-Hello! You are watching the program “Evening Talk,” host Stanislav Vyzhga. The world is full of opportunities, they occur at every step, but not all of us are able to see these opportunities. Many people, apparently, are not given it, or they think that they have to wait for the doors to open, and then you take what fate, life will offer you. But there are opportunities that may not be encountered, not found, but created. I propose to have today’s conversation about human possibilities with our guest. Our guest of the program is Dmitry Voloshin, a businessman, and today he is also an Ironman, if I may use that expression. We’re going to talk about that, too, what this new word means in the sports lexicon. You are a person who is able and capable of creating opportunities, able to find them, to overcome various difficulties, based on the portrait that I drew for myself, preparing for this meeting. I said, “Ironman.” In the Internet blog I read on the eve of this program, you talk about getting ready to be an Ironman. What is that?
– Ironman is an amazing and very vibrant event in the life of anyone who dares to claim this title, which is that a person has to swim 4 kilometers, then get on a bike, ride 180 kilometers, and after that put on sneakers and run a marathon.
-Triathlon like that?
-Yes, it’s a triathlon. It’s a distance triathlon called Ironman, and it’s not considered the greatest, but it’s very popular because there’s also ultra Ironman, a deck where you do the same thing for ten days in a row. But the most popular, strongest format is Ironman – such a very big brand.
-How many people participate in a race like that at one time? And in the name of what do these people, you in particular, come…
– My favorite question is, “Why do you do it?” All the people who do this have one common criterion that they all have in common: they want to make sure that their body is capable of so much more than they previously thought it was. When you tell someone, or when you find out about this competition yourself, you think it can’t be done, only superhumans can do it. But if you get this disease, you move towards it step by step…
-I guess you have to have a sports background, something should push you towards it?
– Not necessarily. 90% are absolute amateurs, just people who have reached a certain point in their life, who need something for themselves… to show that they…
– To prove to themselves?
-Yes, to prove what they can do. That’s the vast majority, it’s an amateur sport. They don’t even have prize money, you pay to compete-you pay, you don’t get paid. And people do it not to make money, but to spend it.
-What’s the most interesting and the hardest part of this course?
-I believe that a person becomes an Ironman not when they go the distance, but when they stand at the start.
-I mean, when he makes up his mind?
-Yes, when he has already had three years of training under his belt, and when he has arrived, paid his dues, is standing and waiting for the signal when the gun goes off, he is an Ironman, because he is ready to go through this distance, and he has done this huge, complicated way. Not 14 hours separate him, but these three years. That’s why he’s called an Ironman, because he’s been training for these three years.
-Let’s put your athletic accomplishments aside for a moment. I understand that some of your first projects were Internet projects. I don’t know if I can afford such a comparison – are you a champion of creating Internet sites?
-I don’t like the concept of a businessman. A businessman is a person who engages in entrepreneurial activities in order to make money. That is, a business is a business that makes money. If a business does not bring in money, it is not a business. I do not do or have never done anything for money. Initially, all the projects that were done, were done because it seemed to me that someone will need it, someone will be interested in it, and Moldova needs things like a quality bulletin board, like a forum. Then it turned out that these projects started bringing in money. That’s great, but it’s an added bonus. It wasn’t my main business, it wasn’t the first business I did.
-Where did you start?
-My first business was making commercials, back in 1997 I started doing commercials and computer graphics in particular. At that time almost nobody was engaged in computer graphics in our country. A little bit of PnP did it, Diver Studio did classic animation. I focused on 3D graphics, and I used to excel in that field. I used to sit at home and make commercials.
-Is that direction developing today?
-Today I closed that direction because I was doing it as a business, a thing that just makes money. Moreover, the business is not profitable, because all the money I earned, I gave away to people’s salaries, paid rent, computer and electricity, and left some kopecks. I saw no point in the guys (20-30 people) living their whole lives with me without realizing what they had spent their lives on. Just to feed their family. I don’t think that’s right. A person should have some kind of crazy absolutely beautiful goal so they can tell their grandchildren about it later.
-With this step, you’ve practically put them in front of a choice: “What do we do next?” If you made up your mind for yourself, what was the offer to them?
-The offer was, “Guys, this year we’re going to stop producing 3D graphics. Although, at that time, we were one of the leading, coolest 3D graphics studios in Moldova: expensive and of high quality. Everything was great. But we understand that this is the ceiling, there will be nothing else. So I said: “Guys, I suggest you give up producing commercials in favor of making your own Moldovan cartoon. It won’t affect your salaries in any way, but you have to understand that it will be hard for me to raise your salaries, because this project is absolutely non-commercial, but you and we are doing it because we feel that we have to do something, and we like doing it.”
-This calculation has justified itself, that taking a swing at an animation project, based on the kind of assignments that you set for yourself, that it would be interesting and important for those who… for your own country, shall we say?
