Alexander Arkhipov: biography, creativity, career, personal life

Alexander Arkhipov would not have worked to write a script about how the “simple Ural guy” (as he calls himself) moved from Yekaterinburg to Moscow and found himself among those, who today defines the face of the cinema and serial market in Russia and is successfully “staged” in modern theatre. But it will not be done, and by no means out of modesty. At the playwright, screenwriter, editor-in-chief of the film company “STV” in his head other subjects. Combining activities in the film industry with literary creativity, sets itself numerous and diverse goals. Bearing in mind that for their achievement “and a whole life will not suffice”, Alexander Sergeyevich, not hiding a wistful smile, says: “I always dreamed of immortality”.

Simple Ural guy

A.S. Arkhipov was born 21.09.1977 in Sverdlovsk. Parents are doctors by profession, people intelligent and hospitable. The House of Arkhipovs was always full of guests, the boy grew up in an atmosphere of intense intellectual communication. A chunky, sturdy, smiling boy was already at school demonstrating a humanitarian warehouse of mind. Of all subjects taught history and literature. In the class was a massively stunner. I came up with stories that guys played out in school self-activity. Alexander wrote his first play at the age of 15. The composition was immature, but the young author showed non-detic intuition, seeing in it political events of 1993. The second play (it was called “The Cage” and Arkhipov doesn’t like to remember it) appeared when he was already 25.

At the end of secondary school Alexander went to study at the UrSU school. After the second year he was brushed off and, as they said in those times, “rattled” into the army. Served in the morfleet, on the Baltic sentry ship “Pylky”. After demobilization, he did not recover at university, and went to work. Lacking a journalistic degree, he struggled to settle at the Evening News. The publication of his blistering and ironic article on bribery in universities — “It’s easier to pay than to pass” — caused a huge resonance and became the reason for the dismissal of the journalist. Soon he was invited to the weekly “Details +TV” (in those years, one of the boldest and most read newspapers). Arkhipov kept a popular humorous page “Khokhmodrom”. Later, he will write that the newspaper work was loved: “For me, the note of 1,000 signs and the play I have been working on for six months is equivalent. Because volume matters only when receiving a fee, and it is possible to reach the heart with one phrase.”

In “Details”, his editorial activities began. Then he is the editor of the department of culture of the Urals “Arguments and Facts”, the editor of the game cinema of the Sverdlovsk Film Studio. In 2003 he entered Yekaterinburg Theatre Institute. He studied on the course of literary creativity of Nikolai Kolyada. During this period, plays were written that brought Arkhipov his first popularity: “The Dembel Train”, “Pavlov’s Dog”, “Underground God”, “Island Mirny”, “Jack is a Neon Light”. He received another higher education in VGIK (workshop of Rustam Ibragimbekov). Alexander gives two absolutely different theses in the stories about the student:


  • was proud of the fact that in the “public hall” lived in the very room where on the fire ladder Vasily lashed Shukshin when running for vodka.
  • He considers his only Teacher Nikolai Vladimirovich Kolyada, Honored Artist of the Russian Federation, laureate of the international prize named after M. TO. C. Stanislavsky. A brilliant novelist, playwright and screenwriter taught him the main thing — “to sit at the writing table and compose your world.”

Since the early 2000s, Arkhipov’s activities have been linked to cinema. He worked as editor-in-chief of a film studio in Ekaterinburg. After receiving Sergey Selyanov’s proposal to edit television projects in his film company, he moved with his family to Moscow. He currently heads the editorial staff of “STV”. As a screenwriter, editor and organizer of the filmmaking process, Alexander Arkhipov produced about forty successful projects. He is known as the author of the script of the television series “Testament of the Night”, “Zhurov”, “The Case Was in Gavrilovka”, “Losers. NET”, “Moscow. Three stations.” One of the screenwriters of the “Women’s League” sketchcom on the channel “TNT”. He is a participant in the creation of animated feature films “Sinbad: Pirates of Seven Storms”, “Sadko”, “Buka”.

STV Film Industry

For almost a decade Alexander Arkhipov has been working in the Moscow representative office of one from the most visible and strong Russian major studios – Sergei Selyanov’s STV film company. During this time he managed to take the position of one of the key figures in the Russian film industry.

As the head of development, Arkhipov develops the project taken on implementation from zero point, when there is only a design, before launching into production. The film studio is engaged in the industry of large genre cinema and focuses on films capable of attracting at least a million viewers to cinemas, that is to bring approximately 250 million rubles of fees. The niche of non-commercial cinema is present as this direction is responsible for the development of cinema as an art form. But any author’s film is a loss, and the project is supported only if it is certainly bright material: it is a talented work, even if an unknown author, or a proposal an authoritative director who has already declared himself in cinema.

