Nov. 8, 2012— -- To become a top executive at Marvel Studios, you need to have a little passion.
"You want to have the passion for what's not there because what happens in visual effects is that we get to create worlds that are not there," Victoria Alonso said during ABC's Stand Up for Heroes. "So you have to passion and the vision to make sure that that imagery gets you to the other side."
Alonso is the executive vice president of Visual Effects at Marvel. She has worked for the comic company for seven years and has been involved with films such as "Captain America," "Iron Man," "The Avengers" and many more.
She juggled numerous jobs as she worked her way up through the film industry. Alonso didn't have a mentor in the film industry, but she did have her mother. Alonso grew up in a family full of strong women who told her anything was possible.
Alonso studied psychology and theater in her home of Argentina before moving to the United States at age 19. She didn't want to move to New York, so she opted for the film industry because the majority of it happens in Los Angeles.
The 46-year-old recently sat down with former Marine Michael Chan, who served two tours in Fallujah, Iraq. Chan enlisted in the Marines when he was 18. He tried to enlist earlier but a recruiter said he needed to get his high school diploma or GED.
"I managed to graduate with a 65, which is not, not impressive at all," Chan told Alonso during ABC's Stand Up For Heroes. "That's an important thing. Finishing is impressive," Alonso said. "And you became a Marine, which is pretty darn impressive."
Chan's military contract ended earlier this year; he's now a student at the University of Southern California's School of Cinematic Arts, where he's pursuing a bachelor's degree in cinema and television production. He wants to tell stories through writing and directing film.
Alonso's advice for Chan is to be patient and persistent when it comes to his career.
"You have to stay with it, and to go at it, and you have to knock on those doors every day. Do not take 'no' for an answer," Alonso said. "Because my 'no,' is somebody else's 'yes.' Everybody's life is different and everybody's journey is different."
Chan said he is finished with the military part of his life and is focusing on finishing school. He plans to start at the bottom of the film industry and work as a production assistant, just as Alonso did.
"The best place to start is from the bottom because you get to look it all up and go, 'Or that, or that, or that,'" Alonso said. "Skills – the ones that you have today – are going to grow and they are going to get better over time. The one thing I would say is, do not lose faith if it takes time."