Michael Thomas Angelo [qwertyqueer]
What did you study and why did you choose to study that field?
I majored in Print Journalism at the University of Southern California. I have always known writing to be my innate talent and wanted to cultivate it.
What links do you have on the Internet: website, blog, social networks?
I subscribe to Myspace, Twitter and Facebook. Facebook is my favorite and the one that I take advantage of on a frequent basis. I am connected in a large social and professional network that includes esteemed individuals in my chosen fields of writing and public health. Having a connection to them, i.e. the ability to keep them on the radar,, so to speak behooves me.
I also maintain a blog called http://tommyslastchance.blogspot.com
Are you satisfied with the education that you received?
Yes, I am extremely satisfied with the opportunities I was given at USC. The Annenberg School of Communication is one of the nation's best.
In which areas have you thought of building upon your education?
I took an interest in the area of public health as it relates to HIV Prevention and Harm Reduction pertaining to drug use and high risk behaviors. I considered returning to school to pursue a graduate degree in public health but as that is too lofty for my time frame, I am considering furthering my pursuit of writing with a goal of being published.
In which tasks are you good at, and in which could you better yourself?
My writing is something I can always improve upon. I wish I knew more about the intricacies of business to make myself more marketable in that arena.
Do you usually attended seminars or coursework to advance your professional work or would you consider yourself a more self-taught person?
I like to take advantage of whatever opportunity I have to attend seminars that will better my skills. For the large part, I am mostly self taught as being unemployed, I do not often have the chance to attend such seminars.
When did you realise that your work was being considered important and that it could possibly take you places?
I happened to stumble upon the area of public health by accident. I initially began volunteering at a needle exchange site maintained by the San Francisco AIDS Foundation. This opened up a whole plethora of other areas within the industry of HIV Prevention.
I saw an opportunity to provide outreach and took it upon myself to create some educational materials to fill the void. With minimal supervision I completed a task that culminated in a tangible product that was distributed through the community to members of the target population. Due to the nature of the importance of the work coupled with its broad audience as factors, I knew that my contribution had the potential to make inroads for me.
Do you have a website or blog? How was the process in making it? Does it accomplish the purpose for which it was created?
I started a blog as a means to have a laboratory or venue in which I could practice writing personal narratives. My ultimate goal was to get into the habit of writing in the memoir style so I could eventually write my memoir to be published.
How do you feel about speaking in front of an audience? What experience have you had in this arena?
I attend open mic nights at spoken word events around the community. I have a theater background which gives me an advantage when called to speak in front of an audience. I have also carried out presentations to large groups while in school and as part of my outreach.
Do you attend cocktail parties, presentations, fairs or conventions related to your profession?
No, I do not attend these types of events. I do attend spoken word cultural events.
How is the Interent changing the way you work?
Before the Internet there was something called a stringer reporter. Nowadays, anyone with an opinion and access to the web is called a "citizen journalist". There was no such thing as this type of person when I was in journalism school. This has created a challenge in my field because of the increasing number of possible contributors to the field. There is no need for the stringer reporter of yesteryear because the Internet has streamlined the process of creating news in the media.
When you were young, what did you want to be when you grew up?
I am still trying to figure that out. LOL. As far back as I can remember, I wanted to be an actor.
Save some excpetions, do you believe professional and personal relationships should not be mixed?
Absolutely not. I believe that the two work in tandem.
What do you do to manage stress?
I like to run as a way to handle stress. I have a cat named Tippi who I depend on a great deal to relive my stress.
What did you first read? How did you begin to write? Who were the first to read what you wrote?
I grew up reading celebrity biographies and became interested in the art of writing memoir. For as long as I can remember, I have kept an informal record of my life's trajectory in preparation to write my impending memoir.
In college, I began working on the student newspaper and then freelanced for a couple of community newspapers after graduation.
The first audience to read what I wrote was in college journalism classes. I was instructed to read my work aloud which is a practice I advocate to this day.
What is your favorite genre? Can you provide a link to a site where we can read some of your work or learn something about it?
My favorite genre is memoir writing. My work can be seen on the site I maintain. http://tommyslastchance.blogspot.com
What is your creative process like? What happens before sitting down to write?
I have to discipline myself to sit down and write even when I don't have an idea is going to come out on to the paper. Right now, I most often sit down to write when I have a sudden inspiration.
What type of reading inspires you to write?
I have begun reading other people's memoirs as a way to emulate the style of writing and learn from the various ways that point-of-view is represented.
What do you think are the basic ingredients of a story?
A story must have solid characters, then a setting and a plot.
What voice do you find most to your liking: first person or third person?
I alternate between the two, but have mostly been playing with first person.
What is required for a character to be believable? How do you create yours?
For a character to be believable I think it should have a solid backstory. It is up to me as a writer to flesh out the backstory in ways that let the readers know what constitutes the character. I like to focus on the minute details of the way a person interacts or if has a nickname, I like to know the origin of it.
