Planet Coaster quite literally has changed my life in the most unexpected way...
So I have finally found something in my life that I want to do every single day, and make a living from. I have struggled to find the right thing that gives me satisfaction and while it's hard work its also very rewarding. It's a new field that many aren't familiar with or really know too much about or dismiss as something for children. I may be coming into this a little older than the mean/medium of others doing this but I am good at it, really good at it actually.
There are a few things that I have always wanted to do:
- Create Music
- Create something Visually (Digital art/Graphics/Video/Film)
- Entertain people (Singer/DJ/Comedian)
- Build a community of other people that enjoy the content that I create.
I never really wanted to be front and center on a camera, I have had issues with that ever since high school when I was told "Casey, we feel you are better behind the camera then in front of it". Going through puberty and adolescence and struggling with my own identity (am I a homo and I not a homo am I maybe a homo?! I think I'm a homo...I am a homo.).
I enjoyed playing video games but never thought I would be good enough to really show off my skills. I remember watching some documentaries of these people playing the classic video games and going to the first sort of "e-sports" competitions back in the day and seeing movies like Hackers and The Wizard and thinking to myself, I enjoy games but I will never be that good...
Flash forward to my late teen years... I decided what would be a good fit for me would be to produce music and write music for films and video games. Again, being behind the camera/behind the scenes but still creating.
I put out 4 solo instrumental albums myself on my own label before I was 20 years old. I had the album available in stores like Tower Records, Best Buy, Circuit City, Media Play and more... I had songs from those albums featured on TV shows like MTV's Undressed and The Osborne's.
I then became more comfortable with my voice and singing so I partnered with my collaboration partner Caesar for the better part of a decade writing and recording as the electronic pop/rock duo Wideband Network. We released 3 albums and countless singles all over the world. Our music was in movies, tv, video games and more. We had vinyl records, compact discs, digital downloads. I created the artwork (with the exception of our first single and first album), i created and maintained our website and the 100+ redesigns (i was never happy and liked to change it up, often.).
I also worked with a small video game team across the world creating sound effects for a Quake 2 mod... we were featured in a magazine and everything and I was only 16! Sadly that project never made it to release, but It was an incredible experience.
I remember my next interaction or kick in the gut that brought back the memory of "that statement" from High School when I was told I was better behind the camera than in front of it... Myself and my writing partner went to a Record label A&R conference in Chicago IL, we submitted our music to many different labels, all of them liked the music we were creating, however did not really like or get my image or feel like I would be marketable . I was overweight for a "rockstar", bald(ing) and gay! How do they sell that to the boy band market that was all the rage in the early 2000's?!
This brought me back behind the camera (where apparently I belonged), I worked tirelessly and endlessly on writing and recording music for short films, my own projects, vocal sample packs, producing and writing for others etc..etc..
There was this new thing on the horizon that I was reading about and seeing more and more people talk about... Streaming.
What is streaming? How does it work? I needed to learn about it... could I stream with just a mic? I don't mind just talking on a stream but will it affect who is watching me if they don't see me and connect with me and what I look like, after all, I am better behind the camera right?!
I started to learn more and more about this medium and how it works and what is needed and how to do it the right way. Educating myself on new tech has always been an interest of mine so regardless, if anything, I will obtain more knowledge about something I didn't know much about.
I then discovered a game coming out from the creators of one of my favorite games of all time... Roller Coaster Tycoon 3. A new title called Planet Coaster. This has become quite literally a life changing game past 2 years of my life and has changed everything.
I knew when I first saw the trailer this was going to be something different, but I had no idea it would change my life.....
2016, I began playing Planet Coaster, a lot. I was active in almost every social media platform available becoming (unknown to me at the time) something known as an "influencer". Which is essentially someone that is enthusiastic about a product or service and promotes the companies brand without really knowing they are promoting it but also helping others and answering questions etc... I was becoming quite the Planet Coaster fanboy.
I saw a post on the official forums for the game asking if there was anyone in the United States interested in becoming a brand ambassador and if they would like to attend PAX East in Boston. I thought, hey... I know a lot about this game and company, I might as well give it a shot and see what happens.
