How My Love For Playing Games Made Me a Full Time Twitch Streamer.

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July 14, 2020

Who are you and what kind of content do you create?

My name is Shagne Navarro, a Twitch partner, full-time variety streamer for two years based in the Philippines and I stream a lot of different genre games; from MOBA (both League of Legends and learning Dota 2, I also streamed Heroes of the Storm once) to simulation games (Hand Simulator, Euro Truck Simulator, etc.), to shooting games (Fortnite, PUBG, Modern Warfare, etc.) to RPGs and single player games (Final Fantasy series, Legend of Zelda, etc.) I try to play what is new and most especially with what game I’m interested in. I also do art streams whenever I feel like I should change twitch emotes or change my own panels. Occasionally I sing while playing and my viewers really love that, sometimes whenever there isn’t anything interesting to play I just watch compelling videos on YouTube, play the piano or play my otamatone.

I started playing PUBG, and then played League of Legends (which I’ve been playing for years, and is the original game I wanted to stream. I started up my Twitch channel not because I wanted to stream but because of League of Legends. I followed Riot Games and LCS (League of Legends Championship Series), professional players just so I could interact in their Twitch Chat) a lot of Fortnite, and then Tekken 7, Monster Hunter World, an assortment of story/single player games (like Legend of Zelda: Breath of The Wild, Final Fantasy X, etc) and mostly any newly-released games.

Let's go down memory lane, tell us your backstory!

It was not my original idea to start streaming, but I have previously considered it, despite being pressured to stream. Since looking at my skill in League of Legends I figured I’m not stream worthy as much as the professionals that I watch. I started playing PUBG (PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds) for the views and because it was popular despite not being my genre, since I do not play many shooting games prior to streaming. Shooting games were not in my interest but eventually I grew to love it because of streaming and the competitive and supportive community.

I went straight to full-time streaming, I honestly thought I would do graphic design, since it was what I originally wanted. I figured it would take a lot of preparation and knowing how streams work and how much exposure I would need to get, I know I wouldn’t like it. I wasn’t the type of person that wanted to be “out there” or be popular, because in a way I thought it would mean being my inauthentic self just to get the views or exposure. If I didn’t do or say certain things, I thought I wouldn’t be as interesting enough to watch, even though it’s not something I would naturally say or even do (how I play video games or even how I post in social media) In the end, that kind of mindset eventually grew old and is honestly the most exhausted that I’ve ever felt. Lately, I finally have the autonomy to be myself in my streams and to actually play the kind of games that I want to play to be able to guide my viewers in a better way I believe.

In time I grew to love streaming because of the warmest support of my community and the people that I’ve met along the way that inspired me to be better and to keep going.

How do you brainstorm ideas for your content and your advice in getting the creative juice flowing.

The idea to entertain people will always be easy if it’s a new game. The reaction itself is the content, and it is what people will find entertaining and everything is new, provided that you don’t watch any gameplay videos or spoil yourself prior to playing it. The best way to prepare myself before streaming was to actually watch entertaining people play any game aside from the one that I will be streaming (since I have to avoid spoilers to get a genuine reaction), Because it would help me get into that “streaming mood” and watch how they interact with the game and with Twitch chat at the same time. Whenever I’m trying to explore and discover new things I could do with a game, I usually plan it and execute on the spot, and people usually find it entertaining. If ever I do encounter a mental block, or if I don’t have anything to say on stream, I just read Twitch chat and go along with the topic they’re talking about, if the topic takes an undesirable turn, I ignore it and talk about something else related to the game, or a current event. Sometimes I sing to keep my Twitch chat entertained and eventually it has helped me.

What are the tools and platforms you use to help with your brand?

