Some of my oldest memories are gaming with my brother. He was the first person to introduce me to Halo when I was probably four or five. At the time I was terrible and playing a game like that which wasn’t really meant for someone of my age was tough for me but it didn’t matter because it was something I got to do with my big bro who I really looked up too. From that moment on I have been in love with video games and more importantly the moments shared with loved ones because of the games themselves. I remember spending hours playing the Halo 2 campaign with my nephew when I was a little older (8 or 9) in my brother's basement. We would play the same missions every weekend over and over again. I loved every moment of it because now I got to show him the ropes like my brother had done for me years before.
My gamer tag actually originated from sad circumstances. I had an account on my Xbox 360 and I thought it would be cool if I put a password on it in order to sign in even though I was the only person who really played on it in the house. To make a long story short, I forgot the password and had no way of recovering it. So feeling really frustrated and more so sad for losing all my halo progress I went to the kitchen where I made a sandwich to soften the blow. The sandwich was fantastic and lifted my spirits. So in honor of the sandwich the gamer tag hamcheese was born.
Streaming for me started out as simply a way to record my gameplay. I began content creation first on YouTube as a way to look back on epic moments with my friends, never really intending it to go anywhere. I didn’t really have the hardware to record so I would stream on Twitch then upload the VOD to YouTube and use the free editor. Rarely did anyone ever watch me and I wasn’t really trying to be noticed because YouTube was my main focus at the time.
After YouTube caught some traction and I became a YouTube Partner I decided it was time to start streaming. When I made this decision I was only able to record from home at the time and upgrading my gear to make a decent stream wasn’t really an option for me. So, I contacted a local gaming lounge and asked them if I could stream there using their much superior setup. They generously agreed to let me come in and stream and all they asked in return is I would also stream for their channel. So I began packing up my Xbox at night and driving downtown. I would stream on their channel for a few hours then stream on my own channel after that. It was a lot of fun and I learned a lot about the basics of streaming and what I needed to upgrade for my own setup in order to have a quality stream.
About a year ago I saved up and built a streaming PC I started consistently streaming almost every night. I absolutely fell in love with everything streaming had to offer. YouTube is great for posting highlights but there is just something about streaming to a live audience and sharing the experiences with so many people in real time. It’s just FUN! At the start of 2020 I told myself this was the year I got partnered on Twitch. I quit working, which at the time I was delivering mail, and focused on nothing else even putting YouTube as a second priority to Twitch. I knew I would be taking a hit on income so I sat down and told my parents I wanted to focus on streaming full-time this year. They were reluctant at first but after seeing how happy it made me and it only being a year they gave me the go ahead. After applying twice and waiting two months for a response I finally got Partnered! I won't lie to you. I almost cried and had the biggest smile across my face while reading that email.
As of right now I am looking for a part time job. Streaming can be very lucrative but it has its ups and downs. Having a stable source of income alongside streaming relieves a lot of stress. It also means you can focus on putting the money you earn from streaming right back into your setup for better content.
I love my community. The people who are in the stream every night are the type of people you want to hangout with on weekends. I’ve tried to build a community around high level gameplay, back and forth banter between good friends, and most importantly enjoying our time together. However, because of the games I play specifically Rainbow Six Siege we have more than a fair share of toxicity. Siege is a game solely based around its competitive playlist which is do or die for many. Our community tries to counter the toxicity that arises from this competitive mindset and show people you can be a good player without an ego. The toxicity ranges anywhere from stream snipers to people who come in just to bring you down. Thankfully though my community is very protective and anyone who comes in starting trouble is in for it. The occasional trash talk is fine and even encouraged but anyone with an ego gets knocked off their high horse very quickly. Our chat rules are no racism and don’t be a dick.
My main game is Tom Clancy's Rainbow Six Siege although I play other games occasionally but FPS games are my favorite. I try to focus on high level gameplay while still having fun and not being too overly competitive. It’s a fine line but the squad I play with and myself do a fine job of walking it. If I wasn’t a streamer siege would still be my main game but I would play other games more often. Now that I'm Partnered I plan on diversifying my content more and maybe even becoming a variety streamer. Siege was my way of getting my foot in the door. I used to play with viewers but we would have members from outside our community come just to play in the sub games so they could pull my IP address. Then they would boot my router offline whenever they would get queued against me in ranked games or just whenever they felt like it.
