We had the good fortune of connecting with Arina Sakun and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Arina, what led you to pursuing a creative path professionally?
I was into all forms of art since I learned how to talk and would annoy (or amuse?) my parents with all sorts of made-up stories for hours on end. When I learned how to walk, I started dancing, when I learned how to write, I would write poetry. It was pretty clear to me and my family that I would end up in a creative field one way or the other. I am forever grateful to my family for being supportive in that sense, they are probably the main reason I had the guts to pursue an artistic career. I believe you can have all the talent in the world, but you need at least one person supporting you on this journey, because it is very easy to get overwhelmed otherwise.
Let’s talk shop? Tell us more about your career, what can you share with our community?
English is not my first language and that was my first major challenge as a writer. I was really proud of my work before I came to LA, but when I started writing in English, all I could master were the most simplistic five word sentences. It was extremely frustrating to not be able to put on page exactly what I had in my head. It took a lot of reading and writing for me to see progress and be satisfied with my work. I still think I have a long way to go before I reach the same level of satisfaction with my writing as I do in my native language, but I see a big improvement now and I am proud of myself for that.
Lately I have been more focused on the producing part of my career though. As a producer I love to learn about all the creative ideas from other people and help them achieve exactly what they imagined their projects to be. The most exciting part of it is seeing the results. Coming to screenings or receiving stills or clips of works in progress. Every time I look at them, remembering all the challenges we had to overcome to achieve this and thinking: “Wow, we really did it. It was all worth it after all”. Every project I’ve taken has been more challenging than the other, but I work through it and learn. I am extremely excited for all the results of our hard work.
I think the most important lesson that I have learned is to always look for challenges and accept them when they come your way. That is the only real way to grow. If you’re scared that you are not experienced or good enough and don’t go out of your professional comfort zone, then you will never be experienced or good enough.
What I really want the world to know right now is that I’m out here, I am ready to work and to create! And I am excited to work on all the upcoming projects and excited for all of you to see them!
If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
I think there is this idea that Hollywood is the movie capital of LA. And that, frankly, is just not true. Hollywood is a tourist attraction, it has a lot of movie-related activities for tourists, yes, but really, all “movie magic” happens in Burbank. And that’s what most people visiting LA often don’t realize. Whenever someone comes to visit me in LA I like to show them places such as Warner Brothers and Universal, like to take them around Burbank in general. It might not be as glamorized as Hollywood, but it presents a lot to any movie fanatic.
There are also a lot of really fun hikes in LA. I love to hike to a natural pool on a hot summer day, or hike to a Hollywood sign, or any hike with a good view on a Los Angeles skyline. It’s fun, it’s pretty, good for you and it’s free.
Another LA attraction that has been proven successful amongst visitors is free events looking for audiences. Be it a talk show, a free concert or a screening. There is always free merchandise, unexpected celebrity guests and just generally free entertainment.
The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
I have met many people during my time in and out of film school who have taught me, encouraged me, showed me my strengths and weaknesses. Pretty much every person I met and worked with helped me grow in some way; as a professional or a person. I am forever grateful for each and every one of them. And, of course, my family, without whom I could never be where I am now.
Gong Liu Yilin Li