Checking in with Broderick Jones

Checking in with Broderick Jones

What are you working on right now?
Right now I am working on the new season of my online video puppet show, “Jigsaw.” I am hoping to do some preview episodes before the year is out, ramping up to season four, starting up in January. I’m also working on a few other undisclosed projects—I don’t know where they’re going yet, so it’s probably best not to get people’s hopes up.

Puzzling pieces: Broderick Jones, with Milton (the robot) and Dr. Kranium (the mad scientist), says you still can’t beat “Sesame Street” for top-notch puppeteers. “Martin Robinson, Carol Spinney—those people are just the best,” he says.

What were you doing before we called?
I was messing around on the Internet and playing a game on my phone—a silly little RPG [role-playing game] where you fight monsters and mine for things. It’s entirely embarrassing.

Tell us about your day job.
I work at The Paramount Theater to support myself. I work in the box office, so I get to see the other end of the arts community in Charlottesville, a side that I don’t often get to see when I go to The Bridge or Live Arts, which are typically lower-cost venues.

What is your favorite tool of the trade?
It’d have to be my hand. I use it to make the puppets work, and I use it to write all of my scripts. I’ve tried to start typing them on the computer, but it just never works as well as sitting in a bar with a pen and a drink.

Locally, who would you like to collaborate with?
The person I’d most like to collaborate with is probably Grady Smith at Live Arts, who’s a technical director there, builds sets and takes care of things, but is also an amazing performer, and that’s something that not many people know.

When you’re working on a project, what is your favorite snack food?
Whatever’s closest would be my first answer. Right now I’ve got some peanut butter pretzel things and some chocolatey things close at hand. Cereal right out of the box is hard to turn down. Candied ginger is something I really like. The best comes from the Market Street Wineshop. They also have the best ginger beer there.

What upcoming event do you plan on attending?
Really looking forward to Arcadia at Play On! [Theatre].

What music are you listening to lately?
Weirdly, I’ve been listening to a lot of NPR and BBC shows. “Radiolab,” “This American Life.” I listen to the News Quiz from the BBC, really entertains me. Listen to the Moth podcast. I find myself listening to that more than music these days, although I have been listening to this band through YouTube called Pomplamoose that does these amazing cover songs.

If you’re packing light for a long trip, what article of clothing do you definitely take?
I like to make sure that I have many extra pairs of socks. Primarily that’s my main thing, even if I’m travelling very light, I take three or four pairs more than I think I’ll need. Because I know that sometimes socks will go away or get nasty, and you don’t want to have to worry about socks.

Guilty pleasures?
I would say that I watch a ridiculous amount of television under the fallacious argument that it is research. I also play quite a lot of videogames when I can justify it. That’s probably more of a guilty pleasure than TV because it’s pure entertainment. Television I can actually study for dialogue, for the actors’ work, for the editing. While there are certain storytelling elements in videogames that I might be able to take away, most video games aren’t written that well…

Who is your favorite artist outside of your medium?
My favorite creative artist is Ivor Slaney, a British film composer who specialized in incidental music. He was the guy who wrote “dun-dun-DUN!” Hundreds and hundreds of dramatic five-second songs that get used in television, that you hear everywhere, and nobody knows who made it.

From the research I’ve done, it seems like “Ren and Stimpy” deserves a lot of credit for finding that and reintroducing a lot of it to the pool…And people tracked Slaney down because of that show, because people were wondering, “Who does this come from?” Ivor Slaney is pretty much the one who composed every three-note “sting” you can think of. I don’t know what that says about me, that I really admire this guy who’s doomed to complete obscurity for something that everyone knows…