This is a small blog-ish guide to help you all get in to a growing block of the entertainment industry. I hope that not just Starcraft 2 fans, but also fans of other eSports titles can use this for reference.
The big question is now about to come up:
"Who is this guy and why is he trying to give me advice?"
+ Show Spoiler +
I was the stage "interpreter" at the Taiwan Open. I say "interpreter" because interpreting and translating are two completely different things. Translation (at least with documents that contain high level terminology) is typically also at least a two man job.
Taiwan Open was my first massive offline event. There were a lot of things that could have been improved, but there's always next year that we can begin to worry about things like that.
Almost exactly two years ago, I began casting. And I was a very terrible caster, and there is always room for improvement with any caster, no matter who it is. Even to this day I can be a bad caster depending on my present state. If a caster is intoxicated or hungover would be one good example (not saying Nathanias, but rather myself, so I've decided not to drink ever again). In the beginning there will be a lot of negativity, try not to take it personally, but siphon out the useful casting advice from the total dogshit statements like "Go home you're trash."
At some points I only had 10 people watching me because the event I began casting was directly conflicting with the GSL at some points. And I remember getting hibbly-and-jibbly over 70 viewers flocking to my stream whenever GSL ended. The interesting part of this event is that it was the first ever tournament that Maru (back then on team PRIME) took first prize in.
Every opportunity I got, I would go to Live on Three or Inside The Game or Chanman's programming to get career advice from bigger name guys that have been in the industry for a much much longer time than myself. I think the biggest piece of advice I ever got was here, from Artosis:
There were many times that I wanted to quit, and eventually I made connections with ESL-Asia, which gave me the ESLTaiwan channel that I ran on twitch.tv for a while. Then I got my own Twitch Partnership last Christmas when I was streaming from my family's garage.
Ironically enough, the first time I ever got a surprise channel visit from a big caster was one of my two favorite casters of all time: Khaldor (my other favorite is ROOTerdam). The reason why I like these guys so much is that they are bilingual and capable of using their second language on a professional level. I myself am bilingual, and this is how I built up my present fan-base. To date, my Chinese-speaking fans outnumber my English-speaking fans four time over at least. This has been a source of my job security. - Brendan and Wolf both speak Korean -in the words of Tasteless- "Fluently."
At this point, I want to stress to you all this big point - Do not be blinded by all the money in eSports. When I hopped in to this venture in 2012, that is exactly what happened to me. When I first came back to Taiwan in March 2014, I was dirt poor and trying to just make a living off of my eSports-related jobs at CM Storm and TeSL. I tried to do everything that I could to avoid teaching English here in Taiwan, but that is what I have to do for my dayjob. I will not disclose my present income, but I will say that teaching English is far more stable and reliable than casting. At some points, you can expect payments to come late. From observation with Own3d.tv and ESGN, I strongly advise you to quit if your payments are over one month late.
Throughout all this time, the people who have given me the most inspiration are as follows:
Khaldor - bilingual
Nathanias - came out of no where.
Terry the Intern. - bilingual and a translator. He did what I kind of want to do now.
Things to remember that I have heard even Tasteosis, and DJWheat said, and what I am going to tell you.
- Diversification - Don't just focus on a single game and try to become a casting master from it. I cast World of Tanks mostly and Starcraft II whenever I get the chance. DJWheat also said this on one of his shows. Hell, even Tasteosis said this to me. I will be casting LoL for HKeSports on August 31st. You will get some casting opportunities that you may not be qualified to speak for, but just do your best.
- Don't quit your dayjob (My advice).
- Listen to yourself twice as much as you speak when casting.
- Don't expect to make tons of money from Twitch.tv. Only the top 1% of LoL and DoTA 2 streamers can do that these days.
- Personal sponsorships often times only yield hardware and peripherals (my advice).
- Try to think win-win and try to genuinely be a likeable guy. Establish connections with people and groups based on need and not personal gain.
- EDIT: There will be times when you are absolutely infuriated with how caster _______ was selected over you when there are so many more advantages to offer with you and even more. Bite your lip. If you have to, play dirty with information on an organization that is not public yet. Blackmail them.
Last but not least. Some after thoughts for the Taiwan Open, and feedback I have gathered from everyone who tuned in to the stream:
My suit was custom tailored for me in the Summer of 2013, way back when I was 80 Kilograms. Last time I stepped on a scale to check my weight, I was 72 Kilos. After day one, I went back and saw how I was doing with translating and I realized this - I could understand everything that the players were saying on the VoD because their voices in the microphone were much more clear than they were on stage to me. There was also an echo coming from the boom boxes on stage basically repeating what the players were saying 1 second after they said it, making it a bit more difficult to make what the players were saying more audible. I was obviously very nervous (Especially on Day 2 because it was televised here in Taiwan). On day 2, to clarify what the players were saying, we had Alpha speaking in to a walkie-talkie that was plugged in to my ear just to make everything more clear.