I use Adobe Photoshop for all channel art (subscriber badges, twitch emotes, panels). I’ve been using Photoshop ever since before I was in college because of my interest in making art. I started posting more about my Twitch on my Instagram stories and sometimes posting when I’m live on Twitter. Ideally I should post every day, but I try to post only every other day to avoid annoying my viewers especially if I feel my content isn’t even much compared to other days when I really have something to share. I have more engagement with a well thought out Instagram story or tweet, or facebook post than something I share everyday which might almost seem the same update that I’m live and streaming. I would sometimes post where I’m at in my instagram stories to show  what I’m doing when I’m not streaming, but ONLY if it’s something worth sharing, is respectable and not just a picture of my meal (unless that meal is my favorite, then I would post it). Something worth sharing would be something you don’t commonly see every day, or a photo / video of my dog.

I don’t really use tools to schedule posts, since algorithms bring you to certain people regardless of what time they post it. But then again, it does matter if you post it at a prime time, meaning a time where people would most likely have their free time scrolling, more likely for you to be seen if the algorithm doesn’t put you at the top of their feed. (While commuting on a train, eating their meal, after they wake up, or before they sleep. I usually connect with my viewers through twitter, instagram and discord. I post when I’ll stream on these three platforms.

Searching Google about what you need to know is very important especially in how you want to stream and what you want to stream. There are also google trends to help you get in the news, to know what keeps going with the talk and with the current events. Streaming is an ongoing and high paced ever-changing industry in terms of competition, and what’s popular to get ahead on with the news.

What were your fears starting out? How did you handle it? 

I don’t really allow any negative comments to affect me, what mostly bothered me was how they would misunderstand my process in entertaining them or learning a competitive game. It’s like I don’t know what they want: For me to learn but they would get bored watching me focus and absorb? or learn it while having fun but in return it’ll make me look stupid. How I would sacrifice focus and skill at first just to seem enjoyable. In return it would look like I’m not taking the game seriously, the act I was putting up to be more entertaining makes it look like I do not care about how I play at all, wherein I was actually putting up 150% of myself because aside from the fact that I have to be interesting and look like I’m enjoying the game, I would have to pay attention to every detail and mistake I do in game especially in a competitive game that is not my forte. I notice whenever I focus for a long period of time and actually make plays after learning it, no one would really react or be attentive as much as I would make mistakes at the start. They bully me in return. 

But honestly once your viewers start to bully you and they make you feel bad about yourself, that’s when you made a statement. Because you’ve caught their attention, and retained them even if they disdain your skill or just plainly want to bully you cause you’re not at their standard. But the thing is; they stick around. And that’s what’s important as a content creator. You can’t just have people who appreciate you, you will earn those cynical people as well. They are a part of your betterment.

For the most part, I’ve ignored it because I have no control in what they want to think even if I prove them wrong in that very same moment. In a way, they push you harder to do better. But honestly, for some streamers or content creators who already push their hardest, it won’t do good for their mental health. It will make them feel like they’re not good enough.

But please remember: people will always think what they want to think and believe what they want to believe. As long as you’re doing your best, doing the right thing and you’re not hurting anyone, that’s what matters. If they don’t stick around or believe in you, they’re not your people, and they’re not your loss because every content creator is a work in progress. You need the people who still believe in you despite your shortcomings. Everyone will have their own mistakes in different ways and at different levels. Who believes in you matters. That is what I’ve learned in streaming.

And I could say I’m glad that I started streaming, because streaming is a buildup, and growth in itself, not just your skill in games, but your interpersonal and intrapersonal relationships, and how you build up yourself (your growth mindset) will reflect with those around you and how people will support you. But the catch is, you have to know what’s the right thing to do. Being stubborn in how you want to stream won’t help. You have to look at the bigger picture, you have to look at your own shortcomings in another view and other people’s perspectives. What is working and what is not. You have to accept mistakes, and I accept mine wholeheartedly to the point that I own them. Honestly the biggest wedge in this entire idea of streaming is how demanding the entertainment industry can be at times,  especially when it comes to competitive games, with what you do in game, and how you deal with it, and most importantly, WHICH competitive game are you playing because some audience will have a bias in games.

How did you build your brand to where it is now, take us through your process.

