This week is a special one! Jess is a phenomenal caster and freelancer in the Esports and gaming world. Recently she had the honor of presenting at the Call of Duty Cold War global launch!

We dive into her experience leading up to this point, from working at Media companies that just didn't get it, to her secrets around content creation that goes against the normal dialogue of how to be successful.

In addition to this, we formed a connection over our common relationship with drugs and alcohol and how she overcame her struggle while building the career most dream of!

Jess Socials:

Twitter: https://twitter.com/JessBrohard
Twitch: https://twitch.tv/Jess
Podcast: HappiHour.io

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Transcript

Kyle Warren:

Good morning, and welcome to the Boonafide Experience Podcast. I am your host Kyle, as many of you call me buena, or if you follow me on social media, it's at bonafide gaming. Y'all, I hope you've had a fantastic week. Welcome to Friday. Welcome to episode number 39 of the show. Today I have for you, Jesper Horton. She is an Esports caster, freelance content creator, as well as her own podcast show host on mental health. She is mostly known for her work in the CDL and the Call of Duty League, as well as casting Dota events. And she also shares her valuable insights of working for media companies in the beginning, and shares her tips, tricks and secrets of how she got where she is, and what she does to consider to still continue to make herself better. If you're also looking for a little bit of extra inspiration, we connected on another another level with our with our history with addiction and alcoholism. So she not only built this career in a very hard to get industry, but also battled with some of the worst demons that a lot of people know very well today. So if you want to hear some great nuggets of wisdom, if you're ready to get started, I'm not going to stop you. Let's go ahead and jump right in. Good afternoon, Jess. How are you today?

Jess Brohard:

I'm doing great. Thank you so much for asking me to be here.

Kyle Warren:

Absolutely. What are you up to this Sunday, besides this podcast

Jess Brohard:

Playing Skyrim you interrupted a very busy day of just literally playing Skyrim reinstalled it the other day and have put like, probably 15 hours into it over the last like two or three days.

Kyle Warren:

I'm terribly sorry. But I really appreciate the the level of commitment that you have to do this. So I really I thank you so much for sacrificing your time

Jess Brohard:

such a sacrifice, it['s okay, hahaha

Kyle Warren:

Fantastic. Well, thank you for thanks again. Thank you so much for coming on. It's a pleasure to have you here. So um, you know, this is a this is an Esports podcast for we I gather people on from all over the industry to share like you their story, their experience, who they are, how they've gotten here, you know, and kind of what they're where they're going, you know, so kind of tell the audience a little about Who are you?

Jess Brohard:

Yeah so, my name is Jess as a profession. I'm an Esports event host. I've been doing that for a while now. I got started way back in Yeah, I'll do this little kind of elevator pitch of like how I started. So I started back in like 2011, very small scale, I wanted to get into it. So I started a YouTube channel where I kind of like, taught myself how to host sort of freelanced around for a couple years before I had what I consider to be my big break, which was when I got a job offer to be curses of video hosts. So I did that for just over a year from about March 2013. through June 2014. I was working full time for curse hosting videos. And then while I was at curse is when I discovered like eSports and live event stuff. And that was kind of where my passion went at that time. So I transitioned got myself an agent transitioned to doing live stuff, starting with some Dota stuff and that kind of branch off from there worked my way up. Most recently I've been hosting for Call of Duty so for two years, I was signed on with the Call of Duty World League to be there. I think my job title was technically sideline correspondent, which meant that I did a ton of different things. The primary thing I did was the post match interviews up on the stage so that's another thing you call me was the stage host but I think Activision Blizzard called me a Sideline Correspondant or something like that. I also did like open bracket coverage and then coming into this season after they are this last season, I guess that is over now, when they franchised into the CDL for the Modern Warfare season, I was not brought back on in my same capacity but I still have had the fantastic opportunity to do a lot of freelancing for Activision Blizzard like hosting the Black Ops Cold War multiplayer reveal, hosting numerous of the Call of Duty Challenger League events. Excuse me, which of course the CDL Challengers league is the amateur called you to seen officially supported by Activision Blizzard, and then other little bits and bobs here in there. That's awesome.

Kyle Warren:

I mean, it's that's, that's quite a I mean, that's quite a history. So I'd love to get into that, you know.

Jess Brohard:

Yeah, sure.

