Emily Izquierdo ’13 had no reason to believe she’d find a job in show business when she moved to Los Angeles shortly after she graduated. “It was a spur-of-the-moment decision and I had zero prospects, but I decided to do it anyway,” Izquierdo says.
She was urged to take the leap of faith by one of her best friends at Vassar, Kelly Nguyen ’13, who had just been hired as an editor for a video and film production company in Los Angeles. “Kelly texted me one day, told me how much she loved it and said, ‘You’ve got to come out here,’” Izquierdo says. “I said to myself, ‘Why not?’”
The leap has paid off. After a short stint working in a youth hostel, Izquierdo landed an entry-level job with Partizan Productions, a film and video production company, and she’s since moved on to an animation studio called ShadowMachine that produces the irreverent and quirky Trip Tank for Comedy Central.
“One of the best parts of my job is being in the Trip Tank writers’ room, hearing them come up with ideas,” she says. “It’s fun to watch all those wheels turning in there.” Izquierdo’s tasks include taking notes for the writers and then preparing the scripts. She also helps to schedule the actors who do voice-overs for the characters in the short animated films. Recent visitors to the studio have included Tom Lennon, a star of the Comedy Central hit Reno 911; Tom Kenny, voice of the cartoon character Sponge Bob; comedic actor Wayne Brady, and Alan Tudyk, who starred on the Fox-TV space drama Firefly.
Like many jobs in Los Angeles, Izquierdo’s doesn’t start until after 9 a.m. “because the traffic during rush hour is so crazy,” but the work day often stretches well into the evening. “Now that we’ve started production on a new batch of shows, we’re often here till 8:30 or 9 p.m.,” she says.
Izquierdo, who was a film major, says she is constantly applying what she learned at Vassar as she lays a foundation for her career. “I learned a lot about filmmaking and watched a lot of films while I was there, and that’s what people talk about out here, so I have an ample body of knowledge about it,” she says, adding Vassar’s reputation helped her land her job at Partizan Productions.
“When I applied for that job, I thought they’d be hesitant to hire me because I didn’t have any experience,” she says. “But they told me, ‘You went to Vassar; you’re smart. You’ll figure it out.’”
Izquierdo says she’s thrilled to be working on a show that airs on Comedy Central because she enjoyed writing comedy sketches when she was at Vassar and would like to pursue that aspect of the business. “When people ask me what I want to be, I always tell them I want to be Tina Fey,” she says. “Writing and working with other comedians is really what I want to do.”
Izquierdo says she hopes her “crazy adventure” will inspire other young Vassar grads to pursue their dreams. “I think what I learned was you have to have that attitude that you’ll figure it out, and if you keep working hard, eventually something will happen,” she says.