because I didn’t know anyone on my same path. That led to me bumping my head a lot. Lots of bad decisions for good reasons. At the time I was really hard on myself because I saw it as failure. But it was just a learning experience. Today I appreciate those tough moments. The hard lessons are what inspired me to return to school and learn the nature of the industry. I’m still learning every day but now I have relationships with actors, producers, other writers, etc…

What sets me apart from my peers is that I do the work every single day. I have zero tolerance for distractions. Everything comes second to my projects. When writer’s say “I don’t feel like writing.” I don’t relate to that. I want every project my name is on to be better than the last and that can’t happen if I’m not writing or studying or putting myself in a space that inspires creativity.

I also recognize how influential entertainment is, and because I know that–it’s important to me that people see successful black and latino people on screen. Yes, they have issues just like everybody else but they’re not always reduced to thugs and babymama’s in my films. As I grow, my protagonists grow. Today they are successful men and women just trying to figure out this thing called life.

I want the world to know that I intentionally tell gritty stories. They are honest, entertaining, and they always have an inspirational theme.

Any places to eat or things to do that you can share with our readers? If they have a friend visiting town, what are some spots they could take them to?
If my best friend was visiting I’d take her to Tempe Town Lake. I love the ambiance there. The water is beautiful and you can take a boat on the lake or ride over it on scooter. Lots of fun! Following the lake visit we’d probably eat at the Yellow Mushroom. The restaurant is about five minutes from the lake. After eating we would walk down to Fat Tuesday and have a drink.

Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
I want to thank all of the talented actors I’ve worked with along the way. Many of them have taught me how to be a better director… better at communication in general. Their trust means everything. Acting is a hard job. Lots of them have showed up for me on and off of the camera.

I’d also like to thank Tammy Martin-Ryles from the San Bernardino Black Chamber of Commerce and Naomi K. Bonman. Naomi was my publicist in the beginning of my career, when I had no clue about anything. She most definitely helped me find my way. She was the first person (outside of family and friends) to believe in me. That’s huge. She’s the journalist responsible for about 90% of the articles written on me and so much more. She has been amazing. And Tammy has been a woman that every woman can look up to. She’s works hard, handles business… she’s a teacher, a mom, and still manages to support her community every single day. That’s rare where I come from.

Website: www.tanaphelice.com

Instagram: tana_phelice

Linkedin: T’ana Phelice

Youtube: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCdXFn9F0Jj3fZjF18wdbn6A

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