Celebrating Ticker Alumni: Rafael Garcia

Courtesy+of+Rafael+Garcia

Courtesy of Rafael Garcia

Maya Demchak-Gottlieb, Copy Editor

The Ticker, founded in 1932, is the student-run newspaper of City College’s Downtown Campus and 2022 is the newspaper’s 90th anniversary. To honor and celebrate the legacy of The Ticker and the members who have kept it running, the News section will be publishing profiles of former Ticker members throughout the years.

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Rafael Garcia is a Baruch College and Ticker alumnus who currently works at Disney. He is charged with sourcing talent and ideas for live-action series development for both Disney Channel and Disney+. He reads scripts, takes pitches and talks to agents, managers and producers.

Garcia’s path to where he is now was not linear— when he first started college, he pursued journalism.

“I originally set out to be a journalist,” he said. “That was my lifelong kind of dream.”

While Garcia’s career trajectory showed him that his passion was television, he said the different experiences he had were enriching.

“Rarely is it going to be a direct path so enjoy the ride,” Garcia said. “It’s a long twisty road and looking back those were the best of times. I was young, I had a goal and I didn’t know what was coming next.”

As a student at Baruch, Garcia interned at Comedy Central, Nickelodeon and VH1, where he shifted his focus from journalism to the creative aspects of television.

“It just felt like wow, this is where pop culture is being created, and I wanted to be a part of that,” Garcia said.

Despite realizing his passion for television, he did not start his career there.

“Music production was actually my point of entry into the industry,” he said.

Although Garcia’s path was not linear, it was interconnected. Even while writing for The Ticker, he was unknowingly working toward the next steps in his career journey.

“Ironically, I remember writing about music [at The Ticker],” Garcia said. “It was a feature about music and how musicians at the time were promoting their music independently, so just thinking about that I can see how it all kind of connects.”

While working at Nickelodeon, Garcia was offered the opportunity to move from unscripted music production to scripted production in live-action and animation. After several years, he shifted to his current responsibilities in the live-action development side.

“My production background helped, my background in music helped, my background in journalism helped; it was all kind of coming together, helping me find my path,” he said.

Garcia said that his education and experience taught him to analyze writing and give constructive feedback, skills he utilizes in his current role.

“I originally started out wanting to be a writer and journalist myself, but now the bulk of my job is shepherding other writers so having that experience at The Ticker, having that journalism degree, that base of knowledge and love of writing and reading is invaluable,” he said.

Garcia also said that being a part of The Ticker gave him the opportunity to practice his passion, something he now teaches others the importance of.

“[At The Ticker] you can find your voice and showcase your work,” he said. “If you’re a writer, write; if you’re a director, direct. That’s what I tell writers now. Whatever you want to be, just do it.”

Working at The Ticker enabled Garcia to learn skills essential for success in the business world.

“I learned commitment in the sense that I had deadlines to meet,” Garcia said. “I was a student. I worked after school, I worked nights, but I still had to meet my deadlines.  To this day it doesn’t matter what it is, I try to stay true to my commitments and deliver.”

The time Garcia spent at The Ticker provided more than just technical training.

“I remember the first time I walked into The Ticker it felt right,” he said. “I had never been in that office before, but it was like wow– it felt like a good sense of community. Even the copier humming, the smell. I felt like I was in a newsroom. It was real. It was the first time that I got to kind of experience that feeling of wow, this is a real job.”

In his current role, Garcia said he enjoys getting to work with undiscovered creative individuals.

“I’m really passionate about helping break new talent,” he said. “In particular, under-represented talent in all forms. It’s always great when you help get a writer their first job, or director their first TV job, and then you see them go off to have great careers.”

When sourcing talent, there are three key things Garcia said he looks for.

“I just look for passion, and vision and a point of view,” he said.

When reflecting on how he arrived at his current position at Disney, Garcia offered advice for those just starting their journey.

“Follow your calling, and if you don’t know what it is it’ll come during the journey like it did with me,” he said. “It just happened, I just found it.”