You Stretched... For All the Dancing We’re About to Do: An Interview With Raymond Arturo Perez
We take a moment to chat about film, life, and more.
Raymond Arturo Perez_
“I love to read and write. I watch tons of film and television. I enjoy stuffing my face. I enjoy traveling and jamming out to music. I attend dance showcases, plays, musicals. And when you can't reach me, it's probably because I'm dancing the night away to salsa, merengue, bachata, cumbia, or reggaeton.”
We had an amazing time taking a little time to get to know Raymond Arturo Perez. He’s a man of great taste and, to quote every article ever written about Amal Clooney, he has “beauty AND brains!”
What would the logline for the film based on your life up to this point be?
In an industry that has a long history of disregarding the Latinx experience, Raymond, a gay, nerdy, awkward Mexican American writer looks to break away from his shyness and apprehension of making space for himself by speaking up and broadening the film and television canon with our stories - the stories of Latinxs, queer people, and other underrepresented communities.
There seems to be only a finite number of queer creators with diverse backgrounds allowed to take part in mainstream media creation. Do you think there is a heavier barrier to entry and do you see that changing?
Is there a heavy barrier to entry? Absolutely! But is it changing? YES. IT. IS. It’s always been about who’s at the top - who is able to give opportunities to emerging writers and underrepresented communities. Ava DuVernay is noted for hiring women to direct her series Queen Sugar. And what’s amazing about this fact is what’s occurred because of it. There’s this notion that there aren’t enough female directors or that the female directors that are out there are not ready. Well, all it takes is someone to give the opportunity for these emerging artists to succeed.
With DuVernay’s support, these directors now have an episode under their belt. They have a credit to their name. And when the next season of Queen Sugar came around, DuVernay found herself in a predicament: all of the directors she hired in the previous season were unavailable because they were busy on other gigs now.
Since, she’s continued to hire female directors and continued to push these women into hiring lists of other series. That’s all it takes. We need people willing to give those opportunities. Fortunately, those people on top are starting to diversify and/or understand this.
What is your favorite thing, place, or person you go to for inspiration?
Dance is so inspiring to me. Obviously there aren’t superheroes in the real world but when you think about how dancers move their body and literally manipulate gravity... I go, well, maybe there are superheroes. I attend dance showcases as much as I can.
What’s the most exciting thing you’ve done recently?
About a couple years ago I decided to pursue my MFA in Screenwriting. I was so worried about a lot of things: quitting my stable job, accruing a large amount of debt, accepting that a job was not guaranteed at the end of the program.
This year I graduate and I cannot be more excited and proud of myself. All those things still hold true BUT I pursued it nonetheless because I believed and believe that my writing was worth the investment.
“When I realized West Hollywood - the gay neighborhood in Los Angeles - existed, I was amazed and shocked.”
As we’re chatting, it’s almost the 50th anniversary of Stonewall. What’s something the LGBTQ+ community should have learned in the years since that we still haven’t?
I moved to LA almost six years ago now. When I realized West Hollywood - the gay neighborhood in Los Angeles - existed, I was amazed and shocked. I thought I would be entering a welcoming environment that I didn’t always have growing up in Texas.
But with the acceptance of the LGBTQ+ community in LA, there also exists this intense division across many fronts. It’s disheartening. It’s easy to find yourself in a group with people so similar to you but it’s important to understand that our work is never done.
We must continue fighting for racial equality and compassion and trans equality and acceptance. We fight for those most scrutinized. We are all in this together. I think that gets lost a lot and in the fight for equality we must make sure that this fight leaves no one behind.
What media are you into right now?
I’m very excited about the queer and Latinx stories in television right now: Pose season 2 and Vida season 2.
I can’t wait for whatever Jenji Kohan, Ryan Murphy, and Shonda Rhimes have coming up next.
I’ve been jamming out nonstop to Kevin Garrett a lot lately. Caught him in concert a couple weeks back. His voice is just as gorgeous live as it is in the studio.
Do you date and/or use apps? What do you think having Grindr or other apps has done for gay dating culture?
I am dating and open to a legitimate relationship but not in any rush. I am on apps including Grindr and Hinge.
I mean I could probably go on a long-winded response about what Grindr and other apps have done to gay dating culture, but instead I’ll say this: Don’t let anyone slut shame you and always be sure to respect your body. Get tested. Be safe.
As a screen writer, what’s the best written but poorly executed thing you’ve seen recently?
This one is a tough one because we don’t always have access to screenplays of the episodes that get produced so who’s to say whether the execution and the blueprint were responsible for where the show or film landed.
With that said, other shows I loved recently are: Sex Education, Schitt’s Creek, Pen15, and Shrill.
If you could write the pilot for a reboot of any television series, what would it be?
I would love to write on a reboot of Lost, which should never be rebooted probably.
If you had a reality TV show, what would it be like, what would the title be, and what would your Real Housewives-esque tagline be?
Write About Now would follow me on my quest to get my first series sold with me as the showrunner. Leading up to that green light I would meet and follow some of the showrunners I look up to as a source of inspiration, follow me in my quest for romance, and take a look at what it means to juggle my love life and work life with being a Mexican family man.
My tagline would be: “You stretched... for all the dancing we’re about to do” followed by a judgey look.