PlusHeart Issue #20 - Your brand is yourself (with Trent Mackenzie)
You have a full-time esports job, but you also feel pressure to make yourself your own brand. How do you balance that?
PlusHeart is a newsletter about creating on the Internet, creating for passion, and the relationship between fans and creators. It explores Twitch, esports, fandoms, and other places where all these things intersect. Matt Demers writes it in between cups of tea.
This week I wanted to do something a little different; I like the idea of doing conversational interviews with people, and there’s no shortage of esports/digital/streaming creators to talk to. Click the embed below to listen.
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Trent Mackenzie is a colur commentator for Dota 2, a title by Valve Software. I wanted to get away from the traditional "who are you, how did you get involved" interview, and talk about something that's unique to a person in his position: when the Internet is pressuring people to be their own brand, how does that interface with the contract work that he's usually doing? Is it "money left on the table?"
"It's it's actually at the end of that conversation with [fellow caster] Jenkins he said, and I quote, "you've got talent money! Hire an editor! They're cheap! [Other talent member] Slacks is a whole squad of them! YouTube's insane for blowing up your stream" And he is just like "if you ever wanna do it like I'll help you with thumbnails, retention, all that stuff," and I'm like you know, "thank you, thank you."
He's going after that beast, and that is the the thing that a lot of us just like aren't doing in Dota. Again, for me, it is a conscious choice."
We also touched on a number of other topics, including esports college degrees, the chase for authenticity (or well, shamelessly pandering to the algorithm) and Dota 2's perpetual status as a "weird island" in the grand scheme of the esports industry.
"I think part of it, too, in terms of just like, the change in feeling is also just like the community structure as a whole. And that community sense feels like it's dwindling over time, partially because of COVID and like less LANs and stuff. Like yeah, I always describe lands as like a like a blood infusion of Dota passion."
I liked this one. Want to do more in the future.
I’m still streaming twice a week on Tuesdays and Saturdays. Follow me on Twitch.