Author Topic: Left2Learn Co-casters needed; Want to give casting a try?  (Read 5913 times)

3yebex

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Left2Learn Co-casters needed; Want to give casting a try?
« on: July 16, 2014, 12:53:18 am »
In 5 days it will be my anniversary for casting Left2Learn (My first VOD on Youtube is on July 20th, 2013). I had to solo-cast the recent Left2Learn due to unforeseen circumstances and having to rush everything together. While I feel I did a great job, I know that having two people instead of one makes casting far more entertaining. Other than talking to yourself and appearing crazy, there's no real way to keep a cast active during down-time as a single person.

So I've decided to do a bit of a... Left2Cast kind of thing here?

Essentially, I'm going to try and give people a chance to try and cast and unless I'm asked to cast a match it will most likely be Left2Learn stuff. I realize that some people are intimidated with the idea of trying to cast, and it's a bit harder to get into it since casters can be a bit in a circle. So I want to offer a low-risk kind of entry so people feel more confident in participating.

What is needed of you to participate:
  • A microphone(Duh?) that provides a clear voice. If you have background noise/static then you might want to try and fix this. I'm not requesting a 300$ microphone.
  • A tolerable voice. Most people's voices are tolerable but if, for example, you sound like a 12yo, then casting might not be for you.
  • Fluent English. No, you don't have to be a United States citizen, but there also shouldn't be any language barriers between casters/viewers.
  • Minor experience in casting. I'm not interested in people who have experience in casting and just want to do some extra casting. This is an entry-level thing.

If you're interested in trying out casting, add me on Steam. It'll be first-come first-serve. I'll try my best to rotate people. The only thing I request is that if you aren't available because something came up, you must let me know at least 30min in advance. Not doing so is a quick way to be permanently removed. You are allowed to livestream the events if you want. I'll be doing my usual livestream though. All casted matches will be uploaded to Youtube permanently. So watch what you say! I also reserve the right to reject anyone without given reason, which shouldn't be a problem for majority of people.

Tips for casting:
  • Try to keep things positive. Instead of saying, "The survivors got destroyed on that attack." be more, "The infected did a great attack.".
  • Avoid talking about things that aren't related to L4D2/community. Nobody(Cept them weirdos) wants to hear about your dog eating your furniture.
  • Avoid controversial topics, seriously.
  • Avoid saying any of the following; Uhm, Uh, Hm. It's hard, but it makes a difference.
  • Makes the calls and don't regret them. People are going to disagree with your calls/casting. If you can't handle that, then you shouldn't be casting. However, accept criticism.

If you would like to see this week's (July 13th) Left2Learn cast, you can find it here.

If there is anything you would like to be added to this post just let me know.



Yesterday, I had the pleasure of working with Tomas Hezan. He contacted me from my reddit post. He was no stranger to casting, but had told me he's never officially casted; just practiced casting.

I would he say he has a naturally good voice for casting, and while he started off hesitant at the beginning of the livestream, towards the middle he started to get into the groove of casting. I look forward to casting with him and the other people who have contacted me for a chance at casting.

If you're interested in watching yesterday's game, with Tomas Hezan casting;
Hitbox (Best quality)
UTube
« Last Edit: July 27, 2014, 04:55:28 pm by 3yebex »

Blakee

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Re: Left2Learn Co-casters needed; Want to give casting a try?
« Reply #1 on: July 16, 2014, 01:18:02 am »
casted with xbye on a match and an l2l game and i can say it's a really fun thing to do. highly suggest anyone who is interested add him. it's an experience that can only benefit.

good luck xbye. :)

Rails

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Re: Left2Learn Co-casters needed; Want to give casting a try?
« Reply #2 on: July 16, 2014, 05:51:27 am »
Long, long ago, in a galaxy far, far away - basically, not even a year ago - I casted for the first time, officially, as a member of the L4D2 Competitive Community. The very first words out of my mouth were a mistake; I called the people watching the cast "streamers" instead of viewers, said a lot of "uhms" and "uhs", and was extremely reserved. I never would have gotten the chance to do anything I have shoutcasting wise had Xbye not given me the opportunity to cast Left 2 Learn with him that night.

Basically, I'm the "patient zero" of the Left 2 Casting Xbye describes in his original post: when I casted L2L for the first time, the weeks previously had been straight warrooms. No offense to the mentors or the teams, but that's not what the purpose of the stream is for. The stream is for observation, teaching, a tad bit of entertainment, but more specifically to give a birds eye view and entirely constructive criticism of situations seen in your typical L2L Pug. The only experience I had before that initial cast I linked was sitting alone, talking to myself as if I had multiple personality disorder whilst practice-shoutcasting AG pugs from the spec slot while not knowing anyone in the game at all. Basically, this opportunity Xbye is giving to anyone interested is ridiculously generous, and I am forever grateful to him for allowing me that opportunity when he gave it to me.

