4 simple steps to help you suceed as an eSports caster
Esports is everywhere nowadays, and it’s hard not to envy the many players and streamers making bucket-loads. Everybody would love to have that lifestyle, and if you do the right things, anyone can achieve it. What many people don’t know is that earning a ludicrous salary in esports isn’t only limited to being a professional player or a popular streamer. There is another avenue that is sometimes overlooked, that of an esports caster. As the number of esports and their popularity grow, so do the number of events and the audience that watches them.
And all these events require someone to commentate on the matches, a job that is now in high demand. Such is the importance of making the information in a game easily accessible to viewers, that many casters and analysts are all but celebrities in their respective esports, as well known as players if not even more so. The best part is that it does not require as much time, effort or talent as being a professional player, but casting is still a demanding job and you will need to work hard to stand out from the crowd and make money as an eSports caster.
1. Commit Yourself
Before you begin casting, you should have a rough plan as to what you are trying to do. You should decide which game/s you will cast and how you will cast them. There are 2 main roles of casters, that of a play-by-play caster (or a hype-caster) and a color caster (or analyst caster). The play-by-play caster will call out everything (or most things) that are happening on the screen – which will often involve heavily hyped moments – as they commentate on the game. A good play-by-play caster will be able to keep up with the game and share everything that’s happening, while also knowing what to leave out when there is too much going on. They are the ones calling out the big plays in the loud, extravagant voices who become memorialized in the famous plays that they call.
Color casting is equally as important in a good broadcast and fulfills an important role that the play-by-play caster cannot do. Color casting involves analyzing the game and talking about the importance of specific events to the overall match. It requires an extensive amount of knowledge on the game, the players, the teams, the meta, other events and any other information that can give insight into the game. While the play-by-play caster is shouting at the top of his lungs during intense moments, any lull in the action gives the color caster a chance to explain the significance of what just happened and its effects on the rest of the game. In addition to the two main types of casters, esports casters also often branch off into other similar roles – including stage host/presenter, panel host/anchor, interview host and panel analyst – who all work to broadcast the excitement and passion of the game to viewers in one way or another.
Many casters work in multiple roles, and often multiple games and genres. Alex “Machine” Richardson (the Esports Awards Esports Broadcaster of 2017) is a world-famous CS:GO caster who also commentates Call of Duty and Dota 2 and has also hosted many events. Paul “Redeye” Chaloner (one of the world’s first esports broadcasters and ‘a grandfather of esports’) has casted multiple games over almost two decades including Quake 3, Quake 4, CS: Source, CS:GO, StarCraft 2 and Dota 2, and has acted in roles ranging from a match caster to stage and panel host and even an interviewer.
Although you can be both a color and a play-by-play commentator, it is important to be able to take on either role and do it successfully. Thus, to begin, you should decide whether you would like to focus on hyping up a game and its excitement to viewers or analyzing the situation so that they fully understand what’s occurring. It is also important to decide which game or genre you will focus on, so that you can become adept at that before expanding.
2. Prepare Yourself
Once you know which games you want to focus on and how you want to cast them, you need to get ready for all the hard work ahead of you. The best way to start casting is to make content, through streams and videos. You should get all the necessary hardware and software set up to get started with streaming. Simultaneously, you should be watching every major event you can, learning from the best casters and adopting their techniques until you can formulate it into your own style, as well as learning every aspect of your chosen game/s. Make sure to also always keep up to date with the meta and the players and teams.
3. Put in the Hard Work
Now that you have a stream ready to go and have learnt all the information that you will need, it’s time to jump right in. Start casting any matches you can get your hands on: public games, current tournaments, past tournaments. Start casting over and over, watch or read some guides in-between, compare your cast of an event to how another caster casted. The important thing is to not give up. Before long, you will start to see improvement and feel more at ease in front of a mic. The important thing is to keep going, even if you feel like you aren’t progressing.
4. Make Yourself Heard
Now that you think you can be a competent streamer, it’s time to start casting for audiences. Start promoting your Twitch or Youtube, apply to cast small leagues and online tournaments or qualifiers, make it known on forums that you are casting certain events and get as much exposure as possible. With exposure comes feedback, some of which may be very negative, unconstructive and may dishearten you. Don’t let anyone on the internet pull you down, all good feedback should be able to push you up by suggesting how you can improve. Keep making yourself more and more known in the scene, network with other casters/streamers until you find an opportunity to take it to the next level. If you can’t, you just haven’t casted enough! It’s that simple: commit yourself, prepare yourself, work hard and get out there.