Though time was a bit on short hands, I managed to get some time to talk to the casters of Overwatch, League of Legends and CS:GO, Blank, Counterfeit and Skriv accordingly. Blank is the newest to the caster scene, Skriv coming in next and Counterfeit being the old man of the group has been with the NUEL for over a year and a half now. Old fogies aside, lets get into it.
So how did you get into casting then?
C: Oh god, I can’t remember, Skriv do you remember?
S: I actually got quite lucky, I got in through my first LAN, I did Epic LAN; cause someone had dropped out last minute they needed another pair of hands and it was only 20 minutes away I just took the train. From there I contacted the NUEL cause that’s where everyone said to go next.
B: Well I started with the NUEL only three weeks ago! I got into casting when I volunteered at i61 when I was adminning the finals of the Overwatch tournament, I decided to stream the finals and it just clicked. I got hungry for more soon after.
Any thoughts on the NUEL and where it’s going? It’s a strong community
C: It’s getting a lot bigger in a hurry, for a while it was still trying to establish itself. Since the sponsorships, big sponsorships, have been coming in it’s going to become a lot more important to the average viewer than it would’ve been a couple of years ago.
S: They’re doing a lot more with the grassroots stuff which is awesome to see considering it’s really allowing people an in point.
B: Honestly feels like they’re just getting started.
The NUEL Live event is the start of this it seems.
S: Yeah, I think there was meant to be one for winter but… didn’t happen…
C: Yeah… Probably best not…
S: It was one of those…. Anyway; Spring is just better anyway cause there’s the massive gap in the exam period and as university students, time is limited.
*The sounds of a cat prowling around*
So what’re you best memories of casting? Or of casting so far, surely there’s more to come
S: *Makes a noise that makes Counterfeit laugh*
C: What was that?!
S: Still trying to think of something… more appropriate to say.
B: If I had to pick a moment it was probably when one of the teams in a smaller tournament I cast for did a 3-1 reverse sweep and I couldn’t help being biased towards them and kept getting called out about it. That was pretty funny. I spent a lot of time joking around with that team in chat after the games.
S: Epic 22 has a place in my heart cause it’s where I first start, but honestly the first time I did ESL Prem, super nervous, despite my acting history, just being there really got to me.
C: I’m pretty much the same as Skriv, though I’ve never cast a Prem game, but the Live event was pretty insane, the last NUEL Live event was pretty crazy, Skriv, it was almost like another stage of life-
S: It’s a sort of stepping stone
And your first time casting to a live crowd?
C: Uh, actually we hid behind curtains. They were ashamed of us! I’m joking, but just to have other more established casters there to come back and comment on our performances made it such high intensity.
So how much prep do you do before games?
B: It depends a lot really, like some days I can review my vods to researching the teams prior to game start, it’s a day-to-day thing.
C: Skriv I’ll let you answer next
S: Well before, we had a lot cause we had to setup the program but now we’ve had another person join the team, the dedicated producer to setup everything and the official observer to help us out. It’s quite a new thing. In terms of teams, sometimes you do indepth research but otherwise we usually take from other events as well, like King of the North or just listen to the rivalries between universities. Obviously this changes, cause I’m a play-by-play guy, but it’s always good to have stuff in your back pocket.
C: I think it’s always really useful to know what to set up for your colour caster. As for my personal prep, I learnt from Stuart ‘Cyn’ McLeod who just spoke to teams non-stop. So I just have to keep asking teams, perhaps different players on teams and, while I feel like a journalist, you just got to keep trying. Most will be happy to talk to you, people like talking about themselves.
B: In League it’s quite easy, cause you’ve dedicated dps, and in Overwatch you’ve got dedicated roles like Tank, support but in CS it must be a lot harder.
S: We sometimes know who’s the dedicated holder, but we’ve no idea who’s in-game leading, who’s the support role, who’s entry fragging. Unless you watch that specific team a hell of a lot, or you go out and ask them.
C: Its why the questionnaire forms are so useful for us and the teams, gives us more to talk about and makes the team more alive in the audience’s eyes. Argh-*Microphone starts fuzzing* sorry, my microphone’s being attacked by my cat.
C: But the questionnaire allows them to be part of the community, or at least be more involved in the community, it allows us to care about them. “Like we found this guy in the supermarket”
“We found this guy in a supermarket”
C: That’s literally one of the entries, one team just overheard a guy talking about League in the supermarket and asked him to join the team. It’s that sort of stuff that makes it more fun for everyone. Do you talk to teams that much?
S: Sometimes. We had one of the star players of CS a couple of weeks back for like a little interview, I was thinking about a NUEL podcast for the games
I literally just suggested that to the content team, lemme guess, going to say we should do highlight reels next?
S: Well, yeah. It’s just time consuming and we don’t have enough people or material for it though, even though it’s what a lot of companies do. We need NUEL to act as like the middle man between grassroots and the bigger companies, cause there’s plenty of people out there.
Quite like Franc on our team seems to be working overtime. I’ve no idea how he contacts over 50 teams and talks to them all at the same time. He’s got to work out scorelines, playstyles, rankings, everything. It blows me away, I’m impressed by him.
C: Well getting people to send in their own clips sounds so much more manageable and interactive than the alternative. It means the more motivated people get to be on these things more, I’ve no idea how Franc does it.
B: He’s a braver person than all of us.
S: And getting them all to reply as well, god alive.
So about the future of casting and esports…
S: The future looking bright but there’s sacrifices along the way. I’ve had to quit my trip to Ireland to see my friend on his birthday. You’ve got to have passion, and drive, but unfortunately sacrifice something. It’s still an emerging industry, it’s difficult to start out.
B: For the upcoming caster, it’s going to be a lot of grinding out.
S: It’s really… well. That’s what you hear when you start but honestly, especially in the CS scene where there is a big betting scene, 2000 people couldn’t care less if it was you or a dog casting the game. Everyone says grind, it’s the easy answer.
It’s better to find the right opportunities, not every opportunity
C: Practice perfection, not just grinding it out.
S: Find the right companies. Have you heard of Challenger Mode?
C: Uh, I’m literally preparing to cast for a Challenger tournament as we speak.
S: *Chuckles* Fair enough. Find the right companies, make a showreel, get some VODs and voice over them-
Pretty sure the Academy League doesn’t cast half of their VODs so that upcoming casters have something to work with and not get compared to their professional peers.
C: That’s true. People are probably going to be more likely to watch it if they care about their favourite team rather than just copying the LCS.
Anything else you’d like to say to your adoring fans?
B: I do funny tweets?
Professionals ladies and gentlemen.
S: Follow me on twitter and twitch!
S: Oh, just @Skrivcasts, I’m told it means “Right” in Danish. I didn’t copy it I swear
B: I’m at @blank22299
C: And I’m just @CounterfeitCast, and my game is literally starting.
Thanks very much for your time gentlemen