We’re profiling some of Australia’s biggest content creators to see what really makes them tick. This month we spoke to PTesh from Perth, known for his Call of Duty, PUBG and Fortnite videos!
When did you first start out making YouTube videos?
I first started making videos a really long time ago with friends on Halo 3. I remember it being 2008, and me and a few friends wanted to make a “machinima” (the practice or technique of producing animated films through the manipulation of video game graphics) kind of like Red Vs Blue. So we scripted something out, one of us purchased a capture card and we make a few skits here and there. I only really started making videos on my own a few years later, when Black Ops 1 came out through the theater mode share feature, which allowed me to upload my clips to YouTube, as owning a capture card to record your gameplay was fairly expensive. Especially as a 15 year old…
What inspired you to get into content creating in the first place?
The gaming scene on YouTube had started to grow quite rapidly with Call Of Duty commentaries becoming a big thing that people loved to watch and engage with. Of the people that did these commentaries over high kill/death ratio gameplay, I started to watch a few commentators myself and wanted to emulate the type of content they did. I thought I was good enough at the game that it could warrant me sharing the way I played to help others get better at the game. Call Of Duty skill held quite a high bragging right back then; I wanted people to know how good I was. It’s funny, I remember getting a flawless 30 Kill / 0 Death gameplay in the morning before school as my cousin watched in awe. I just knew I had to share that online.
How has the scene changed since you first started with YouTube?
There is so much more competition and saturation in the market. It becomes exponentially harder to grow your channel as new creators come on board. You literally have to clickbait in order to stay relevant. It’s also surprisingly easy to fall off. The way the algorithm currently works is it doesn’t seem to reward quality content (unless you’re lucky and the algorithm somehow “picks” you) but instead rewards quantity of content, so if you can upload every day with a catchy thumbnail and title, you’re half way there. These people that can upload a video every day or two seem to reap most of the rewards. However, if you’re uploading a video every day or two, the creative treadmill becomes ever so hard to run as you try to keep up with the schedule.
What do you think is the best part about being a content creator?
The money. Kidding! Of course that’s a joke. On a more serious note, it’s insane to see people’s thoughts on the videos I create and share with them. I schedule my videos to go live at 2am, so it’s always awesome to wake up and respond to comments of people telling me how much they enjoyed the video. Or how they were having a tough day or dealing with something in their life, and that my video (something I made for fun) helped cheer them up, even if it’s only for a short while. It’s almost like a drug to me, I NEED to check all my comments and socials the first thing when I wake up. That probably sounds extremely cliche.
How many hours a day/week do you devote to producing videos/streaming content?
A lot of people like to think that making videos is quite easy. But just because a video is 10 minutes long, doesn’t mean that it takes 10 minutes to make. Another misconception is that it’s treated like a full time job. I like to argue that it goes even further beyond that. You honestly have to be dedicated! You don’t get to choose your hours, and you work until your video is done. Some videos I make take around an easy 5 hours just to edit, and some others can take anywhere up a exhausting 30 hours to edit. The rest fall somewhere in-between in terms of time. I remember when GTA 5 (finally) released their heists. I recorded it (which took a few hours), edited the footage until 5am. Woke back up at 10am and spent the ENTIRE day editing. It added up to around 20 hours of straight editing to come up with something I was proud of to share with my viewers. With that being said, there’s always the kickers. Sometimes you could spend a good 15 hours editing a video for it not to get the views you thought that video deserved. But I try not to let it get to me, which is ever so hard when I play a numbers game.
Do you think Australia is behind in comparison with the rest of the world when it comes to recognising streaming/content creation as a viable career?
I definitely agree with the question that streaming/content creation isn’t recognised as much as a viable career in Australia. I think (personally) that’s mainly due to the fact that Australia has always been behind in general. I mean, look how long it took to get Netflix and now Amazon, also not to mention our horrible internet speeds. However, things have looked so much better and more promising in the last few years which makes me excited for the future ahead. If I could compare the space from just a few years ago to now, it’s crazy to see how much more people are getting involved with video creation and live streaming. I think that’s mainly due to the fact that the NBN is finally starting to roll out to more and more people thus allowing them the tools to create and share content. However, with that being said. Something I think is a strength out of Australia being behind is that most creators know each other and are very friendly with each other and help each other succeed. I’ve seen friendships flourish allowing people to grow their platforms together. And if you ask me, that’s bloody awesome!
