She makes you laugh, she makes you cringe and she’s working her ass off to make South African esports better. At the moment you can catch her three times a week hosting the MettleState Samsung Galaxy CS:GO Championship. We are, of course, talking about Sam Wright from Tech Girl. We’re pretty sure that’s her legal full name.
Today, on this little piece of the internet we like to call home, we chat to Sam Wright from Tech Girl about the goings on behind the scenes at MettleState and how they achieve that world class production the local esports scene is always hunting.
But first, did you know that Sam Wright from Tech Girl (GLHF: Okay, we’ll stop now.) plays games as Pink Screwdriver? Now we know what you’re thinking: ‘That’s a really funny dig at Black Hammer’.
Oh, you weren’t thinking that? That’s funny, neither were we when Sam was trying to convince us it wasn’t a reference to something else entirely.
“May have realised after we came up with the nick.”
Anyway, let’s get back to the matter at hand. What goes on behind the scenes at MettleState before that slick broadcast appears on our screens.
“A million dry runs and sound checks!
Seriously we make sure we’ve done at least three rehearsals before we go live. Mainly just throws to one another and a quick discussion of what the potential questions could be leading into the games. So not fully rehearsed but enough that we know when we’ll need to hand over to casters and what direction we want to take the introduction in.
My final personal preparation is a bit of a weird one. I like Antagonist to play me a line or just say a line from the best song the world has ever heard. Seriously, go to YouTube and look up A SONG ABOUT BIRDS. I’m superstitious and because we did it the first time we broadcast I feel like it has to happen every time. Pretty sure Antagonist thinks I’m mad. He’s like my security blanket now basically.”
Save your fingers the effort of typing those fifteen letters and just click here to take a listen to the…ah…best song in the world? Yeahhh. Whatever gets the job done, right?
So that’s Sam’s pre-game ritual, but what are the rest of the MettleStaters up to before going live?
“Imagine putting a bunch of crazy Jack Russells in a small confined space and then hanging some biltong from the roof… kidding.”
No need, once again we have you covered. Well, almost. This is the best we could do.
“Usually it is pretty chilled. We all try get there about two hours before. Stand outside and give GeeMax a hard time about his wardrobe (he is really the coolest of us all so it is important for us to never let him know that), make some coffee, discuss the teams playing and banter a bit. I do makeup and hair. Some more banter.
Once we walk into the actual studio and the forging light goes on we get serious though. Then the producer is god and we all just get into our zone. It helps.”
Having a god to guide you is a strategy that’s been used by humanity for thousands of years, so makes sense that it works when trying to produce an esports show.
Jokes aside, the good people over at MettleState do put on a hell of a show, so we should pay attention to how they operate and learn from them. The lesson to take from this is: When it’s show time, stop messing around and listen to your producer. Or that producers are gods.
Alright, we know what goes on before the show. We know Sam is crazy. And we know that we should make fun of cool people so they keep hanging out with us. What we don’t know is what happens in the MettleState studio when we’re all watching the CS:GO action.
“There’s this rad chill space at Mettlestate where we all go hang out when the game is on so we aren’t in the studio.
So usually we just hang out there, watch the game, Deviant writes an essay of notes on what he is watching. Rora1 hides my phone in the fridge. And we watch the game. Take notes, have a chat about the line of questioning we want to take when we’re back on. Sometimes, because the doors to studio are glass we go stand at them and troll casters. You know, casual.”
So forget about the not messing around once the show starts lesson. Maybe the real lesson is to take the work seriously, but don’t take yourselves too seriously?
“Seriously though (GLHF: Ah, here’s the real serious part.) we usually watch as much as possible and chat amongst ourselves to make sure we’re seeing the same talking points. Sometimes the social team will give us insight into the Twitch chat if they think it is relevant. Also eat. Because by 7:30 I’m starving.”
Another lesson: Eat food. Otherwise you starve to death. Most people learn that at a young age, but it’s an important one, so no harm in getting a reminder every now and then.
For a group of people that only came together a few months ago, the MettleStaters seem more like a family than a bunch of co-workers. Barry ‘Anthrax’ Louzada is obviously the head of the family, the Don, the Godfather, el hefe, but we’ll stop there and not insult everyone else at MettleState by trying to compare them to a family member.
Obviously the group all share a love of esports and are passionate about growing the scene in South Africa. But what else has forged (GLHF: See what we did there? Forged. The work in the forge. Classic GLHF.) them into this tight-knit family unit?
“Hahaha. I think when you spend that much time in each other’s hair it is bound to happen. It isn’t only the people in studio each stream. There are many people behind the scenes that are working so damn hard as well.
It does help for the stream to have a group that works well together and all wants to reach the same goal because it means we all help one another and support each other. When one of us messes up someone else is there to help move the stream along or support.
Chatting to some of the overseas guys it is a similar vibe on big broadcasts. You’re all there to put on the best show possible and tell the story of the players (the actual stars of all of this). If you’re all working towards that you’re united in the mission.”
And that’s how we know the boys and girls and el hefe Anthrax over at MettleState are on the right track: They’re putting the players first. If they ever forget, we have no doubt Sam will set them straight.
In the coming weeks we’ll bring you a couple more articles delving into the mind of Sam Wright from Tech Girl, but we won’t dig too deep, because who knows what craziness we might uncover.
*Don’t forget to take out part letting people know Geemax is cool.