Wednesday, December 13, 2023

The Writing University conducts a series of interviews with writers while they are in Iowa City participating in the various University of Iowa writing programs. We sit down with authors to ask about their work, their process and their descriptions of home.

photo of sophie

Today we are talking with Sophie Perez, a is a fourth-year Screenwriting Arts major with minors in Cinema, Spanish, and Translation. She is the co-president of the Translate Iowa Project, a literary magazine focused on translation, and oversees their annual publication of Boundless


1. Can you tell us a little bit about what brought you to the University of Iowa? 

When I was in high school, I was positive that I would study medicine and become a doctor—despite my indifference towards a future in the profession. During the pandemic, I reevaluated nearly every decision I had made about my chosen program of study and college plans. As I asked myself many questions, what remained constant was my love for film, my passion for telling stories, and my desire to attend a school that would help refine my craft. That’s why I chose to go to the University of Iowa and major in Screenwriting Arts. I’m glad I made that decision because in the City of Literature, I am constantly inspired by originality and new perspectives. 

2. What is the inspiration for your work right now?

I’m working on a family drama right now that is semi-autobiographical. As I was going through childhood photographs and home videos, I was compelled by the differences between my memory and the seemingly objective reality of the camera. From there, it wasn’t hard to formulate a story. For comedies, the inspiration is different. One comedy pilot I’m writing was based on a character from a dream I had. I am also writing a comedy feature film with fellow screenwriting student and creative partner, Ashley Cimarolli. We were inspired by our college experience, but even more so, we found inspiration in each other’s sense of humor.  

3. Do you have a daily writing routine? 

As much as I’d like to say, “Yes. I write every single day and it’s beautiful and perfect because of my trusty routine,” that would simply be untrue. No matter what, I always write down what I dreamt, any memorable quotes I overheard throughout the day, as well as experiences I want to draw inspiration from. My notes are always filled with dialogue ideas, titles, and premises. I might not make a lot of progress in Final Draft each day, but I always write something, no matter how informal.

4. What are you reading right now? Are you reading for research or pleasure? 

Lately, I’ve been reading a lot of television pilots for both research and pleasure. Succession and The Bear are very interesting reads. For pleasure, I just bought a book of William Shakespeare’s complete plays, so I’m looking forward to diving into that over break. Right now, I’m interested in the work of classical dramatists. One album that has piqued my interest this year is Unreal Unearth by Hozier. I find the song lyrics to be very poetic, so I read them frequently.  

5. Tell us about where you are from - what are some favorite details you would like to share about your home?

I grew up in two places—Morton, Illinois and Cedar Rapids, Iowa. What I remember most about living in Morton was the small-town feel: the tight knit community, the red benches outside of the ice cream shop, the video store, and riding my bike to the library. Every year, there is the Pumpkin Festival; Morton is considered to be the “Pumpkin Capital of the World” because of the Libby’s plant. In middle school, my family moved from a town of 16,000 to Cedar Rapids, a town of 136,000. It was the best thing to happen for me. I discovered my love of writing, speech, theatre, and acting in high school. Without my teachers, coaches, directors, and dedicated school employees, I would not be where I am today.   





Thank you for talking with us today, Sophie!