-Is it worth it or not?
-Yes. First of all, by then the studio was in a bit of stagnation. If everything was good from the financial point of view, the guys had enough problems with motivation. We had conflicts from time to time, because we had to work weekends and nights, deadlines were always pressing. And the psychological atmosphere in the office was very difficult. After we started to do cartoon, deadlines disappeared, agencies disappeared, clients disappeared, stupid tasks that nobody understood why they were doing them. We started doing something big and beautiful. The guys’ eyes lit up, the studio began to grow, oddly enough, we opened a school where we began to teach new guys. And strangely enough (how the universe works in an interesting way), that when you do something that you love, and something that is needed not only for you, but also for those around you, the cosmos begins to help you do it in some way. In particular, our “999” project, which you know about, just went into growth, and the money we earned from them, we invested in cartoons. It turned out that one business started to feed the other.
-Cosmos opens portals. Did the cartoon reciprocate? Other than some kind of spiritual satisfaction, or a bonus…
-We did not set out to make money on the cartoon, because it’s absolutely impossible to make money on a five-minute cartoon. You can only earn fame, some applause, some beautiful statuettes, certificates, but you can not make money on this, it is an absolute disadvantage. But we certainly plan to do three or four cartoons, with more and better quality, we will get the attention of producers and we have already been able to do some larger, more grandiose project.
-You’re known from the cartoon “DJ Death” – is that the name?
– …and the cartoon “Gypsies.” And how were they created? What is more important: the script, the idea, or the desire to create something beautiful? Why, for example, something from the Moldovan ethnicity was not used. If for a native country, we could take something from the Moldovan ethnic country: Tandala Si Pacala, Fat frumos, Ileana cosanzeana.
-We don’t make cartoons for children, we have cartoons for adults.
-It’s such a touchy subject… Are they cartoons for adults or movies for adults? It’s probably…
-No, it’s not adult, it’s no-nonsense, but it’s just for people… I mean, a kid might not understand some of the jokes in these cartoons. We’re doing it for teens and up, 14+.
I mean, we felt it was important to do something that we personally feel passionate about. It just so happens to be the kind of product we like. Maybe Tandala Si Pacala was more commercially viable, we could do a TV series, we could cover the diaries of Moldovan schoolchildren with it, and it would be a commercial success. But personally, we are far from that (our studio). We are interested in making a product that is more adult, more philosophical, with subtexts, and we do it.
-Maybe just finding or ordering ideas from certain authors, because the grotesque that you’ve pulled out and animated is certainly appealing, there’s a lot of interesting stuff. You can tell by the number of views on YouTube that there is interest in this kind of work. I’m not going to give advice, it’s my personal wish: to use the literary heritage of your own people, because you could probably use a lot of your capabilities and talents here. And if you look ahead, have you thought about anything else new – any new animated projects?
-Certainly. Just now I went to a freediving competition in Egypt, and as I was driving back, I got the idea for a marathon cartoon.
-Why, when you’re running a 42-kilometer marathon in Paris, did the idea not come up there?
-When you run a marathon in Paris, you think about how you would run a marathon in Paris. You don’t see the beauty going on around you or the people around you. At the 35th kilometer, your brain shuts off and that’s it. And before that you’re counting, watching the pace, the time, what to eat, what to drink, in time – there’s not much to it. Usually the thinking comes in light training, when you’re recovering. When you’re running in a workout, the thoughts come into your head.
-So, coming back from Egypt, what’s the idea?
-What was the idea? The idea came to mind that it would be possible to make a wonderful cartoon, which shows a marathon as a life. That is, a four-year-old starts running, and then you see his friends appear and run alongside him, and then he pulls the girls’ pigtails…
-Somebody gives up on the distance.
-Someone grows up, some give up, yes, then he runs together with a girl, then up the hill – his work starts, he has some competitors there. And so his whole life goes on, and he finishes as an old man at the end. And when he crosses the finish line, we go in, and again a four-year-old kid runs out, and everything starts all over again.
-Something similar has been tried to be visualized by Hollywood filmmakers. There’s a film called “New York, I Love You,” about 14 novellas. They are roughly, if you trace them, plots taken from different college age groups. The tenth novella, for example, is about very old people, about that little…about love on the wane.
– I like “Paris, I Love You” better.
-Yes, there is such a movie. Apparently, the Americans decided to make their own analogy, their own answer.
-I’d make a collection of short stories in Chisinau. I talked to Kobylianski, and he says, “I have a couple of ideas.” I said, “I have a couple of ideas, too.” But it would be very hard. The government won’t help for sure. And you need a lot of money to make a few short films.
-Pocket money’s not enough.
-Yes. -And you have to find ten directors, that’s also a problem.