The task of Arkhipov as the star of the film company is together with assistants (5-7 staff readers and editors) to find those who will offer the original story, unusual setting and topical hero. A story like this will “shoot.” Many of Arkhips’s scripts read evaluate how good, but not appropriate “STV”. There are several reasons:

  • Not every story inherently carries the attraction and other elements necessary for large genre cinema.
  • The author’s idea of the relevance of the chosen topic, the main idea does not coincide with the opinion of the mass viewer.
  • The script is woven not according to the rules of rolling cinema: initially chamber or by its construction is close to the television series.
  • The principles of the internal device of the script are violated — the mechanics of dramaturgy are laid bare, the lines of the story are incorrectly spelled out.
  • The story, taken as the basis of a film project, should be simple, but not primitive, with its deep meaning.

Among the tasks of the studio “STV” Arkhipov especially highlights two:

  1. to shoot more films. It is impossible to predict that this or that tape will become “nettape”. But there are statistics and a law of physics “about the transition of quantity into quality.” To get one or two good scenarios, you need to develop 10-15. This means that out of a hundred films made, ten can turn out to be good, and one will go down in history.
  2. Don’t chase movie trends. It’s singularity time. Everything changes so rapidly that it is almost impossible to get into the “movie” trend. So you have to rely on your own taste and do what you like.

Alexander Sergeevich says that it is impossible to bring out a certain averaged matrix that would guarantee success of the film project. Often intuition and inner confidence come to the rescue. But there are three must-have successes. The film should:

  • first, get into the market, find itself in demand from the mass viewer;
  • second, bring the profit needed to function and further promotion of the business;
  • third, to satisfy the intellectual requests of the public, not to reduce cinema to the “popcorn on the couch” format.

It would seem that in order to achieve the result it is necessary to combine the incongruity. But a talented screenwriter, an experienced editor and an able organizer of the film process manages to reconcile business with art.

Screenwriting workshop

A. Arkhipov, reading monthly more than one opus from hundreds of texts sent to the edition, traced a certain trend. Those who can write often take a hackneyed, exhausted subject. Or, without knowing what to tell about, trying to guess what’s needed. While aspiring authors, who do not have sufficient literary skills, often offer fresh thoughts, offer interesting stories. The solution was obvious — to work with young gifts who lack school, to teach them to write scripts according to the laws of dramaturgy.

Thus appeared the screenwriting workshop of Alexander Arkhipov. It operates on the basis of the Higher School of Art Practices and Museum Technologies of the Faculty of Art History of the Russian State Humanities University. The topics of lectures, workshops and master classes are wide and varied. Here is only a little of what the master offers to improve his literary skills: “Development of the script — the editor’s view”, “Write the right synopsis”, “Features of dramaturgy” genre rolling cinema”, “Methodology of etude script writing”, “Specifics of screenwriting”. Different forms of interaction with listeners. Training takes place full-time, part-time, online, using interactive and multimedia technologies.

Despite the load, Alexander Sergeevich devotes a lot of time to teaching work. Since 2012 he has been a teacher of the Faculty of Art History of RSU. Arkhipov started to conduct screenwriting classes in Yekaterinburg period at the Academy of Film Business “Country”. In “STV” launched a project with screenwriting workshops that take place on the basis of regional film studios. Arkhipov is the master of the highest level course “Series 2.0” of the screenwriting school “League of Cinema”. In addition: participates in the Marathon of Screenwriters (competition and educational program for novice writers); member of the jury of Pitching genre full-length projects “Turning point”; Expert Council of the competition within the framework of the All-Russian Debutant Pitching and the International Film Festival “Premonition”, member of the jury of the festival “KENOVision”.

When the famous playwright and screenwriter is asked to give advice to those who want to experience fate and send a request to them not the studio, Arkhipov says: “I believe that the attempt is not just a bid and good ones intentions. Write full-fledged works, don’t be limited to synopses.” Alexander Sergeyevich firmly believes that coming out from under the pen of the screenwriter should represent a “finished product”, and not go to comprehension and “bring to mind” the director. To do this, the author needs not only to know the mechanics of dramaturgy, but also to understand the internal structure of the script, and most importantly — to find himself in the text Good literary work is always based on intuition and craft.


playwright and screenwriter’s own creative practice is as follows: labor is practically non-stop, but with low efficiency — not more than one play per year. Explains Arkhipov this in a long way from the theme to its incarnation. And gives an example: “I made a documentary about Levitan in 2008, and the idea of its creation came when I was 10 years old.” Writes the script of Arkhipov quickly, the work is done almost immediately on “cleansebook”, the dialogues edits in the head, at the exit can change only the structure.

