Q&A with WCA's Louiza Vick, WPA Agent
ABOUT LOUIZA: Louiza Vick, from St. Petersburg, Russia, earned her bachelor's degree from USC's School of Cinematic Arts. She started her career working in commercial production for companies such as Anonymous Content, The Directors Bureau, and Caviar while serving as a development consultant at Sony Television International for the Russian programming division. In November 2008, she joined Paradigm’s Production Department and got her start learning the ropes of below-the-line representation. In April 2010, Worldwide Production Agency brought her onboard as an agent serving its roster in motion pictures. Moving swiftly, she expanded WPA’s client roster to include editors. In 2014, she was named as one of Variety’s Hollywood New Leaders.
Q: What do you do now?
LV: I am a feature below-the-line agent at Worldwide Production Agency in LA.
Q: How did you get the job at WPA (Worldwide Production Agency)?
LV: After graduating from USC Film School, I did commercial production for about a year and then decided to try the agency route. I landed in the production department at Paradigm Talent Agency where I met Richard Caleel, one of the partners of Worldwide Production Agency, as well as several of the colleagues I work with now. Richard split off from Paradigm in January 2010 and started his own agency (at the time called The Caleel Agency). A couple months later, he asked me to join him at his new venture as a feature agent. That was in April of 2010, and in October of that year we merged with Steve Jacob and launched Worldwide Production Agency.
Q: What does an agent do?
LV: At its core, my job is finding clients opportunities and managing their careers. The day-to-day job of an agent is comprised of following up with regular contacts, reading scripts, talking to clients about opportunities we’re pursuing for them, and negotiating and papering deals.
Q: What makes a good agent?
LV: The makeup of a good agent can be described in a few words: persistent, caring, resilient, and punctual. I consider myself more of a manager than an agent. I think that in order to advance someone’s career, you have to know and care for them, professionally and personally.
Q: What are some of the challenges of your job?
LV: The biggest challenge and one I embrace whole-heartedly is convincing people to see our clients as multi-disciplined. Often times, people put talent in boxes. You’re the commercial DP or you’re the TV designer. I believe that if someone has perfected and has proven their craft in lighting or design, their strength in lets say commercials shouldn’t hold them back from obtaining a feature opportunity because the main skill set is same and the rest comes with experience. Someone has to give them their first shot or how else would they gain experience in a medium they haven’t worked in? I wish more people would take chances. While this is a challenge, it is one I enjoy because when you succeed in breaking those boundaries and getting the client their shot at a new medium, it is very rewarding.
Q: Are there any particular advantages or disadvantages to being a woman in your line of work?
LV: Being a woman in entertainment industry, no matter what you do, comes with its own set of challenges as its a male-dominated industry like many others. Sometimes you get taken for granted because you’re a woman but at the same time, you can use that to your advantage.
Q: What important lessons have you learned on the job?
LV: You must always be patient and resilient.
Q: How has your USC education played a role in your career?
LV: The most fulfilling and exciting aspect of my job is finding a script that a client loves. The only way I can find the great script is by reading as many scripts as I can get my hands on. I love talking to clients about story and characters. I am a cinephile at heart and my love for storytelling came from taking many critical studies classes at USC Film School.
Q: What has prepared you best for your career?
LV: The best preparation is by learning by example. I am very fortunate to have great mentors at WPA who have helped me become who I am today.
Q: What career achievement/s have you been most proud of?
LV: What I find most rewarding is seeing a client’s career flourish knowing that you had a hand in making that happen.
Q: What advice would you give to women starting out in the film/television industry?
LV: The best advice I can give is someone is to never give up. In this industry, it is very difficult to succeed but you can’t give up despite the obstacles. The only person who is stopping you from doing your best is yourself. Work hard, be resilient, and appreciate what you have, the rest will come.
Q: What advice would you give to any aspiring agents out there?
LV: Find your own voice and trust your gut. Recognize that what you do is a calling and devote your time and energy to that calling.
Q: What about people aspiring to GET an agent? Any advice?
LV: First and foremost, as an artist you should focus on your craft. Perfect it and find what separates you from the rest. When you do that, often times, the agent will seek you out and find you first. If you haven’t been noticed, I would suggest asking a producer or director friend to put in a word for you. Referrals are generally the best way to go.
Q: Besides being an agent, do you have any other projects?
LV: In fact I do. I shoot fashion and beauty editorials in my spare time. I’ve always loved photography. There is something about capturing emotion or conveying mood in just one photo that fascinates me. It’s a great creative outlet.
Q: What's next for you?
LV: I love what I do and only time will tell.