Every Friday, I record myself talking to no one while I run around aimlessly in different worlds, in hopes that at least one person will enjoy the result.
With my microphone balancing on a stack of old DVDs on the small TV table in front of me, captured card ready, headset on, controller in hand, and game loaded, I push record.
I make gaming videos and publish them to my channel “Ayanna.” I just chose to give it my name, unspecific to anything, wanting it to represent me in a simple way.
If unfamiliar with the concept of gaming videos: “men screaming” or “completely pointless” are ideas that may come to mind. You might have heard of PewDiePie, or have seen the words “YouTube Gaming” online once or twice. These types of videos have created a massive community of players, commentators and watchers.
Watching other people play games has been a part of my daily routine for about three years. Video games are expensive, and because it’s impossible for me to give up $60 every time a new game is released, being able to watch someone else play is the next best option.
I’ve grown attached to the people I watch. It’s like playing with a friend: sometimes becoming more about the experience than the game itself. Even though I’ve grown to love many channels, xChaseMoney2, DashieGames, TheG
This is the reason I decided to start my own channel. There are black men that make videos, and there are women. But typically, black women are not thought of in the gaming community, something I would like to change.
After waiting months, terrified to start, I published my first video last fall. Sure, recording yourself playing video games doesn’t sound like it requires any effort. At first glance, it’s essentially sitting in front of a camera, saying a few things and pushing buttons. But if broken down, there is so much that goes into it.
Getting started is a huge step. Money and the right equipment are required, especially because good quality is expected from the audience. First, a system for the games is required. Obviously, game play has to be recorded, and for this I use a capture card. No microphone? Forget it. Quality and clear sound are expected if commentating is the way you’re going. I choose to be present in the videos, and for this a camera and a well-lit background are needed. Audio, video and editing programs are essential to creating the actual videos.
Besides the technical elements, the person playing the game can determine someone’s decision to continue to watch. It can be difficult not to think about every little word I say, the gestures or faces I make. Whether I might offend or annoy someone. Can I make them laugh?
Personally, details like hair and makeup are important, a good outfit is vital. Generally, these are not elements looked for when someone clicks on a gaming video. But I want to be seen in a certain way, for people to understand I care about style and the clothes I wear.
When creating videos, my goal is to focus on quality, from filming to making thumbnails, to writing the video description on YouTube. The editing process takes time, but the results are worth it. Right now, the numbers don’t matter. It would be nice if the views and subscriber count were rapidly increasing, but that shouldn’t be the purpose.
Filming days have become the highlights of every week. As soon as I leave my last class for the week, I get so excited knowing what’s coming the next day. Figuring out how much time I have to film, where I should stop filming, how much footage I need to make an interesting video are what I love about the process. The videos are representations of me and are all made according to my own decisions. I control what happens.
I’m still trying to become comfortable with the process, trying not to focus so much on how I act and what I say but instead just the enjoyment. Continuing on, I just hope to build an audience who knows who I am and what I’m about, maybe bring some representation to the community.
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