We’re lucky enough to have had the opportunity to interview with an up an coming content creator in the ESports world – SkyLineOW. Have a gander and let us know what you think!
Tell us a bit about yourself
My name is Tom Marzullo. I’m 24 years old and live in New York. I do private accounting and investment, so I make my own hours. It gives me plenty of time to pursue my esports/gaming passion. Playing games competitively has always been my primary hobby.
How long have you been gaming? What are your top picks right now? Top Picks of all time?
My father was a gamer and introduced me to video games very early. I remember playing Starcraft as early as the first or second grade. I don’t remember any point in my life when I was not interested in playing video games, even as young as 3 years old when would pretend to play Mario with pre-recorded gameplay on the VCR. Obviously I create content for Overwatch exclusively right now and I love the game. I’ve played basically every popular competitive game at a high level, but Starcraft will always hold a special place in my heart because I’ve followed it basically my entire life.
Favourite character and why?
My favorite character in Overwatch is Ana because of her support role and decision-making depth. Plus, snipers are just cool.
How long have you been steaming or creating content? What are your goals?
I have been creating content for the Skyline Youtube channel for about 5 months now. All of the goals I had have been completely smashed, I never expected to grow such a large community in so short of a time. I’m in a period of realigning myself and coming up with new goals. Right now I’m just focusing on my community. It basically sprouted up out of the ground overnight, so I’m working on organizing everything and making the Skyline community a place where players can have access to as many resources as possible. I’m also focusing on increasing the production value of my content and making it as awesome as possible. I don’t want to look at numbers right now like subscriber or view count, I have a big community and viewerbase and I don’t want to let anyone down.
How did you get started / what made you want to do it?
My idols growing up were competitive game commentators on Youtube and competitive gaming really shaped my personality. On my channel I try give back to the community so maybe I can help others the same way as I was helped by watching other content creators. Through my analysis videos I want to show others how cool and interesting competitive gaming is. I hope that seeing the skill and cunning that goes into pro esports in a way that is clear and easy to understand can inspire others even in different parts of their lives’.
What has been the most challenging part about twitch/youtube?
The most challenging part for me has keeping a clear direction. It seems very easy at first, but after a few months it’s easy to wander away from your original purpose and remember what made your channel so unique to begin with. There are so many distractions. Just Youtube Analytics by itself puts graphs and numbers directly in your face 24/7 that I could easily sit and analyze for hours. There are also thousands of comments all saying different things. Then add in all of the other stuff like social media, sponsorships, and community drama, and I’ve found myself having to take a step back a few times and remind myself why I’m here to begin with. It’s about the community and passion for the game, and I would like to thank my viewers for helping me keep that message front-and-center.
What about the most rewarding?
The most rewarding thing is getting messages from players telling me how I have helped them in a real, applicable way. I really don’t want to get up and just say a bunch of theory-crafting that sounds good but is ultimately impractical, and seeing real instances where I’ve helped someone, both in-game and out, always make my day.
What are some things that you attribute your success to?
Certainly a large part of my success comes from my extensive history and experience with competitive gaming and esports, which I can attribute to my father who allowed me to pursue those things in my free time (school first!) Of course also the great content creators who have come before me who’s formats and production I could study and learn from. Being passionate about and participating in the community for so long and seeing so many things that have worked and not worked has given me a unique advantage over many others who just don’t have the raw experience and historical knowledge. In the end, though, the most direct outside credit must go to the CompetitiveOverwatch Reddit community that gave me such an amazing platform to share my work on and get exposure. There is no way I could have done it without them!
Can you speak to any resources that you used to help you get to where you are today?
I have always been a forum junkie and the greatest part about that sort of community discussion is that you see so many different ideas bouncing around. Each user gives you his or her own individual world perspective, and if you go in with the right attitude you can learn untold amounts of information and knowledge. A lot of people discount community forums or subreddits as “cesspools” or places where no quality discussion takes place, and while on the surface that may be look true sometimes, if you consider each individual user’s perspective and try to understand where they are coming from, even trolls can teach you something. Of course, there is tons of high-quality discussion as well. I’ve learned a lot from just reading internet forums. It has given me a very intimate familiarity with my audience straight from the outset. Besides that, for more formal learning, Youtube tutorials are just amazing. Overall, just having a wide, diverse array of resources is the best way to learn and anything you need to know is somewhere on the internet, even if it isn’t spelled out in black and white.
What has been the most fun, or interesting experience you’ve had while steaming or putting together some content?
One time I accidentally hit “stream” instead of “record” when I was making a video that didn’t use my normal workflow. I was completely unaware of the mistake, so I wound up streaming the entire 3 hour video making process to my whole community, and I had no clue I was even on camera! I was very surprised when I finally looked over and saw 30 Discord messages telling me about my mistake, but I used it as a chance to explain to the people watching how I made videos and some of the techniques I used. The idea of having hundreds of people watch you on camera while you are completely unaware is pretty embarrassing!
Which do you think has a better monetization model, youtube / twitch – and why?
Youtube’s media format is inherently better for viewership than Twitch’s. On Twitch, if you stream for 3 hours, only 3 hours worth of viewers will see your content (there are video archives, but not many people watch them.) On Youtube if I spend 3 hours making a video, that video can be viewed days, months, and years later. Because of this, Youtube videos can generate incredible numbers of views that make advertising a viable monetization scheme. Twitch doesn’t pull nearly as much ad revenue, but has a lot of creative ways to make money that also gives value to the viewer. Subscribing is a very cool way for viewers to get value out of supporting a streamer. Cheers are a newer thing on Twitch that follow the same vein. Overall, Youtube has enough raw views that they don’t need to worry about being particularly creative, but Twitch is certainly better at coming up with fun monetization methods that benefit everyone.
Who are some of your favourite streamers / content creators?
Some content creators who inspired me growing up were Day9 (Starcraft), Luminous (DotA), and OverSky (Warcraft III). There have been plenty of others over the years, but those are the ones that immediately come to mind. I also currently take great inspiration from The Warowl’s educational content from CS:GO.
What can we expect to see from you next?
I’m trying to add on something cool every week or so, whether it be a new video series, a new resources for my community, new partnership. The new stuff doesn’t look like it’s stopping any time soon. I’ve also been practicing my in-game casting every day and self-analyzing my own VoDs in hopes of breaking into the professional esports casting scene.
What programs / tools / gear / specs do you use?
I often draw on the screen in my videos and the #1 question I get asked is “what program do you use to draw on the screen?” I must have been asked that hundreds of times at this point. I use a program called Presentation Assistant for that. Besides that, I use Audacity for voice recording, Shadowplay for video recording, and Sony Vegas for editing. Coupled with Photoshop and any smartphone camera, that’s a powerful enough combination to basically make any type of video I can think of.
What tips do you have for an aspiring steamers, youtubers to help them if they’re just starting out
My absolute #1 tip for aspiring content creators is to know your community. Be a real and true active member of whatever community your audience is part of (and knowing your target audience is crucial.) If you are honestly passionate about the community and actively participate, you will have a great idea of what they want. Also, watch Youtube tutorials. Lots of Youtube tutorials.