Quake Live was featured for the first time at the Do Gaming Championships at the rAge expo this year; and South African players had the privilege of having their games casted by Bruno “insan3” Periera and Xavier “zoot” Dhorne. Thanks to the help of Mark “M4nimal” Gazard, I was able to get in touch with Zoot; who very kindly agreed to do an interview with me.
Due to the somewhat celebritish nature of this shoutcaster, I was at first tempted to address him as “Sir Zoot”, but I held myself back from being a gushing fan (one does like to give an at least semi-intelligent first impression of oneself). Here are the interesting results of my email conversations with this talented commentator:
To be fair, this picture kind of illustrates why I wanted to call him "Sir Zoot"
How long have you been shoutcasting for and how did you originally get into the E-Sports scene?
I've been shoutcasting since approximately June 2011 when I started covering low division CTF games while the BiBS (Bring it Back Safely) League was still running. At the time when I couldn't do the streaming myself, I had to convince people who had the internet and computing power capable of broadcasting to turn their stream on so I could whisper nervously down the microphone. I didn't really discover eSports till 2009 with the ESL IEM Dubai games going on. Completely fell in love with it all from then on!
What's the most prominent event you've commentated on?
It would definitely be the Quakecons + Dreamhack Summer 2012, the only major events I have been to.
What difficulties (If any) do you face being an international shoutcaster?
In this kind of industry it's very important to recognise just how diverse the audience can actually be. On a typical day there could be people watching from 4 or even 5 continents+. You've got to take in to consideration how many of the viewers actually use English as their mother tongue and try to tailor the language you use to make yourself as clearly understood as possible. Timezones create too much of a complication sometimes to worry about. I do try to read chat as often as possible to get a better understanding of what is being discussed or requested, but I think this would be important regardless of the audience being international or not.
What, in your opinion, makes someone suitable for shoutcasting?
To me, the most important characteristic required to be a shoutcaster is being able to take any kind of feedback and transform them in to improvements. Not only to do that, but even to actively seek out negative feedback in order to learn from what you're doing. Receiving positive comments is always fantastic and makes you feel warm inside, it also reassures you that you're doing the job effectively. But it is the negative feedback which will open your eyes to something you maybe weren't aware of.
Also being comfortable with yourself and talking alone is useful. It is very helpful having a co-commentator or someone you can converse with in real time, but you really get tested when you've just got to ride it solo with only yourself and your .txt audience to bounce ideas off.
Any words of wisdom for other aspiring E-Sports Commentators out there?
Just to give it a shot! Don't let yourself get knocked around by haters too, public exposure can be very stressful at times.
Who is your favourite Quake player and why?
Extremely difficult question... I watch many players do many awesome things and I'm not quite sure who I would be able to pick in particular. I find Cypher's combat skills absolutely incredible to watch and I still 'try' to replicate his moves on public games. When watching TDM, Krysa is an absolute beast - if he gets in to the swing of things then he really stands out massively. Noctis has some beautiful reactionary play a long with his mad fighting abilities. It's impossible not to be impressed by K1llsen, Tox and Strenx, I put them all together because it is their raw aim that I find phenomenal. However I do always support underdogs, I loved watching Baksteen late 2012 because you never knew what to expect from him.
It's near impossible for me to put 1 name above the rest, because there are so many different elements of play to take in to consideration. I don't want people to think that only the names I've mentioned above are the ones I think of, because I really love watching so many of them. And usually I have a sort of 'flavour of the month' when it comes to the player. Right now I'm pretty damn hyped about Av3k coming back to activity and I can't wait to see more of him.
Do shoutcasters get a lot of bitches?
Ha! Maybe in larger games. But to be honest I never really felt it was the commentators getting lucky, I think players take priority in this department and always will.
Eleven quick questions:
Spandex or lycra?
Boxers or briefs?
Snoop Dogg or Tupac?
Waffles or pancakes?
Harlem shake or Gangnam style?
Kittens or Puppies?
Horrors or comedies?
Cappuccino or Green tea?
Cappucino, but I don't really drink tea or coffee
Razer or Steelseries?
No comment =)
Real life or gaming?
Darth Vader or Sauron?
This question is even harder than the one about the favourite player... Vader!
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Please note that the opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and not MWEB Connect (Pty) Ltd