“Metro” magazine
Author: Svetlana Pertsova

Circulation: 500'000 copies

Artem Lyskov:
“You need to know what you want”

The actor from “Lost Empire” and “Ranetki” who is now playing the main part in “Embezzlers” received two diplomas at once: one from the Boris Shchukin Theatre University and another from Lee Strasberg Theatre and Film Institute. He told Metro about the differences between Russian and American education systems.

“You need to constantly learn and evolve in order to succeed”
– Artem Lyskov, actor.

- Many graduates, even when they graduate from high school, are not sure about their choice. Did you know from the start who you wanted to be?

- I don’t remember being a child and thinking that acting on stage is great. I started going to the theatre when I was around ten. There are only five professional theatres in Vologda, my hometown. I watched every show several times. In school I was in a physical-mathematical class, I was studying programming, fixing computers. And then, four years before graduating from high school, I joined a theatrical group called “Teenager”. As a result, I decided I wanted to associate my life with theatre when I was 14.

- Was it hard to enroll?

- The competition was around 300 people per slot. I tried to get into all the Moscow’s theatre Universities at once. I didn’t jump from one stage to another, as it sometimes happens, I was moving step by step. I was nervous but I believed in myself. The theatre group didn’t teach me to be an actor but it allowed me to adequately evaluate my abilities.

- Once you’d graduated in Russia you went to study in the USA. Was the teaching different there?

- First of all, the difference is that in America all the education is not free. Foreigners can win a grant (which I did). The rest have to pay about 60 thousand dollars a year. This is the money a family saves from the moment their child is born. That is why people only study what really interests them. If they feel it’s “not their cup of tea” they change the profession. Besides, you can study at any age there. For example, there was a woman studying with me who was 50 years old. Together we were learning the parts that matched our ages. It’s great that you don’t to act with someone the same age as you with them pretending to be your mother and you pretending to be their son from their sixth marriage.

- Are the subjects different?

- Of course, there are no compulsory subjects there. You pick them all yourself. You get 45 study hours a week. They include: 4 hours of acting, 2 hours of physical training and 2 hours of vocal trining. The rest 37 are for you to decide. At first I wanted to work on getting rid of my accent, sing and do additional acting. But later I discovered other subjects that simply don’t exist in the Russian education. For example, there is a course that teaches how to act in commercials. Or in movies. You work with real Hollywood scripts and directors. You are taught how to stand right, how to be in the right lighting. In Russia we learn all that when we get to the real work and hear the director yell at us. There is also a subject called audition. There you learn how to present yourself, how to stay calm. You can pick a course where you’ll be taught how to conduct interviews or how to promote your career through social media.

- What advice can you give to enrollees?

- There is an American saying: “To go with the flow”. It doesn’t mean being passive. You have to do everything you can but follow your fate’s lead.