Interesting Note: KissMe was hesitant to cast WatchL4D matches with me at first due to the fact he hadn't heard of me before and I was a total stranger at the time. I used my L2L casts I did with Xbye (of which there are 12 total) as my resume for him, KissMe took another chance on me, and here I am.

Xbye is an excellent mentor and shoutcaster. I can't name another person who actively plays who knows more technical knowledge regarding the game than Xbye, and I also can't think of someone whose long-standing mentoring and pinpoint observations can really aid new players better than how Xbye casts L2L. Really, he's really east to get along with and also (relatively) harmless; don't be afraid to step up and ask to cast with him!

From someone who has been there, and was there for a good amount of time, the basic overview of what it's like/what I found to be successful when co-casting L2L are this:

1. Work together with Xbye on the general casting. As I said, he's a great caster, so just attempt to have something similar to a conversation with him. You'll learn a lot just from listening to how Xbye casts, and he will ease you gently and slowly into the flow of casting a game.

2. Use what you see. The whole point of shoutcasting is to not just simply describe what's going on in the game, but also to analyze it and put your own opinion in. When I first started casting L2L, I had not even played in my first tournament; however, I had played ProMod for a very long time and also had been on a dedicated team for the majority of my time playing the game. I still provided my opinion and analysis; you don't need to be Purple to give advice that makes people better. Specifically, when casting L2L, you have to be observant, you have to make suggestions on what teams could've done better, and most importantly, you need to keep your observations optimistic. The people who go back and watch the Vods Xbye streams/puts on his YouTube are not, usually, there for purely entertainment purposes. Yes, it's a pug which is streamed and yes, there are often a few well-known names from the community mentoring, but it's Left 2 Learn, not Left 2 Pugstar. I've been told by many who have gone back that they deeply appreciate the commentary we casters provide on the streams, and that doesn't come through negativity.

3. Don't be nervous - you're going to mess up. I cannot tell you how many times I said the "uhms" and "uhs" which Xbye mentioned when I first started out, but the important part was that I kept talking, pretty much throughout my entire casting career. I didn't let each small mistake hang me up, and I only focused on the cast, never that anyone was watching. Whether it was my first time casting L2L or when I did my first Grand Finals, I've always carried my general attitude towards this game over to casting - it's a game. The point of Left 2 Cast is for you to try out casting, to enjoy what you're doing, and also to help other people out as you're doing it. However, I must stress that we do try to keep L2L organized and on topic, as Xbye said, so do please keep it relevant.

4. Above all the things I just said, act naturally. Yeah, throw on a nice voice because technically you're speaking in public, try (I know it's hard) to avoid profanity unless you really need it, don't say anything you won't want to go back and hear over and over again when you replay a Vod (been there, done that), but be yourself. As it's a learning experience for the players, it's a learning experience for you too, and people won't be hard on you at all. L2L is a very welcoming (and often concurrently hilarious, unique, and rewarding experience - just look at who the admins are :D) environment, and Xbye exemplifies that in how dedicated he's been towards it's efforts. TAKE ADVANTAGE OF THIS OPPORTUNITY AND USE IT TO THE VERY BEST OF YOUR ABILITIES!

If you follow those tips, follow Xbye's advice, and add either him or myself on Steam, you'll be on your way to potentially finding a great way to have fun involving the Sequel Zombie Racing Game that exists outside of playing - and while I enjoy actually playing the game, casting is something I love doing. Here's hoping someone finds their path through this, or at least has a good time either way!

Thanks again Xbye, I owe my casting "career" to you!
I look forward to this post being taken down so that you can continue running a corrupt system for a game that has less teams then I can count with one hand.

Battle

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Re: Left2Learn Co-casters needed; Want to give casting a try?
« Reply #3 on: July 16, 2014, 07:13:43 am »
Say whatever you want without reprisals \o/ sign up yo.
I have an accent, so i can say what i want

Sir

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Re: Left2Learn Co-casters needed; Want to give casting a try?
« Reply #4 on: July 16, 2014, 07:16:57 am »
It's not too late to join the Wubwub side, xbye.
In all seriousness though, good luck. :)
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Dragon

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Re: Left2Learn Co-casters needed; Want to give casting a try?
« Reply #5 on: July 16, 2014, 12:59:08 pm »
There's a natural apprehension towards casting for some who have had the thought cross their minds. But I can say from experience that the first time is always the worst because it's unknown territory to you. If you can handle the first (and worst) cast and enjoy doing it despite the nerves you may feel, then you may as well carry on because it will only get better from there.

