The name Victoria Alonso might not be familiar to you, but it should be. After all, she’s the badass Latina you didn’t know was behind all of your favorite Marvel blockbusters.
The Argentine glass ceiling-shattering woman is Marvel Studios' executive producer and executive vice president of physical production.
Basically, thank her for giving you faves like Doctor Strange, The Avengers, Captain America: Civil War, Guardians of the Galaxy, Thor: The Dark World, Iron Man 3 and so many other big movie hits.
With this impressive résumé, it's no surprise that Alonso will receive the Visionary Award at the 15th annual Visual Effects Society Awards on February 7 at the Beverly Hilton Hotel.
We chatted with the Inspiring Latina about her career, the need for more women in top-level production positions, what her Latinidad brings to the gig and even some Marvel Studios insiders.
Tell us about your job as executive vice president of physical production at Marvel Studios.
I’m the EVP of physical production at Marvel Studios and executive producer on all our films. We are currently in production on eight films, in their various stages. That means that every day, I read treatments, beat sheets or scripts and I watch dailies from set or from our visual effects teams. I’m involved in the visual development of the films, as well as marketing. It’s really a fun job!
How did you first become interested in visual effects and production?
I’ve always been involved in the theater, and when I first started working in film, I gravitated into production right away. I’ve always loved the excitement of being in the center of the storm, and fielding all kinds problems — big or small. To a degree, I fell into visual effects by accident, but I enjoyed it from the beginning. It’s the only department (outside of the director) that is involved in the filmmaking process from its inception through final delivery. It’s a great department to be in if you want to learn the entire process.
What would you say is the most exciting part about your job?
Believe it or not, filmmaking is not a very glamorous endeavor — quite the opposite. On a day-to-day basis, there isn’t a lot of excitement, per say, just a lot of long hours and hard work. That said, on every film, when we finally sit down to see the first director’s assembly, we are all pretty excited. To see all the script pages, storyboards, concepts and dailies form into a tangible shape — wow! At that point, we know that the pregnancy is over, and we’re going into labor for the final push.
You were the executive producer of major films like "The Avengers," "Iron Man 3," "Thor: The Dark World," "Guardians of the Galaxy" and many more. That's amazing! What's something you can tell us about the making of these film favorites that most viewers don't know?
Here are two fun facts: 1) Marvel’s favorite food, hands down, is pizza. So when we’re gearing up for a long night of reviews, we always order pizza — lots and lots of pizza. Our movies are made on pizza fuel. 2) My favorite toy is an oversized blow-up baseball bat that has smiley faces all over it; I call it the “Happy Stick.” When the days and nights are long, I walk around the production office with my happy bat to make sure everyone is still remembering that we’re supposed to be having fun, too.
You're one of very few women to hold a position as physical production chief at a studio. What does that feel like?
Bottom line, there needs to be more women in all areas of film production — but especially at the top. Women often change the tone in the room, and have different ways of thinking and communicating. Women need to be better represented in all facets of film production, and I’ve made a commitment to advocate for women at Marvel Studios and at Disney.
Definitely. You've become a vocal advocate for women in the visual effects industry. Why do you think more women are needed in positions like yours?
Women are half of our audience, so we need women's perspectives when we shape our films. It’s healthy for any group — filmmakers or not — to explore different points of view.
What's one challenge or barrier you faced and overcame in your career?
I tend to have a big mouth and have never been afraid to speak my mind. At times, though, that’s gotten me in trouble.
What would you say has been your favorite moment of your career so far?
There have been so many that it’s hard to think of just one. But I will say that the day that I got into the Academy was really special as well as the day that I first met Kathy Kennedy.
You're from Argentina. What do you think your Latina identity brings to this position?
Argentinians are very direct people, and I’ve found that has served me well. I’ve found that being direct and honest is often the best policy.
Any words of encouragement for Latinas aspiring to make it in high-level, male-dominated fields?
Believe in yourself and keep knocking on doors — eventually, they will let you in.