IN ARMENIA IT’S EASY TO FIND FUNDING FOR COMEDIES BUT NOT FOR VALUABLE PROJETCS Lilit Martirosyan

Today Wnews.am has talked to Lilit Martirosyan – the producer of such films, as 3 Weeks in Yerevan, Roots, Poker.am, 4 Buddies and the Bride, as well as many other Armenian films, TV series, programs and concerts. One of the leading producers of Armenia, who also teaches «Producing» at Mass Media Center, has shared her thoughts about the problems of producers in our country and about the interest towards this industry. Which projects easily find funding in our country and why valuable projects don’t find any? How profitable is a producer’s job. Are Armenian celebrities ambitious? We tried to find out the answers to the mentioned questions, as well as to many more in the interview with Lilit.
-Considering all the numerous projects you are engaged in, how does your typical work day start and end?

– There is no such notion as a working day in show business. When making a decision to work in this industry one should realize that his/her day may start early in the morning and end at the same time the next day. Being busy with multiple projects at a time, including films, TV programs, TV series, concerts, promotions, etc. I am being overloaded during the entire day, however, years of experience has taught me to wisely manage my time and complete all the tasks, intended for the day. On the other hand, the professionals working in my team significantly facilitate my work. Usually, everything is done through team efforts. The morning starts with distribution of tasks among the employees.
-I know that you have been in search of your professional vocation for quite a long time and eventually you came to the job of a producer. What was about it that took your fancy?

-Starting from the age of 4-5 I was participating in various productions and my relatives were working in the show business industry, so I had a chance to observe it all from the other way around. I have always been interested in the work that was done behind the scenes and in the backstage. Catching that disease, which is referred to as «show business» one can hardly switch to a different job. It should be said that I have linguistic education and knowledge of languages helps me in my current job a lot. I have also worked in the field of advertising in the position of the director of an advertising agency, where I was organizing PR campaigns. I also have experience in working on the air in the capacity of a radio presenter. I was creating and presenting my authorial programs and only after all this I came to the job of a producer.

– What are the qualities that a woman should have for this job? We know, you have many employees under your command, including men…

– One should first of all love one’s own job. It is also important to appreciate people and be thankful to them for the work they do. Having experience working abroad I can objectively state that we have lots of talented and hard-working professionals in our country. One should be able to show individual approach to each and every employee. Hiring a specialist one should respect his/her knowledge and skills; allow them to come up with their professional solutions instead of dictating your own views.

– I know that you also teach Producing. Do you see great interest towards this profession?

-The only reason why I decided to work as a professor is engaging a qualified generation into our work. Unfortunately, Armenia lacked relevant schools in the times when we were making our first steps in this field, just like Armenia itself. The skills and knowledge that I acquired in Europe helped me in smooth integration into the work of an advertising agency, which was collaborating with well-established foreign brands. Times are different now; there are many more available sources and literature, as well as means of distribution of information.We have excellent students, who are interesting personalities with unique and creative thinking; what they need is good support and a chance to prove their skills. They should have access to information and a chance to develop and stand a few steps ahead of us.

I have been working at the Mass Media Center for a few years now and I like that work a lot. I try to pass my skills to the students and I should say, I have had really talented students with bright ideas.
– How profitable is a producer’s job in Armenia?

-It depends on whether you are a good or a bad producer. If you are a good one you will always have sufficient work and can provide your team with work. If, on the contrary, you fail to do that, then you are a bad producer. A producer should be able to come up with projects that will attract both the viewers and sponsors. That is the key to success.
– You were one of the producers of 3 Weeks in Yerevan. The lead character of the film, who is producing the movie, faces the dilemma: change the script and find sponsors or make a good movie without sponsors. How do you personally resolve such issues?

– It’s rather an interesting question, which, however, has no absolute answer. Let me tell you why. Yes, the filmmakers in the movie face a number of challenges, since it often happens that potential sponsors come up with their suggestions when you turn to them for funding and sometimes these suggestions go to ridiculous lengths. Everything depends on the final outcome your intend to get. In case of commercial projects, when funding is way more important than the result of the work, one can agree with all and everyone, however, I have been lucky to work exclusively with reasonable people and not those whose only goal is earning lots of money, neglecting quality professional result. Unfortunately, some projects are never realized due to the lack of funding.
-For which projects do sponsors provide funding easier?
-Everything depends on the work of the producer. For instance, we make a socially beneficial proposal: instead of installing a billboard in some place in the city, we suggest to open a green park and build our advertising campaign on that very idea. I’m trying to say that we also want to serve our city since it’s the place we live in. Companies gladly embrace such initiatives. There are organizations that provide funding for documentary projects, referring to the history of Armenian culture and other national values, since it becomes thevisit card for those very organizations. When being asked which country they come from, they can show these films and proudly say they are from Armenia.
-Are Armenian celebrities easy to work with? How ambitious are they?

– A producer should get prepared and specify his/her suggestion before each business meeting, since very often collaborations don’t take place because of mispresented or misunderstood information. If a person attaches more importance to his/her own personality, I view it as his/her own problem, which has nothing to do with our collaboration. We have a business proposal with clearly defined conditions. It is either accepted or not, despite the parties’ personal problems. I believe one should love people. Our celebrities are mostly decent and friendly people and there are very few ambitious ones among them.

-What expectations do you usually set ahead of you?

-I love Armenia and I want peace with all my heart. Our generation lives though a historical epoch. Regardless of whether we want it or not we have to go through a number of challenges, steel ourselves in the best meaning of this word. Despite the place we find ourselves and the industry we work in I want us to try to leave the best to our coming generation, serve an example for them so that they want to be like us. I have only the best expectations about the future and I hope my optimism is not fatuous.

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