Kyle Warren:

So you mentioned I mean, so you mentioned 2011 that one, I want to wind the clocks back even further, you know, growing up, like when it came to when it came to gaming, like what was the first game that like really got you, like, immersed?

Jess Brohard:

Oooo, there are many that I can think of the standout throughout my life. Um, because let's see, like one of my why remember, one of the first really awesome gaming experiences I had was when my sister and I got our Nintendo 64 and just like Super Mario 64 I just remember that scanning out is like one of my favorite games of all time. Um, some of them not that game just captivated me. And then later on when I got to like college is when I really started PC gaming. Cuz I was more of like, I'm kind of planning thing and then when I got to college is more more gotten to competitive gaming as well as PC gaming so I really that's kind of my first call of duty experience was Modern Warfare two while I was in college I did play on the Xbox but everything else I played on PC, and TF two and Left for Dead also, because I've always been a pretty big valve fan, so TF 2 and left for dead were two that like really gave me that bug for like competitive gaming and like PC gaming as well.

Kyle Warren:

That's awesome. So I feel like I was the only child on the planet, or at least I felt that way who never owned it in 64 I never I had the Super Nintendo that was actually my first console.

Jess Brohard:

Skip the Super Nintendo. So got it.

Kyle Warren:

See. Yeah, I went from SNES to then I went to GameCube you know, that was

Jess Brohard:

Ohh

Kyle Warren:

Yep, SNES, GameCube, then Xbox,

Jess Brohard:

You did the exact opposite cuz I was NES and 64 we skipped the SNES and the GameCube I had a Gamecube later, like in college, I ended up getting a Gamecube but yeah, it didn't have one when the first came out. It's a great console! I really regret skipping it. It's a fantastic console.

Kyle Warren:

I was literally This is one of the most underrated consoles, I mean, even from design to the game, so yeah, cuz that

Jess Brohard:

there was a handle on it!!

Kyle Warren:

And they made the small discs like that's cool. Yes.

Jess Brohard:

Yeah!

Kyle Warren:

That's awesome. Because like I remember as a kid I always went over to my buddy's house to play N64 like the not only play Super Mario 64 but also Golden Eye You know, like that was like

Jess Brohard:

Yep,

Kyle Warren:

Classic, you know, a classic, classic classic. No, that's really cool. Um, so you mentioned you know, you like Modern Warfare was your first game was that that and you mentioned competitive play? Did you compete in GB?

Jess Brohard:

No, no, I wasn't like competitive like so it was while I was in college around the same time that I was playing like Modern Warfare 2 was around the same time I was actually getting involved with the PMS clan and the Frag Dolls, actually.

Kyle Warren:

I remember them I back in Halo two Yeah, yeah. Okay. Yeah

Jess Brohard:

So for me it was more of the like women and gaming aspect than the competitive gaming aspect. You know, I was interested in competitive gaming, but I was no good myself. I wasn't interested in actually competing myself. I just I always like to go to you know, I'm from Columbus, Ohio. So there was always an MLG Columbus. And especially because I think at the time I was going to Ohio State and then so the

Kyle Warren:

Got it? Yeah, I mean, I remember it like I convention center is not far at all from from where Ohio State University is. So it always go to the MLG Columbus like watch other people competing and and when I was involved with the frag dolls, same thing it was by the time I was sort of like trying out to become a Frag Dol . They were no longer because th y start when they started back n like 2004, whenever they st rted, they were competi g on like Rainbow Six, and I t ink Halo and a couple other t tles. By the time I got involve with them, they were no longer ike competitive they're more ki don't. So my like little history of game is like, I was like, I d of a marketing team for Ubi oft. had a love for these games. But I never was really immersed in the community. And like, All I knew is like I remember hearing about PMS. And like that was

Jess Brohard:

Okay

Kyle Warren:

That was one of the in Halo that was dominant, because like, you know, to your like to the women in gaming aspect, like is it we're just now getting to the point where it's more inclusive today. But like, especially back then it was just like, Whoa,

Unknown:

yeah, well, these days, the nice thing is these days, you don't like back then the reason I gravitated so strongly toward other female gamers is because you kind of had to put the qualifier on a female gamer these days, like gaming is so ungendered. I mean, it should have been back then as well. But just because there were so many fewer women in games, there were so many fewer, it seems like girls and women that played video games that like now it's like totally not a big deal. Like a lot of women play video games, a lot of girls play video games, it's just like, not a big deal anymore. But back then it was like, it's, you know, you stood out more if you were a female gamer.

