We owe casters a great debt and I think very few people realize the sacrifices they make for our entertainment. Casters start in the scene working long hours, fighting for games, and making absolutely no money. The ones we know and love (or love to hate) are the few who have risen to the top through years of dedication and hard work. The unfortunate reality is that when they reach the top, they also reach a level where public criticism is rampant. I think it is important to remember that the talent we are fortunate to have are dedicated, but they have little to no formal training and at best a few years experience. Every caster has a special quality that makes them stand out, but it is often this quality that we turn and attack them for when they take it a little too far.
Think about some of our newer casters in the scene: ODPixel and LlamaDownUnder. These guys got noticed during long intense games where they were solo casting with more hype than any of us know how to even process. Their strength is their ability to talk a mile a minute and hype every single moment of any Dota match. This turns into their weakness as they steam roll over co-casters and often hype insignificant moments in the game. Professionals react to their casting by complaining about the lack of game awareness while reddit dislikes their ability to talk without ever needing to breath. But aren’t these guys casting big games because they bring us excitement? Maybe instead of criticism, we look for a solution. We want to maintain the excitement while leaving room for professional analysis and reflection upon the current state of the game. Professional speakers advocate that in an interview scenario, such as asking your co-caster a question, you silently count to three. Other people have not been following your train of thought, and often just need a moment to process the question, rather than needing clarification. Silence does not have to be awkward, it can be powerful.
Capitalist is a unique caster in his ability to provide incredible hype while also being able to play Dota at a high mechanical level and provide analytical insight. We admire his assurance and confidence in everything he says, so we encourage these qualities. Cap has grown incredibly as a caster, but as his confident persona has developed further, he has begun to qualify each and every statement. He precedes most sentences in team fights with “actually” or “be able.” These are marks of trying to infuse statements with authority, but they in fact lower your impact. Business Insider recommends removing actually from your vocabulary, it implies a condescending tone while concurrently diminishing your credibility.
SirActionSlacks had a recent debut on The Summit Couch and was met with equal amounts of love and hate. He is an incredible source of fun, awkward moments, and is considered one of the grand meme masters. However this leaves us with clowney casts and significantly less insight into the high level of Dota we came to watch. To be honest, I don’t even know where to start for professional recommendations for Slacks. I think in his case, we love him because he is everything a professional cast shouldn’t be. While his freeform personality is both his greatest strength and his greatest limit, his talent should be appropriately used and appreciated. Slacks’ normal style may not be suitable for the grand finals of The International, but his ability to entertain should never be taken for granted or put to waste. We should be overjoyed that The Summit chose to bring him onto the couch and for the hype he brings to many different charities games I have seen him cast.
Every caster that we watch is unique, and we as viewers both embrace and flame what distinguishes them. There are simple tricks for everyone to improve when it comes to public speaking, whether it is casting a game, streaming for your friends, or even effectively arguing in a discussion. The best thing we can do for ourselves is to recognize what these small things in ourselves or other and offer constructive solutions for improvement.
Reinessa is the host of TL:DR (Too Long: Didn’t Read) a semi-regular pro-Dota 2 news coverage webseries. You can follow her on Twitter @ReinessaDota and find TL:DR on YouTube here. You can tweet @DotP_Show to discuss this article as well!