Streaming: Behind the scenes (Pt. 2.)

In this part I would like to show what streamers and content creators do behind the scenes that the casual and average viewer probably does not know. With it I would also like to explain why being a streamer is a difficult and exhausting job.

The usual day of a streamer

Let’s say that you are yet not a full time streamer, meaning you stream couple hours a day several days a week, but you still have a regular job, because you know, bills, food and stuff, you gotta survive somehow.

Wake up, breakfast, maybe coffee, maybe some morning routine and off to job you go. We can assume that you spend good 8 hours every day in your fulltime job, so let’s go with the regular 9-5 job. You come home around 6 pm, maybe later, maybe sooner, depending on where is your work and your home. You are hungry, so you get some dinner, change your clothes, maybe walk that dog you have and you might be ready to stream at 8 pm. You stream let’s say for 4 hours, till midnight and after that you will edit clips, download them, network, do social media till about 1 am and you go to bed. Sounds like a proper day.

Now, let’s say that it is weekend and you have just finished a longer 8 hour stream. Let’s break down what you do after that.

  • Your new content
  • Networking
  • Social media (promoting, engaging, networking)
  • Supporting your own community

These four things are probably the most common answers you will get out of any streamers what they do except for streaming regarding their brand. Yes, streamers try to build their own name, their own brand. That’s why many streamers have unified things on Twitch, such as emotes, badges, discord emotes, Twitch panels, overlays. They are cohesive and go with one theme so to speak. People that can afford it, they will pay a graphic designer to have everything in the same style, but there are streamers that their graphics work on their own (and I was one of them).

Trust me, to create everything on your own so it looks nice, is of one theme and color theme and to try and understand the software, it is so difficult to do it. Not as in complex, even though it isn’t really simple, but it’s more time consuming, because you want to present yourself in the best way possible, so you attract new people, followers etc. For some viewers, the graphic works is the first thing they will notice and it’s one chance to either make a good or bad impression. And we all want to make the best impression. It can literally take you days just to complete all of your graphic works. By graphic works I mean: create a logo, banner, panels, overlays, emotes, badges for subscribers, for donators and cheerers. Starting with emotes, everything has to be small, so you need to make sure that you get the point of the emote through while it is 72×72 pixels. That’s small. So yeah, it’s really difficult to create something that looks good on your own. And graphic designers that can do this kind of job properly and completely customized are not as cheap as one would think. Of course, you can get a graphic designer on fiverr or something, but I never trust those, because I have heard way too many bad experiences from my friends, so I just decided to do this on my own.

New content

By creating new content I mean doing TikTok videos, YouTube videos, Instagram posts. Usually, we post clips on TikTok of funny and or good gameplay. You know, the good bits. Or the bits that show that we can laugh at ourselves and we try to get new people in by showing “Hey, I suck at the game, but I can laugh at myself. Come join me!” basically. However, the resolution of clips produced by Twitch and the videos on TikTok is not the same, so you need to either edit it yourself so it looks good or go to third party websites and software that will do it for you, either paid or free. I know content creators that do this every day for an hour or so, but it still requires your time, attention, energy and focus. And that’s just one platform, if you want to promote your content on more, double the time. Or triple it.

The most challenging platform is YouTube, because you usually want to post a montage of good clips together or a longer video (like a gameplay of a story based game, challenges etc.). And that, the editing? It takes so much time, because of transitions, closed captions and other things. I’m not even gonna mention the rendering process that your PC has to do, because it is a common issue that you might have a video in such format that you need to either buy an expensive editing software or an extension for the format in order to render it. It’s a whole thing and it’s time consuming. Streamers usually have editors that help them with this kind of stuff, but when you are still starting with streaming and or cannot afford an editor or don’t know such person, you need to do it, once again, on your own.

If you stream every day in the week for a few hours, I can easily say that the whole new content for other platforms can take you about what, 10 hours a week? That’s minimum, of course. Other content creators and streamers, feel free to correct me, because the number is just an estimate based on my own experience.

Photo by cottonbro on Pexels.com

Networking

In order to grow on any platform, but especially as a content creator and streamer, one has to network. Let me explain to you the process of networking, because majority of people that start streaming, they do it all wrong.

First off is to find other streamers and communities around the games you play. So let’s say that you play Apex Legends, Hunt: Showdown, Valorant, whatever, really. You find new streamers that play these games too and you become a part of their community by coming in to their streams, interacting with the streamers and other people in the chat. However, the key thing is not to promote yourself. Don’t go in there saying: “hey, i’m a streamer too, come check me out”. Some streamers really don’t like it, because any other streamer is, basically, competition to them, so it is frowned upon when people go and self-promote, because it can push away some viewers, the promoting streamer may “steal” some viewers etc. That’s a rule number one I would say. Second rule in chat is to be always polite, meaning no hate etc. Like, you know, be a decent human being.