Kyle Warren:

Exactly. Well, I mean, so let me ask you this, like as as a you know, as a woman, do you think that just as many women played back then and they were just kind of to like, I don't wanna say scare, but like, do like shy to admit that just because of the stigma?

Jess Brohard:

That's a really good question. I wonder about that a lot. I think it's a couple different things. I think that there weren't, I think there weren't quite as many. I think that I think that to your point, there were definitely a lot of women, I'm sure who were like in the closet. Just because like it like well like to give an example. I remember when I was a child and I would play like, I remember going to one of my friend's birthday parties. And we were like, it was her 10th birthday party. We were in fifth grade. And we were all playing Mario Kart and Mario Party on the 64. And we just had a blast. And then the next year, we got to middle school. And all of a sudden, like all these girls that I was like, I'm like I was at your I was at your birthday party playing video games with you that you wanted to do for your birthday. And now you're acting like you've never touched a game in your life and you're acting like I'm the weird one for liking video games and anime and Sailor Moon and like, it was just so bizarre to me. And that I really like I don't know if it was that particular group of friends that I was with. I thought like, oh boys won't like me if I play video games, or I honestly don't even know what it was. But I think it was there was a lot more of like a stigma I think was less kind of acceptable for because, you know, it was it was more like overdue games or voice thing. And then so I think that, you know, there probably were fewer fewer female gamers and those who were were like a little less out about it, but

Kyle Warren:

yeah, yeah, I've always wondered that, you know, cuz it's just like I see so many now, you know, like, I see so many artists and especially because i and i also credit that like we didn't have the help of the internet back then. Yeah, we didn't have the power of the internet, we didn't really know. And I mean, with me the one of the reasons why Halo two was so special to me was because like, that was the first because I was a console gamer up literally up until like, two years ago. And it's like, that was the first time that this literally brought people from all over the world together. Although it wasn't video, although we weren't really like hanging out on these, like we do on Twitter, but like, it was just such a monumental thing like, wow, there's other people like me. Yeah, yeah. Because it was the same thing in high school. Like I even as a guy, like, I never really felt part of the in crowd because it was like, I wasn't a jock. You know, I wasn't I wasn't an athlete. I wasn't, you know, like, in choir, I was an in band. Like, there was not really a whole lot of things that I was a part of, and like, I just wanted to talk about the dope, double killer, triple kill that I got on Halo. I never felt like, I could really even talk about that.

Jess Brohard:

Yeah. And then you find the internet and you're like, Oh my gosh, all these people who care what I you know what I have to say, when I'm when I'm going off getting all excited about this achievement that I got, or this part that I eat or whatever, I legitimately care,

Kyle Warren:

right? People don't look down on it, they actually are intrigued

Jess Brohard:

not liike oh.. that's how you spend your time because they're doing the same thing.

Kyle Warren:

Right. And I think even then, to show the just the progress that we've made is like, you know, even for for guys back then, you know, it was just, you know, video games were for basement dwellers, you know, and you never did anything with your life. And it was like there was just this like, on top of everything that was just such a and that's still a conversation today, unfortunately,

Jess Brohard:

yeah, it's getting like I love that is one thing I love is that video games are getting way more like mainstream, they are mainstream now. They just are you know, it's not that they're getting mainstream. They just are mainstream. Celebrities play them like they're, they're in pop culture. We've had several several video game movies or movies about video games. So that stigma is if the like unwashed smelly gamers kind of kina being taken away. Sometimes you

Kyle Warren:

still got to remind gamers to shower. Yes.

Unknown:

Which is a people thing and not a gamer thing. I would like to think that you have those same people take away the games and they would still be like, not bathing, like not know how to talk to people, you know, gaming. It's just like, like, like we're talking about like alcoholism and stuff like that. I don't think the gaming is the issue. I think it's the person is the issue. They just happen to pick gaming as their hobby.

Kyle Warren:

Exactly. Yeah. Yeah. And some people just choose to like live it a little bit more extreme than others. Yeah. Yeah. Absolutely. So I mean, you know, you mentioned you mentioned alcoholism, like, like, I want to I want to touch on the subject. So, you know, how long have you like, for those who don't know, you know, you are like you are so like you're a member of well, we won't get into that, but like you are sober. You know, how long have you been sober? What is your journey been like through that?