My brand has always been true to myself. It’s nice that being a streamer allows you to be whoever you want to be to your audience but, I have never felt like that was the right fit for me. I only want my viewers to see me as just an average dude, from an average town, playing video games at a slightly above average level. That's it. I want more than anything to make content creation be seen as a more viable option when it comes to a career path choice. Especially if it's something you love to do. So many people are just working for the weekend. I’m lucky enough to live in a time where content creation (something I love) is able to make you a living. I wholeheartedly believe that anyone can become a content creator if they really want too and I want to make it more clear to the world that it's not impossible!
My biggest obstacles that stood in my way of becoming a content creator and some that I will never stop overcoming are doubt, organization, getting noticed, and being happy. When you are first starting out everyone doubts you and why wouldn’t they? To many, at least in my experience, content creation is still foreign and misunderstood. When the people around you doubt what you're doing you can respond in two ways. You start doubting yourself or you use that doubt as motivational fuel. You have to believe in yourself because if you don’t no one will. I have always been a procrastinator and organizing my everyday life is something I struggle with. Making lists and just focusing on one thing at a time helps me stay on track and not become overwhelmed but I still have my moments where I just can’t get out of bed. Getting people to notice you and your content can be one of the hardest or easiest obstacles depending on the type of person you are. My initial viewership of about 15-20 people every stream only came to watch because they were fans from YouTube. The only way I got noticed on YouTube was by beating really good players who were well known in the community and building a reputation off of that. Eventually the viewership molded together. Now it's to the point where my viewership on YouTube and Twitch is kind of a snowball effect where both grow together in tandem. Happiness I think should be the ultimate goal for whatever anyone does. For some even in the perfect situation this can be hard but what I’ve found is that I'm happiest when I'm surrounded by positive people. That’s why I stream with people I enjoy being around.
I started full time streaming about a year ago and the process was fairly simple. I just played all night, slept all day, woke up and did it again. Along the way I upgraded my stream with the money I earned. Now I plan on working part time and continuing content creation so I can afford to be completely independent. Eventually, I would love my content to completely support me but until I reach that point working part time is the best route for myself.
An average day for me (mind you there aren’t many) consists of me waking up around 3pm. Then I shower, eat, run some errands, edit YouTube videos, little family time, and then I start streaming around 10pm. I’ll stream anywhere from 5 to 17 hours, depending on queue times and how long before my eyes hurt too much. I sleep, rinse and repeat. To be honest though that was the schedule I had because I got the best viewers late night and now that I’m partnered I will be having a more normal schedule. My days off I try to get outside and do something physical because I spend so much time sitting. In the winter sledding is always fun and a good workout. Summer time I’ll drive to the lake. If I don’t feel like going out binge watching tv shows or old cartoons is the best.
I don’t mind that most of my time spent with friends is through a screen. Some of my best friends I have never met face to face. I know a lot of people have been taking the lack of social interaction really hard because of quarantine but honestly it hasn’t really been that hard for me because I'm used to only being with my friends online. The only thing I miss is seeing all my family and going to the movies.
Most of my family have known that I have been doing content creation but they don’t really see it as something serious. Only now have they started to notice that this is something that's actually taking off and some of them will never see it as a realistic career option. I believe as long as I keep improving my content and as long as I am passionate about what I am doing content creation will always be a viable option for me. As I get older the content will just change with my interest and hopefully the interests of the world.
I stream through OBS I have been using since I started and don’t plan on ever switching to anything else. All my donations go through Streamlabs and Paypal. For bots I use Nightbot and Streamlabs. All my graphics were done by the graphic design company Visuals By Impulse (VBI). I absolutely love working with them and would recommend anyone who is serious about streaming to use them. I use the blerp extension for stream sound effects, siege has its own stats extension, and the prime reminder extension is just a no brainer. In terms of analytics I used them to find the time of day where I had the highest viewer count (3-4am) and I made sure to always be live during these hours.
My advice for anyone working towards becoming partnered is find the times of day where you have the best viewership. This might not always be the time that you want to stream but if you can make it work DO IT! Always be engaging with your audience, ask them how they are doing today and try to remember names. Don’t let trolls or anyone for that matter discourage you. If this is something you want to do with your life, make it happen and always respect yourself.