-I think that the world does not tolerate emptiness, and sooner or later there will be such bright heads in our country, which may be…
-The problem of the country is not that we don’t have talented people -they leave immediately. If he’s talented and clever, he understands that he can realize himself in Moscow or in Paris much faster and more effectively than here.
-Are you experiencing professional hunger in your business?
-Absolutely. Are there people who do not experience in our country? Terrible. We also opened a school for this, to teach young people to do something, because there is nothing ready-made.
– And the prospect that a person who has graduated from this school – a young man or a young woman – will stay?
– There’s nowhere else for them to go in Moldova, but of course we can’t stop them from going to Moscow. But what is interesting, characteristic, now there was one big event in Moscow on computer graphics, there were 3D players from all over the CIS countries, there were conferences, they got acquainted. Our guys went there, they arrived and said: “Dima, why did we go there? We didn’t learn anything new for ourselves.
-That is, you know how to do everything.
-This is an indicator that we make products that no one else does in the CIS. Again, just because they are not commercialized, and we make as long as it takes us to make the quality we like. Few people in the CIS can afford that luxury.
-If we go back for a while to the Internet projects that you have created. The number that I know about already lays in the understanding of statistics. Based on this parameter (statistics), which projects survive, which do not, why do they develop, and why not? Have you tried to think about it?
-Yes, I tried to think about it, but I will say right away that I do not have a clear answer, because somewhere in the half of our projects have sunk into oblivion. Probably, it has to do with the arrival of large social networks to Moldova. Perhaps it has to do with the fact that we did not quite understand who we were doing it for, what we were doing it for. But thanks to this, our brains are more or less set professionally, we understand where to dig and where not to dig.
-Where should we dig, would you share your secret? I think for many of our viewers this will be….
– Many people know that we have a startup incubator called Garage.
-Is that a place?
-It’s a place where you can bring your product, a project of some kind, and make it together with us. We launched it about three years ago, probably, and we realized that there are no interesting start-ups in Moldova, i.e. there are no teams ready to create some innovative product that will blow up the market. Basically, there are loners who want to repeat the success of some Russian or American portal. So now, in fact, only our internal projects that we develop there get into “Garage”. And with this, we are very tight. So to look for a recipe for some kind of… dig here – we don’t know. We’re completing our projects now and developing them, which means that we’ve gone deeper rather than wider.
-Why the crisis of ideas, do you think? Aren’t we capable of giving birth to something new? It is clear that Moldova hasn’t become the homeland of social networks; there are no spaceports in Moldova, although I know that recently there was an attempt to launch a spaceship. Was it an extravagant stunt on your part?
-What do you mean “attempt”? It was launched into space, the Moldovan rocket flew 25-27 kilometers into space.
-Tell me more about it, because…
– “Garage” project.
-…Judging from the scanty information that was put out in the media, more questions arise so far. Why space all of a sudden?
-I’ll tell you, I’ll explain. Again, I will now recall our wonderful universe and space, which we want to please with presents. If he gave us any money…
-To Knock on Heaven.
-If he gives us some resources financially to keep us moving, it means he understands that we are doing the right thing. And if we’re doing the right thing, then let’s spend the money beautifully, spectacularly. Not just buy apartments and cars, but make cartoons and launch rockets into space. Now we’re going to do robotics, we’re going to recruit young people, and we’re going to make robots.
-From the youth?
-No, they’re going to make robots, and the robots are going to do fights.We’re going to do soccer, we’re going to do sumo robots. These are all Garage projects right now. That is, “Garage” will now transform from a startup incubator into a place for young and bright minds who will simply suggest to us how money can be spent beautifully, for the benefit of our country. And in order for a person to go to some website and see this, just smile, his mood will rise, he will want to live here.
-How did you know how high the rocket went?
-It has a GPS sensor. We wouldn’t have found it if it wasn’t there. There was a sensor, it tracked, it constantly showed us where on the map our rocket was, what altitude it was, and we found it. And plus, we were also looking at the diameter of the Earth – the smaller it was in the frame, the higher the rocket went up.
-Didn’t you violate anyone’s airspace of neighboring countries?
-We did everything properly, with documents, with permission-just in case? They would have shot down the plane.
-That could have been a conflict.
-We had two launches, nobody knows that one was in the fall, now, and the other was in the spring. And in the spring the customs officers detained us on the way back with a missile. Many media wrote about it, that a Moldovan advertising agency was stopped at the border; they were carrying a parachute and a rocket and filming Ukraine from the sky. They barely got out of it at the time.
-You see, such an imprudent gesture could lead to an international scandal. Perhaps this is also an element of PR?
-I remember the case when one of the watch companies, in order to promote its brand, suggested that one of the soloists of a German band should drop his watch into the Neva River. And when it was reported in the media – it was probably only a lazy journalist did not write about this prank. But everyone already knew about this watch brand.
-We have no reason to PR the company, because we don’t work to order, we don’t have a goal to attract clients. It makes more sense for us to publicize our country, so that not only we but also people from outside would look at us and say: “How much fun Moldovans have and what they do”.
