Dan Offen has been bringing to us a lot of different variety of podcast over the past few years consisting of interviews, some uniquely featured content as well as hosting his own DPC show.
Today, Esports Heaven interviews the interviewer himself on his humble origins, life before esports, the setback Covid19 has provided to many industry talents, etc.
Hey Dan. Thanks for taking time out of your busy schedule to answer a few questions. I hope you’re doing well. Tell us a bit about yourself.
I mean, how far back do you want to go? I went to Warwick Uni, studied politics, worked (and still do) as a data analyst for a number of research agencies - but ended up feeling somewhat dissatisfied by this - I started stand up comedy when I was about 25, and spend three years travelling up and down the country playing to crowds of various size and interest levels.
I eventually lost a lot of faith in the stand up scene, I found the grind very soul destroying and though I was getting ‘good’ and making progress, I was no longer sure that I wanted that progress. So I quit, but upon leaving and going back to traditional work, I found I was missing creating content for people. I’d always loved DOTA, so decided to get involved.
Interesting. How did you come up with the concept of Position 6 podcast? What was the intention behind the same?
Conceptually, it’s just an interview podcast right? I think I felt that something like Position Six was missing in the scene. Nobody was really making regular interview podcasts, and the ones that were made were done by existing talent in the scene who tended to make the shows as much about them as their subject. Nothing wrong with that, I just wanted something totally focused on the interviewee.
The name is just meant to be about the 6th man, i.e. everything going on in a game of Dota other than the actual DOTA.
Broadcasting/on-air talents/interviewers have taken a considerable hit on their jobs due to the Covid pandemic and Dota 2 was one of the worst hit titles out there considering the delayed response from Valve on the DPC front. Is it safe to assume that you were one of the many affected as well?
Yeah, it killed my progression pretty much. I attended the last DOTA Lan, the Summit 12, as my first proper talent gig. Then when everything locked down and events went online there was no place for me at all. Obviously, events like the WePlay ones brought in large amounts of onsite talent, but they’re not going to hire an interviewer or a totally unproven host. I have limited interest in casting, so in terms of attending events there’s been basically nothing for me to do for the past year.
Speaking of which, besides ESL One Birmingham where you were the interviewer in an official capacity, you haven’t had the chance to showcase your skills at many events. Is that demoralizing in any way? Feel free to correct me if I’m wrong.
I wasn’t attending ESL One Birmingham in an official capacity, I was there under my own name as press. I’ve attended, as I said, The Summit 12 for BTS where I was on the couch, wrote and performed much of the content, and did some silly interviews in a closet. I also did online interviews for Epic League 12, but these weren’t really broadcast on the English stream irritatingly, so I’ll forgive you for not having seen them.
It is frustrating, ultimately I have a normal job which I enjoy so I’m not desperate for DOTA work - and I don’t think my plight is comparable to a lot of the people who are depending on the scene for a living - but it’s frustrating for my career to start so well with the Summit and then just there not to be any opportunities at all for me for a year.
We’ll see what happens when proper LAN events come back.
Oops, guess that’s one of the flaws about conducting interviews without any research. Errors happen haha. Nonetheless, the new DPC season involving regional leagues has concluded with the exception of China. You’re hosting your own DPC Weekly Show detailing the events of games played across regions. I believe it’s your own initiative and has no support in an official capacity? Has the show met with considerable success?
Depends what you define as considerable - it’s done okay, every episode has had over a thousand listens, which for new content of it’s type isn’t bad. I’ve also had lots of messages from people saying how much they enjoy and depend on it, which is more important to me.
I’m pleased with how it’s gone, it’s meant to be a showcase of my abilities as a host, and the analysts abilities as analysts - I think everybody involved has done marvelously, and I’m mostly pleased with my own performance.
What are the qualities one should have to dip their toes into what you’re doing right now?
Tenacity, I guess? I’ve produced over 100 interviews now, which has basically meant I’ve stuck around and messaged tonnes of people asking them to come on my podcast. I think most people would have given up by now.
I think if you’re referring to my “skills” as an interviewer, it’s mostly just come from the rest of my life experience as a stand up, and working in research. I’ve picked up a lot of soft skills through these things, and that’s helped me a lot as a broadcaster.
I could speak a lot about what I see as the “technical” skills involved in interviewing, and I have thought a lot about this stuff, but that’s probably a conversation for a different time.
Interestingly, that’s something we share in common; producing these many interviews albeit mine are in written format and yours are in audio. Moving on, the Singapore Major is only a few weeks away. The first LAN event after what seems like an eternity. As the host of the DPC Weekly Show, you’re in a good position to give a fair review on how teams from each region are looking. Can you do the honours?
I don’t know if as the team with the best record in the DPC, VP can really be considered dark horses - but I’ve been hugely impressed by their play, and was doubly impressed by DM’s attitude when I spoke with him last week. They’re a very young team, but everything is in the right place for them - obviously, like everybody, I expect Secret to win, but I wouldn’t be surprised if VP were a close second.
Elsewhere, I expect the other EU teams to do well. Alliance is a little stop start, as are Liquid, so hard to tell, but Nigma should get a reliable top 8.
I think BeastCoast has the ability to surprise people and make a deep run, and Icex3 has added a certain something to EG, so will expect them to do reasonably. I have less faith in SEA right now, but Fnatic are a reasonable side - but I’m not sure the way the region has been playing is going to put them in a strong position. A lot of SEA players have told me it’s a bit like a pub scene at the moment.
Unfortunately, we’ve seen behemoths like OG and TNC among others, not make the cut for the first Major. Considering how important the regional leagues are in order to qualify for The International, and in the absence of open qualifiers, how do you think these teams will fare in the upcoming season?
With TNC, depends on how the changes go. OG have always been inconsistent, they just have a few massive results under their belt which makes people forget that. The EU is a tough region, and I would expect them to make another good run at qualification, but without a big meta shift or team changes I don’t see them becoming dominant in the region for a little while.
Where do you see yourself in the next 2 years in esports?
It really depends on what happens when LANs come back. I don’t expect I’m going to be invited to much soon, but a few gigs here and there would go a long way. I’d like, in 2 years, to have a steady stream of DOTA work and be seen as a reliable and good host - but we’ll see. I just need a few opportunities to prove myself.
Alright mate, that’s a wrap. The floor is yours for the taking. Anything you’d like to say?
Nothing in particular! Thanks to all my fans, and people who send me messages about my content, I do really appreciate it. I’d also like to thank, again, all six of the analysts who worked season one of the DPC Show, 1437, Kips, MoFarah, Danog, TeaGuvnor and Neph. They were all fantastic to work with.
If you enjoy reading my work, follow me for more content at @Karyb4u.
Kindly support us by following Esports Heaven on Twitter and keep tabs on our website for more interesting content.
Featured image credits: BeyondTheSummit