The Lithuanian journalist and film maker Andrius Lekavičius has received one of the fellowships for digital journalism in 2016. These were awarded for the first time in 2015 by Akademie Schloss Solitude together with fellowships for web development and web design. Read an interview with the »all-around media storyteller« about digital storytelling and what a good story is made of:
CH: Andrius, you are a media professional with a focus on video, film, and new media. You have a passion for »storytelling« especially in the digital field: What is this passion about and where did it start?
Andrius Lekavicius: I would call myself an all-around media storyteller as I’m very much into creating and telling stories. Creating stories is my passion and the main reason I’m in this industry. I passionately believe in a »born digital« approach to content; so stories for me are not just words on paper. Every product, website, or mobile app can tell its story, and by doing that, attract consumers.
CH: What is a good story? What are new ways of digital storytelling like?
AL: Honestly, I don’t know what makes a good story. Sure, I’m familiar with quite a few theoretical terms on what makes a story good. The only thing that for me makes the difference between a good and bad story is if it’s real. The form, genre, and platform don’t matter. It can be science, fiction, fantasy, but it should be real: with real characters and real emotions.
Right now, I’m very interested in virtual reality and checking out both storytelling and technical opportunities in this platform. Another new way I’ve been following for the last five years is interactive storytelling – whether you call it »cross-media« or »transmedia.«
CH: What were personally the most important projects and topics you have worked on or are still working on as a journalist and film maker?
AL: For me, the project I’m working on right now is always the most important. Right now, it’s the web-documentary Blurred Border.
CH: You have worked and studied worldwide. What were your stations and what were your experiences like?
AL: I’ve moved to a new country for a longer period two times, and I can honestly say each was one of the most impactful choices I’ve made in my life. Everything is new. Your address, your friends, your colleagues, your habits and activities, your favorite restaurants, your commute, your outlook on life, the weather. It’s so great it makes me wonder why people don’t do it more often.
My first longer experience abroad was my Erasmus studies in Spain, at the Universidade de Vigo in 2006. I spent six months in the Galicia region, learned the language, met a lot of new friends from around the world, and realized that advertising is one of the things I want to do in life.
Then in 2010 in search of new opportunities, I decided to go to South East Asia to pursue an MA in advertising at the Limkokwing University of Creative Technology in Kuala Lumpur/Malaysia. Later, I was working as a creative manager in a Kuala Lumpur-based digital agency.
The difference of media consumption I’ve noticed and still remember is in cinema theaters. In Lithuania, you watch a film in the original language with subtitles. In Spain, all the films in cinemas are dubbed into Spanish. And all famous Hollywood actors have their own voices in Spain, and they are the same in all films. So George Clooney speaks the same in all the films. In Malaysia, they cut out all the sex scenes in cinema.They do it for the censorship.
CH: You also obtained an MA in UNESCO culture management and culture policy in Lithuania. What role do art and culture play in your work?
AL: I think the term culture is very broad, so in the broadest sense I work with culture almost all the time. However, I’m a more down-to-earth creator and wouldn’t call myself an artist per se. However, I have a big admiration for real art talents.
CH: When you applied for Solitude, what was your motivation?
AL: I guess the main motivation was a constant eagerness to improve myself. I’m going to various workshops and seminars, attending online courses, and consuming lots of knowledge noise both online and offline. As a young media professional with a strong desire to excel in this profession, I’m looking forward to the Solitude experience. I hope it will help to improve my personal knowledge and skills for future ideas and projects.