-Ukrainians were getting tense: “It turns out that Baikonur is somewhere near, and we do not know”.
Besides cartoons, a cosmodrome, anything else secret? Maybe you’ve ventured somewhere else, maybe into the bowels of the earth? Our politicians, the political class, love to say that we’re a country with no energy resources of our own, no mineral resources; we only have land, water and a little air.
-Are you suggesting that we should open an oil rig and try to find oil in Moldova?
– Or to propose an alternative option, to help the country get off the energy needle.
-No, our mission is to give people a good mood and motivation to go on living in this country. Not money, not some bills to pass, not an agreement with other countries – just to make life more interesting, brighter here. That’s our mission. We don’t go to other places and that’s why we don’t get into politics. That’s not our thing.
-Looking at the way you make your life more interesting, you’re succeeding. We put your sports achievements aside for a while, and now we may get back to them, because one of the interesting parts of your biography is your passion for sports. I’m familiar with what’s written on your newsfeed. I read that you have 42 kilometers of Paris behind you, and not just that length of run. Is the passion for the marathon, i.e. to be a stayer or a sprinter such a human attitude, or have you read your physical capabilities well?
-I think that if a person prepares for a marathon, he likes this running, he will not only do such distances in trainings and competitions, he is basically a man of long distances, long projects, long money, long relationships. So he’s willing to work at it for a long time. It’s the same with me. If it’s a cartoon, I do it for five years, if it’s “999,” I can do one project for 12 years with the same tenacity as if it were the first year. Many sprinters run a hundred meters very fast, but after 100 meters they are deflated. These are completely different types of people, you need both.
-But who has more strength: the sprinter or the stayer?
-The sprinter, of course, the long-distance runners.
-Yes, but they run slowly. And if you have to start fast, if you have to make a start, of course, by the time a marathon runner gets there, a sprinter is already there.
– Let’s list how much you’ve already managed to run, has there been an attempt to add up all the kilometers you’ve walked, run?
-I have a wonderful device that records all my workouts. There’s a special social network where I post it all. You can see how much you’ve run in a year. I had somewhere around two thousand kilometers of mileage: training, competitions – everything together. There’s swimming, climbing mountains, diving – everything in one place.
-Two thousand is not a mileage for cars, but for a man…
-It’s normal for a person. In order to run a marathon, you have to run at least a thousand kilometers before that.
-Do marathon runners have some sort of classification? For example, when you already have a thousand, two thousand, maybe more kilometers behind you, is he a sensei, or a supervisor – is there such a thing? Tell us.
-Yes. Beginners are people who can’t run a marathon faster than four hours. If you run in four or more, you’re considered a beginner. If you run beyond four hours, you are considered… not a beginner. If you run faster than three and a half hours, you’re already an advanced runner, and if you run faster than three, you’re already a guru, a sensei, and you can get invited to the Boston Marathon, you can apply. The Boston Marathon is a Mecca for runners that you can’t just buy a registration for. You have to run fast, you have to prove you can run a fast marathon. And then you get invited, you go there. And those who run faster than two and a half hours are professionals, amateurs don’t run like that.
-Are you going to Boston?
-Yeah, absolutely. I have a goal to run a marathon faster than three hours, then I’ll consider my running career. But that’s not the fun part of running for me – just running faster than three hours. I want to use my accumulated abilities to tackle the very interesting distances that exist in the world.
-For example, there is a marathon at the North Pole in -30. There’s the Sahara Desert Marathon – Marathon de Sables, where you have to run 270 kilometers in a week on the sand, with your backpack, with your food, with your water, with everything you have. There is the Jungle Marathon, there is the Chinese Wall Marathon – there are a lot of them, they are all very bright and interesting. But a person who is not engaged in sports, unfortunately, cannot cover such a distance. I am more interested in conquering such things. And in swimming, respectively, the same thing.
-Swimming is a separate topic, it seems to me. I’m a person who is not that into the subtleties of sports, or the subtleties of sports life. List those marathons you’ve already done behind your back.
-There weren’t many of them. I had a half marathon in Barcelona, a marathon in Paris, half of Ironman, and a marathon in Amsterdam.
– So much asphalt has already been trampled. Is there some secret or some formula of success or luck that you managed to find out? Surely, every marathoner has some kind of a key.
-It’s success, the key word. People sometimes ask me: “Dim, how do you achieve success?”
-In the marathon or in general?
-In general, and in life, in the marathon. I believe that success is not the goal, the goal is to live life with meaning. It’s the same in running. It’s not the goal to set some kind of record, but the goal is to have the period of time from race to race filled with the meaning that you have to prepare for the race, that you have to pass these key points. So the key to success is constant training and walking those steps. The key is not to linger. Keep moving forward. Like on a bicycle: if you don’t keep your balance, you’re going to fall.