The main questions I get asked by people who are uncertain about shoutcasting go along the lines of:


1. What do I say? You describe all the action as it happens, simple as that. Also, you don't want to talk about something off-topic when an attack is in motion, this is probably one of the top 3 complaints I have heard over the years in regards to casters in general. Even if you feel like you're in the middle of a relevant sentence, just suspend it for a moment and commentate on the live action. This is especially necessary if you are able to commentate on something which is happening outside of the cameraman's view, because you can't assume that the cameraman will see absolutely everything 100% of the time.

2. What can I do to avoid dead air in the cast? This one's really easy actually even for someone doing solo-casting: analyse the living shit out of the piece of action you just saw! As soon as the last SI in the attack is killed, you have around 20 seconds before the next set of spawns are up and getting into position for the next attack. You can say SO much even if you're on your own, with two casters who follow the same principle, dead air will never happen. You can voice your opinion on the attack, you can mention the current state of power (are the survivors still stacked with bonus or do the SI have the upper hand, etc) and what implications do the previous attack and the development of the round in its entirety have on that match (and the tournament if it's a major point in the finals). Use the intervals between map transitions as tiny breaks to talk about other things in a little more depth, whether it's the match or it's something community-related. If you're really struggling to think of anything, give your predictions based on the current run of play and what you expect to see based on the remaining maps that will follow.

3. Am I meant to be a comedian? This is not a common question but I feel it's worth bringing up because for those who ask, a L4D2 cast is a L4D2 cast, not an appearance on Saturday Night Live. Don't get me wrong, we all enjoy a good laugh now and then as casters and as viewers too, but it should only be seen at best as a light seasoning to the main course that is the cast. If you have some form of pre-established rapport with your co-caster where the comical words and moments just spark spontaneously then that's fantastic and completely normal; you can engage in banter and recount amusing stories without it feeling contrived or overly premeditated to an extent, but say it and let it come out naturally; NEVER try to force it out! The worst thing you could do in a cast is pain yourself over trying to be something that you're not. Another complaint about casters I've heard in the past is that a few would focus more on making beer or other liquids pour out of viewers' noses while neglecting the ongoing action which is what the cast is all about in the first place! So as a beginner caster at least, focus only on the task at hand, nothing more.

4. What if I feel like the nerves are too much? Then let the co-caster take the helm so that you can breathe in and out with deep and slow breaths; it forces your body to relax and makes you more calm. Also, try to talk a little slower if you feel like your speed of speech has been cranked into overdrive; this actually helps you fill in the gaps during spawn timers too so it's great for warding off dead air. One or two people I know in the past have commented on how they were anxious because they doubted their ability to improvise on the fly which didn't help their nerves. Anyone starting out in this has the benefit of tagging along with an experienced caster in the form of Xbye who I'm sure would be happy to give you that breathing space should you need it.

5. How do I not screw up? Well the basics have already been mentioned: say what you see, analyse it with opinions and predictions for what is to follow, try not to lose focus and drift off into a paragraph which is being muttered when the next attack is already in full-swing. You can be amusing and witty when it's natural and the occasion calls for it, but you're not going to screw up if that doesn't happen for you. If you're really conscious about making mistakes, the best thing to do is organise a plan with your co-caster(s). Decide who will speak and in what order, you can also decide on a cue which when the lead caster says during the live cast, will be your signal to speak. This is also a great way of greatly reducing any chance of collisions or interruptions between co-casters. I had to do this for the WatchL4D grand final because with the twitch.tv coverage looming, we wanted to minimise interruptions and overlaps. As I'm connecting from the other side of the Atlantic, Kiss Me and Rails are already saying things for about 2 or 3 seconds before their first words reach my ears, which is why it makes it considerably more difficult for a non-NA caster to find the 'right' moment to speak without interrupting anyone else, so sometimes we end up colliding at the beginning of sentences!  :D

