GameDojo has some knowledge to drop, and he often does that and more on his nightly, hours-long broadcasts through Youtube Gaming. That's every night. For hours at a time. His dedication has garnered quite the following of fans and viewers alike, and he's a bit of a hometown boy with us here at The Gamer Square.
Either way, pull up a mic stand, put some crazy crap on the screen, and follow along as he talks about his decision making process for game choices and how getting your name out there can make all the difference. Fun game: try to read along below with his Elmo voice in your head.
1. Hello Mr. Dojo. Can you start us off by talking about how you came up with your GameDojo alias?
Not that flattering of a story. When I was 12 I tried to teach myself Japanese. I came across “dojo” as to teach or a place of learning. So my infant mind thought putting “game” in front mean to “School someone in gaming” as in to be better than them. I was a fool. But, I liked the sound of it, and ended up using it for aliases in the internet world from then on. Once it was time to start a YouTube gaming channel, it seemed perfect.
2. Fun fact: You actually joined The Gamer Square in August of 2015, just about the exact time that your channel went live. Can you talk a little about the importance of networking and raising your presence on the internet when starting a Youtube channel?
Places like The Gamer Square and others are important for a beginning channel for a good source of kinship among others in the same situation. It's a rough world to be in video production and I found the community of forums to be a great place for moral support, creative ideas, as well as anecdotal stories that remind you that you’re not alone in this adventure. I can’t directly comment on how these communities help in raising the presence of one's channel. I see them as less about exposure and more about community building and sharing.
3. In under a year, you're now up to over 40,000 subscribers and even have your own fan art site, which is the first one I've ever seen for a Youtuber. Do you feel like becoming a part of communities like ours allowed you to ingratiate yourself with a would-be fan base?
I’m always searching for more ways to interact with a viewer. The fan-art site was another way for a viewer to feel a part of the channel and to legitimize any sort of creative output that someone might be inspired to create. Fan-art usually comes from the younger crowd and it's the YouTuber’s responsibility to welcome and encourage them. Your words and actions have a STRONG influence on them. More than most realize.
4. Most if not all of your content is streaming, and you're very specific about Youtube Gaming as your platform of choice. Are there any reasons in particular you chose Youtube over Twitch when it comes to streams, or is it just a more natural fit?
YouTube Gaming is still very new. This early access not only means a smaller competition base, but a possibility of direct input to YouTube for improvements, wishlists, and general suggestions. Twitch is very large already and is running like a well oiled machine. But with that strength comes negatives that I feel make it very difficult for a new live streamer to survive in.
5. Focusing on the more broad framework of your channel, what made you decide to become a nightly Xbox One streamer as opposed to just an uploader?
I first started out as a VOD gamer. But I realized I was spending 45 min playing a video game, and 3 hours editing and uploading. Live streaming means I can play 4-5 hours of video games without any down time. It's simply more fun. Once you combine that with the real-time interaction with viewers and the excitement that live TV can bring, there’s no going back. Last night I hit 40K subs, and as a celebration I played guitar live with backing tracks. Anything can happen live!
6. What helps you determine which games go on and come off your nightly schedule? Overwatch was recently fairly prominent but was replaced to get rid of the "bad mojo," as you put it. What lead to that decision?
It's extremely complex. There is no easy answer. I play games I love so I am having fun while playing, but the games have to be popular in YouTube searches as well. I’ve come up with a few core games that work well (COD and GTA) but pepper in brand new games and experimental games for both my own gaming interests as well as to see what might work. Every streamer is constantly struggling with what games to play. YouTube is a very unpredictable place.
The Overwatch situation is in reaction to a phenomenon that, at my current size, is something I’m very attuned to. Once you have hundreds of people interacting through chat and voice discord, the way dialogue is handled and how people interact with each other becomes just as important to the channel as the streamer him/herself. For no good explanation, conversations were negative and unfriendly. Fights would break out, trolls would be stronger, and even my discord audio chat started breaking the rules and talking politics. I have no idea why this game would generate this energy, but it was real. My channel has returned to normal now that I’ve removed that strange mojo-generating game! The unfortunate part of this story is Overwatch is incredibly fun to play. But I think it's important as a YouTube content creator to be aware of what's working or not and make hard decisions based on many factors.
7. You are very consistent when it comes to your schedule and making your fan base aware of it, especially during streams. How important is it to promote and stick to a schedule?
EXTREMELY IMPORTANT. The reason for this is that Youtube wants to marry up viewers with their best content. If you ALWAYS play a certain game, then YouTube is going to be comfortable recommending your channel to anyone who wants that game. I ALWAYS play GTA V on Friday nights. It's expected in my channel. If I take it off, even for one night, the amount of surprised, confused, frustrated viewers in chat is astounding. Humans are creatures of habit. The better you can cultivate that, the better your channel will be. Try to think of your live channel as a TV show with a set schedule. If you’re bouncing all around with different time slots, how are viewers going to find you again? Make it easy for them!
8. Your sudden growth in such a small amount of time is something many people would love to be able to achieve. Are there any specific marketing strategies you took to using to gain some traction that you would be willing to share with us?
#1 would be to be genuinely interested in what you're doing as well as enjoy other Youtubers and other streamers. Be honest with yourself. Are you doing this because you enjoy it, or because you want to be rich and famous? Create friends in this industry so they are interested in your content and you’re interested in theirs. Being genuine simply works across the board. If your actions come from a place of honesty, viewers and others will recognize your brand as something of value. Never try to be someone else and never try to force anything you don’t naturally feel is right.
Every time someone enters chat asking for tips, I say, “Do it for the love of games and streaming and never about the money.” I think too many creators enter into this seeing the million sub money generators of Markiplier or PewDiePie thinking THEY can do that, it looks easy. But if they are not coming from a place that's natural, they will burn out quickly. I started my channel without any thought of building a brand bigger then 500 subs. I was up late with my newborn son (2nd) and needed something to pass the time. I found gaming late night to be lots of fun and playing to viewers was like chilling with friends on a couch. I was so excited about 500 subs, I gave an Xbox One away! I had reached my biggest goal for YouTube. I feel I kept growing because my genuine love of the platform and love of entertaining naturally attracted viewers. Keep in mind, it's very hard work. Nothing is easy, but as a wise man once said: “Find something you love to do and you’ll never work a day in your life.”
You can check out his YouTube channel, his Twitter page, and his beautiful head every night at 10 PM CST on YouTube Gaming.