– If you don’t move, the balance… Let me remind our viewers that the beginning of your working life as a businessman was advertising, and advertising is one of the conditions of our program, so let’s pause for an advertising break. Advertising on “Evening Talk.”
-We continue our evening conversation with Dmitry Voloshin. Marathon, long, big, long projects. And now there’s another hobby, it’s related to another element – water, freediving. Did you discover it not so long ago or was there some way that led to it.
-Surprisingly enough, it’s a path I started a long time ago, 30 years ago.
My first recollection of it is that I had the fame in first grade, that I could sit with my nose and mouth closed and not breathe for a long time. Not much, but about a minute.
-When I was a kid, we always compete in something: who jumps, who…
-I remember my classmates wondering, “How can you sit for a minute without air?” I thought there was nothing hard about it. Then it was forgotten. It literally came back to me a month ago, it went away. And then I had active swimming, running, which trained my lungs. And oddly enough, a year ago I was training freediving, holding my breath, without realizing it myself. The thing was, when I took my son Mishka to kindergarten – kindergarten, Soviet regime, and there’s a long corridor on the way to kindergarten, and there’s a canteen, and the door is open. And the smell is just horrible, horrible. When I came in from the street, I’d take in some air, walk for a minute or two, hold the air in, take the little one away and exhale, and then again and down the corridor.
-Didn’t your son try to do it again?
-No, somehow… I didn’t worry about it when I was a kid either, it seemed like a normal smell to me. And literally a month ago… I’m in the off-season, and I’m resting between seasons, 2013 and 2014. I need a little bit of recovery, but maintain some light activity. I used to go scuba diving, and when I would see freedivers – these people in wetsuits, with huge monofilaments, who dive to that depth – I always thought they were superhumans, ichthyanders. And they always looked at them so respectfully, “Look, they’re freedivers.” And then I was thinking, dreaming, “That’s cool, they don’t need any cylinders, iron, weights, cables, some things here – horrible, uncomfortable. They just dive and swim. And I’ve been messing with my diving coach’s head for the last three or four months and saying, “Teach me, teach me.” And then he also had a hole free in his schedule, he said: “Let’s go to the pool, we’ll do it. For a month of classes on breath-holding he showed me some secrets, techniques of breath-holding, how to calm my brain, how to make it so that energy is not wasted. This is a very important skill not only in freediving, but in life in general, how to stay calm in any situation. After that we went to Egypt where I dived with divers and took part in freediving competitions. So that’s my short story, basically.
-Yes, but I understand that one of the prizes?
-Yes, it happened that I took first place in freediving, but… I can’t say it was undeserved, because numbers are numbers. But to say that I spent half my life to achieve it, I can’t boast. It came out that way.
-How many minutes did you manage to stay underwater?
-Five and a half.
-Is that some kind of a national record? What do they say?
-Yes, it’s a national record. My coach is preparing me a certificate now, because it’s the first competition in the country, no one has ever done it before. So no matter how small it is, it’s a national record. A year from now there will be another one.
-It seems to me already with this result you can go to new frontiers, participating as a free-diver in international competitions, and, very successfully.
-This is the motivation of my coach. He says: “Dima, I’ll train with you for free, just because the federation is constantly pushing me: “Give us athletes, we have international competitions”. No one from Moldova goes because we have no athletes, no culture, no federation, nothing. And here already some people, here I have seen that you can. The second, third place can also go to competitions.
– And what does the coach say, what are the results you have to strive for? What are the results in the world for this sport.
-He told me that if I were to take part in the Russian Championship now, I would have taken 14th place out of 45 competitors.
-There’s a record bar at what level?
-It’s about nine minutes of holding your breath. The world record is 11.
– You’re practically…
– It’s a long way to the moon.
– Not bad, though.
-But freediving isn’t about holding your breath. It’s about diving deep. The main records are set there: who dives deeper. There’s 50 meters, 70, 100, 150, with flippers, without flippers. Because there you see the other side of the coin.
-Are you going to do more than just holding your breath?
-It’s very difficult to provide yourself with compensation, i.e. with blowing, with equalizing the pressure of the environment and the inner ear. There are a lot of complications and a lot of nuances. If you don’t know these techniques, you can’t go deep.
-I am now worried about the moment that, watching our conversation, the viewer will think, “And where is the businessman? He runs, swims, dives, launches rockets into space. When does he work, what does this man, his business, exist for?”
Let’s go back to the word “business”, which you do not like. What is it that feeds it?
-Lately I’m often asked, “Dima, you’re such a versatile person, but you don’t work a damn thing. Why not?”
-I mean, when do you have time?
