• 5 Oct 2012, 10:17 • Articles
Just like that…
So ive not done a rather long write up in awhile so I thought I could do something I get questioned on a lot. How to take yourself from being a bedroom caster to sounding professional and being some what “attractive” to sponsors and casting at events.
To put things into perspective, I am not telling you this as if I’m the bee’s knees but I’ve gotten pretty far in a short amount of time and I feel that has generally happened due to damn hard work and the right advice from the right people.
To begin with I started shout casting in Wolfenstien Enemy Territory; this was for one of the cups run on .55 , over Winamp with no ETTV just people sitting in the server in spec. Rather humble beginnings if I say so myself. I enjoyed every moment of it but it was something to pass the time rather than anything id ever expect to be doing now. To be totally honest with you as well, I played ET while listening to the likes of TosspoT shout casting and I would never want to even think I could compete with the level of content he could bring. I can say in the most genuine way, listening back to some of the commentary TosspoT did all those years ago still makes me know I have a long way to go before I can consider myself anything more than average.
As mentioned above ONAIR|pANSY entertaining the 2.55 community
To move ahead I ended up switching over to CoD4. That was only due to a offer Robert “Morg” Black made me, that was to join infused.cryo a all female team with full sponsorship, PC’s, Lans etc and I took it. Coming from ET where getting a TS given to you was special I was in awe that this was possible. So I played and I progressed fast and ended up somewhere along the lines joining up with what was known as YYT CoD4 team, we eventually merged into infused and went on to place top 3 at several lans.
not so sober or professional Pansy
At this point, I was working a full time job and playing every single night possible to become better and by the end of it I was worn out. It’s not easy to dedicate your time everywhere at once so I had to take a backseat in what I was doing gaming wise.
The opportunity to start commentating again came in the form of one Dennis “Mennace” Fick at iseries. I was still attending LANs at this point so I was playing but in my spare time I drunkenly joined him in the press room to do some casting. I was rusty, sloppy and pretty damn awful but I loved it. The bug bit me again. I jumped in on any casting he would want me to join him in. Most of the old VoDs are on QuadV’s youtube channel, although I wouldn’t recommend them I was pretty dire.
At this point I felt I needed to really draw the line between playing and commentating there was something I had a passion for that would be able to fit into my time schedule so I took it with both hands. It came down to a few options… KaosTV were offering me up a great team of casters and streamers as well as Mennace with Quadv. I think by now you know I took the KaosTV route as I still felt I was no where near ready to go and try and cast to what quality I think the QuadV name carries.
With KaosTV I took every opportunity to improve and get better at what I did, the biggest turning point to me was casting with Leigh “Deman” Smith, taking it from something I thought could just come naturally with time to something I could genuinely work towards. He told me I had potential to be good at this but was honest too which is a rare quality within the commentary world. He told me to watch my vods back (yes of myself talking) and find the mistakes… find the moments I pause and leave dead air and remove it, find when I am repeating certain words and how I can throw something new into the mix, how to notice when I should try and mimic the pace of the game with my voice and create the correct tone to the actions happening.
He was 100% right, Deman was fantastic at casting CoD4. He had the ability that I needed to learn and I had the game knowledge that added to us casting together. We ended up casting a fair bit between us and his very last CoD4 event too (Epic Lan). What he told me during the time we did cast together has stuck with me and I will pass the same understanding on to anyone wanting to try and commentate.
- Watch yourself back
Yes it’s painful and can be embarrassing but how will you know what you need to improve on if you never do.
- Be honest..
Is this really for you? You have to address this question. The problem being that being a shoutcaster you are in the public eye everytime you open your mouth and EVERYONE thinks they know better, The first question really should be is this what I want to do with my time.
Down to the technical side of things, do you have a clear and understandable voice? Can you think on your feet? Can you create content rather than wallowing in dead air? Do you understand how to control pace with your voice and tone?
Now all that said okay, maybe you don’t have the above skills it doesn’t mean you won’t make a good colour caster but you won’t be the next TosspoT or Redeye, That doesn’t mean you cant work on it but it wont be easy to become “that kind of person”.
- So how do I improve?
