GET TO KNOW AGBO: RENÉ LEDEZMA
By AGBO Team | March 31, 2023
René Ledezma is the Vice President of Operations at AGBO. This is his second go around at the company, previously René served as the Director of Facilities & Construction at AGBO from August 2019 until January of 2021. He rejoined the company in October 2022 in this new position and tackles many projects at AGBO’s main campus in DTLA. He has over 16 years of experience in facilities and operations with previous positions including Head of Administration at Laika, and he served as Director and Head of U.S. Facilities at Entertainment One.
Can you describe a typical day in the office for you?
The Operations Department is multifaceted here. We cover IT, facilities, as well as production support, so no day looks the same. We can be doing anything from onboarding new employees to issuing parking permits and badges, to troubleshooting network issues. I can go on forever, but it is a very exciting, fast-paced department and day for all of us that support AGBO in this capacity.
Can you talk about the AGBO campus?
Our campus is in downtown LA, and it was designed to be a multi-building campus. We really wanted to create a space that was a one-stop solution to all of the creative process that Joe and Anthony wanted to see happen here, so they could be close to it and you didn't have to go elsewhere. So when we designed it, it was like, "Can we have a writer's room? Can we have a state-of-the-art edit bay and motion capture stage?" Build a theater so they can do all the reviews here and they don't have to go somewhere else. But also for our partners, to have a place where they can come. They know that as they're done shooting, they don't have to split their teams. They can all be here. From the visual effects through the editing crew. You name it, they're all going to have a place here.
We are in the old food distribution district in downtown LA, so our buildings are from the early 1900s. A lot of the character of downtown LA that people are used to seeing, we kept a lot of that when we renovated our building, aesthetically-minded as far as also having places for events and knowing that we can do a lot of shoots here and just having a hub of activity. We have some of our favorite restaurants in the campus as well. So it's been a great place for AGBO to grow in the last six years now.
What excited you about working for AGBO?
That's a great question. I really gave that a lot of thought as I came back, after being gone for a couple of years. When they presented me the opportunity to come back, I really thought hard about that. I really think it's the people. Joe and Anthony are probably one of the best bosses that I've ever had. They really care what the people that work for them, and they want to make sure that those people share their values, family and creativity and openness and honesty. So that always makes for a really great work environment. It doesn't hurt that we make great shows forTV and movies and you name it.
Can you explain your background and what led you into this field?
I'm of Mexican descent. I was born in Mexico, but I was brought to the US when I was little. My parents were migrant farm workers and through a lot of hard work, my dad became a truck driver later on in life. That afforded us a lot of things that we didn't have when we got to this country. I didn't move to LA until I was 11, and I would've never dreamt that I would end up working in Hollywood. Just minorities in general really don't think about this as a career because they think you have to be well-connected or, I don't know, you have to know somebody or you have to go to film school. The reality is that, of course, that's helpful.
But there's also this facet of it. No one thinks about administration. No one thinks of the facilities. It's so critical. You need IT. You need a building that works. You need systems that work. So I really stumbled upon the industry. As soon as I realized where I was it, I really took to it. I love the fast pace of it all. My first real job was in the music industry and that opened my eyes a little bit to the creative stuff. I was like, "Oh, that's cool." But I never felt like I'm that person. I always colored outside the lines and I never felt like an artist, if you may. It's like a thing where I'm like, "Oh, I'm really good at organization. I'm really good at administration. How can I apply that to a creative environment where maybe I'm not the artist, but I can help support the artistry that is happening?"
What type of skills do you need for the job?
One of the things that I think I can attribute to my own success is having thick skin, being able to take constructive criticism and make adjustments, being transparent about what is possible and not possible. No one likes to be told that something's going to happen and it doesn't happen. Then having drive and organization that goes a long way. It's always good to have a Plan B, a C, a D to be able to tackle anything that the creative process can throw around. And then having a vision, I think, to know that there's more to be done and being proactive about it. I think the film industry in itself, everybody wears so many hats. Then you just have to be willing to do whatever it takes to get the job done.
What character in the AGBO universe do you most relate to?
I would have to say Tyler Rake, not because I'm a deadly mercenary or anything like that, but we're both persistent , we're both survivors and we both have drive.
What’s your favorite snack in the office?
As a proud Mexican, it has to be anything spicy. I'm happy that we have spicy chips, all of the Hot Cheeto flavors you can think of. I am trying to cut back, but it's definitely hard to do that when the kitchens are always well-stocked.
What’s your favorite movie?
My favorite movie is still, to this day, Back to the Future, but not just one, two, or three. I have to watch all three. I see it as one long, nine hour movie.