-I say that’s not true, I work. Everything I do outside of work takes me half a day. I devote half of the day specifically to business, to things, even things I don’t really like, but I have to do them. In particular, I manage “999”, I manage our network of Internet portals, I manage a big advertising network Numbers, in other words, I provide control over the mechanism that makes money. I’m not the chief operating officer directly, which solves a lot of problems, but I try to keep my hand on the pulse of all issues, and I make some cardinal strategic decisions myself. Plus, I have my partner Roman, who, thank God, surpasses me, not dare I say it, in business ability, so I can trust him completely, I don’t need my one hundred percent presence at work.
-But still, entrepreneurship and sports hobbies have found a point of contact somewhere, maybe a sports website?
-Absolutely. When I start to get sick of something, I try to get as many people as possible to get sick of it. I have that problem. That’s why, when I got interested in sports, I decided to create a Moldovan sports social network, which would unite fans of various sports, give them an opportunity to get acquainted with each other, organize trainings together, introduce coaches to people who can train them, respectively, help amateurs find trainers who can teach them. Thus the site Sporter.md appeared, where everyone can find like-minded people. We try to hold the craziest events. We recently had a ping-pong day, we made a championship in table tennis, and we helped the federation organize a championship in free diving. On New Year’s Eve we’re going to have a great carnival run. There will be no cups, no medals. We’ll just invite all Chisinau citizens to run through Stefan cel Mare, dressed as bunnies and bears on New Year’s Eve, drink mulled wine, eat cotton candy, socialize with music and have a nice sports weekend.
-That’s a pretty interesting idea. There is another idea, in Chisinau occasionally, on the one hand, it is very disturbing for drivers, but on the other hand, it probably makes the pedestrians, offended by these drivers, happy. You know what I’m talking about, right?
-StopHam is your idea?
-How did you come up with this idea?
-It’s not our idea. The Russians came up with StopHam, but we decided to adopt this wonderful experience and set up a branch in Chisinau.
-Are you not subjected to persecution, to remorse, for causing so much trouble to people?
-They intimidate us regularly, they threaten us. Even our wonderful leader Alexander has been to jail, he’s been threatened with a knife and a gun. But, thank God, everything is ok for now. We are already recognized, the material becomes less and less, unfortunately, because when they see guys with stickers, they leave immediately, no one wants to conflict. On the one hand, it’s great, but on the other hand, if the guys stop going, everything will go back to normal.
-I can’t help but ask, do you have a car?
-I have a car, but I don’t drive one.
-Why? Are you worried about getting caught, becoming a hero of this action, that is, an anti-hero?
-No, paradox. As much as I love sports, and activity of some kind, I have no love for speed in general, not in anything – not in cycling, or flying. Not flying, I mean hang gliding. Riding downhill, a car. I don’t like speed, it’s not my thing.
-But you move around the city in a car, right? Where do you park then? It’s a common problem, isn’t it? Or do you know in advance from your friend Alexander that there is a “StopHam” action, “I will not go there”?
-I try not to park there.
-Don’t park at all, move all the time?
-Thank God, I’ve limited myself from a lot of meetings around the city, I mostly have the road: home, gym, work, home – such a golden triangle. And there with the parking is all right everywhere.
-But there are, let’s call it that, situations that are out of the ordinary. Did you come to us in a car?
-Yes, but I have a driver who drives me. He brought me in, unloaded me, and drove away.
-What about those people who…?
-Do you mean, “You punish our wonderful citizens for parking improperly. Do you offer them an alternative?”
-Let’s say yes, let’s say that.
-Of course, the main condition for any raid “StopHam” – before they put a sticker, they say, “Young man, you can not park here, 150 meters to the right and left is free parking, we checked, there is room. Please go there.” If they can’t offer that, this action becomes meaningless.
-We’re aware that we don’t want to just put a sticker on and make a show. We offer people an alternative. Who agrees to it – great, who does not – then there is a confrontation and friction.
-We see it all on the Internet. Recently one of the last actions was here, on Moskovsky Prospect. But here the place has already become a traditional parking lot. A wide part of the sidewalk is divided into a passageway for pedestrians and a part where cars park. It seemed to me that when the StopHam action was held, it was somewhat promotional in nature. There are places where the police do their work, there are really at the intersections, the reckless drivers sometimes leave their cars, without even turning on the alarm, go away, solve their own cases. And at this time, public transport is hindered by these cars, begins to bypass – a traffic jam is formed. And a man drove up to his workplace, parked under a tree somewhere, and there are dozens of these cars standing right now. It seems to me, just this place was not the best for the guys.
-Probably. Maybe the guys just want to show that there is a law, some traffic rules, which should not be violated in any case. And the fact that they had a conflict with a gun there… I think we cut that moment out, because there were already glimpses of guns. Even the provocation that a man might pull out a gun and threaten a citizen is already worth it, it’s probably not for nothing that they approached him and asked him to leave if he allows himself such things.
-I think that this anti-hero, or a hero who could, or rather could become a hero, probably has people who are not that sympathetic, but probably would have done the same thing, because you know.