Jess Brohard:

Yeah, for sure. So I stopped drinking. So October 22 2018 was my sobriety date. So I'm over two years sober now. Feels very, very good. First year was first year was not easy. Second year got much easier as I'm into my third year now. It's like, things are mostly a breeze. Um, but yeah, it was. There's, there's so much to say. So I do I do use the 12 step program. Personally, it's not for everybody, but it works for me. And um, you know, I think that I my drinking was a problem for a very long time before I admitted it as with every alcoholic, you know, and the thing with alcoholism is like, as you know, it's a lifelong thing you are, or many people believe I'm I'm of this mindset, that there is that strong genetic component. So you are an alcoholic before you even take your first drink. So I had my first drink when I was 17 years old, I think I had half of the Smirnoff Ice at my buddy Martin's house. And I just loved it, you know, I still to this day, I remember that feeling. And I loved it, you know. And I didn't really like start drinking, drinking until I was probably 19. I mean, just two years later, when I was in college, and I was, you know, hanging out with some kids who were who were, I was a sophomore, and they were seniors. So of course, like, they were able to, you know, buy alcohol. So yeah, it was just one of those things. You know, I had the classic college party scene, and you know, at the time, it was like, Okay, well, everyone else is getting wasted. So am I, shortly after that I got into the game industry and the game industry is also a very, very party heavy culture. So, you know, go to these industry parties, and I was getting wasted. So it was everyone else. So, you know, did not believe for a second that I had a problem and, and took me a very, very long time to admit that I had a problem. Um, you know, and then finally, I, you know, hit my bottom, as they say, which was just, you know, like I said, two years ago, October, I was in a horribly depressed place. You know, it was a funny thing, because like, I've always put so much value into my career, and I love what I do, and I have a ton of passion for what I do. And it's always been sort of at the center of My life. So but I was in a weird phase where I it was between the two seasons, it was between the two seasons that I that I was like full time, as you say for for the Call of Duty World League. And I had already gotten my contract for the black ops four season. So I was basically like, I was I had a couple months where I was just chilling, I had a couple months where I was like, the world war two season wrapped up, I didn't know if I was being signed on, again, for Black Ops four or not. So there was a few months of anxiety. But But then after that, I got my contract. And it was a few months of just nothing, I had no responsibilities, you know, and I was just like, drinking a ton and horribly depressed and, you know, other parts of my life, I'd been depressed because my career was not going well. This was a time that and that was what really kind of was a big thing that stuck out to me was like, why am I feeling this way when I have everything that I want? Like, the only thing the thing I mainly wanted was was a contract to host for Call of Duty again. And I had that so I'm like, why am I still feeling this way? This is terrible. Um, so I've been calling the National Suicide Prevention hotline couple times, you know, a couple times a week for a few weeks. And then finally, October 22, woke up called in and happened to be a man named Rick who answered and he there's this funny thing about alcoholics is that a lot of us are able to tell when other people are alcoholics before it ever comes up in conversation or before we like never even mentioned alcohol or anything like that. And I had not mentioned I was just like, told him a little bit about my situation, whilst you know that I was feeling depressed and suicidal and everything. And he was just like, have you considered checking out a meeting? I was like, How did he know? Like, it was very weird. Um, yeah. So I went that day, and the rest is history.

Kyle Warren:

That's fantastic. And I think that, you know, you you touched on a lot of good points here because like it without like it, you know, there's different types of alcoholics. And this is not a alcoholic, we're not going to dive into the, to the, to the nitty gritty of that, but, you know, with with alcoholics, like, there's four people, you know, I can speak for myself, and it sounds like you as well, like, in this situation is that, you know, things have to get really, really bad. Yeah, like, like, it's weird, like, the more hopeless that person becomes, the better chance they have of doing it. Because someone like me, I was not, you know, like, I'm like, how in the world are 12 steps written on a wall going to save my life? You don't mean? Like, like, give me give me to the good shit that does? You know what I mean? Like, right, like, you know, so like, and especially with the whole God thing. And like, it was just like, Whoa, like, I don't want, but at the same time, when, you know, when I was 118 pounds, I had an eviction notice. And I had eight grand in credit card debt. That for me was my bottom, you know, and for other people, they went way farther down the scale, and but it doesn't really matter what the externals look like, really, it's as long as it's how we really feel the thoughts that we have and how we consume whatever substance it is, you know, that that really qualifies as that, you know,