The only acceptable time when you can say that you are a streamer is when the streamer themselves will ask you whether you stream. If they won’t, just say that you are a gamer. To really become a part of other communities, is to join a discord server and be active in it by chatting with other people, making friends, playing with people from the communities. Some of the servers have a self-promo channel that is dedicated, yes, you guessed it, to self promotion (post a link in there when you are going live). If you are really active and you chat with people, you may get a few new people in the chat. Usually, people are more inclined to come to the stream of the people they know. This is just one of the ways how you can network, you can also follow the streamers on social media and engage with them there, by retweeting for example on Twitter, commenting on their tweets etc.

The most success I had was by coming to other people’s stream and just engaging with the chat, with the streaming and joining discord and being active in it. It has many advantages, such as you make new friends, you get new gaming friends that you can play games with, chill with and have huge amount of fun with. I can’t even say how much fun I had with people that I’ve met through other people’s community. I recently stayed up till 2 am while jamming and playing with a friend that I’ve met this way and it was amazing, I had so much fun and a genuinely great time. Give this method a try, be kind and decent human being that can have fun while playing games. That’s literally the first thing people usually look for, you don’t have to be absolute god-tier at the games, just have fun, admit when you make a mistake, hype up your teammates. Enjoy it, really. Cause if you enjoy it, it is more than likely that other people will enjoy it too and that’s what we all want, right?

Photo by Magnus Mueller on Pexels.com

Promoting your content

Streaming and content creating is not just about creating new content, but also about promoting it, about getting those views, likes etc. All platforms have their own algorithms and you any activity on your content gets you higher up in the algorithm. The higher up you are, the more people see your content and the higher the chance of bringing people from other platforms to your stream.

In order to promote your content, you can use social media, such as Instagram, YouTube, Twitter, TikTok and others. Yes, you do have to think about the most appropriate form of the promotion, but don’t forget about that tool, it’s really essential to growing. But please, do not use Twitter just purely for promotion, people like to get a little peak behind the scenes of your stream as well, so don’t be afraid to talk about your hobbies, plans etc. After all, majority of the viewers come back because of the streamer, not the gameplay. At least in my case.

Supporting your community

Every streamer build their own community, however it is natural that members of your community will be in others as well, so the communities do overlap. But, streamers like to support the members of the community, whether it is in coming to their streams, playing games with them, having community nights/days.

So, except for doing everything above mentioned, streamers usually have multiple streams open and they engage as well, they care about the members, talk with them, hang out with them in the calls etc. Yes, you can merge the hanging out and doing some editing work for example, but all of this takes significant amount of time. And to consider the fact that all of the streamers still have their own personal life and duties outside of streaming, it’s almost unbelievable that they can handle doing all of that and take care of their personal stuff too.

Of course, sometimes it happens that personal life needs more attention, or that you can focus more on streaming, but it’s very difficult to find balance between it. I struggled with it too and it was a huge reason why I had to stop streaming, because I simply didn’t have enough of time.

The reasons why streamers love spending time with the community are that we usually genuinely care about all of them and we wish them the best. Another is that it is a form of thank you for the community supporting the streamer from the streamer themselves. Because without the community, the viewers, followers, subscribers etc., the stream channel wouldn’t grow. Both parties, the streamer and community are kind of dependant on each other.

Doing all of this and trying to find that balance between personal life and streamer life can take a huge toll on one’s mental health. If you see your favorite streamer struggling, reach out to them. Being a streamer is a difficult job and it does get challenging a lot of times. Streamers usually try to be the happy, cheered up people on stream, but sometimes they need someone to talk to. Take care of your streamers. And hey, fellow streamers, please, if you ever struggle, reach out to your friends, either online or in real life. You are not alone.

Photo by Dio Hasbi Saniskoro on Pexels.com

Conclusion

The job of a streamer, whether part-time or full-time is extremely exhausting and demanding. Yet majority of people don’t take it seriously, because apparently working more than the average 9-5 job is not job like. Or sitting at home playing videogames is not job-like. Or unless you are a huge streamer that is partnered and has tens of thousands of followers or even more, you don’t count as a streamer that plays games for a living, because we just play the videogames. There’s so much going on that people do not even know about, yet they will think they know it all about one’s job. Unless you’ve did the job, you don’t know what it is like.

People, viewers, just be kind to people, streamers as well. Yes, they do play videogames for a living, but as you could have read, there’s more behind the scenes. Try to respect that, because streaming is the part that we absolutely love. It has the amazing vibes, great music, tons of laughs, good people (usually), while everything else that we do offline, it’s kind of meh (it was for me) and it takes energy, time, will and attention.

Before you tell us that we don’t do anything else just play games, try to really think about it and read the article again, I guess.

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