-It’s a double-edged sword, yeah.
-It’s a double-edged sword. And our characters are completely different: some agree, some think, “I have something to do next,” and someone: This is my living space, I’ve secured it, and some “StopHam” sticker molds me. Sticker and put it on.”
-We’re not pursuing commercial goals in this public action, so to say that we’re doing it for PR… We PR that we have everything under the law, we PR our constitution, we PR our traffic rules – that’s true.
-And you help make money for those who make stickers?
-I hadn’t thought of that, really, right.
-Where do you order them, if it’s no secret?
-I don’t know.
-So you’d have to ask Alexander?
-Yes, Alexander knows. -You invite him to the studio, it will be interesting to chat too. He’s very cool, he’s such a public figure. Give him a banner, he can promote anything. In my life I never had such righteous fighters for justice. He’ll cut his throat for the Constitution, I swear. Scary man that way.
-At work, what to talk to him about? All right, apart from StopHam, what else do you promote?
-The Mafia was brought in recently, about three years ago. -The Mafia was brought in from Moscow.
-Has it caught on?
-Yes, we even brought in an expert from Moscow who installed it here. At that time we thought that this business would make money. There was a plan that we would bring here “Mafia”, tell the people how to conduct evenings. The games are paid, they do it in several clubs, several tables in each club. And when we counted it, we got some money. Because in Moscow it is a business. It turned out that in Moldova it’s not a business at all, it’s a loss-making enterprise.
-Why? A different intellectual barrier?
– Yes. First of all, there were far fewer people willing to play than we had planned. As a result, there was only one place in Chisinau where the games took place, and not every day, but on weekends. That’s why we didn’t talk about business here, because we have rent, hosts, tablecloths, masks and game paraphernalia. As a result, it is now a minuscule enterprise, which we support so that Chisinau residents simply have somewhere to go and spend the evening. This game takes place on weekends, you can come and play there. The price is 50 lei, not very expensive, but you can learn new things, discover new sides of yourself and your friends.
-Maybe what’s missing here is such an element as popularization of advertising, all this? Clearly, if in the 10-million-strong Moscow there will always be hunters to such leisure activities, in our half-million-strong city, maybe some limit, which would create a profitability of it all?
-There’s a permanent group, we have very strong players, we go to the championships, we win the first places there – both in Odessa and Kyiv. Moldovan (Chisinau) Mafia team is considered very serious. Our club is called Mafia.md, and the site, respectively, mafia.md. You can go there, see what regalia we have. Very serious team. And the people who play, there are professional groups, quite a lot of them, a large nucleus, but all our attempts at large advertising campaigns on the Internet “Mafia” leads to the fact that the audience is inflated, and again deflated to some nucleus that does not grow. This is a feature of our market-not just in “Mafia,” but in everything.
-If I were to make a slight generalization of everything we’ve talked about: sports, business, animation, art. What else would you like to do besides that, if you still have energy and time?
-Sports, business, art. What else do you have?
– Maybe yoga, some kind of mental practice? But this probably will not be popularized, because people have to get to a certain point to understand that if they have put their body in order, they have to put their mind and soul in order.
-As far as I know, the hobby of yoga borders on the fact that one goes so much into oneself, limits oneself in contact with the outside world. I guess it’s a sport for egoists.
-By the way, there’s this idea that if you think you’re already enlightened, just spend a week with your family and see if you’re really enlightened.
-How much time do you get to spend with your family?
-I guess the family is watching now?
-No, everyone is doing their own thing. Mike is watching cartoons, Nika is doing her homework, Vika is waiting for me in the restaurant and we’re going out, it’s the store’s birthday today. And we try to spend time in the evenings as a family. I come home early, about eight o’clock from work, and I try to give less time, but quality time. Just some people come in: “I spend three hours with the kids in the evening.” But how? Sitting in front of the television. I don’t think that’s quite right. I’d rather give my child half an hour, but purely to him, looking eye to eye. We’ll talk, we’ll find out how the day went, I’ll tell him something, we’ll play, we’ll put something together. But those half hours will be personally his, half hours will be the daughter’s, half hours will be the son’s. I think the main thing here is quality, not quantity of time. Plus, of course, we try to go somewhere with the whole bunch to the sea, to different trips.
-Do you make any discoveries in your children? Are they discovering the world in a completely different way?
– It’s amazing, you’ve probably also noticed that parents are the same, but children are completely different, as if from different people. Constantly surprised by this, the complete opposite of absolutely. And every time you learn something new. You look how they grow, one went to one curve, the other went to another curve, in general, on different paths go. It’s so amazing, so strange.
– It makes you think that, perhaps, life’s path is so predetermined.