I got an email from them, I believe the same day, they were extremely enthusiastic and wanted to set up a call, so we did and I spoke to community managers Bo and Zac on the phone for the first time. The call started with them essentially saying how happy they were to see my name come across, and how amazing I am and how much they appreciated my efforts. I thought this may have been smoke or a script that they tell everyone, but something about their pure happiness felt that it was actually genuine. I mean, who me?! I was just a guy that loves their game and loves helping the community with questions or help about the game.
We chatted for a good 15 minutes or so and they asked about me and got to know me a bit more personally than the guy on social media. They concluded the call and I thought well that went well but I am sure there are 100's of more qualified applicants.
Hours later... I received the invite to become the first official U.S. Planet Coaster ambassador. I was beyond words and I think I may have even cried a little bit because someone believed in my abilities and supported my efforts and were thankful for what I was doing.
But in sets the fear and social anxiety I have... remember, I am better behind the camera!!! I am going to be at this massive convention in a city I've never been with people I only met on a 15 minute phone call... It was time to just let go of my fear and do it and if anything learn and enjoy the experience.
I went to PAX East and not only was the experience incredible as an ambassador (more on this later!) but the experience I had watching streamers in real life do their thing... they weren't "nerds", they weren't "super models" they were a new kind of "rock-star".... I began to think, hey wait... I could be a new kind of rock-star.... I didn't need to have perfect abdominal's or hair or perfect teeth or a sculpted jawline to do this... I could be me.... but again, I am still better behind the camera.... so I was conflicted.
But I came home from PAX East and decided... I wanted to try it at least and see how it goes. I began streaming to sometimes 0 viewers, but often times at least a couple people... I didn't have a green screen or fancy lighting or a fancy webcam, i was using a amazon prime 19.99 webcam (still use it, but it's my music overhead camera and/or cat camera!). My first streams were clunky and simply a mess. I had too many overlays, I was streaming to multiple platforms at once and overall just didn't know what I was doing. But that changed over time..
I was was streaming for a few months and even had a few regulars that began tuning in to every stream (Winterblackwulf, Alt075, tsumugi, ecurtisxx, itssuzii2 and many more) which was amazing. I set up a "Gamewisp" which was essentially a tool available for those streamers on Twitch that weren't partners but could still offer partner like benefits/rewards and start monetizing their streams. I wasn't expecting anyone to pay me for doing what I was actually doing something I enjoyed. But they began supporting me with subscriptions, and donations. I couldn't believe it. I then had people come in and tell me that I am one of the best streamers they have seen and continue to come to my channel to this day...
I was then asked to be on the Front Page of Twitch with Planet Coaster... I was beside myself. This was like being on the front page of the newspaper... I was going to be in front of thousands of viewers, was I ready? was I good enough? what if no one watches or stays? What if I am just bad at the game?
The response was overwhelming. I was then asked to be on the front page again. I was then asked to become a Twitch Affiliate (a step closer to partner), I was then invited to PAX West with Frontier, then asked to come and not only be an ambassador for Planet Coaster but also to be a special guest DJ for their first ever Frontier Expo in London. Months later I was invited to Los Angeles for the biggest game show in North America... E3 as a Frontier Ambassador and helping launch their latest game Jurassic World Evolution.
Quick back history about my current/past "Career": I have worked in customer service, I spent 10 years in Retail and the past 6 in a Corporate office also in a customer service role.
I have determined I was born to do this. This is the career I wan't, this is what I want to wake up and do everyday. I was made to be a content creator, streamer, gamer, gaymer, musician, dj, comedian, confidant, advisor, educator and many other things all at once all through 1 format... Streaming.
I am determined to make content creation/streaming a full time career. With the ups and downs and all of the things that come along with it. This format is a perfect way for me to share my talents, passion and to be part of a community as well as create my own community and help offer advice and positivity to the world that so desperately needs it.
tl;dr - My goal is to become a full time content creator/streamer. Planet Coaster changed my life.