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JGOD on Content Creation: "Grind Smart, Not Hard"

Published on: 10/26/2021
By: Jon Silman

You probably know JGOD if you’re a Call of Duty fan. James “JGOD” Godoy creates YouTube content for 1.1 million subscribers and reaches 186,000 followers on Twitter. His channel ended 2020 with nearly half the number of subs.

JGOD continues to become more synonymous with the COD brand through each iteration. His desire to make every player better at Call of Duty is apparent in each video. We joined the popular content creator to learn more about how he got into the space, the mysterious algorithm, content philosophy, and the best way to grind.

How did you get into the Call of Duty content space?

I’ve been playing COD since Modern Warfare. I played through high school and when I graduated I went into the Military Marine Corps Reserves.

One day my wife went to work and she got killed in the San Bernardino shooting in 2015. We had a 23-month-old at the time and I made the decision to be a stay-at-home dad since I was paying so much in daycare.

After 9 months of not working, I was bored as hell. I got back into gaming and found Youtube.

I said you know what let me get back into COD. I want to drop a nuke. I found an XclusiveAce video and vibed with him pretty well.

After a week I dropped my first nuke from watching all the COD content. I went from a 1.7 KD to a 3.5.

Is that when you started making content?

In April of 2017, I said I can do a YouTube channel. I'm good enough now. I’ll focus on tutorials to help people improve.

I posted my first video thinking I’d try it for a month and see how it goes.

When Destiny 2 came out I immersed myself in the YouTube algorithm. I just made Destiny 2 content to get the reps on making content knowing that when WW2 dropped I’d go full send on that.

How did it go?

After 5 months I had 1,000 subscribers and after a year I had 10,000. I joined Karnage Clan and I was at 100,000 then 600,000 and it continued to snowball from there.

I left Karnage a year ago and then Warzone exploded.

So you figured out the algorithm?

I didn’t overthink it. I just wanted to not do it halfway. I was still going to school to be a teacher. I thought it would be a hobby while I worked as a teacher.

I never finished my degree. My YouTube exploded and I was making what I would make as a teacher anyway, so it didn’t make sense not to do it. I was just teaching COD instead of algebra.

Do you have any formal training in video editing, acting, or performing?

I learned almost everything on the fly. In terms of public speaking, I was involved in ROTC as a leader and got a lot of reps speaking and giving orders.

Doing that helps with public speaking and confidence. Also, I worked as a manager in a few places. You can see a difference from my older videos, I wasn’t as comfortable.

When it comes to editing, YouTube is a crazy resource. It just comes down to how much work you want to put in to learn. I was spending five hours a day on YouTube on top of playing the game and watching my son.

What’s the hardest thing about content creation for YouTube?

You’re really doing it by yourself. No one’s asking you to upload. You make the content because you enjoy it but people are waiting on you to make it because they enjoy it. That’s the weird part. People get disappointed when you don’t upload.

Now people rely on you because you’re who they watch for their morning breakfast and now they’re bored and have to look for someone else.

Do you put a lot of pressure on yourself?

Once I realized I could actually do something with this I put a lot of pressure on myself. I was super motivated to post two or three times a day.

Once I hit 1 million I was like ‘whoa I’ve done something special I can relax a little.’

What’s the next goal?

The next goal is ten million and that’s so far away a day off here and there won’t make a difference.

How do you choose topics for your videos?

I used to be very SEO-driven. That's what you have to do when you’re smaller. When you’re bigger you’re already in the algorithm and I have an idea of what’s going to do well.

There’s this push and pull of knowing what’s going to do well and not making it and making one you know won’t do well but you want to make it.

Where are you right now?

The new game is coming out soon. Right now I’m in a lower gear. If I don’t want to make something I don’t make it. It’s a relaxing period. When the game drops I’m going to be grinding and there will be a lot of new content.

Overwork is what leads to burnout. A lot of people work 24 hours a day 7 days a week. I can cruise the next two months knowing my views will slow and revenue will come down but I know it will spike when things pick up.

Tell me about your setup. What equipment do you use to make videos?

I use a dual PC setup. One acts as a console and the other is used for recording and editing. I use multiple monitors and a mirrorless camera for streaming and recording.

For editing, I use Vegas. Most people use Premiere but I learned on Vegas.

For thumbnails, I use a software called paint.net. Thumbnails are sadly one of the most important things to do, especially when you don’t have an audience yet.

The first step for YouTube is to have a clickable thumbnail. YouTube watches how long people watch and that’s how you grow. You can put out a video and if it’s doing poorly try changing the title or thumbnail and see if the change made any difference.

What’s your most popular video and what made it so popular?

Evolution of Nuketown was my number one; it has 3 million views. I wish my mic settings were better on that one.

After that, unlocking Damascus has 1.6 million views. I did a quick operator mod video that I didn’t think was going to do well and it got 1.2 million. I was very surprised.

You never know what’s going to do well.

What advice would you give someone trying to do what you do?

I see people slack in uploading. One analogy is that it's like a slot machine. To increase your chances of winning you have to keep playing and max out lines to get the biggest chance of winning. If you don’t play you can’t win.

I see this with talented players all the time. They’re not uploading at all. They stream 8 to 10 hours a day. That’s grinding hard and not smart.

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