-My wife and I believe that it’s not that we can’t teach a child anything, it’s wrong to tell him what to do and what not to do. You have to lead by example. He just has to look at you and look at the model of life. He looks at how his mother lives, or how his father lives, or how they interact with each other. He looks at that model, and he either accepts it for himself or he doesn’t. And telling him one thing and doing another makes no sense. It is not for nothing that they say that if you want to change a child, change yourself.
-Mahatma Gandhi said that if you want to change the world, start with yourself, change yourself.
– Same thing. So we try with our example… to live our life happily, interestingly, brightly, so that children, looking at us, just try to repeat our fate. And that’s it.
-Which of the children will you take first in the marathon?
-Son, definitely, because he’s already growing up as an athlete, he’s already a freediver in our house. We were in Egypt right now, he was showing wonders of holding his breath under water, he was diving there. I’m editing a video now, I’ll put it up, it will start and finish there. And my daughter is more into art, more violin, more music, dancing. And this one will be an athlete.
I have a dream: with my son to run the Marathon de Sables in the Sahara. But that’s another 15 years, I have to get to that point.
-To keep in shape.
-Yeah, wait until he’s older.
– I’m sure it’s not easy. When we talked to you about that launch of the orbital complex…
-Yes, Mir. There was even a proposal to make the launch date a Moldovan Cosmonautics Day. If you speak, based on the calendar, did you not try to think that, thanks to a number of these cartoons, one of the days could be called a day of Moldovan animation? That thought did not occur to you?
-It would probably be too pompous to name a day of Moldovan animation. Before us animated cartoons were also made, we were not the first to think of it.
-In the world it is often said about continuity, that traditions should be born, begin, continue. We have a tradition of animation, there was a studio “Florichik” in the Soviet period, which brought many international prizes to Moldova. Have you tried in some way to pay attention to what was created earlier?
-We worked with the guys-“the guys” is how I put it-the guys who worked at Florichik. They helped us draw some fans, characters, come up as production artists. Totally different school, totally different technology, totally different way they see the picture. And yet there’s a gap between us, there’s no way we can do it, it’s completely different.
-Are you 3D people already?
-Yes, we’re 3D people, and people who… not just in technology, but in general in their approach to work. I mean, they didn’t have an approach to cartoons as a product to be made. They just did because they had an “a” to “me” workday, they had to draw something. They have a bloated staff, and our people are compact, several occupations each. The technological process is completely different.
-And the ideas, the creativity?
-With screenwriters in our country, too, our country is a complete disaster. On “Florichik” I do not know whether there were writers, or they were taken from somewhere else. Plus, “Florichik” is a completely different format, they made children’s cartoons, and our cartoons are not really children’s, a little bit teenager.
– “G. Death” – why was this particular theme of life and death visualized?
-We had G appeared as a character in a short film about a gypsy, the first time it flashed. First there was a peasant who was stealing a horse from a gypsy, and then we decided to replace the peasant with death. It seemed more logical to us that the horse just died.
-That’s very teenage.
-It happens. A man wakes up, looks, the horse is dead. And there was just Death, who took that horse away. And she was then as everyone had imagined before. Death is a bad, negative character who brings evil that must be dealt with. And then by the laws of the screenwriting genre, after reading a lot of different books and talking to each other, we decided that in order to make the character more interesting we just needed to turn it around. So our Death is shy now, our Death is a loser, our Death is afraid of blood, generally cowardly. And he’s very fond of people, especially little people.
-Are you a dreamer?
-What are your dreams?
– Exactly what’s my dream right now? To buy a triathlon bike, a good one, if that’s what you mean by dream. But notice that most people dream about things that can be done in a week. That is, the dream has to be something you can’t buy, can’t make in a short period of time. It should be something unattainable, big, to which you have to go for a very long time. Then it is a dream.
– But, as a rule, people limit themselves in these dreams precisely to material, close in time, distance things. We don’t know how to dream, so we don’t know how to set goals?
-Right. I like the concept of a super-goal. A goal is to finish college, or find a new job. There are small goals: you have to get a cab today, buy groceries, take you to the store. And there are super goals, they are something more than goals. This is the same Ironman, the distance is crazy. Maybe I should learn English, maybe I should sing at the Bolshoi Theater, maybe I should go to the space. This is a dream that you can live long enough.
-All of the things you said, is there something of your own? Flying into space?
-I hope I’ll still be alive when it becomes available to ordinary citizens in good physical shape and for some more or less sane money. I’d love to do it, I’d go to space for sure.
– Well, let’s dream, dream together if possible. Trying to summarize what you said, I would like to wish our viewers to each have their own 42 kilometers. Maybe not always those of Paris, but nevertheless those 42 kilometers which make us even stronger, even stronger, even closer to that dream. You were watching “Evening Talk”, we had Dmitry Voloshin as a guest. Thank you for today’s talk!
– Stay tuned for our broadcasts, there will be a lot of interesting things to come. Have a nice day!