Getty Images / Frazer Harrison
The emotions that come with feeling seen, heard and represented can be life-altering. Knowing that there are others in this world that have walked your same path, or a similar one, can open new levels of self-understanding.
For Christopher J. Rodriguez, sharing and creating queer stories for Revry, in a way that is positive and impactful, is not something he takes for granted.
Rodriguez tells People Chica, "My wish is that Revry will be seen as the perfect example of how queer stories can be both radically authentic to the LGBTQ+ experience and wildly entertaining for audiences. The biggest problem with having been left out of the narrative for so many years was that mainstream culture was poorer for it."
Below, the entertainment lawyer, producer and Revry co-founder, explains how his day-to-day fulfills him and where he sees the future of storytelling going.
Something they don't always tell folks when they are younger is how much an unfulfilling career will affect them. As a producer and an entertainment attorney, what is the most fulfilling aspect of what you do every day?
Very true—and just because a career appears "sexy" from the outside that doesn't mean the reality of that job will match. The most fulfilling aspect of what I get to do on a daily basis boils down to two words: creative freedom. This is the thing I missed the most in my past work experiences and [a] privilege that is not lost on me now!
And the great thing with Revry is that this freedom isn't limited to one area of my work: I am free to write contracts as I see fit, to pursue films or shows that I find interesting, court partnerships with companies that I find fascinating, and use my eye for aesthetics to help hone our branding.
For decades, marginalized communities have been predominantly left out of the narrative—with the only stories being told falling into an often hurtful stereotype. You've co-founded Revry, a streaming media network focused on programming catering to the LGBTQIA2S+ community. What legacy would you and your co-founders love to create through the content created at Revry?
My wish is that Revry will be seen as the perfect example of how queer stories can be both radically authentic to the LGBTQ+ experience and wildly entertaining for audiences. The biggest problem with having been left out of the narrative for so many years was that mainstream culture was poorer for it.
The fresh queer perspective has always been a driving force for the arts: regularly challenging the status quo and pushing the boundaries of artistic expression. We should encourage more diversity in storytelling because it makes the larger mosaic of entertainment much more beautiful.
What elements do you look to infuse as a producer into all the stories you help bring to life?
Joy—specifically, queer joy. Every day we hear about so many unfortunate circumstances negatively affecting our community: drag show bans, the chipping away of rights for trans individuals, [and] hate crimes. But if there wasn't always joy, we wouldn't be where we are today.
In fact, that is one of the queer community's biggest strengths: being able to smile in the face of adversity. Being able to still see hope, and not just a glimmer, but rather a floodlight! For my part, I always do my best to imbue my work with a sense of joy, celebration, and, always, hope.
You have the heart and soul of a warrior, having battled Non-Hodgkin's Lymphoma throughout the first few years of Revry. Was there anything you learned from your experience that you've been able to use in other areas of your life?
I learned more about myself in those first six months than I did in nearly a decade of formal education. I think the biggest lesson I learned was that, no matter the circumstance, my point of view is always a choice: I can either focus on the bad things or focus on the good things.
It's a decision that I'm constantly making but if I'm able to stick to it, it can get me through anything. I use this lesson daily: everything from my workout routine to my meditation practice to my work at Revry. I'm always "winning" if I'm refusing to be defeated by the relentless barrage of life's challenges.
As someone who works within the entertainment industry, where do you see the future of storytelling going?
I guess there's two ways that storytelling will evolve: one, is in what is being told; and two, is how it's being told. For the latter, we've seen a shift toward platforms like TikTok that give us instant and constant stimuli that keeps us coming back for more. We've also seen the lines continue to blur between the audience, the storyteller, and the story that is being told. We see this the most in gaming and the metaverse, but this trend will continue to expand.
As technology catches up, I think we'll see the traditional TV viewing experience become more seamlessly interactive. As for what is being told, I believe that the more we are exposed to other cultures, the more we will crave these experiences. I liken it to traveling: the more you do it, the broader your worldview becomes and the broader your interests. This, in turn, enriches our lives! The future is bright for media companies and platforms that don't just address cultural subsets but celebrate them.
What would you tell a young Christopher about the road he would embark on? What is something you'd tell a more mature Christopher about the choices he's made?
I've actually thought about this a lot. I'd tell a young Christopher that, no matter how hard it gets, your instincts are right: if you keep pushing yourself, it will all pay off. I'd tell an old Christopher that I had you in mind the whole time and to please take a moment and enjoy that exhale—because that's what I'm fighting for!