She Made It: Angela Perea

As promised, this month I’m gathering interviews with women who finish stuff. My fellow public-school-employee-by-day, creative-genius-by-night colleague and friend, Angela Perea agreed to jump in and play.

What do you make? How did you begin?

I write, mostly short stories about couples who are non-traditional in the most traditional, Shakespearean way possible. I have two finished novels that have yet to be published, and the musing of a third. I also make short films. I’ve always considered film to just be another story telling medium, and a natural fit for me. I used to draw, but do that less and less as I get older. I would consider myself to be more of a doodler than an artist, and I’m happy with the freedom that this self-proclaimed title brings me. I do a considerable amount of arts and craft projects: crocheting (my mother taught me, she could crochet and watch TV at the same time and never look down), scrapbooking (my sister makes me to keep up with my niece and make one book a year), and some jewelry making (I love beads). I’ve always said that God gave me the crafting bug because he knew I would never be rich and would need to be able to make gifts instead of buy them.

Why do you continue to make stuff?

I can’t imagine what people who do not create something do once they get home from work. Do they just watch TV? Walk the dog? Clean the kitchen? How dreadful. I guess the best answer is I’m wired that way. That creating is how I refuel my life’s tank. Even while raising my three daughters, there was never a time when I didn’t have some project going on. Now that they are grown up, I’ve only ramped things up another notch.

What’s the best thing you’ve made lately?

I made a short film for the 2012 Denver 48 Hour Film Festival. This was my sixth year to participate and this year’s by far my best entry. I’m also crocheting a blanket for my youngest daughter for Christmas and I love the way it looks – all swirls and circles.

How do you balance your creative life, with everything else that needs to be done?

I think I’ve prioritized my creative ventures. Why? Because it refuels me and helps me find the energy for all of the life’s other (and arguable less exciting) details.

What advice do you have for others, who want to complete any type of creative project?

Find others to encourage you. Find others who also refuel with creative ventures and find others who understand you when you say, “I have to create or I’ll just die!” And if you think this sounds dramatic, than you don’t get it. 

How do you know when you’re finished with a project?

This is a tough one. Some projects never feel finished. For short film, there is always another shot you think of, or you meet an actor who would have been even better in a role. For short stories it’s when I stop thinking about them when I’m driving. I do my best thinking in the car and especially when a new story or new characters or new scenes are pestering me. Crafting projects are so much simpler to define as done. When the blanket is finished, when every step in the instruction is complete, or when adding one more thing to it would move it from the “cool” category to the “gaudy” then it’s done.

Speed Round – The A-List

Artist? Matisse, Proust

Author? Shakespeare, Wilde, Lawrence 

Actress? Julianne Moore 

Activist? I can’t think of a single one, which I realize is a reflection on me more than any of the activists that you’re probably thinking of right now.

Aspiration? published, remembered

Action? energy, movement (I realize I just defined the word action but I wanted to stay true to the instructions and not over think).

Advice? Never say “no” if you can say “yes”.

Thank you Angela! I’m personally inspired to get my own writing, painting and photography in gear, each day when I see you at work; it’s definitely an employee benefit to have a creativity coach in-house, just two cubicles over.

Image credits: The typewriter is from etsy vintage. The Denver 48 Hour Film Project mast head can be found here. The letter A, in all its glory, was taken from the Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy.

The Underwater Film Society

Photo credit: cool kids can’t die – Annie

I asked my friend Angela if she could recommend a few of her favorite water-based films, and she didn’t disappoint. She’s a kick-butt accountant by day, and a film-connoisseur/critic by night (along with her three film loving daughters). I loved hearing her talk about her choices, which surprisingly didn’t include Titanic. These aren’t necessarily for family viewing, so I’ll work on a PG version for tomorrow night… I’m regrettably typing this up while watching Dance Flick, so be thankful that Angela chose these movies instead of me, and forgive my imperfect paraphrasing!

1. Point Break “I chose this because the water represented freedom in both of the characters’ lives. The lead characters saw the water as an equalizer. And any time you have a large body of water, you have the theme of man versus nature which is classic.”

2. Young Adam “This is a really interesting film. He (Ewan McGregor) works on a barge, and he’s a writer, a drifter. The woman he loves is found murdered, in the water. Then he begins an affair with the barge owner’s wife (Tilda Swinton). In this film the water is a place of evil, a keeper of secrets.”

3. Desire “A man (Vincent D’Onofrio) and a woman (Greta Scacchi) meet as young adults, and a lifelong affair ensues. Water represents the space between them, both physically and metaphorically. He’s a fisherman, and while their love affair continues for decades, there’s always kept apart. For the woman, the water serves as a form of protection from D’Onofrio. At the same time, the water represents his isolation and it continually keeps him from connecting with other people.”

4. The Last of Sheila “This is from the late seventies; a really campy film about a gentleman whose wife dies. He invites a group of friends to a boat, and an Agatha Christie-esque murder mystery begins. Trapping characters on a boat in a film (or any story) immediately creates conflict and tension.”

5. Gremlins “I had to choose this – water makes them multiply!”

Thank you Angela! And I hope you like the photo I found, to accompany your choices… Not Keanu Reeves, but close, yes?