6. Will the viewers like me and if not, how can I improve? The former really should not be your concern. You should never head into a cast thinking "will the viewers like me?" because it's not a popularity contest and treating casting as if it is one, is really the wrong way of looking at it. I can't speak for all viewers, but I know as a viewer myself, I can sense if a caster is genuinely excited to be in that seat, and if they're lacking the enthusiasm for it then it does show and almost makes me lose enthusiasm as a mere viewer. You wouldn't spend money to watch an artist who has no passion for what they do, and just turn up there for the money and go home, so why put yourself through an ordeal if the root cause for you being there doesn't make you enthusiastic? The best mindset to have for it is to feel enthusiastic heading in and let that be what uplifts you even if you're suffering from the jitters. If you've never casted before, then there's honestly no way of knowing how you will fare until you're in the caster's seat. You will probably have viewers commenting on whether or not they like your casting. They might even compliment you on your voice, your humour or even your sense of professionalism. If you're feeling proactive about seeking improvement, just get the link for the VOD and listen to yourself as if you were just another viewer that night. Think about what you liked and/or didn't like about your casting and then take notes for future reference. I did this way back when I started out and I get easily bored listening to myself, but it definitely helped me stroll in the right direction. If you feel like you "um" and "uh" too much then tone down the pace of your tongue a little. If you feel like your fumbling your words or syllables, then correct yourself and move on, don't dwell on it. Everyone makes mistakes and sometimes amusing mispronunciations too, it just happens and it's not a disaster at all. But you can also think about that as the 'seasoning' or the 'spice' to add to the humour of the cast. With the right mentality, you can make a fuck-up add to the cast rather than take something away from it.

I know a lot of what I said might apply to more longer-term casters as well as beginners but I've always found that those who succeed in casting just pick up on it so fast even within the time of their first few casts. The only real obstacle is taking that first big jump. Once you've cleared it, you might be glad that you did. So if anyone is even thinking about this opportunity, stop thinking and just do it!

atomicsheep

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Re: Left2Learn Co-casters needed; Want to give casting a try?
« Reply #6 on: July 16, 2014, 02:45:01 pm »
Agree on Dragons points and those above.

Lots of experienced casters on here.

My only addition would be:

Know your position
When there is more than one caster, try not to talk over each other. It's ok to let the other caster do the main commentary for example.
Then hop on in when the main caster has nothing to say.

Rails handles this very well for example. You may have noticed he often produces spaces for the second caster to have their say deliberately by simply saying their name.

Dragon and Rails were a good example of this here : http://www.twitch.tv/n1njaaa/c/4654755  @  07.37 to 07:52 perfect example.

Something that has cropped up on a few occasions:
mic volume
One caster so very loud and one so very low. Would always recommend a small mic check before the go live.
Heavy breathing down the mic, again would be identified with a mic check


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Killerbeast

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Re: Left2Learn Co-casters needed; Want to give casting a try?
« Reply #7 on: July 16, 2014, 06:17:23 pm »
sounds fun i would give it a shot

Music_of_Zephyr

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Re: Left2Learn Co-casters needed; Want to give casting a try?
« Reply #8 on: July 16, 2014, 07:17:54 pm »
Would love to do this. Coming back from deployment, just got my own place, just got Internet. Yeah.... After seven months of missing out on Left 4 Dead, I think it's time for me to come back and do this!!!
The impossible is just a line, only the brave ones are able to break it to become more powerful.

3yebex

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Re: Left2Learn Co-casters needed; Want to give casting a try?
« Reply #9 on: July 27, 2014, 04:53:41 pm »
Yesterday, I had the pleasure of working with Tomas Hezan. He contacted me from my reddit post. He was no stranger to casting, but had told me he's never officially casted; just practiced casting.

I would he say he has a naturally good voice for casting, and while he started off hesitant at the beginning of the livestream, towards the middle he started to get into the groove of casting. I look forward to casting with him and the other people who have contacted me for a chance at casting.

If you're interested in watching yesterday's game, with Tomas Hezan casting;
Hitbox (Best quality)
UTube

dping

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Re: Left2Learn Co-casters needed; Want to give casting a try?
« Reply #10 on: July 28, 2014, 09:23:00 am »
I'd be glad to give it a try for a L2L sometime.  just ask long as you dont mind a screaming wife in the background :) jk  If we can schedule it, I can make that time free.
dPing

SoulAspirin

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Re: Left2Learn Co-casters needed; Want to give casting a try?
« Reply #11 on: August 10, 2014, 03:25:02 pm »
I would love to give co-casting a try :D Just let me know the ropes and I will do my best

dping

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Re: Left2Learn Co-casters needed; Want to give casting a try?
« Reply #12 on: August 26, 2014, 04:21:12 pm »
Xbye, I sign me up for the NExt L2L to co-cast with you.  That is, if we have enough mentors, exc.
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3yebex

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Re: Left2Learn Co-casters needed; Want to give casting a try?
« Reply #13 on: August 26, 2014, 05:48:40 pm »
Xbye, I sign me up for the NExt L2L to co-cast with you.  That is, if we have enough mentors, exc.
Haven't you casted before?

dping

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Re: Left2Learn Co-casters needed; Want to give casting a try?
« Reply #14 on: August 26, 2014, 05:56:49 pm »
Haven't you casted before?

"Minor experience in casting...", yes I have minor experience casting and would like to get better.  Or is this like your 1on1 lessons, one time only?
dPing

 

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