Melissa Garza Q & A

Jeremy Railton speaks to Melissa Garza.

JEREMY: Melissa welcome to our world. As you have discovered we have a very wide range of disciplines in our Company. Theme parks, Theater, Attractions, Television and Live Shows and even now, live birds and green habitats. I hope you are able to embrace the diversity that we at EDC love. What were you doing before you were here that made you confident that you could tackle the extremely challenging position of Production Manager for all EDC projects?

MELISSA: I was born confident, I have a firm belief that anyone can do anything if they put their mind to it. We all have gifts and talents that are unique to us, but we still have unlimited potential that we can always tap into. Coupled with the right encouragement and support anyone can move leaps and bounds in their life. But to answer your question, I was working in the visual effects industry on feature films and theme park experiences. I also have done some independent producing and assistant directing as well. So I’m used to working on projects that have a lot of moving parts and different personalities to engage with.

JEREMYHow did you find us or what was the process that you went through that happily got you to us?

MELISSA: I guess you want the real answer here, not the cookie cutter one… Well, I was very committed to finding my right divine livelihood from an event I went to called “Prayers in the Wind.” At the event, we set our intentions of what we were looking for in different areas in our lives. I personally wanted to find an opportunity that served my highest good. I prayed that the right opportunity would present itself. Eventually, I came across an ad on the Internet and found myself on EDC’s website. Since college, I have also wanted to work on mixed media experiences and I applied later that evening and was advised by a coach to see if I have any common connections to see if I could get a word of mouth recommendation. Low and behold my friend Chris was connected to Alex and he got the ball rolling. After five interviews I was offered the job and I accepted. So having faith, a supportive community of friends, and luck (living under cosmic knowledge) led me to EDC.

JEREMYWhere were you born and do you have any family stories that you would like to share with us so we can better know who you are?

MELISSA: I was born on May 21st, in Westminster, CA behind the Orange Curtain… known as Orange County LOL! My dad was an aerospace engineer and my mom managed a medical office when I was growing up. My mom used to always get mad at my dad for telling me scary bedtime stories about aliens and dinosaurs, but I loved every minute of them. We used to always go camping at San Onofre State Beach and I was a pretty good swimmer, I saved my dad once when he was caught in a riptide and also another cousin from drowning there when I was a kid. Come to think of it, I was a YMCA lifeguard, and I’m currently a certified Advanced Open Water Diver through PADI. Ever since I was in the fourth grade my love for the ocean and sharks has become a staple of mine. Over the years I have amassed quite a unique collection of shark memorabilia.

JEREMYDo you have any siblings and is your Grandmother still with us. Any stories there?

MELISSA:  Yes, I have one brother. His name is Lloyd and he’s one year younger than me. What makes Lloyd unique is that he is a mute and has the mind of an 8-year old, but he’s a little trickster sometimes. Think “Rain Man” but lower functioning. Growing up for me has always been different, I had a lot of responsibility when my parents divorced and had to become a caretaker pretty quickly. Also being raised with someone who didn’t speak or didn’t sign that much shaped a lot of how I picked up on social cues non verbally. I think this is the main reason why I ask a lot of questions, cause I’m used to having to ask someone something to get an answer rather than have a conversation. At times friends have told me talking to me seems like an interrogation, but I’m working on it.  As for my Grandparents, they are all no longer alive, but they are around in spirit. Especially my mom’s mom Josepha. On the rare occasion she pays a visit in my dreams or my mom’s dreams. My parents are from Texas in a small town called Kingsville, we used to always go there to visit when I was growing up.

JEREMYWhat was your education and where did you go to school?

MELISSA: I have my AA in music from Fullerton College and I have a BA in Theatre Arts and a minor in music from California State University, Fullerton. I went to Chapman University for my MFA in film production and created my own emphasis in digital effects and motion capture.  My thesis film “Captured Melody” won the Audience Award for best 3D film at the Big Bear Lake film festival in 2013. The film combined live action and motion capture technology to tell the story of a 12 year old girl who learns the secret to her own identity and the real meaning of love through a story her Grandmother tells her.  It’s a modern day fairy tale with a spin that “Love isn’t always a Fairy Tale”.

JEREMYWhat is your favorite movie?

MELISSA: This is a tough one, but two films share first place. Steven Spielberg’s E.T. and James Cameron’s Avatar.  Both films have strong themes that relate to how I grew up and what possibilities mean to me. I can’t wait for the next series of Avatar films, and I was happy to have the opportunity to work as a motion tracker on the first film during reshoots. James Cameron is, of course, my favorite film director and we both have similar ties in the OC.

JEREMYWho is your favorite band/musical artist?

MELISSA: My favorite musical artist is Madonna. Ever since I was in high school I loved her music so much. When I had blonde hair a lot of people have told me I look like her.  I saw her at Barney’s in Beverly Hills for her skin care line launch recently and I said to myself, wow we do look alike. It was a weird moment for sure. LOL! My favorite song and music video by her is “Nobody Knows Me” from the album “American Life” performed in her Re-Invention tour, which I went to, twice! I have always wanted to direct one of her tours and many of her music videos. Surprisingly, Madonna and James Cameron share the same birthday, August 16th. They both have inspired me in so many ways from the desire to direct and to perform and sing on stage at times.

JEREMYI know you to be a spiritual person, are you part of any organizations that help you to express that side of your nature?

MELISSA:I am currently a member of the Agape International Choir and have attended Agape for the past year or so for my soul food. I really love the community there and how they support members to become leaders and artists. I attended their Revelations conference this year and was extremely moved by all the speakers and new wisdom I had attained. I literally had revelations upon revelations. Serving as part of the choir really lets me connect with my spiritual side and I enjoy being part of a really diverse and creative group of singers.

JEREMYYou are around creative people all day do you have any creative outlets that you use to express yourself and exercise that muscle?

MELISSA: It depends, when I feel like being creative, I create. Creations range from fashion art with sharpies, directing films, doing animation, writing music, singing, writing my first book (which hopefully will be published this year), cross-stitching, cooking, coloring, drawing, photography, and making silly photos of friends with filters and emojis. I’ve even taken an electronics course recently to learn about creating things with LEDs.

JEREMYDo you have anything to tell us that would surprise us and that by my questioning you would not be able to talk about? Try to surprise us

MELISSA: Last year I ran for U.S Representative in the 34th congressional district special election in April of 2017. It was fun and I learned a lot about politics and I enjoy meeting so many interesting candidates. It really inspired me to be more active in my local community after the election.  Recently, I was voted in as a business board member for my local neighborhood council. I’m really grateful to be part of a diverse community who champions for their stakeholders. Maybe sometime in the future I will run again but as an Independent. Here’s a favorite quote from one of my favorite President’s who compared knowledge to light. “He who receives an idea from me receives instruction himself without lessening mine; as he who lights his taper at mine receives light without darkening me.” – Thomas Jefferson

JEREMY: Welcome to EDC

MELISSA: Thank you for having me and I look forward to seeing where spirit guides me in our EDC adventure together. I’m excited to what the future holds and rest in knowing that my path in life is always divinely guided.