AE: I was going to ask you about that. I know you also worked with her on a short, The Bug in My Ear.
HL: The Bug in My Ear was a short that we did mainly as a reel for Trish. Chris Racster and I produced it with Trish to get her a reel, and the funny thing is we started showing that reel around and the next thing we know, it’s getting submitted to film festivals. That reel enabled us to raise all of the money to make April’s Shower. And April’s Shower is a move that all these different actors wanted to do and directors. And it’s just turned into a totally different kind of film. It was really more about the story. And I asked Trish quite frankly, “Do you feel like you would be okay if someone else directed this film?” And she thought long and hard about it, so we decided to make the film with her directing. And like I said, it was a real labor of love.
AE: And you said it ends up being about six years in the making?
HL: Yeah, well, from the time that I read it until the time that we actually got it in the can, it was exactly six years. That’s reading it and still being a model and having that whole career and then going off and producing other things. And since doing that, I’ve produced other short films that — pretty much everything I’ve produced has won an award somewhere or another. And I say that because it’s just like I’ve gotten to make all of the stuff that I’ve produced has got a gay theme to it, with the exception of Offside. The two shorts that I co-produced for POWER UP, Little Black Boot and Promtoversy, those actually turned out to be great little films that are airing, I think, on Logo right now. I’m not sure if it’s on Logo or Q, quite frankly. I know that between the three networks — Logo, here! and Q — I’ve got something airing. Which is great, because I think that we need all three networks to succeed.
AE: Right, definitely. It’s great that they all came about, I think.
HL: Oh, yes. Absolutely. It’s just that everybody has a different agenda, and why else do you think we have, you know, 500 channels on TV right now? You know, there’s something for everybody.
AE: With the shorts that you’ve participated in, either acting or producing, you’ve worked with Roberta Munroe and Guinevere Turner in addition to Trish Doolan… It just seems like you’ve worked with a lot of queer directors, and women particularly. I was wondering if that’s been a conscious choice or more a matter of who you know.
HL: Well, you know, I think it is. I’d be lying to say it’s an unconscious choice. It was definitely a conscious choice. You know, Roberta Munroe is somebody I really respect. So when she asked me I said, “Absolutely. What do you want me to do?” I went out and brought food and
coffee and all kinds of stuff to the set when she was shooting, and then got to act in it. My producing partner Deb Schneider and I did a short film called Hung with Guin Turner, yet another writer/director within the community, another lesbian director. And Trish to me is…
You know, we also happened to be in a relationship for seven and a half years, so we really helped build each other in our careers.
AE: Is that a current relationship?
HL: No, we are just friends now.
AE: And you’ve been working together even since breaking up?
HL: Well, luckily most of the work was done before we broke up, otherwise I don’t know how we would have finished it. [Laughs] No, we actually had finished everything and were in the process of signing a deal and selling the film and everything else. Yeah, it can be very challenging being with someone and working with them in a 24/7, day-in-and-day-out job. It’s very hard to let go of the job.
AE: I can only imagine. So, how has it been when you’re working on a film both as an actor and as a producer? How do you juggle those roles?
HL: It’s a little bit difficult. It’s different being a host. So doing television, doing X/A and also doing Brunch, well, especially since Brunch is live, that’s really a different animal. So, doing that is so in the moment. There’s no reshoot, there’s no take two. So it’s like being aware of what you’re doing in the moment. Acting and producing in April’s Shower was definitely
challenging because I was all too aware of what it costs hourly for us to shoot that film.
So Trish would say, you know, jokingly, that Honey was one of the more difficult actors,
because I’d be like, “Okay, we’re moving on.” And she’d say: “Uh, we’re moving on when I say we’re moving on.” And it would actually be almost ridiculous because I’d be like, “How many feet of film did we just shoot?” It was ridiculous. So I definitely had to relinquish my control as a director. It’s different being a writer and then acting. Because once you’ve written it, you’ve written it. Then if you’re acting you just move into that.
AE: You don’t have to simultaneously juggle those.
HL: Right. But what we did, my co-producers and I, was we’d schedule the film and then I would shoot nights or I would shoot days in a row, and get past them. Shoot out all of my
scenes and then I could focus on producing.