Vision Entertainments Andres Budnik & Liam Scholey Founded An Agency & Production Company Pushing For Latino Opportunities & Pay Equality
Back in 2012, Liam Scholey and Andres Budnik, assistants at WME and Creative Partners Group respectively, met by chance at Laurel Hardware, a vibey bar-restaurant in West Hollywood. Scholey, who grew up in Panama, overheard the Chilean Budnik speaking Spanish, and the two got to talking.
Scholey was in an agent training program, and he and Budnik discussed the lack of Latino employees and talent at their companies.
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“I worked for an agent named Eric Rovner,” Scholey says. “He was the Latin agent for the agency. But there were very few Latin people. And anything that had to do with Latin America or speaking Spanish, people would come to me and ask me. And that happened at every company that I worked at. It was surprising at such large companies there weren’t a lot of people that could navigate that space or that world.”
The men became fast friends, and on a Thanksgiving surf trip together, an idea bloomed.
“We really wanted to represent diverse underrepresented voices, in particular Latinos, which is our culture, and the culture we love,” Budnik says. “To put them in front and behind the camera. We saw an opportunity to push for terrific talent, terrific voices that were not having a space in the industry. So, we said, ‘Let’s resign from where we’re working and start our own company.’”
In December 2013, Vision Entertainment was born. At that time, the U.S. and Latin American industries were “two separate worlds”, as Scholey puts it. “Mexican actors were working in Mexican television, or they would do Telemundo, but there wasn’t a lot of crossover, because the [U.S.] roles that were written weren’t there for these types of actors.”
So, the co-CEOs went looking for more Latino actors. And to tackle the lack of authentic roles, they added writers and directors to their clientele.
Next came an office in Mexico City. And then a production arm, overseen by their newest hire, Eben Davidson, Paramount’s former senior VP of acquisitions and production, alongside Mexico-based producer Carolina Tamez. The agency now has projects and represents talent across multiple languages, continents and genres.
And their fight for representation and equality rages on. “We had a client that was a renowned actor from Latin America,” Budnik says. “[A U.S. show] was offering him $15,000 per episode. Which is very, very, low. We said, ‘Hey, why? You’ve budgeted double, or more than double that.’ And they said, ‘Oh no, because he has never worked in the U.S., this is likely the most money that he’s ever made.’ We said, ‘Pay them what their job is worth!’”
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