Old School Content Creation
This might be way too long, but I hope that someone finds some inspiration to start creating content in the old school space. I'm not an expert in the area but I dabbled in a lot these last two years, and I just want to share my ideas.
The lazy years without contributingThis is another blog post I never suspected that I would write. I have been playing old school since 2012 and for the first 8 years I was a tournament player and did no content creation or community building whatsoever. Sometimes I even was so lazy I didn't even take a deck picture. I was also oblivious to what was going on around me. I didn't know what the Winter or Summer Derby was, I had played several n00bcon and basically ignored learning to know the players unless they initiated contact with me. I remember n00bcon 2019 when I was paired in the 7th round and people were talking about Mano and I had no idea who that was. In my cabin in the woods adventure, I talked to Mari, and he said we played each other during n00bcon, I had no idea about that.
Getting active in content creation
Now when the corona struck, I started playing online and playing new people every day, I also wanted to get into creating some content. The reason I started this blog was two-fold a) I wanted to share my deck pics with the world and b) I wanted to write more in English. Looking back at the deck pics from the beginning of this blog they were HORRIBLE, but now I've found a format that works. I also was asked by fellow team member Seb to join his new podcast Monster of the Week. Great, even more content and I get to practice talking English as well. I also try to join in on commentating OS matches and tournaments whenever I can, and now I'm starting to learn how to stream my own content.
Other benefits from content creation
What I found is that everything I learned the last two years I also have use for in other areas. I'm more confident in talking English (I work at a workplace where it's 100% Swedish even though I'm working in IT), I know a lot more about sound and audio recording, I have learned several new software, I've gotten to talk to and learn to know so many people with different skillsets that can be mutually beneficial.
Ideas of what content to create
Below are some of the different avenues to take with creating content. Remember content doesn't have to require some massive investment in tech, it's better to start doing something rather than theory crafting grandeur plans that never will be finished.
1. Start a blog
To start a blog is easy and there are several free platforms like Blogger and Wordpress. Blogs are a perfect way to share pictures and texts, but it can be time consuming if you want to be active. Want to write an article but don't want to start a blog of your own? Ask some of the other bloggers if you can write a guest post! (I did two guest articles before starting my own blog).
2. Start a podcast
This might seem intimidating but creating a podcast is a lot easier than you might expect. Get a friend, go into a free Whereby room (so you hear each other) and have both record your own microphone sound with the free software Audacity. Then you just put together the two audio files in Audacity and line them up and upload the .mp3 file to Google Drive and share the link. Wow, you are now almost the producer of ATC. There are of course million other things you could do but these are the basics you could do. I will say though that getting a decent microphone and not in-ears that are constantly scratching your beard will make a HUGE difference. Maybe this is all too much for you, reach out to podcasts and ask if you can be a guest (if you have something interesting to share).
3. Start streaming
This is something I started three days ago so I'm very new to this area :) I would recommend getting the free software OBS and then aim to send your stream to Twitch or YouTube. OBS also has the possibility to just do recordings or do both recordings and streaming at the same time. Look up some "getting" started clips on YouTube for OBS and you should be good to go. You can just stream yourself playing in a Whereby room or Tolaria, get together with someone else and comment on a match in a Whereby room. Try to focus a lot on getting the audio levels correct, good audio can compensate bad video, but good video can never compensate for bad audio. If you don't want to start your own stream talk to other streamers and ask if you can join in on their stream as a commentary or a player.
4. Arrange tournaments or gatherings
This is the most fundamental part of old school magic. Don't try to aim high and make a big tournament, maybe start by asking another tournament organizer if you can help them out. Learning from other organizers can give you some great advice and avoid some headaches you otherwise might have. Not into the IRL stuff? There are alternatives, arrange a tournament or league on Tolaria! If you are more a gathering than tournament person maybe start arranging regular local meetups, talk to bar owners and ask if you can use their space for Magic gathering (explain to them what you are all about). If you don't choose the busiest hours bars tend to like OS players as they often are calm and spend money on both beer and food. Our pre-covid regular meetups at a bar in Gothenburg was basically formed by a forum post by GaJoL stating "we have started a league now" and followed by a time and a place.
5. Start taking and posting good deck pictures
This is something everyone can do. When you are going to take a deck picture put aside 5-10 mins of your life and arrange the main deck in a 6x10 or 5x12 pattern with the cards fully visible and then the sideboard clearly distinguished to the side. Take the picture in 16x9 (this is useful for streamers and on Tolaria), get good lighting (natural light is good), try to get an angle where you don't have glare (all cards should be visible). I have been so guilty of not following this but looking back now at deck lists from 10 years ago where you don't know what cards are in the main deck and what cards are in the sideboard. Adding that some cards are not visible due to glare just makes me sad.
|This picture by Fluffy is an example of a good deck picture.|
6. Alter cards that tournament organizers can use as prize support or raffle cards
Altering cards to use as prizes are liked by a lot of people but some people will never appreciate them. Don't let this bring you down, get a set of pens (I got a cheap set of Lumocolors permanent from Amazon) and start altering cheap or blank cards. The point is not being a good professional artist but more do something for others to enjoy. When choosing cards to use try to go for cards that are played so they will show up in deck pictures. Examples of good cheap cards are Disenchant, Red Elemental Blast, Blue Elemental Blast, Terror, Scavenger Folk, Crumble and Divine Offering.
7. Be a helpful guide by sharing your knowledge and answer questions
Yes, I consider this content. Maybe you are good at tweaking and brewing decks, go out there and post about this and that you want to help with deck ideas (it might be a good idea to say if you are more inclined to working with spice or spike decks). Maybe you are good at the rules and want to help newer players out. When answering rules questions, don't just answer yes or no, try to explain WHY a rule is a certain way. Also avoid answering rules question you are uncertain about, you don't want to be that guy that answered a question and a year later someone uses that knowledge, and they might lose an important match because of that.
8. Create your own format
Remember that old school started with just a couple of guys in Gothenburg playing at a pub and now it has gone worldwide. It's hard to create formats but some have been successful lately (like X-pts). Get active on Facebook or Discord and get people to test with you, initially try to stick to your idea and don't listen to every single piece of input. After play testing listen to input from testers and change accordingly. If your format doesn't work out don't try to keep it alive just for the sake of it, try something else out instead. If you want to run tournaments Tolaria is a great way to run them for free online.
Links to different software mentioned
Some small concluding general pointers
- Don't try to satisfy everyone with your content. A big mistake many people do is trying to please everyone and then your content will most likely be bland.
- Be your own creator, you can take inspiration from other content creators but don't try to copy their concept. It most likely won't be successful and it can be really douchy to basically steal someone else's idea.
- Don't listen to people trying to make content creation sound harder than it is. There is so much gatekeeping in content creation. It's not the technical skill that makes great content, it's the passion and good ideas that makes great content. Technical skill is a help, but only technical skill won't take you far.
- Don't listen to those few people that whine, whine, and whine about everything. They tell you to do this, and that and try to bring you down. Most of these people have never contributed anything themselves, stay away from them.
- Try to inspire others to create their own content and take inspiration from other creators. Try not to criticize other content creators content (but give advice and ask questions).
- Don't create content for likes, follows and subscribes. If you focus on the content you like to see and do it good you will get the likes and follows. Don't get involved in some "follow for follow" or "I like your stuff if you like my stuff" that some creators do.