Jess Brohard:

yeah. And I'm glad that you brought up how because here's the other thing, I'm glad that you brought up how like, everybody has, like, so, you know, I had a relatively I would say consequence free drinking career. Um, you know, because like I said, I had this contract in hand for this great job that I wanted, you know, I had a credit score, good credit score, no debt, you know, roof over my head. You know, I had my health, everything. Yeah. Yeah. Like, there were no, it's not like I you know, it's not like I had my last $5. And I was like, do I buy booze or food with it? You know, I was not in that situation. But you know, it was it was still, but it's also it's kind of a reminder of like, how things would have gone because the other thing is, you know, because alcoholism is a progressive disease. And it you know, it gets worse Never better. It's like, I'm so glad that I got out when I did. It could have gotten so much worse.

Kyle Warren:

Yeah, no. 100% I mean, it's, it always can't The thing is like, it always can get worse. And for anyone listening who who struggles with that, like, if you think that it can't get worse. Go try it. I mean, I hate to say that, but like, that's unfortunately what you need to do to go try that. And that's, that's a really hard truth. And I'm really hard pill to swallow, you know, no pun intended, like that was you know, but I'm like, that's like, with me, I feel the same kind of gratitude. Because, you know, my, my substance was opiates and heroin and like, now, on the streets today, there's so many things that are being laced with fentanyl and being laced with these things that are killing people left and right. And it's like, yeah, and for for people who may not understand that, like, you would think like, well, if you're being laced with something that's more powerful, like, why wouldn't why would you want to do that? But the mind of someone like me is like, that's, like, I see people dying. That's the stuff I want to put them into my body. You don't I mean, and that's just a stark difference between like someone who is not have does not have this disease and someone who does, it's like, yeah, give me the good shit, you know, like, or die. Give me that.

Jess Brohard:

That's I love that thought that reminded me of something else which just illustrates the way that normal people and addicts are different, very, very different and that we think differently is I remember like, like, whenever I would see in a movie or like, okay, so you know how you have a party, you're cleaning up afterwards, there's all these half empty strings. And I was usually not the one throwing a party. But if I would see someone cleaning up a half of the drink, I would always think, Oh my god, are you crazy? You finished that? Or what do you do your

Kyle Warren:

alcohol abuse right there? Yeah, exactly,

Jess Brohard:

exactly. So

Kyle Warren:

yeah, I did that what you know, and that's, I think the challenge with people who either have loved ones of alcoholics or you know, like, maybe somewhat afflicted with it, it's like, that's the Don't try to understand it. Because just like, you can't understand how we do this, we can't understand how y'all take just one drink, and like, leave a half a glass of wine on the table. Yeah, like, it's just, there's, it's, we people need to stop trying to understand one another and just understand that, like, what type of help this person needs, and where they can go get that right help? Because, yeah, you know, and I'm sure you'll agree with me on this is that, you know, I love I love the amount of support there are there is on the internet, but when when people do not have experience with it, or truly understand, like, what needs to be done, or what type of person is required to help that person, they're doing more harm than good.

Jess Brohard:

Yes. And, and, in fact, you see, so many people accidentally enabling their loved ones, because they don't realize, like, you know, for instance, if you have a loved one who is constantly getting into trouble because of their substance abuse, and you are constantly bailing them out, you know, enabling doesn't have to look like providing an addict with their substance, you know, that's the, that's, that's the very obvious form of enabling, but it can also mean, you know, ensuring that the addict has no consequences and continues to have no consequences. Because you're, you think you're helping them. And it can be very, very hard to do because you don't want to cut off someone you love and leave them flailing. But in some ways, that can be the most kind thing to do, cuz then they'll hit their bottom sooner and seek help. And

Kyle Warren:

my parents did the same thing. Like it was probably the hardest thing for them to do. They flew up to Colorado, they intervene on me, I told them that I did not want to go to treatment. So they they took everything they stopped, you know, like my parents, like, I was this big, tough guy, but I also have my parents paying my rent, and they had my car. So it's like, I wasn't that tough, you know, so once that once they took both of those things, it only took four months. And like I was a very unresourceful drug addict, like I didn't do well. And that was with living with my ex at the time, you know, and her working three jobs while I was just this insell at home playing Call of Duty. That's, I mean, video games still found their way in there. But you know, that was that's, that's really what it took. And I can, I'm never gonna sit here and say, I understand what that's like. Because asking a parent to truly cut someone off. You may not know if you see him again. Like that's, like, that's a reality that they all have to face and that but that's also what is needed to potentially save your life. Yeah. You know, it's a it's a wild thing. Yeah, for thank you for sharing that. And I love I love talking about that. It's, it's that common common bond is

