It wasn't always like that. I used to have a good sense of pride about some things I did. Why I don't really have that for almost anything anymore is probably not because of one singular reason but a combination of many things. Some reasonable and some not. But regardless of how I ended up here, that's where I am. It's been a downward decline the past 3 years at least and it's probably past the point of being healthy.
Ironically, the past three years have been a gradual rise in success for me, especially in esports.
- 2016 - Cast my first pro LAN events: Cheeseadelphia & Kings of the North. Locked down a sponsorship with Blizzard for a tournament I run(Ladder Heroes). Joined BasetradeTV for a short time.
- 2017 - Became a mainstay caster at Cheeseadelphia. Locked down my very first premier commentating gig(WCS Valencia).
- 2018 - Worked 3 of 4 WCS Circuit Events(1 as an observer, 2 as a commentator). Cast every day of WCS Challenger. Studio Broadcast for ESL(IEM PyeongChang B stream). Had so many opportunities that I've traveled 119 days this year, roughly 105 of which were for esports.
I know that these are signs of continued growth and success but I can also say that every year I feel less and less confident in my abilities.
After most events I've commentated or shows I've gone on, I've mentally caved in on myself for the mistakes I made or things I did wrong. To be honest my extremely negative view of myself has been a weird mental shield against public criticism. I've read scathing youtube comments, gotten tweets/dm's telling me what a shit commentator I am, seen a thread or two on the battle net forums asking me to be never be hired again, and even seen a notable pro player complaining about my commentary in twitch chat before. But I'm still yet to read a comment that has said any criticism worse than one I've given myself.
I know I have a lot to work on. My game knowledge is not where I want it to be. I know I'm not as entertaining or interesting as any of the other premier casters. In all honesty, I consider myself to be a worse commentator than most of the other community casters, even the ones that average 20-50 viewers. It's frustrating because when I rewatch broadcasts I feel like I can only see my mistakes and I struggle to identify things I don't like about most other people's commentary anymore.
I don't know what changed for me. I used to be able to pick out things I felt proud about my casts alongside things I thought I had room to improve on. Maybe it's that the stage is different and I feel like the bar was raised. But after every broadcast I feel impostor syndrome creeping in.
Part of it is that I think I have added less and less value to the scene. I used to organize a lot more events or make content I thought was decent but now I'm mostly casting other people's events and feel the quality & frequency of the content I put out is lower. When you're organizing events, you're not really taking away from anything. It's simply adding to the scene. But if you're mostly piggybacking off other content then it's suddenly a different bar: are you doing a better job than someone else who would have/could have cast this? It doesn't help that most negative feedback is accompanied by a "why did they get this guy instead of ___".
It's not a healthy attitude to have, constantly thinking about who I'm taking an opportunity from.
I know that.
But knowing doesn't seem to be enough for me to not do it.
And part of me wants to say suck it up and rise to the occasion. If I'm getting opportunities I think I'm not doing a good enough job with then get better so I won't be under-performing. It usually motivates me and I get gung-ho about working at it. For example, I hate where my general game knowledge is at, so I've actively reached out and asked questions or even for coaching from top 32 WCS circuit players on different matchups. I have made pushes to play a lot more to get better myself. I try to actively watch 3-5 hours of pro level SC2 almost every day on top of having a full time job. And yet it still doesn't click for me and it shows when I say something wrong on the broadcast.
It sounds so stupid but I am frustrated at how stuck I feel with my improvement at casting and even more frustrated that it feels like my success and opportunities don't reflect that. It's like if you felt like you were getting worse and worse at Starcraft but you won more regardless. There's something really unsatisfying about the situation that just doesn't sit right.
It's something I have to get over one way or another if I want to be involved in the scene. I guess I'm writing this because I find writing cathartic and helps me think, and doing it publicly forces me to be a bit more honest with myself. I hope it also explains why I'm sometimes a bit self deprecating at times, even though I try not to do it too publicly anymore since I know it's tiring to see. Thanks for putting up with it.
I guess at the end of the day it's not so different from playing Starcraft; I can't get too hung up on the win/loss result and just continue to look for ways to improve.
The saving grace is I can say I typically just genuinely enjoy casting NA SC2 events because the games and the players are fun enough that it's hard not to have a good time with it, and I'm lucky enough to have two coming up.
Maybe I'll feel better after.
Thanks for reading about my non issues.