Being an eSports commentator involves more than just describing what goes on in a video game tournament.
His career is in the eSports industry but he isn’t a professional gamer.
Youth.SG met up with full-time eSports caster Lim Lyn-Feng, the man behind the voice of Lysander Xonora, to find out what it is like to be working with the big leagues in the eSports industry.
Who: Lim Lyn-Feng, better known as “Lysander Xonora”, 25
Occupation: eSports caster
Studied: Diploma in mass communication at Ngee Ann Polytechnic
Tell us more about yourself!
Outside of eSports, I enjoy writing, filmmaking and drawing, but I don’t really have the time to dedicate myself to those hobbies because they’re very time-intensive.
How and why did you become an eSports caster?
There was a community tournament happening in Chinatown and they were searching for the next big caster in Singapore. I didn’t even plan to join it.
My friends and I were there for the amateur tournament, but we were eliminated so early that the sign-ups for the casting tournament weren’t closed yet.
I wrote down my name and the next thing I knew – I won the tournament.
I used that win to ask Beyond The Summit, a broadcasting studio and tournament organiser based in Los Angeles, if they were willing to have a Southeast Asian representative. They said yes, and that was the start of it.
Describe a typical day at work.
I don’t think there is a ‘typical day at work’.
When I have a job, I would do some research the night before. I’ll make sure I’m aware of the rundown of the event and the teams playing.
If it’s a big event with a bigger cast, I do six to eight hour shifts of casting games and doing interviews with the players in between the games.
If I have to do an opening monologue, I will write some lines and memorise and rehearse them the night before.
What are some of the memorable experiences you had as an eSports caster?
I was asked if I wanted to cast a bunch of Korean amateurs for a Defence of the Ancients 2 (DotA 2) tournament and a bunch of people who didn’t know about DotA came to play. It was such a silly game because no one knew how to play, and I decided to make fun of it.
People really liked it and I had some positive reviews on Reddit. That really helped when Valve, the developer of DotA, was looking to invite casters for their annual competition in 2014.
I got a free trip to Seattle to cast for the fourth installment of The International, a major DotA 2 tournament.
What advice would you give to youths considering a career as an eSports caster?
As a caster, you need to speak good English. On the international stage, it would be seen as unprofessional to use Singlish, slangs or colloquial speech.
You are your best product. You should want to keep improving yourself, be it on word play or how you construct your sentences.
If you want to climb the ladder in eSports, it’s important to learn how to turn the other cheek. Networking is very important, so make as few enemies as possible.
If people like you, you will definitely rise through the ranks quickly.
Educational requirements: Qualifications are not as important as having good English.
Qualities needed: You must be engaging, presentable and able to improvise on the spot.
Salary range: Basic salary range starts from S$24.70 (US$18) per game. As you work your way up, the salary increases, ranging from $30 to $60 per hour.
Working hours: You can expect to work four to six hour shifts on a high budget event and 10 to 12 hour shifts on a low budget event.
Career prospects: Rising up the ranks and getting invited to cast other game titles as well, not just DotA.
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