Jess Brohard:

yes, I so rarely get to talk to like other especially like, when you get It's weird. It's so exciting for me when I encounter like a fellow addict or alcoholic, like out in the wild. It's like, so thrilling to me because like this, like, I feel like I have you know, my a friends and I talk to them. But it's like, when there's someone else who I realize like, Oh my god, you're also like sober or you're also like an addict or whatever. Like, it's so exciting, because you have that common bond that like normies just cannot and will not understand even if they they can be understanding, but they will only understand.

Kyle Warren:

Yeah, and that's okay. And it's not in it's not in in if you're if you're what we call a normie as someone who just who can take it or leave it like it's not it's no offense, or ill will or anything like that, but it's just like there's Yeah, I mean, it's just just know that like, you know, when people are trying, like if you're trying to help someone, you giving someone advice it it doesn't, it doesn't work, because I was never going to listen to someone until they had told me their experience. They've walked him like Why should I believe you?

Jess Brohard:

Yeah, like, who are you?

Kyle Warren:

Yeah, just steer me in the right direction. You know, how about someone here could help. You know, I've heard this can work, you know, like, be that be that person to facilitate the experience versus trying to solve the problem.

Jess Brohard:

Yes. Yeah, for sure.

Kyle Warren:

Yeah, no, absolutely. I love talking about that. And so, you know, I want to I want to talk about like, growing up, like when it came came to video games, you know, when it came to your family support, and like how you grew up like was your family ultimately supporting of games? Or were they kind of like that? Like, you know, finger pointing.

Jess Brohard:

yeah, they were more they were more supportive if anything, I was a really good kid I you know, I didn't didn't make any waves and cross the line. Like I was a smart kid. I got good grades. I mean, I was one of those. I was one of those naturally gifted kids where I i in like, middle school, just like did not have to try and got decent grades. High school started having tried vary slightly, but still managed to get straight A's with like, I don't remember trying that hard. I mean, because I was in like, I was in marching band and that took up a lot of time. So like, that was where like, so we had, you know, we had more My practice every single day you play. I played flute I started off in college my freshman year, and then I switched to flute my sophomore year. I like it. Yeah. And so that's like, a lot of times, I feel like I didn't, I don't remember honestly spending a ton of time on studying, but I still was able to, like, get pretty good grades. So you know, so my parents were like, they didn't really care. Like they, you know, they would always be like, Oh, stop playing games and get your homework, whatever. But as long as it's done, they didn't care. There was so they're, you know, they're pretty supportive. And, you know, for birthdays and stuff they would they would, you know, buy me the gaming consoles or the games. And, you know, they weren't like, oh, video games are bad, they'll rot your brain or anything. My dad was a gamer. And in the 80s, everything went 3d because he started getting like motion sick then so but you know, they work against it or anything?

Kyle Warren:

Got it? Got it? No, yeah, I mean, cuz because my story is, my story is a little bit different. Like, if it didn't fit the mold that my family had lined out for me, then it wasn't the right thing, even if I was doing, even if I was like, you know, so it's like, I like this, I like to have a compare and contrast, the two things like we both can end up in the same spot or similar positions, doing what we enjoy, you know, but you know, that a lot of it's a lot of the reason why I created this podcast is because like, you know, if there's someone similar to my situation, you know, they can understand it, like, not everyone grew up that way. And not everyone, you know, and everyone can still make it out and do what they want to do regardless of that.

Jess Brohard:

Yeah.

Kyle Warren:

Yeah. You know, so. Oh, really cool. So 2011 when you first started kind of like making your way into the gaming scene, so tell me, you'd mentioned a company? What was that company and kind of tell me, tell me what that was like for start just starting out?

Jess Brohard:

Yeah. Okay. So when I first started out, I was I had a day job. It was working for JPMorgan Chase, and then I would go home in the evenings and create gaming content. It was like before Twitch, I think

Kyle Warren:

What type of content?

