Community//

Rising Star Lara Sarkissian: “It takes extra effort and a great deal of risk to go outside one’s trusted circle to hire people, but that’s what it takes. The ‘rules’ in this business need to bend to make room for diverse talent to break through”

The TV/Film industry has always been based on ‘who you know’, It takes extra effort and a great deal of risk to go outside one’s trusted circle to hire people, but that’s what it takes. The ‘rules’ of how to climb the ladder in this business need to also bend to make room for diverse […]


The TV/Film industry has always been based on ‘who you know’, It takes extra effort and a great deal of risk to go outside one’s trusted circle to hire people, but that’s what it takes. The ‘rules’ of how to climb the ladder in this business need to also bend to make room for diverse talent to break through. Also, producers need to have the mindset that hiring a culturally diverse crew will enhance the quality and the reach of our projects exponentially.


I had the pleasure to interview Lara Sarkissian. Lara is a film producer who started her own boutique production company, Alera Enterprises with her husband Alen Tarassians. Her mission is to create new media content that is always ahead of the curve. With hundreds of hours of television programs under their belt, Lara and her team at Alera are passionate about all that they produce. From script to screen, commercials to documentaries and apps for mobile devices, ingenuity rules! Be it with Overhualin’ (Transforming dream cars with Chip Foose), Living with Ed (Tackling green living with celeb-environmentalist Ed Begley Jr.) or with her latest series Egg Factor (Redefining the modern family formation), Lara creates groundbreaking programming that simply connects to your soul. Lara and her husband Alen created Egg Factor with the same passion and purpose they put behind their production company. Having conquered infertility in order to start a family of their own, Lara experienced first-hand how difficult a feat it can seem to be. In the end, however, it’s always worth the battle. Lara and her team at Alera continue with their mission to help discouraged, yet determined parents turn their dream into reality.


Thank you so much for doing this with us! Can you tell us the story of how you grew up?

I grew up in a very loving and carefree environment. I was able to travel a lot and had a fantastic childhood. I was exposed to a lot of books and films at a young age, so writing and telling stories became my purpose early on. My native language isn’t English, and I never thought one day I’d become fluent and be able to share my stories worldwide!

Can you share a story with us about what brought you to this specific career path?

My Father was a film producer, so maybe it’s in my blood. Film school was probably not the wisest choice in college, especially since my family wasn’t very supportive of it, but I was determined to prove them wrong! So I suppose it was because of my stubborn attitude that I ended up on this path. Either way, I’m very passionate about it, and I’m glad it has become a means for me to tell stories.

Can you tell us the most interesting story that happened to you since you began your career?

In the beginning, it was a pleasant surprise to find out people in the business were actually very supportive and open to sharing their knowledge and teaching their craft. Typically, when entering the film industry, you get warnings about people not wanting to help you along the way, but my experience wasn’t that at all.

Can you share a story about the funniest mistake you made when you were first starting? Can you tell us what lesson you learned from that?

I remember when I was working as an assistant camera operator, I was hoisted from a building top in downtown L.A. at 4 a.m. It was risky because I wasn’t sure if I even had the correct lens mounted on the camera and still had to somehow pull off getting a one take shot. It ended up working out, thankfully, but I learned that having self-confidence during vulnerable moments can carry you far.

What are some of the most interesting or exciting projects you are working on now?

Egg Factor is my main passion project right now, which is a project surrounding stories of infertility and conceiving via egg donors. We’ve wrapped up 10 episodes of this ground breaking docu-series, and my goal is to continue producing further seasons. There are many more layers to this important topic that need to be shared and celebrated. Currently, we’re also in a development deal with CBS Studios on another exciting project. It’s very big and very different than anything else we’ve done!

I’m very interested in diversity in the entertainment industry. Can you share three reasons with our readers about why you think it’s important to have diversity represented in film and television? How can that potentially affect our culture?

  • Diversity behind the scenes opens doors to variety in projects that are created and cultivated.
  • Those diverse projects present fresh points of view that audiences may have not been exposed to.
  • People are touched and moved by these ideas, who then create their own projects, which are hopefully now based on worldly experiences. In turn, all this of course can only have a more positive impact on our culture.

From your personal experience, can you recommend three things the community/society/the industry can do help address some of the diversity issues in the entertainment business?

The TV/Film industry has always been based on ‘who you know’, It takes extra effort and a great deal of risk to go outside one’s trusted circle to hire people, but that’s what it takes. The ‘rules’ of how to climb the ladder in this business need to also bend to make room for diverse talent to break through. Also, producers need to have the mindset that hiring a culturally diverse crew will enhance the quality and the reach of our projects exponentially.

What are your “5 things I wish someone told me when I first started” and why. Please share a story or example for each.

  1. The hours are brutal in this business. Production is tough, Post is even harder.
  2. You’ll regret your line of work many times…Be prepared.
  3. It can be feast or famine.
  4. Go to Law school before Film school 🙂 You’ll thank yourself.
  5. If all else fails, your imagination never will.

Which tips would you recommend to your colleagues in your industry to help them to thrive and not “burn out”?

Take long and exotic breaks in between all-consuming projects.

You are a person of enormous influence. If you could inspire a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the most amount of people, what would that be? You never know what your idea can trigger. 🙂

Thank you. In my current project, Egg Factor, the main focus is on lifting the shame and negative perception that surrounds the world of infertility. So that’s a movement that I’m passionate about and it starts by empowering the women and families who deal with this sensitive issue as well as the judgmental public who may not understand the deep pain that some have gone through to create their family.

None of us are able to achieve success without some help along the way. Is there a particular person who you are grateful towards who helped get you to where you are? Can you share a story about that?

The list is long, I’ve had many female mentors along the way who I’ve learned a lot from. But my main source of support from getting into the business and staying in it for the long haul have been the three influential men in my life: my Father, my Brother and my Husband.

Can you please give us your favorite “Life Lesson Quote”? Can you share how that was relevant to you in your life?

“Success consists of going from failure to failure without loss of enthusiasm” by Churchill. I love this quote! You need to have a strong back bone and ability to stand up and move forward despite all the ‘No’ s you hear in this business. Persistence and passion are necessary. Sometimes timing is everything. Hopefully you learn it’s not personal and at the very least, it builds character.

Is there a person in the world, or in the US whom you would love to have a private breakfast or lunch with, and why? He or she might just see this, especially if we tag them. 🙂

Oprah

How can our readers follow you on social media?

This is probably not very wise in this day and age but I’m personally not on social media. I can be reached via email. [email protected]

This was very meaningful, thank you so much!

The Thrive Global Community welcomes voices from many spheres. We publish pieces written by outside contributors with a wide range of opinions, which don’t necessarily reflect our own. Learn more or join us as a community member!
Share your comments below. Please read our commenting guidelines before posting. If you have a concern about a comment, report it here.

You might also like...

Community//

Rising Star Seana Kofoed: “Embrace the You in You; No One Notices Those Five Pounds But You”

by Yitzi Weiner
Community//

Publicist Rockstars: “If you keep going you will win” with Francis Perdue

by Authority Magazine

Sign up for the Thrive Global newsletter

Will be used in accordance with our privacy policy.

Thrive Global
People look for retreats for themselves, in the country, by the coast, or in the hills . . . There is nowhere that a person can find a more peaceful and trouble-free retreat than in his own mind. . . . So constantly give yourself this retreat, and renew yourself.

- MARCUS AURELIUS

We use cookies on our site to give you the best experience possible. By continuing to browse the site, you agree to this use. For more information on how we use cookies, see our Privacy Policy.