What is some advice you’d give to anyone who would want to take up a career as a streamer or a content creator?
Honestly… Be prepared to lose out on your social life and worse off, your sleep. Just create things you yourself would enjoy, put yourself out there, take on constructive criticism from your viewers and ignore what ever disheartening and negative comments people may say. The first comment I ever received was pretty damn harsh, I still remember it. But I don’t think it’s even appropriate to share in this interview (that’s how bad it was). It’s also very important to stick to it as well, life will get in the way. You have to keep on grinding through it. Most importantly, ask yourself what sets you apart and makes you original. There isn’t any point in copying your favourite creators; we don’t need a PewDiePie 2.0. But instead find a way to take on your favourite creators’ ideas and make them better. I’ve seen plenty of channels find a video formula they’ve gotten comfortable with, only for new creators to break it apart, make it better and grow even bigger. It’s ever so harder to be original, but content creators come up with new entertaining things all the time. I’ve seen a few Australian creators do some pretty questionable, but hilarious stuff. I’ve seen one streamer dress up as a cardboard cowboy, another make controllers out of a pan for PUBG and tonnes of other crazy stuff that sets them so far apart from the rest of the world. They’be built an entertaining stream, and people have discovered it. You’ve just got to think hard!
What does your setup look like?
Honestly, my wire management is horrible, wires are literally everywhere. I have a custom built gaming PC I built back in 2016 (pro tip; don’t be cheap and build something to last a few years), 2 monitors, an Elgato HD60 to record console gameplay, a PS4 and Xbox One. A Razer keyboard and mouse. Astro A40 headsets, an Audio Technica AT2035 XLR mic that plugs into a mixer (Line 6 UX2). I use a program called DxTory to record my PC gameplay, and a free program called OBS to live stream to Twitch. This may seem like quite a lot. But I’ve acquired this over a few years while making content. I worked a job at KFC back in 2013 (which I hated) just to buy my Xbox One when it first came out, and I bought my monitors roughly a year apart. All the money I made from YouTube/Twitch over the years I’ve been putting back into the channel, so I could buy better or more equipment!
What’s the best thing to have come out of your career as a content creator?
I’ve done quite a few things through creating content. I’ve had the opportunity to fly to America twice, once to visit Blizzard HQ (which was insane by the way) to check out Overwatch on the console, and another time to see LawBreakers; a game made by Cliff Bleszinski (the guy who made Gears Of War) which is pretty damn awesome. As Gears Of War was the first game I ever played on my Xbox 360, it’s kind of crazy. I’ve been to PAX Australia yearly since 2015, which is now one of my favourite conferences to attend! Jeez, I could go on and on. However the BEST thing out of it all is definitely going to events and meeting all sorts of people. May they be my viewers, my fellow content creators, the amazing people that work in the industry and even meeting new faces. Most importantly though, meeting my friends that I record my videos with. Me and The Boys all live in different parts of Australia, yet we always have a laugh and game together all of the time. So when we meet up in person it’s an insanely good time cracking a couple of cold ones with the boys.
If you weren’t doing this as a career, what do you think you would be doing?
If I wasn’t doing YouTube and Streaming (with my horrible stream schedule) as a career, I’d definitely be an Engineer, Doctor or Lawyer. Something my Indian parents would choose. On a far more serious note however, seeing the gaming industry grow and understanding it much more now, I’d like to see myself studying marketing as I find the way video games are created, released and marketed very interesting. Especially when it comes to companies and content creators working together. As we live in a consumer world, I even find everyday advertisements for various products and services rather interesting and I love questioning them and their creative process. I have a creative side of me that I’ve discovered through YouTube and I want to explore that much more through study.