So far, all the interviewees in this series have been veterans. This article, however, will be featuring Theodoric Phay aka Teddypay, who is a freshman in the local eSports scene. Casting mainly Overwatch and Heroes of the Storm, and occasional one-offs like Clash Royale, Theodoric is trying his best to fit that all in between his university studies.
How it started
Theodoric’s fateful meeting with local veteran caster, Jayf Soh, aka Babael, during Gamestart 2015 was a trigger point for him to spark a casting career. “Literally I was queuing up for a Cho’gall code”.
“We were just briefly talking, and that’s when he said that he was looking for a co-caster, because he gets tired solo casting at times. So I thought, ‘why not just give it a shot?'”
He also won a headset with microphone from the event’s lucky draw. “Maybe that’s a calling,” he said. He talked to his friends and they all encouraged him to do casting.
“I started off just casting Heroes of the Storm because that was the newest Blizzard game back then,” Theodoric stated, “I started making casting videos here and there.”
When Overwatch came, he shifted his attention to it as the community was growing very fast.
“Now I’m casting both Overwatch and Heroes of the Storm.”
Theodoric’s main obstacle is none other than his studies. “Almost every gaming event falls on a Saturday,” he said, “when you’re studying from Monday to Friday, there’s no time for friends, girlfriend, family except for Saturday and Sunday. If I do an event on Saturday, then it effectively halves the time I have for my loved ones.”
“I must say I do have really supportive friends and family.”
“I try my best to surround myself with supportive friends,” he said, “and more importantly, know when to give back to them.”
Strength and Weakness
“My strength, and at the same time my weakness, is how new I am.”
“I’m still not 100% sure how everything works, but definitely I’m still learning, I’m still trying to find out everything.”
He views being a newcomer as a strength as well. “I’m very open to feedback and learn from them as much as I can.”
“Being open to feedback is important. Not just in casting, but in almost everything that we do.”
“I should’ve started earlier!” Theodoric ranted. “University Year 2 is not the best time to start new things, as it’s one of the busiest times of my life.”
“I would’ve started when I was so free. Like during National Service, for example. Nothing better to do back then!”
He also wants to improve to have a better and more pleasant voice, as well as getting more familiar with the games he casts. “All my content comes from not by playing, but by studying videos, reading reddit. Basically I study the games by literally studying them.” Hence he wants to improve his content by physically playing the games himself.
Esports scene in Singapore
“I think everyone has good intentions,” Theodoric said, “In the scene internally, everyone is genuinely putting in a lot of effort into growing the industry. There are people trying to make esports a very relevant thing to tune in to. We are optimistic and not burned out easily, and I really respect that.”
“Everyone is trying to fight for their share of the pie. But let’s face it: it’s esports, how big is the pie? We should be focusing on making a bigger pie, creating more opportunities for gamers, talents, producers, rather than fighting for a share.”
Externally, Theodoric feels that there’s still a lot to work on. Esports is not highly prioritized in terms of funding and appreciation, compared to physical sports and the arts.
He feels that this situation would only change if the people of the industry become true advocates of esports, with proper outreach.
“What we can try to do is the work on the public’s impression of what esports is, that it’s not just something for nerds and children to take part in.”
He also suggests the gaming community itself can be improved on by being more sporting and less toxic. “When the public sees toxic behavior, they would think, ‘oh, it’s just a bunch of kids playing video games.'”
He feels that the key to making esports bigger is to engage the masses, who are mostly the casual gamers, with events they can be interested in and to watch, because they are the core attendees and viewers.
“It goes backs to marketing 101,” Theodoric theorized, “what do these people look out for? What do they find engaging on Twitch.tv? What content do they follow or subscribe to on YouTube? You need real marketing research. Know what they like and what they want to watch.”
“Everyone can agree with me that esports is a Wild West industry,” Theodoric said, “you can’t even predict the returns. To come into esports, it’s a leap of faith. Do you want to take the risk?”
He suggests that if you are making a living to support your family, it’s better to start as a hobby or a side job first. If you are young, why not? “This industry needs more fresh blood. Not just as pro gamers, but as writers, analysts, producers, just to name a few roles. If you want something high risk but potentially high return, then this might be something for you.”
The best advice he can give for aspiring casters: Just do it.
It is also good to have videos in your arsenal to show your clients that you can do it.
“Have some concrete steps, such as making videos of yourself casting, and asking friends for feedback and work on improving.”
“Be brave, and ask for opportunities.”