Are you equally good at telling stories orally?
For the most part, I would say yes.
Deep down inside, who do you write for?
I always write to an intended audience. Deep down inside, I would say I write for an audience of my peers. I censor myself more than I like because I am afraid of what my mother would say if she were to read my writing. Since a lot of my writing is based on my own personal life's experiences, I refrain from really being honest with the graphic details and often compromise the story.
Is writing a form of personal therapy? Are internal conflicts a creative force?
In some ways it is. I used to write for cathartic reasons,. but that type of writing does not see an audience unless the content has been edited to be fictionalized.
My internal conflicts can definitely be said to be a creative force. Without my personal baggage, I would probably not have the guts to write what I do.
Does reader feed-back help you?
Yes, I am a huge fan of reader feedback. This type of criticism also pertains to those who listen to me read my own work aloud. I began the practice of writing for feedback in journalism school and have advocated for it since.
Do you share rough drafts of your writings with someone whose opinion you trust?
Yes, definitely. I am currently circulating rough drafts of things I am putting together for my project.
What discipline do you impose on yourself regarding schedules, goals, etc.?
None--!! Help!! I am in dire need of putting myself on a schedule. Any advice?
Do you write on a computer? Do you print frequently? Do you correct on paper? What is your process?
I compose on a computer as I type much more frequently than I could ever hope to achieve with only the pen and paper. If I were to depend on my own handwriting when composing something, my hand would not be able to catch up with my head.
I cannot read my handwriting and therefore would not be able to understand what I had written.
After writing on the computer, I will often print and then go through the work with a pen and highlighter, crossing sections out and drawing arrows accordingly. Then I will make the edits on the computer and go from there.
What do you recommend I do with all those things I wrote years ago but have never been able to bring myself to show anyone?
I have a lot of things that I did write years ago but have not since seen the light of day nor an audience. I take all of those items as grist for the mill. They are evidence of my development as a person and as a writer. I will take the nugget of content that is most salvageable and incorporate it into my current works.
How did you begin acting?
As far as I can remember, I have viewed life as if someone else was watching. I began performing before I even set foot on to a stage. As a child, I used to put together plays for my parents and other neighborhood children.
At what stage in your career did you realise that acting could be something you do professionally?
In high school, I began to study the art of acting and became familiar with its Russian heritage. This is where I first became acquainted with the mechanics of acting. It wasn't until I moved to Los Angeles that I saw the potential to be take acting to a professional level.
Please list an Internet address where one can see something about you.
This is a clip I posted on Youtube from an independent film I acted in. Called Sweet Underground, I was cast as a transsexual. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3ZwNilDcPUg
Please list the most important or defining jobs of your career.
I have performed in three films that I am proud of. Defying Gravity was an independent film I was cast in where I played a gay activist.
In Sweet Underground, I had a small part where I played a transsexual but it was a very good characterization.
I also performed in a soft-core porn vignette called Morning Music. There was no dialogue but I looked fabulous.
Please list three actors and three actresses that you like.
John Cameron Mitchell
What is the archetypal character in which you tend to be typecast?
The effeminate homosexual or a man pretending to be a woman or living as a woman.
How do you feel when people recognise you on the street?
This has happened more than once. I have been recognized after people purportedly view Defying Gravity from renting it at a video store. It is very flattering and feels almost like a surreal experience, as I know I represent someone famous or untouchable to them as I would view anybody that I saw in a movie.
What hobbies have you got?
I love to collect and view classical Hollywood cinema. I also like to run.
What can you tell us about your family?
You won't believe it if I told you. Here's the crux of the craziness....My mom's mom was married to my dad's dad. You do the math.
It started out quite innocently actually. When my parents were in their third year of high school, my mother's family moved into a house on a shady suburban Sacramento street. Everest Way was close to Highlands High School where my parents met and fell into puppy love. My mother had a sister five years her junior and a baby brother born 9 years apart. When my dad met my mother, he had already been living on Everest with his divorced, Italian father. Amadeo, "Ange" Angelo was the son of Old-World Italian immigrants who had met and married on the same day. What Ange lacked in education or wit, he made up for in gourmet cooking. When he made tomato sauce from his own backyard garden, it was a fete.
The two families were like oil and water together in the ways that they clashed. Then sometimes, their pairing seemed as perfect as the way basalmic vinigarette sparks up extra-virgin olive oil.
Ange's humble origins as a self-described dego was a source of shame for my father who felt intimidated in the presence of my mother's quick-witted family. Her father, Colonel Thomas Petit was imposing as much as he was attractive. It was no secret that he haA bona fide ladie's man, he was a hard partying ladie's man who was a an imposing figure and just as d become best friends with their counterpart on my father's side. Both my parents had at least one sister and a younger brother that matched them in age and school class.
It was so idyllic, one was tempted not to notic
Michael Thomas Angelo
San Francisco, USA