LEARNING TO MAKE BETTER MISTAKES
WEOURSTORY with Alex Chaparro
I recently had the pleasure of reconnecting with my good friend, Alex Chaparro. I've always admired Alex's heart for creativity and his passion to live life as an artist. He's a man of faith, a person who isn't scared to take risks and just someone with great insight to life.
He graciously agreed to answer some questions I had for him on the life of an artist and living creatively. Also, he recently contributed an amazing blog post to my site on creativity so if you haven't read it, please take the time to check it out!
WOS: Tell us a bit about yourself.
AC: My name is Alejandro Chaparro Jr but most people call me Alex. I’m an artist. I act, I write and direct films, web series. I’m 35 years old, Texas born but Chicago raised. I’m now living in Los Angeles, California and have been here for the past 3 years. This is now home for me.
WOS: Who has been an influential person in your life as an artist and can you tell us a bit about him/her?
AC: The most influential person in my life is my mother. She is the strongest woman I have ever known but I guess we all say that about our mothers! Haha. She has thought me how to always trust in The Lord with my life, how to be true to myself, and how you can survive anything and everything. She has always been there for me even when I drive her insane, she is the constant rock and consistent person that has molded me throughout these years. She is always teaching me new things and has always been there to be a lending hand through the many different experiences that life has brought. She has been a pioneer in life, always inspiring and helping others to be a better person. She helps her community and reaches out to the less fortunate. She carries herself as a leader, a queen and the crown she wears she freely gives away to others.
WOS: They say that our stories are a handful of moments that shape us, for better or worse. Can you tell us of one?
AC: One of the most monumental moments in my life was when I decided to move to Los Angeles. I bought an expensive one way ticket to Los Angeles three years ago with the idea that I was stepping into an unknown future that was waiting for me. A desire that was burning inside of me to follow my dreams of creating films, a destiny that I was certain of. So on the last day of September, I got on that plane, took very little and set foot on a plane ride to my new home. I remembered that as I was waiting for my best friend to pick me up from the airport, fear just took over my entire body for a moment. I was paralyzed with a type of fear that I have never experienced before. It was almost crippling and I felt like I made the worst decision of my life! But as soon as it came, I shrugged it off completely and focused my attention to the purpose of my journey. Soon after, the fear subsided and excitement swept over me. Then my friend picked me up and off I went to the next chapter of my life!
WOS: What are you passionate about, or, why do you do what you do (create)?
AC: I am passionate about films! Ever since I can remember, I always got lost in movies. Mostly in characters, in the places they were at, in the way that they expressed emotions and how they created something in me that still exists. I was hooked from the moment that I saw these moving pictures tell me a story. And how these characters were drawing me in, a suspension of disbelief for the next 2 hours and off I was, zeroing in on a story being brought to life before my eyes. I wanted to create films and be apart of them as an actor. I love becoming a different person for a moment, getting lost in this character and expressing whatever emotion they write in a script.
WOS: What does creativity mean to you and why is it important?
AC: Creativity is tapping into that place in your soul where you can express your true identity. Creativity is unleashing the inner you, getting to a place where you are free to think and feel. To me, films are an escape to the realities of this world. And as a child, I wanted to escape into that world because reality was a little too real. Plus I love the creativity behind story telling through film. How shadows, smokes and mirrors play a significant role in all of this. How you can use your voice and imagination all at once. It’s a thrill!
WOS: Do you believe inspiration is important to creativity and if so, what inspires you or gives you ideas?
AC: Ultimately what inspires me the most is hearing true life stories of people triumphing through adversary. The Rocky Balboas of life, who overcame the insurmountable odds and came out of that experience victorious! Plus other artist inspire me. Usually non main stream musicians, actors, directors, painters, dancers and all creative types really. I always root for the underdog!
WOS: What are some struggles or challenges you have with creativity and the creative process?
AC: The challenges with creativity is always writers block and laziness! Haha. To clarify, writers block is a general term for not having an idea or original thought in anything I do. Sometimes I sit at the screen of my computer and I can’t think of anything. I used to be a musician and sometimes I get inspired by a band, and then I try to pick up my guitar and try to write a song. But nothing comes out! I start to just rhyme weird words together and try to write songs about nothing in particular. Laziness comes to us all in different ways but ultimately it’s the killer of creativity.
WOS: How do you overcome these challenges and creative blocks?
AC: I try to write something, anything down even if it’s terrible! I power through by telling myself that it’s ok that I don’t have something new or different. Most of the times, you DO have something new and different when you write anything.
WOS: What creative endeavor or project are you currently engaged in?
AC: Right now I am helping my roommate on his script, re-writing a scene and then I will help him produce his movie. I am also in the developmental stage of starting a web series with my creative partner that might take the form of being a dark sci-fi series. Plus I am going to develop some short film ideas into possibly feature films. My roommate wants to purchase the rights to some of these ideas! HaHa
WOS: How would you like this endeavor or project to contribute to the overall good of the human narrative?
AC: My dream is to build a studio out here in Los Angeles that I can hire my friends for! The industry here is tough and can be really morally corruptible. With accusations of wrong doing to female actresses by big named producers, we are now seeing the underbelly of the entertainment business. I strive to create a space that is welcoming of all people and have a platform where we can get behind someones idea and pour ourselves into it one hundred percent! By being the change you want to see, this will create ripples across this town and people will take notice of said change. By creating a safe environment, we will begin to see people produce creative works of art like never before because they are free to be, to do.
WOS: What advice would you give people seeking to live a more creative life?
AC: I would say that you need to tap into that side of you that is free. That hidden side that only you can see. It’s like those moments when you sing in the car, or in the shower, you are free in those spaces and moments. We stop being ourselves when people step into that space we are in and hold back. I say, don’t hold back! Live in those moments because they are the most creative and freeing moments in your life that you will not get back! So tap into yourself and you will find your voice that’s needing to be set free. So set it free in the best possible way because that’s where creativity lives the most!
WOS: Any final thoughts for us before I let you go?
AC: There are so many important lessons that I am currently learning right now! This past week has all been about important lessons. First, find your community. Find people that will love you unconditionally! Warts and all! Haha. You need a foundation and base, and people are the best resource of that. They will guide you and lead you, they will hold you when you’re down, they will give you inspiration and allow you to be free. You are not meant to live this life alone and you are worthy of someone else love. Find the people that will challenge you to something greater and will change your life for better. It’s when you pour into them that you will find the greatest reward in life. Another valuable lesson is, be free to make mistakes. Drawing outside the lines sometimes makes for the best creative things you’ll ever make. Mistakes are there so that you can learn from them and sharpen you. I wish I had learned this lesson years ago in my 20’s but in my 30’s, I’m learning to make better mistakes! Or so I at least hope! HAHA!!!
WOS: Thank you so much for your time, insight and healthy conversation Alex!