We had the good fortune of connecting with Anna Kovaleva and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Anna, what role has risk played in your life or career?
I’m sure taking risks is a big part of our life adventure. Without it our life would be boring and the same day by day. But I think that risk should be: a) worth taking and b) calculated. There were many times when I’ve risked: the last big time was, probably, 5 years ago, when I moved to America from Russia, leaving everything behind just to chase my dream about a filmmaking career in Hollywood. And I’ve always asked myself: what would it bring me? Would the risk I’m gonna take change my life for better? Would it bring me what I want or need? Wouldn’t it hurt me or my family? If answers are “yes”, I would take it. I never take risk just for fun or on a dare. And I always calculate my risks, I always have plans “B” and “C”. Knowing that I have an alternative way gives me the freedom to move forward and not to think about failure.
Let’s talk shop? Tell us more about your career, what can you share with our community?
I’m a visual storyteller. I love helping people to express themselves through video and photography. My favorite genre is a music video so far. I love the idea to tell a story just in 3-4 minutes, whether it is a video with a plot or just visuals to arouse some emotions. I also like to do photo sessions with musicians. I always try to show their personalities, how I see them. I think it is an interesting experience for them too to see how other people perceive them, not just the way they want us to see them. To the point that I created a documentary YouTube series called “What It Takes to Be A Rock Star” about musicians who came to Los Angeles to build their way to fame and success: what they sacrificed, what they left behind and what they do in order to achieve their dream. The first four episodes are in production right now. It didn’t start it all in one day, of course. Before I came to Hollywood, I was a TV journalist. And the biggest challenge for me was to kind of start everything from scratch, even though I knew Film and TV production at the back of my hand. I attended Santa Monica College, took storytelling, a history of film and budgeting/scheduling classes. I attended countless master-classes, seminars, and meetups just to boost my knowledge in all aspects of filmmaking process: from screenwriting to self-distribution. I had two great internships: as Production Coordinator at LA Femme Film Festival-2016; and as a Production Coordinator at micro-budget horror movie “My Dead Selfie” (Director: Joy Shannon). Both jobs taught me a lot and gave me new friends and contacts in the film industry. For the last three years I had worked full-time as a Russian editor in a localization company that provides subtitling and dubbing services for the film industry worldwide. It all gave me the knowledge and confidence to do what I’m doing right now.
If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
I would definitely take my friend on a car trip around California to show all those beautiful beaches and famous cities like Santa Barbara, San Francisco, San Diego. We would stop at Motel 6, had breakfast in Denny’s, had a coup of amazing coffee with sandwiches maybe in Urth Cafe and would get wine in all those coastal restaurants with an ocean view.
Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
There are people that have been supporting me all the way on my American journey. Two of my girlfriends: Olga Lazitski, an amazing Zumba instructor and a PhD student in UCSD; and Ksenia Lappo, a producer with whom I’ve done most of my projects so far. They both moved to America a bit earlier than me, and they helped me to navigate and adapt here. And I’m grateful to my husband Walter Meneses, who supports me and encourages me in everything that I do.