AIGA Mobile Interview with Jason Frostholm, host of Feasting on Design
Why did you decide to start your own podcast? I was feeling very disconnected from a creative community since college, and I wanted an outlet to try and connect with people. The problem for me was that I can be somewhat socially awkward and shy if I don’t know people. I was trying to find a way to safely overcome that social awkwardness and the fear of rejection that comes with social anxiety and shyness. I thought podcasting would be a safe way for me to have conversations, get better at communicating with people, and connect with other designers. When we made the decision to wrap the Creative South Podcast after three years, those insecurities started to surface again. That was why I decided to start Feasting on Design. I knew I could have the conversations with designers and the like, but could I have a meaningful conversation with a chef, brewer, or restaurateur? That’s what I’m in the process of finding out. I’m sure the show will evolve over time, but I’ll keep doing it as long as it’s fun
What resources were helpful to you getting started? When I started, there weren’t a ton of consolidated resources for learning to podcast like there are now. It was a lot of searching Google and piecing bits of information together on what equipment I would need to use to record with and how to record the guest’s end of the conversation. When it came to editing the audio, I used and still use Adobe Audition. I was already familiar with how to edit video so I figured that editing audio would be pretty similar. Even with the information I was able to track down, I mostly learned by trial and error. Everyone has to figure out the method that works best for them. I’m not sure there is a right or wrong way to podcast. As long as you are able to record something that sounds halfway decent and have compelling content that you can publish, you’re doing it right.
What has been the biggest challenge you’ve faced so far with the podcast? How did you handle it/are you handling it? The challenges have changed over time. When I first started off, the challenge was figuring out the best way to schedule people and not overbook myself. Thankfully, I discovered Calendly, and it has been a lifesaver. Now I set up the times and days I’m available to record, and send a link to my guests so they can pick from the options the day and time that best matches their availability. Other than that, it’s actually finding guests who I want to have a conversation with and who are willing to talk to me. That’s honestly probably the biggest challenge. Apparently, not everyone likes to talk about themselves. I’m still trying to track down people in the food and beverage industry that want to be on a podcast. That’s tough for me because those are the people I really want to talk with right now. Not that I don’t love still talking with designers, but I’d love to add to who we hear from in different creative genres, especially those centered around food and drink. Granted, there are still some designers and artists that I would love to talk to that I’m still scared to reach out to, like Debbie Millman, Louise Fili, Michael Bierut, Steven Heller, or Paula Scher. They are my design heroes, and it’s not that I don’t think I couldn’t have a conversation with them, but I think I would get a bit star struck and sound like a fanboy.
What problem are you trying to solve or value are you trying to provide? Honestly, I do the podcast entirely for myself. The fact that people enjoy it is great, but I just want to talk to people and find out what makes them tick, how they look at what they do, and genuinely connect with them for the hour or so that I get to spend with them. Feasting on Design is a passion project for me, first and foremost. That’s not to say that I don’t want to create something that people can enjoy, but I don’t focus on that when I’m talking with my guests. All I try to do is be present in the conversation, to make sure that I’m listening, and to ask questions that I am curious about.
How are you balancing Feasting on Design with all of your other commitments? Scheduling. It’s all about scheduling—talking to guests, editing each episode, posting them, researching future guests, finding sponsors, managing social media, and the 900 other things that I have to do for the podcast; I have to put it on the calendar to make time for it. I have a family and full-time job. My wife and I have Frostiki, our boutique design company; and we, as a family, all have to juggle those things. So I fit the podcast in where I can, on nights and weekends and lunch breaks.
What strategies or new methods are you testing out to push your podcast forward? The switch in direction and narrowing down the niche is my primary focus, but I plan on rolling out email campaigns soon to help grow Feasting on Design. Every conversation I have is different, so that keeps things fresh for me.
What is a piece of advice you’d give someone about pursuing a passion project? Don’t wait. We’re all good at procrastinating, and people are worried about being selfish. That can stop us from making time for ourselves. We need to take care of ourselves to be able to take care of others, so make time to work on something that can fuel your interests. And lastly, make sure to have fun with it—if it starts becoming a chore, take a break and reevaluate if it’s really what you want to pursue.