By Brian Larsen
We are pleased to welcome Rob Perez to the Cook County News-Herald staff. A half-time reporter, Rob will have one or two, up to three pieces in each edition of the paper.
For our regular readers, you have already seen several well-written stories by Rob. In addition to a lot of talent and skill with a camera, Rob brings a lot of enthusiasm, energy, and creativity to the paper.
Rob comes to us from the Twin Cities, where he taught screenwriting, hosted an episodic round table for Facebook and, among other things, helps his wife, Ellie Anderson, with her work at the Griffin Archer ad agency. He was also working on a feature film about the late Senator Paul Wellstone when the pandemic put the brakes on that project.
Originally from Houston, Texas, after high school, Rob moved to the east coast to attend Middlebury College. Upon graduating with a film major, he immediately moved to Los Angeles to pursue a career as a screenwriter. But after a dozen years, he had had enough and made his way to the Twin Cities to gain a new perspective on life.
Life in Los Angeles had its highlights. Rob spent one year working for Ridley Scott, and wrote for most of the studios (Disney, Universal, Paramount, Miramax, Columbia, etc.).
Two of his screenplays became movies, but other scripts weren’t produced. “When that happens a dozen times, it breaks your heart a little bit,” he said.
He was also tired of people who felt entitled. One such incident he witnessed signaled the end. A well-known person was at the front of the line at a coffee shop and was brutish to a barista trying to serve them. “That rudeness hurt me.”
Rob got to know Josh Hartnett when Hartnett starred in 40 Days and 40 Nights, a script Rob wrote. On the advice of Josh Hartnett, a Minnesotan, Rob moved to the Twin Cities. That was 2008.
Rob knew Minnesotans were different when shortly after arriving, he walked out of a grocery store and a couple was thanking a bag boy for helping them with their groceries. “He was a special needs kid. They took, what, ten seconds out of their life to show they cared about him? I knew I was in the right place.”
When the pandemic hit, he, his wife and two children moved to shelter in place at her parent’s house in Schroeder. At first, the couple wondered what their next move would be. They put Griffin in school at Birch Grove and were very impressed with the teachers and administration. They scouted around and found they loved the natural beauty of the area. A new trail runner, Rob discovered trails to hike and run. And skiing at Lutsen Mountains has been a favorite winter activity. A former tennis instructor and recreational tennis player, Rob said he can’t wait to get to know the area’s tennis players.
So, a year later, Rob and his wife Ellie, children Poet (3) and Griffin (8), are feeling comfortable. In fact, Rob says, “Cook County is starting to feel like home.”