“I get to metaphorically teach people to fish for themselves,” jokes Television Academy member and up-and-coming digital strategist Brian Rodda.
“I get to educate, inform and strategize with creative on a daily basis, which is one of the most rewarding things in the world.”
Rodda, 34, grew up in the suburbs of Sacramento, California, with a passion for the entertainment industry and a hard work ethic. He spent his summers helping out at his family’s business, Pottery World, before heading to the East Coast to pursue his thespian passions.
After two national tours with The Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C, a lot of yoga, and countless auditions, Rodda found himself making the trek across country to Los Angeles. Within six months of relocating, the WGA strike hit, and as production slowed down, Rodda began exploring the world of digital media.
“Everyone was out of work and people were looking for other ways to tell stories,” he explains.
While pursuing auditioning, Rodda landed a job as the head of viral marketing for a web series aggregator and has been working in the digital space ever since.
Currently, Rodda spends his days advising clients on how to increase their presence in the online realm. He holds a bevy of knowledge in the world of YouTube and social media promotion and works with clients through his private consulting business, Brian Rodda Consulting. In his spare time, Rodda still finds time to produce and host web shows himself.
We spoke with Rodda about what inspired him to join the Television Academy and what life is like as a digital consultant and web series producer.
What does a typical day on the job look like for you?
My work is about empowering creatives (actors, writers, directors, producers) who are usually coming to the digital sphere for the first time, and need a tour guide to show them the best practices for creating community using social media strategy, optimized press releases, email marketing campaigns and ad buys.
I've worked with several well-known series (Husbands, Squaresville, Venus Valerie) but also consult on independent films (Cleveland in the Rye, Helenna Santos, Snatched) and have worked with several film festivals (First Glance Festival, Evolution Mallorca International Film Fest).
What types of projects are on your plate right now?
One of my latest clients is a series called, The Sinners from Down Under created by an amazing talent, Mike Diamond. Mike found me online, reached out, and we instantly connected.
He's going to be the next Sacha Baron Cohen if I have anything to say about it. I've worked with Mike to revamp his website, logo/brand, social media strategy and taught him how to optimize his videos.
One of the biggest contributions I've made to him thus far is creating an amazing pitch deck to sell his show beyond YouTube. We're currently collaborating with Shanna Malcolm (HeyyoShanna on YouTube) on some very inspiring scripted/improv comedy/parody work out videos.
Tell us about some of your digital promotional victories.
Getting my clients in USA Today has been great. I see a real spike in their numbers after a great pick-up like that.
I also am very proud that many of my clients have earned awards as a direct result of launch parties or social media buzz that we've spearheaded together.
One must create community in the real world first if they want that to be reflected digitally and vice versa. Your digital community can only be strengthened by having real world events and authentic connections.
You are also the owner of Brian Rodda Consulting. What goes on during your one-on-one sessions with clients?
I recently worked with this lovely couple based in NYC, who have created the most kitschy/fun Internet TV show ever, Velveteen Lounge Kitsch-en.
I am working with them over four different, three-hour sessions where I teach them to fish for themselves.
During one of our sessions, we looked at their social media strategy and their website design. We signed up for several websites, apps, and services that will streamline their branding process and messaging across all of their socials.
In the next consultations, we'll look at press releases, marketing decks, e-mail marketing campaigns, syndication of content and associations and influencers.
I'm like the tour guide you always wanted — but didn't necessarily know you needed — to empower you around all of your promotional needs for your series or brand.
As a new member to the Television Academy, what prompted you to join?
I always knew that this is where the party was at and by party I mean, this is where the conversation was. I was prompted to join the Academy because everyone I know who is a real player in digital is here.
There is incredible value in playing in the right sandboxes and I am incredibly grateful to Lori Schwartz and Amber J. Lawson for sponsoring me into the Academy. It is an honor to be a part of such a driven and good-looking group.
There is something about the Television Academy name that just makes life easier. You say [the Television Academy] or "the Emmys" and people immediately know what you are talking about.
As digital continues to grow and other awards shows' statuettes increase in value and meaning, having an Interactive Emmy is still indisputable street cred right now.
What has your member experience been like so far?
I attended the Interactive Nominee Reception and am starting to finally attend the Film Group screenings, something I am very excited about as it gives me a reason to see movies on a regular basis. That’s something I don't do often enough.
Certainly, the voting process for our peer group was very informative on how things at this level work. I am very excited to learn from my peers and attend a lot more networking events in the future, as I've never met an appetizer I don't like!
My future holds much more producing and hosting in it.
I love all sides of the storytelling process. I've realized what I like most often is, "the story behind the story," and I am eager to get back in front of the camera as a producer and host to explore that, regardless of the platform.
I know that the Academy will undoubtedly help me pursue these goals in a larger way, as this is where the largest circle of influence and power congregate.
What are some of your passions outside of your day-to-day endeavors?
I've recently had the pleasure of hosting/producing two of my own shows: Digital Natives: Content Creations Front Line and Tailor Made with Brian Rodda. I love hosting and am busting my hump to blaze new trails from the footprints of Andy Cohen, Jon Stewart and Neil Patrick Harris.
Digital Natives was a great experience as I got to interview some notorious YouTube stars. I sat down with innovative content creators and web series producers to discuss the techniques they utilized to be become mega hits on the Internet.
Tailor Made gave me an opportunity to explore what I love about style and fashion, as I sat down with expert guests to analyze the latest and most controversial news in the rag trade, as well as examine how the clothes we wear impact society at large.
Many people have recently started calling me an "image consultant" as I really love looking at the "whole package" of how people are perceived online and in the real world through their digital and real world presence, which includes how they present and carry themselves in their personal style.
I often fall prey to "work-a-holism's" clutches, but when I create the time to enjoy the finer things in life, they include: hiking in Runyon Canyon, upgrading my New York-style loft apartment and cooking.
Cooking is therapy for me.Click here for more Member Profiles