Katie Bedford, known esports host and on-air personality took out time to have a quick chat with Esports Heaven on her foray into esports albeit in the most unconventional way, the importance of appearance for being a host/hostess, branching out to different games and more.
INTERVIEW CONDUCTED BY DREXXIN
Hey Katie, thanks a ton for taking the time out to answer some questions for us. How’re you doing?
Honestly? Not that great. It’s been a long, difficult year. I’m thankful for a lot -- my family, boyfriend, friends and supporters -- but it often feels like I’m moonlighting as Sisyphus; I just can’t get that pesky boulder over the hill. That’s not to make it sound like everything is miserable, of course! There is a lot of good, but also a lot more bad.
We’re just about a year into the “COVID world” of esports, how has that affected your broadcasting opportunities?
A lack of LANs certainly makes things more challenging. While some roles (host, analyst, commentator) can be migrated online, others can’t. Floor host positions disappear without in-person events, as do others. On top of that, budget cuts due to COVID exacerbate the problems for talent looking for work. It’s a challenging time. I try to have faith in my abilities, stay patient and believe things will get better.
Softball questions aside, in your experience as a professional, how much does appearance factor into a job as a host or hostess? If you could put a percentage of importance on it, what would it be?
As a woman? Appearance absolutely factors into my job. Do I think it should? No, but I’m not ignorant to how the world works. Attire is important, too. Knowing how to dress yourself and presenting yourself appropriately as an adult isn’t restricted to esports. I don’t think everyone needs to be in a suit and tie, but dressing sharply whether it’s formal, business casual or casual is a reflection of how seriously you take whatever opportunity is being presented to you. It’s hard to put a percentage of importance on appearance, so I’d say roughly 40-50%?
What inspired you to get into a hosting role? Did you delve into anything else relating to your field before you arrived at your destination, like casting, playing competitively yourself, etc.?
I stepped into hosting through a recommendation. I originally founded and ran an esports and gaming newsletter called The Daily Walkthrough, so my first foray into the industry was as a journalist. I did minor casting with BroadcastDotGG for Tier 3 Overwatch and eventually moved on to Call of Duty. I’m now freelance and looking forward to expanding my experiences with other games.
Following up on that, it feels like most roles in esports have a large variety of ways to receive feedback - be it commentating, playing, coaching, and so on. It feels a little harder and less “linear” to improve your craft as a hostess. What methods do you utilize to improve outside of your on-air time? Is it something that comes naturally or do you have your own grind established?
Improvement is such a critical part of hosting because hosting can devolve into rinse and repeat performances if you let it. Hosting is easy to learn and hard to master. You have to be willing to spend the time outside of work to get better. I put a lot of time into getting to know the players, coaches and fans so I could enrich the desk experience. Players and coaches gave me insight to share that was otherwise unobtainable to fans, and those same fans gave me insight into what they are most interested in hearing about. Review your VODs, ask your coworkers and colleagues for input and check in with your boss every now and again. Make sure the outside perspectives and constructive criticism help you to strengthen your own personal style, not mold you into someone generic.
What are the favorite titles you’ve worked events for, and your favorite game in general?
My favorite title I’ve worked for is Call of Duty! My favorite game is Final Fantasy 11 (I love me that MMORPG grind). Really though, my favorite esport to watch is CS:GO. I had the pleasure of attending the ELEAGUE Major: Boston in 2018; watching the finals between Cloud9 and FaZe Clan was a real treat.
What did you do or maybe even aspire to before your foray into esports broadcasting?
The idea of working in the gaming industry was always a pipe dream of mine, I just didn’t think I had any skill sets or talents that would allow me to enter the industry. I worked in political journalism after college. I didn’t really have an aspiration and I fell into the job through a random opportunity I took when I was graduating and realized I wanted nothing to do with my major (finance) or any of its career paths. I didn’t love it enough to survive it, suffice to say.
Bringing the focus back to “COVID craziness”, are there any side hustles you work on while we all longingly yearn for live events to come back safely? You have your Twitch stream, is that your primary focus outside of broadcasting?
Ha! I love my stream and the support I receive is incredible. It is my primary focus outside of broadcasting, but I do written work for Call of Duty League as well!
We are in a position where it’s quite difficult for any but heavily established individuals in your field to land gigs. Do you have any suggestions on how those who aspire to walk in your footsteps should hone their skills in the meantime?
It’s all about networking. Don’t be afraid to send someone a DM, email or message. The worst thing they’ll say is “no” and even if they do, you are now on their radar. Please be authentic, though; folks can sniff out ladder climbers a mile away. For better or for worse, recommendations from established talent go a LONG way.
Thank you again for taking your time out to answer this interview. The floor is yours for any final things you’d like to say, shoutouts, etc.
Thank you for having me, the pleasure is all mine! If anyone ever has questions for me please don’t hesitate to DM me or swing by my stream! Stay safe, stay healthy and wear a mask :)
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Feature image courtesy: MLG