Literary critics note: “when you listen to the text of an archipov play, you don’t notice how time flies, there is something Chekhovskoye in it.” Of his contemporaries, the closest to Arkhipov’s dramaturgy is the Ural poet Boris Ryzhiy, from the same circle of Nikolai Kolyada and “the most powerful cultural outlier of the 1980-1990s”. Improving his skills, Alexander Sergeevich turned to the experience of modern Western dramaturgy: he took the course of Teaching in Screenwriting at the school of cinematography, which In 2012, the University of Southern California (USC) organized specifically for Russian producers, editors and screenwriters.

Not a word about personal life

Alexander Sergeevich is open for mass media: willingly answers questions of correspondents, participates in telecasts, speaks at creative meetings and presentations of his works. According to interviewers, he is one of the most interesting and friendly interlocutors. But at the same time makes it clear that the discussion is only subject to his creativity (cinema, theatre, books). In one of the talks, the playwright voiced his wife’s opinion on the move to the capital and the cinematic turn in his fate. At the presentation of the animated film about Sindbad it was said that he was “making a cartoon for his children”. And then not without pride added that when the two-year-old daughter first visited the cinema – it was his film.

And no more word or half a word about personal life. Not heard gossiping about marriage or divorce, affair or affair, etc. Meticulous photo-correspondents can’t even boast pictures (neither officeful, nor frivolous), on which Alexander is captured with women. On the pages of tabloids — only on-call photos with colleagues and partners, taken as part of business or informal, and, as can be seen from publications, strictly men’s meetings. In the secular chronicle we read about Arkhipov’s communication “with two Sanychs”: how to drink a tip at Kalyagin, why goes around Moscow by Pantykin’s car.

Not to make the mass media information that is outside the sphere of his professional interests, Alexander Sergeevich manages masterfully.


touches to the portrait

Alexander Arkhipov attracts attention not only by his work. He’s just as unconventional as a human being. He stays at the same time in several hyposts: the head of development and the editor-in-chief of “STV”, a member of the Union of Writers of Moscow, a teacher of RSU And in parallel continues to write scripts. Among the numerous projects in which Alexander acts as an organizer, there are also those that are far from literature, theater and film. One of them is the Anonymous Players Club established in Yekaterinburg, where they help the sufferers of gaming addiction.

Arkhipov is a keen gatherer of what belongs to the historical period up to the 1950s of the last century. Vintage documents, photographs, military uniforms and awards, household items — everything that “sticks to your hands”. The object of collector’s pride is Czech stamps before 1953. By the way to say, a lot of this came in handy on making movies. And thanks to Aleksandr Sergeyevich’s desk teaker (with the image of the Ekaterinburg Opera House), he came to his mind the idea with a faceted glass, which became a quest treasure in m/f about Sindbad. This finding helped not only the story, but also PR – for the premiere branded cups were released, they were played out among the audience.

The plans and dreams

of Arkhipov is engaged in what he gets, gives pleasure and brings income. A successful person can scarcely desire more. But Alexander Sergeyevich doesn’t stop there.

  • The thought of putting the play himself, visited Arkhipov during the period of participation in the creative laboratory (deputy head M. Ugarov) in the TEATR.DOC project. It is documentary theatre, “coming from the truth of life”: when performances are created in the technique of “verbatim” (based on real dictaphone recordings). The first directing experience of a screenwriter in the Ekaterinburg branch of TEATR.DOC is a play by A. Rodionov’s “The war of the Moldovan over the cardboard box”, which tells about the problems of migrants. Among the works of director Arkhipov in cinema are two documentaries made in his homeland: “Speaks Sverdlovsk” (2008), “The Best Day of the 43rd Year” (2010) and the film of the Moscow period “Alexander Maslyakov. 70 — no joke, 50 — joking” (2011).
  • The

  • playwright’s bibliography is small. The story “Myth”, written in 2003, and a collection of plays “Mirny Island”. It is the first volume in the series “Ural School of Dramaturgy”, which was published together with the premiere of the play of the same name (2011). Arkhipov hopes to replenish his literary baggage by starting to write novels and children’s tales. He spoke about it in interview to the correspondent of “Theatralnaya Gazeta”. Dreams have the property of coming true. And it is possible that soon we will be on the bookshelf, next to the tomics of beloved modern writers, voluminous foliant of the novelist Arkhipov. Or we will see at the theater festival a performance for children, staged according to the tale of Alexander Sergeevich – but not Pushkin)).
  • The screenwriter’s immediate plans are to return to the theater and devote more time not to the cinema, but to the creation of plays. The theatre, usually extremely inert about contemporary literature, accepted much of the written by Arkhipov. Today, he is called a “fashionable” screenwriter. The most famous are the performances that go to many theater venues in the country: “Dembel Train” (2003), “Mosin Rifle” (2008), “Mirny Island” (2011), “Nikodemov” (2013), “Rebels” (2015) . Colleagues joke that Nikolai Kolyada’s pupil inherited from the master fart “to be put” all over Russia.

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