We had the good fortune of connecting with Konstantin Lavysh and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Konstantin, why did you decide to pursue a creative path?
I was always mesmerized with the creative process – any creative process. Watching my grandma write a book, watching my grandpa come up with a solution to landscaping, or even cooking a meal. It seemed that any activity could have creativity added to it. “If you are choosing to do something, put your whole heart to it, and do it as well as you possibly can” – was the lesson from my Grandpa. I tried that. I failed many times, but I keep this slogan in the back of my mind at all times. At a young age I enjoyed performing a lot. Theater for kids, poetry, plays, anything. At the same time, I was a shy boy, so when I got to perform I was able to forget who I am and become someone else, a different version of myself, who didn’t have to be shy. I could also explore different realities, different characters and dimensions – and come right back to being myself. It’s magic. When the time came to chose a career, I picked diplomacy. I was in awe of the work and could not imagine being anything more cool than a diplomat. It had to do a lot with the books I read, and the movies I watched. Once I started working in the field, it turned out to be not quite as creative as James Bond franchise would have you think, and after a few years of rather successful work, I decided to chase the other dream I had – acting.
I moved to LA and started from scratch. Classes, more classes, and then some. As hard as it was – and is – to balance life and work, I could not be happier. I really found myself in the most creative process there is – telling stories. I enjoyed working as an AD, writing and directing, but the favourite is definitely acting. Unlimited possibilities for imagination, and I get to live and relive all kinds of lives. Weather it’s a terrible villain in Call Of Duty (General Barkov), or a priest in The Americans, or a failing tennis player in Room 104 on HBO – I get to be that, and then go home to my family. Next time I will be a painter, then a gangster. It’s a long journey, and I could not think of a better line of work for myself 🙂
Let’s talk shop? Tell us more about your career, what can you share with our community?
Every human being is one of a kind. We are all similar, but we are all different. In acting I believe it means that I am never in competition with my fellow brothers and sisters in art. Rather, only I can do a certain part. So I am happy to audition for parts together with my friends – my part will find me, just like theirs will find them. When I don’t book a part I really want, I try not to see it as a failure. Rather, a success – very few actors actually get a chance to audition. Thousands apply and get pitched by agents for every part, and only several, tens at most, get actually seen by the casting and producers/directors. So being looked at, and getting to do the part (even just for the audition) is already a success! For that, a great inspiring book by Nancy Bishop (Casting director) comes to mind – she has a real story of a little girl who auditioned for a part several times, and ended up not booking it, but was absolutely happy. The little girl thought she already did film the part, you see! Makes sense: she learned the lines, became the character, and performed the part several times on front of strangers and cameras! I think all actors could use thins approach. Another thing is balance. Work that pays bills is often different than the work you want to do. Waiting tables, PA, delivery driver – whatever it is. Until you make enough by just acting. All that work has to be parallel to LIVING (being with family and friends, staring at the moon above the ocean, or the sea of lights beneath from Mulholland Drive) and – working out and studying. It’s a lot. It’s tough. But life is not supposed to be easy. Figure it out. But remember that any athlete who is successful works of their craft HOURS, and EVERY DAY. So I study all the time. I read all the time. As much as I can. Observe people and watch their stories, their mimics, and expressions. You can study all the time, even while waiting tables!
Let’s say your best friend was visiting the area and you wanted to show them the best time ever. Where would you take them? Give us a little itinerary – say it was a week long trip, where would you eat, drink, visit, hang out, etc.
One can do a lot with a whole week in LA! Moonshadows for sunset meal. Mulholland Drive to see both sides of the City of Angels at night – the Valley and the Downtown side. Hollywood, because you have to. Griffith Observatory. Downtown at night, preferably on motorcycles – the sleeping office buildings and trashy areas are fascinating. Parks – Balboa Lake, Topanga, Runyon Canyon. Beaches – Venice because of Jim Morrison and modern bohemians, Topanga, Zuma. Musso and Frank – have a martini at the bar like Hemingway did. The Standard rooftop in DTLA. Redondo beach Live Seafood – put a newspaper on a cement table and indulge! And, of course – Ski in the am, drive to the desert, and end the day with a surfing experience, all in ONE day. Huntington Library with its glorious Rose Garden and Tea Room. Moca. Pasadena DT. A trip to San Diego and Coronado! A Ventura Blvd Sushi experience. Got time left? No problem. Motorcycle ride on PCH and overnight camp with a fire North of Malibu. Joshua Tree hike. So much more is still there :))
Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
Achieving anything is always a lot of work. More than anything, it’s your own commitment, perseverance, and will power. But, without the support of those close to you, you might never succeed. I was always very lucky to have full support of my family. Love, encouragement, all of it. When I switched careers, when I changed jobs, when I made mistakes – my mom and my grandparents were my closest friends. Later, I was lucky again, for I found real friends, who remain like brothers and provide all the support and help that one might dream of. Later yet – my wife. The important thing they all have in common is this: they always supported my decision, even if they didn’t understand it or agree with it. If it makes you happy, do it! They would also help me figure out the best way to do whatever I set my mind on. And help me understand why I wanted it.
In addition to that, I got a lot out of various professional groups. For acting it was a life-changing education from Tony Savant and Holly Gagnier (Playhouse West), wonderful experiences with Bonnie Gillespie, Risa Bramon Garcia, Alexander Kuznetsov, Gunnar Rohrbacher to name a few. Plus, many writers and directors, and casting directors – all of whom added to the learning curve and made me better.
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