The Need for a Network

by Izaak Garcia 

Networking can teach you a lot about people… and yourself.

I came into college not really understanding the true importance of building a network. I was more concerned about how I was going to learn the art of my craft. The questions that plagued my mind at the beginning of my time here at the University of Southern California (USC) were things like how to write a script, how to improve that same script, and how to pitch the script. But once I put pen to paper—or more like my fingers to the keyboard—things changed. I locked down my method to get my ideas on the page in screenwriting format, and suddenly the questions that were once so big became smaller, albeit slightly. I began to see how essential the writing of a movie was, and how the basis of all movies revolved around good writing. I could see the intricacies of characters that others had written and incorporate something similar in my writing as well. This newfound clarity gave me room to breathe, and I began to see the value of having a network. I looked around at the people in my classes, the people I interacted with, and professionals that were already established in the industry. By doing this, I realized that all of them had a strong network, regardless of their current project; so I started branching out. 

My network has grown drastically this semester alone. I secured an internship in the first semester of my sophomore year, which added fuel to the fire that was my confidence. I figured that if I could snag an internship this early, nothing is stopping me from pitching my own scripts to other people, and possibly even directing them. So, I sent a script to a student-run production called “4085 Productions,” and within two weeks they said they loved the script and wanted to produce it!

I was ecstatic, and the experience of being on set, interacting with people who were on the same page as me was something that I will never forget. And because I decided to branch out, I met new actors, directors, cinematographers, and even other writers within the production company. Something else also happened when meeting these people—I began to realize that as I talked with others who wanted to go into various parts of the entertainment industry, I needed to be unique in my craft. I would have to build a network of people who would want to work with me for days on end. It is not enough for me to only write and direct different projects. My brand needs to be distinct. I want my personal brand to reflect both in the stories that I tell, and my character as a human being, because when character is shown through the stories told on the big screen, the audience connects with it more. And it was only after I started to network that this became clear.

About Izaak Garcia

Izaak Garcia is currently a freshman at the University of Southern California, majoring in Cinema and Media Studies with a minor in Applied Cybersecurity. He has played soccer with FC Peoria, Dunlap, and Richwoods for over a decade combined. Garcia has also played tennis for 4 years, securing a spot on both junior varsity and varsity teams. Along with this, he has competed with the Richwoods Worldwide Youth Science and Engineering team for Biology and English for 2 years and earned multiple awards for the school. Garcia is also heavily involved with the arts. As a multi-instrumentalist, he has played the saxophone for 8 years and piano for 2 years. During his junior year of high school, he was involved in theater at Richwoods as stage crew and manager. He helped with two productions and was being trained to be stage manager for senior year before the COVID-19 pandemic impacted school. Outside of school activities, Garcia is involved in Jack and Jill of America (an organization for young African American men and women to serve the community). He served as his chapter’s treasurer during his freshman year of high school. Along with Jack and Jill of America, he enjoys coding, learning new languages, and playing video games.

Art by Ellie Kraemer

Ellie Kraemer is a sophomore and an animation major at Bradley University who lives and breathes her artwork. Becoming a professional artist and animator has been a goal of hers for many years, as various works of digital art and experience have held a pivotal role in her life. Intrigued by the diverse storytelling prowess of interactive media, she aims to get involved in the productions of visuals for video games and animated series after graduation. You can find more of her work at