The most common question I get asked…
To steal from Team Dignitas’ Manager Odee… (and his TeamSpeak)
“Fail to prepare … prepare to fail.”
Its my huge issue with some casters, they just think you walk into a game and you give it your best, no it takes planning. It takes work and dedication to improve and interest your audience.
So how do you do it? Listen to yourself, hear that VoD back and if at any point you hear yourself stumble, repeat words, leave dead air, swear, say “errrr” before every word or ruin the tone of the round by messing up the pitch and tone of your cast. Then change it make a conscious effort to change. Make a cheat sheet…with adjectives nouns or anything that might help you, I think ive even shown Nreo the cheat sheets ive made before… pages worth, all just different ways to say “Dave killed John” or “They pushed A” . IF the likes of John Motson can do it, so can you I assume he had some poor intern do his but this is all down to you now not only do I do descriptive words but I will put down useful facts, line up changes, possible previous results. PREPREPREP
Listen to other casters, there is a reason they are more popular than yourself and its probably because they are a damn site better but why? Is there phrases you like? Use them. Styles they cast with? Use it.
Do as much as you can, the biggest thing coming into CS:GO for me was making sure I am relevant and CS viewers love facts, strats and all the technical stuff and learning that isn’t easy. I have pages upon pages of players’ team history, facts about the previous lans they attended, where they are from who they don’t get on with etc. Creating some form of story to casts can make it so much more interesting (even if its more hyped up than it is).
- Being professional
I probably pick this up from the likes of Deman & TosspoT who I have had the pleasure of casting with, which being professional is an absolute must. Now I say this keeping in mind banter and fun are obviously fine but you never know who I listening and I keep that in mind at all times. Ive had people recently telling me how they enjoyed my “CoD4 Promod” casting who I never thought would stumble across it, the likes of TheGunRun, Riot, Alienware, Steelseries and more. In basic, I dislike swearing in stream, being biased and one of my huge pet hates is people being bored with what they are casting.
Something im still getting to grips with, knowing the right people. Im not saying you cant get anywhere without it but it helps. Be polite and presentable in most instances you can think of that could one day benefit you. This even applies to casting on webcam etc, you'll normally see me in a shirt or something of the such just because well, it looks smart.
- Enjoy the game you cast.
I have huge issues with fake casters, be yourself. Be honest…beyond anything in this be as honest as you can about what you are watching, people can see straight through people when they are just shouting because they think they should be rather than having that excitement that someone landed a insane shot.
To almost back track I have to say, keep it PG-13. I hate people swearing on streams, its unprofessional and reflects poorly on you. I make a real effort to keep my streams as accessible to as many people as possible, you should do the same.
A huge point that a fair few people seem to miss and I have no idea why, Promote everything you do. Reddit, crossfire.nu, Tek-9, cadred, hltv and more are all there to be used and if I get 10 more viewers from just putting up a post. I’m happy.
- Pre game Prep
So before you go into the game prepare again, make sure everything is working with your streamer, sound check, get the audio levels correct, you don’t want the mics so quiet that the gun sounds drown them…
Warm yourself up, vocal warmups sound so faggy but it helps and it works. You don’t want your voice dying when you have a whole day of casting because you didn’t warm up. Drink water, well sip it and finally prepare the facial muscles with some stretching.
So how does all of that help me go from being a bedroom caster to getting myself on stage and making the money!?
Well it doesn’t, it’s a path in the right direction… a path I am still walking but you do all of the above and you stay humble you get there. People take notice, the right people will always be there to take notice and if you are good enough and deserving it will happen.
I’ve helped people try and pick up casting and seen them get arrogant, lazy and sloppy and it’s rather shameful. So trust me when I tell you this whole casting jazz isn’t as easy as TosspoT makes it or Tastless or Artosis… its comes with so much work and dedication and not to mention a thick skin. So anyone wanting to try and pick it up don’t let me put you off, I would never want to but know its not all sunshine and roses.
I by no means want to imply I have made it as far as I can go, I don’t believe that for one second. The day I think I’ve got nothing left to improve on is the day I should walk away from casting.
Quadv Youtube Channel (has most of my VoDs on there)
KaosTV Youtube Channel