Q&A: Podcast creator talks about juggling multiple creative interests
When Flat Rock freshman Jaymes Rodriguez wakes up, he immediately thinks about the work that has to be that day.
Other times, he'll sit down and watch the sunrise.
Rodriguez has a lot on his plate -- audio editing, animation, voice acting and being part of a band. He also helps run “Station Arcadia," an LGBT-focused audio drama anthology that is a finalist for multiple Audio Verse awards. On top of all of that, the self-described "jack-of-all-trades, master of none" has a novel on the backburner.
Central Michigan Life spoke with the up-and-coming animator and audio editor about his different skills and hobbies.
CM Life: What’s your favorite thing to work on for a podcast?
Rodriguez: I like voice acting, and I like doing the baseline audio editing where you’re putting people’s voices together and making them sound like they’re in the same space.
What got you into podcasting?
My cousin was into it before I was. They got me into “Welcome to Night Vale," which is a lot of people’s first podcast. It’s a popular audio drama -- pretty well known. I started listening to it and got a little bit into it. Then, I started “The Magnus Archive,” and that was before I got into podcasts. I didn’t really like horror at the time. I’m still not a huge fan of horror, but I find that audio horror is easier for me to consume than visual horror. So, I got really into The Magnus Archives and went, “Hey, I can do this!” So, I did.
Was “Station Arcadia” your idea?
“Station Arcadia” was actually a group of people. I sort of jumped on the tail end of it. I went into it pretty late on. They were almost closing the (Discord, an instant messaging a from more people joining through, and I hopped on there.
It’s just a bunch of people I met online. We all had a similar interest. I was going into it like, “I can do some writing and some voice acting.” I ended up doing the cover art, and I ended up doing the audio editing, writing the song for it and all these things. Now, I’m voice acting another character coming up hopefully soon. I’m doing a lot more than originally intended. It’s so fun. I love it.
The entire crew of “Station Arcadia” is some form of LGBT. We all have found our identities through podcasting, but (not to the extent that we want). Podcasting has been amazing for gay representation, different sexualities … races even. It’s been good about that more so than other media like books, movies or TV shows.
We don’t see (certain identities) getting represented. We’re wanting to add to that representation. We are trying to be those people (who create characters for people who want see themselves in) one of the characters.
You do a lot of writing and audio. What do you prefer?
I’m not sure. Writing is very hard, and recently, I have horrible writer’s block. I’m inclined to say audio. However, it depends on the story you’re trying to tell. Some stories work better in a writing medium, and I found some stories work better in an audio medium. It really depends on what kind of story you’re trying to tell and what you’re trying to say, and if it really relies on visualizing things. I feel like you can visualize a lot more things in writing, while audio is a lot more (listening) and hearing the environment more than seeing it.
What are your favorite stories to tell?
I have a soft spot for detective stories, and I also really like knights, castles and fantasy kind of stuff -- King Arthur type stuff. I’m planning a podcast with that genre, and I think it’ll be kind of interesting.
How do you find the time for doing all of this?
I don’t know. I’m still trying to figure that out myself. I find that a lot of people spend more time than I do watching TV, hanging out with friends. It’s kind of just giving up those little things for creative things. I find whenever I try to sit down and watch TV or read a book, I think “Man, I really should work on writing.”
Do you ever get jealous of those people who can just switch off?
All the time. People just make some spontaneous plans to play “Among Us” with friends, and I sit here like, “I have so much work to do! I can’t do that.” I can’t do spontaneous plans or have days where I just do nothing. It’s really hard to do that.
(It’s) something I’m working on. I’m trying to work on taking breaks and relaxing a little bit more. Like this morning, I got up really early. I was going to work on some audio editing for “Station Arcadia.” Instead, I saw the sunrise outside and went, “You know what? I’m gonna watch the sunrise.” So, I did for like an hour.
It’s hard because I spent most of the hour looking out the window going “Oh, I have an essay due today, audio editing to do, I need to write for a podcast.” I have all of these things going through my mind, and it’s really hard for me to sit down and just do nothing. But, I managed to do it so I’m hoping that I’ve done it once, I can do it sometime in the future, but it’s a process. I guarantee you like three weeks ago I would have been able to sit down and do it.
Why do you think you can’t switch off?
I feel like I have never really had to switch off. I’m just always productive. But I don’t know what it’s like to sit and not do anything, and it still feels awkward to do that. When people watch TV, they don’t go into how it’s made. They just kind of watch TV. I’ve never done that. It’s hard to learn something that you’ve never been taught how to do.
When you are able to switch off, what’s your favorite thing to do?
I like knitting. Loom knitting, specifically. That’s the thing I do when I just want to spend the whole day not thinking about anything. I made a blanket a bit ago. It’s really soft, I love it. I’ll probably end up bringing it up next semester because it’s so warm.
The other thing I like doing is just eating food. Eating a snack or drinking soda, just getting something nice that I like, like chips or something. Eating food’s good. I really like sushi, but I don’t get it a lot, so it’s a special thing.
What character in fiction represents you the most?
I’m inclined to say Oscar Wilde, specifically in Rusty Quill Gaming (a tabletop RPG podcast), but also how he’s portrayed in a lot of different forms of media. I find stuff I relate to. Anybody who could talk to me for more than two hours will realize that they’ll probably hear me rant about him at some point. I just criticize his writing all the time. I write better out of spite so I could be better than Oscar Wilde.
On a level, I relate to him, and I think that he’s really influential. How a lot of people portray him in media is akin to how I see me, and how I would want to be seen by people — productive, kind of fancy, kind of gay, interesting, a bit of an annoying individual.