Within the following opinion piece, Knowledge Gaming Vice President of Media and veteran esports commentator Jaycie “Gillyweed” Gluck talks concerning the challenges of coping with imposter syndrome whereas working within the esports trade and the teachings she has discovered via her expertise.
My title is Jaycie, aka Gillyweed, and I take care of impostor syndrome. However right here’s the key I’ve discovered: everyone does. Right here’s how I managed via it and what I’ve discovered from my experiences in commentary.
I began commentating in 2015, again when Blizzard Leisure planted the seed of Heroes of the Storm esports as something greater than grassroots with their Highway to BlizzCon occasion sequence. By the point I used to be employed in July to forged an official, in-studio occasion, I’d been casting on-line weeklies for a couple of months. I had completely no concept what I used to be doing, however I beloved the sport, and my purpose on the time was to forged for Blizzard.
Many individuals who knew me as a commentator at the moment will keep in mind this primary official forged of mine because the delivery of the “gillyIndeed” meme. I discovered about crutch phrases the onerous method — by saying a phrase I usually by no means used about 10,000 instances in a forged purely as a result of another person mentioned it; and my mind, after sitting in a pool of nervous vitality, subconsciously determined that “certainly” was, certainly, the best phrase to ever exist.
After taking within the suggestions from our expertise coach and different casters, I held again tears till I obtained again to my lodge room that night. I felt like I shouldn’t be there. I needed to go dwelling and overlook about casting.
As a substitute, I went on broadcast the following day and made positive the primary phrase out of my mouth was a hearty “certainly!” After I obtained dwelling, we made one in all my stream emotes certainly. The content material group I used to be part of even made certainly mugs with a caricature of my face. Successfully, Indeedgate was over.
One month later, I returned to Burbank for one more broadcast weekend. Throughout one in all my later casts on the second day, I mistook one Nazeebo heroic icon for one more and was corrected on broadcast by my co-caster. On the journey again, one other expertise advised me that he oversaw a personal chat between Blizzard staff speaking about how badly I did. Fortunately, our observer on the time pulled me apart to assist construct me again up, however I once more retired to my room in a panic and regarded up flights to go dwelling.
I returned to the studio the following day hungry to show everybody incorrect. I actually believed it might be my final day formally casting, as a result of I didn’t really feel like I belonged there with the remaining, however I needed to show what I may do. That day ended up being one in all my greatest days commentating as much as that time.
After the present, I used to be taken apart by a mentor at Blizzard who advised me that if I needed to proceed casting, I wanted to enhance. The following occasions within the Heroes ecosystem can be stay occasions – the Americas Championship in Las Vegas, and BlizzCon after. Regardless of my tumultuous opening, I used to be pushed to make it to each. I employed a coach, began studying strategies to memorize the huge quantity of abilities within the sport, and utterly revamped how I prepped for occasions. By the point I obtained to my first-ever stay occasion a month later, I used to be reborn as Gillyweed, the caster who prepares greater than anybody within the scene. Later that yr I forged my first BlizzCon; early the yr after I forged my first worldwide occasion, and the week after I returned from Korea, I commentated Heroes of the Dorm on an ESPN channel.
Sadly, the upper I climbed, the much less I felt I belonged or deserved my success. I didn’t belief Reddit or social media when public sentiment towards me turned optimistic. I typically didn’t even belief my family members, but relied on their reassurance to maintain myself going. Some would name it the Dunning-Kruger Impact, as a result of as my information of the area grew, so did my understanding of simply how a lot I needed to study. However I used to be additionally within the grip of imposter syndrome.
One coping mechanism was to mentally separate Gillyweed from Jaycie. On digital camera, Gillyweed’s shoulders have been again, and chin lifted. She’s energetic, bubbly, and, above all else, is aware of her shit. It may have been the BlizzCon grand finals in entrance of a packed home with standing room solely, the Heroes of the Dorm finals standing subsequent to Tastosis, and even the Rocket League World Championship analyst desk. But internally, Jaycie’s concentrating so onerous to recollect hero abilities, participant statistics, draft patterns, and gameplay traits that she forgot to eat, couldn’t sleep, and wouldn’t keep in mind the expertise of the forged after it concluded. And she or he at all times questioned if she was sufficient.
As Heroes and my position within the scene grew, individuals began being impressed by me. Or much more, felt they have been represented by me. Or launched their children to me, as a result of I used to be their position mannequin. This had a two-fold impact on me — after I felt like I had a nasty forged or needed to cease casting, these moments saved me going. However I additionally felt a ton of strain to signify marginalized avid gamers effectively — and for somebody who wasn’t ever positive she was sufficient, that was extremely onerous. I by no means needed to be the token girl on broadcast, nor did I need to signify anybody. I simply needed to speak a couple of online game that I beloved.
At my first BlizzCon, there was a commentator from one other area who had captured the hearts of Reddit. He flew out to hitch the expertise crew and appeared to be actually assured. Throughout rehearsal, I expressed how anxious I used to be because of the tech on the desk. My co-caster turned to me and mentioned, “Generally I really feel like an outsider in comparison with the remainder of you.” I used to be shocked; right here was this caster who from my perspective belonged, but nonetheless felt imposter syndrome, not even figuring out that I felt the identical. And in that second, I didn’t really feel fairly so alone.
Since transitioning from commentary, I’ve been lucky sufficient to have managed and coached expertise from former skilled gamers to among the most beloved expertise in a scene. And I can safely say that so much — if not most — of us encounter imposter syndrome sooner or later in our careers. Suggestions on commentary is never goal – positive, there are technical issues we will work on. However most of what we obtain from chat or social media is subjective. “I don’t like Gilly” comes out as “Gilly is unhealthy” with out a lot thought or effort. As well, plenty of the individuals hiring expertise within the trade don’t know sufficient to have the ability to give the correct suggestions, so generally, public notion is all we’ve obtained.
So – how will we enhance? Be open to suggestions, and search for the correct sources. Ask a trusted good friend to observe a broadcast and let you know the way you made them really feel. Watch your individual VODs and observe what you probably did and didn’t like. Maybe you mentioned “certainly” 20 instances and need to cut back that quantity to a wholesome 10. Construct belief with a fellow expertise, then speak about what you need to do to enhance collectively.
However most of all, use that drive to gas you to enhance. Take management of it, so it gained’t management you. Be trustworthy with your self that you simply really feel it, however you aren’t alone in that feeling. In order that sooner or later, if you cling up your hat on commentating, you, too, can lastly really feel such as you have been sufficient.