GameNation SA – How to not be a terrible esports caster – Part 2

7 May 2018

Edgy title right? I guess that would depend on whether you like my work or not. Lesson one: not everyone will like you or your commentary, no matter how much you might improve. That’s something you’ll have to accept and be okay with. There’s no accounting for personal taste. For part two of my series on casting, I’ll stop trying to discourage you from getting into casting. 🙂This time around I’ll focus on some of the mechanics and minutiae of broadcast commentary. I’ve been guilty of most of these things at various points.

What’s the point?

Is commentary about informing the viewer or entertaining? It’s a bit of both, however I’d strongly argue that the entertainment aspect is the more important of the two. Players of your chosen game will undoubtedly tell you they want in-depth analysis and plenty of stats. Usually they’re a louder voice collectively than the average fans of the game that might tune in, so it’s easy to think veering towards a highly analytical approach is the way to go. In actual fact, they’re louder because they’re more passionate about their game because of their deep involvement in it. That’s perfectly fine. Just remember that on even the very biggest esports productions the viewership always drops when the analysis panel is on screen. No matter how good or engaging the analysts are, 40 to 50 percent of the viewers will leave when they doing their thing.

Of course, as a caster in the early stages of your career you might very well want to pack as much analysis into your stream as possible. Sometimes to pander to the players and sometimes to try show how much you know about the game. Don’t fall into that trap. If you keep casting, you’ll have plenty of time to show your game knowledge over the course of many games. There’s no reason to spend the time after games dissecting the game in exquisite detail when the only people left are the handful or hardcore viewers and the people that fell asleep with the stream open. Wrap it up succinctly and move on. The same is true of the pregame. A few minutes is good, but talking for 45 before the match even starts is not the way I’d go.

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