I immediately started streaming in February 2018 despite not fully knowing what to do, I headed straight into it mostly to distract myself too. I asked my college friend HeyJelly, how she started streaming and occasionally would play PUBG with her, and that’s where my initial following started. She is well-known in the industry and when she shouted me out at the Streamers Philippines Facebook group, a lot of people came by and as someone who doesn’t really talk a lot, I was really overwhelmed. Eventually they taught me how to manage chat while playing, which was unexpectedly complex at first. (Seeing how Shroud just glazes his eyes 1 second over chat and reading about 10 words still amazes me).

Posting everyday was something I did try to do, everything felt okay at first despite the pressure. Sometimes after waking up I immediately start streaming and eat breakfast on stream. I would stream about 8 to 12 hrs a day and it was unhealthy for the kind of grind that I did.

I pushed myself a lot and I would get tired very easily to the point that I would sleep at least 16 hours a day. And that’s how I got the nickname “Koala” for sleeping a lot. I was mostly stressed. I took almost no breaks and if ever I took breaks it would only make me feel bad for not doing anything. And that was where it went wrong. Breaks are important for our physical, emotional and mental well-being.

I would accidentally stream for 24 hours because I enjoyed playing and to avoid the stress of outside streaming. Eventually it took a toll on me, I streamed even on days I didn’t feel like streaming. As a result, I got bored streaming each day, It felt like I wasn’t making any progress, plus I wasn’t happy despite putting on a face to entertain.

About the first months of streaming in 2018, my channel was continuously growing. By only half a year I’ve made very good progress and made thousands of followers, became a twitch partner, and had some unexpected donations and earnings. I was eventually known as the streamer who doesn't sleep. Got noticed by a few well-known people locally and even internationally, but then I was pushed to do more than what I can to the point that I would compare myself to top streamers and what I was doing wrong always, even more so than acknowledging all the good that I’ve accomplished so far.

By June 2019 I streamed even though my dog just died and I became sick, I still streamed. As a result, I eventually grew distressed in streaming because of the unhealthy position I am in. I also entered a Monster Hunter World speedrun competition hosted by a notable generous donator, Davej974 on September 2019, won 2nd place and made a name as one of the top MHW speedrunners on PC. As of that year. Months later, I was finally able to do healthier things while adjusting to a new environment that I’m in. By October 2019, I put less pressure on myself after the following months.

For someone who wants to get into content creation, what is your advice?

Starting out earlier was definitely crucial, the earlier you start the better. Content creation will naturally be about building up. You stream, make good moments, and then make a Youtube highlighting those moments is better.  At first, what you post in any social media should come naturally. You will gain people considering your own personality and who you’re known for in real life and on screen. I was thinking I should’ve definitely started earlier, but then again, I never figured this would be something I would really get into, more or less even gain a following and as much support as I would have. People will like you for being you, so you just do your part in what you love doing and take care of your audience, and honestly, the rest will follow.

Be authentic with who you are, continue to grow and make genuine connections with people with no judgement and you will do well. Learn what is a constructive criticism from a negative comment and you will do better, always look at the brighter side of things.

How did you finally commit to X platform rather than your regular day job?

After graduating college, I headed straight to streaming, although exploring jobs aside from streaming would also be nice so I would engage in different activities apart from streaming all day.

Tell us your best milestones in being a content creator.

One of the unexpected milestones as a content creator was that I got affiliated and then partnered on twitch! After that, I eventually got noticed by a lot of good streamers and got raided with a lot of viewers. I played with the famous League of Legends streamer, Master Yi player, Cowsep who has almost a million subscribers on YouTube. I played a considerable amount of ranked games with him when he played on the LoL PH server using a VPN and though I was honestly really pressured, it was more of a privilege. 

What are your marketing strategies to grow your brand? 

I did not hire anyone to market my pages. I did everything on my own, and I did not post my link to pages or groups. All the links of my pages came solely from my Twitch Channel.

How do you handle brand deals and sponsorships?

I haven’t really reached out to certain brands, but if ever there’ll be an interesting sponsorship offer I am open to any reputable brand as long as it is well-known. I will not accept any shady deals.

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