[I wanted to really do a Vlog but am recovering from cold-like symptoms so I’m going to take it easy >.<]
Hello everyone, AND WELCOME TO MY BLOOOOOG. Haha, all jokes aside, first and foremost, thank you everyone for the love and support. I can’t say this enough. I have a lot to work on, and I know it’s hard to find a style that’s everyone’s cup of tea, but I appreciate all the support, awareness, suggestions and love that the community has shown this past weekend.
IEM Katowice 2015 was quite a meaningful event because A.) it was my first IEM, B.) My first time being the main host for any offline esports event, and C.) it had been about over a year since I got to stand on stage for a relatively large offline English event. (last one prior being Blizzcon 2013)
I was quite excited and anxious as you might imagine. I always wanted more chances to practice hosting and casting in English, but to jump right into the IEM World Championships was a bit daunting at first. As I said in my interview with SK Gaming, the last time I was really the main host for anything was probably in school a number of years back. I was still a bit unsure in rehearsal of how I wanted to do things, and unsure of how the crowd will be once we kick things off.
Whether it’s casting or hosting I always wanted to stick by the idea that I am still the same fan of esports I was before I started a career in this. I always look at my poster for Azubu Blaze (that I made in 2012 for their MLG Summer Arena visit) before I head off to any events to remind myself what it was like when I first got to meet professional casters and players. How exciting that was, what it was like to watch these games, and how fun it was to stay up until 6am watching OGN while discussing our various breakfast dishes in IRC. There’s different styles and tones required for different environments and events. However, for my first big main stage hosting, I wanted to just stay grounded to who I am and share my excitement with people.
Granted, I did mix in some inspiration from Caster Jun, aka Korean Hype Man. I think there’s a lot to work on here (as people noted, voice projection being one things. Admittedly I hadn’t warmed up my voice enough this weekend + I had been lazy with training my voice in recent months, given I haven’t done many events), but I think for a first attempt on a Western/Korean hybrid style, I’m willing to be content. I’m glad a lot of people found it enjoyable even if it wasn’t perfect.
The crowd was actually pretty awesome. Opening day was pretty good, and they were definitely very passionate about the finals. I know some people who were at the venue also said that the crowd wasn’t as reactive to my introductions but sometimes you’re not as invested in the teams or given that it was in Poland, English isn’t as comfortable for everyone. Add that to venue sound systems + speech speed on stage, I wouldn’t be surprised if it was simply harder for some people to follow. The reason I didn’t let that change my style was that I wanted to keep consistency for the fans watching at home. A lot of times for live productions, you’ll also have someone who keeps the fans hyped up during breaks, but we didn’t always have a polish speaking person available for that, and that’s ok. I still wanted the fans watching from home to be excited about their favorite team’s next match, or the anxious moment when your region might be eliminated all together from the IEM World Championships. To me it’s just as important to communicate with viewers through the lens, as it is to keep the energy up in the venue.
After I did the team introductions for the finals, I was just about ready to knock out because so much adrenaline had just rushed through my body. I loved that though. I was so glad I could be up there and nerd out over the match that was about to happen, and share that with all the fans around the world. Katowice was a very good reminder on why I love being in the field: because at the end of the day, it’s exciting, it’s got emotion and I can essentially be a huge fan while working.
It’s always a pleasure to work with ESL too. I know that many people had qualms with the production and/or live venue operations, and I can’t speak to that as I wasn’t a part of it on either side. However, I know that ESL has some of the hardest working and passionate people I’ve worked with in esports. I also really respect their production quality overall. Heck, OGN’s had it’s fair share of issues for global broadcasts. But when I look at some of the best content ESL has produced, I want to say that esports production has come a long way globally. The production crew is very accommodating and…Carmac and his crew aren’t people to stop striving. You might not always agree with their conclusions or directions, but if there’s one thing for sure, Carmac is one passionate soul about esports.
Huge thanks to Joe Miller for heading up all the talent operations for the LoL side of things, and the rest of the talent crew we had: Sjokz, Crumbz, Deficio, Quickshot, Montecristo, DoA, and Rachel. They were a fun group to work with and I’d like to think we put up a good show for everyone out there. Big thanks to Alex the ESLStagemanager for main stage, who made sure I was fed, hydrated, and comfortable with all of the production; Oli, the head producer for the main stage events, who was always happy to listen to any ideas I had and willing to discuss things to provide better production for everyone; The entire crew for making sure the talent didn’t have to worry about a thing other than our presentations; and of course, Carmac, for bringing us all in and making IEM happen.
What’s next? Well I’ll still be working on OGN productions for sure. I hope to be able to find more opportunities to host global events though. It’s something I want to perfect and find my own style in. I firmly believe that a great host requires finesse in adapting to different stages and even game titles, so there’s a lot to work towards. Otherwise, you’ll still find me streaming (twitch.tv/willchobra) and doing online tournaments while working with OGN stuff. As always, you can find out all about it on Twitter.
Thank you once again for all the love from IEM. It means a lot to get such support after my first big gig, and really makes me want to work on my stage performance even more. You guys are pretty awesome, and I’m glad we can all be jolly nerds when it comes to esports. Feel free to give me feedback here, Twitter, or on the Reddit thread, so that I can bring you more awesome esports events in the future!