Jess Brohard:

Videos, I would host I was teaching myself how to host I would host videos. I had like a crappy green screen and lighting and my Canon T2I. And I, like taught myself how to use Adobe Premiere. And so I just created this like gaming news segment where it was just add like it was I think I just called it like the gaming recap or something. It wasn't very, I was never very like creative about like branding and stuff. Because my goal wasn't okay, this segment is going to, you know, get a lot of views. I was never intending for people to actually get their gaming news from me, I was doing it more so that I could learn how to host build up footage for real and then hopefully get noticed by a company that would pay me to do what I was already doing. I got very lucky because after about six to eight months of doing my videos on YouTube, I started getting a few little offers of Hey, can you freelance for us basically just do that same video you're doing but at the beginning, say presented by this company instead of, you know, whatever you normally say. And then fortunately, one of those freelance offers turned into a full time job offer. So in March of 2012, I started working for MMO attack and I have much to say about how shitty that company was. Terrible fucking company. I'm sorry, can I curse on the spot?

Kyle Warren:

Yeah, absolutely

Jess Brohard:

Terrible, terrible company. I'm not gonna I mean, it was just horrible. It was absolutely horrible. That's not what this is about, though. But I only worked there for three months like so just to give you an like it was it was basically it was this marketing firm out in San Diego, where this blowhard of a president of the company goes, Oh, what are video games, there's money to be had, okay, what's invested in video games. So he hired me and one other person he's like, Alright, you're the host. You're the video editor. Because he wasn't even the video editor. He just held the camera, I had to do all the editing. So it's just the reason I ended up quitting was because I'd worked there from March through June. So June was he three, we were in San Diego, he was in LA. So they sent up to E3, but of course everything was on a shoestring budget. They're like we can't you know, we can't spend etc. So we like took the train up to three, really, because it's a Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, we like went up really, because they don't want to pay for a hotel any longer than they had to. So we went up like really early Tuesday morning. And then we were there Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday. And then we took the train back Thursday evening, instead of you know, paying for an actual hotel. It was and then we get back. So basically, he was like, Alright, go like, you know, set up a bunch of appointments with game developers and just shoot a bunch of interviews. Come back. Basically, our task was create content for MMO tax YouTube channel. So we just shot as many interviews as we could. We filmed all day all weekend, came home, went to the office Friday, and I was like, Alright, so we have 24 hours of footage on our camera. So I was like, yeah, I'll spend the next few days like editing, uploading, you know, we'll have some, we'll have some great content for this. I'm very pleased with what we did. He's like, I'm get all my boss goes. Get all those videos uploaded today. And I go, Well, let me break it down for you. We have 24 hours of footage. So to even do a first pass and see what all is usable and like watch through it edit. It's going to take 24 hours, 24 hours or so like I was like, if you want to pay me overtime and you want me to come in this weekend. There's no way I can get it done today. And he was like, No, we can get it done today. I was like No, no, I'm telling You can't. And he's like, well, you have to. I was like, okay, so I went, I edited as many videos as I could, which I think was like, three, I think I got three interviews, edited and uploaded that day. And then I walked out of the office took all my shit and emailed him my resignation. Notice I was like, I'm not doing this, I'm just refusing. And then I want for MMO balm, which was a fantastic website. I was just freelancing for them. And then the day my first video for MMO bomb came out, the guy from emo attack, emails me and goes, Hey, what you're doing for MMO bomb is a breach of the non compete agreement you signed with when you when you started working for us. So we're going to be in touch after we review this with our legal counsel. And I said, No, you're fucking not, hey, I didn't sign I was like a I did not sign this non compete agreement. So give me a copy of the signed agreement that I supposedly signed and B California is a state that openly encourages competition between firms. So you cannot actually make your employees sign a non compete agreement, you cannot cite, make them sign a piece of paper saying that if they leave this company, they cannot work for a company in a similar feel for you, or whatever. That doesn't exist in California. But just know that in California, you cannot do that in California. I was in California, this fucker knew I wasn't from California, he knew that I was a 23 year old from Ohio. And he was trying to take advantage of me. And it didn't work.

Kyle Warren:

It didn't work. No. I mean, you had your wits about you, though, you know, like you're like it because like I work for a company, it helps people start businesses in California and California is one of the craziest states to form a business. But there, there are some perks like I had no idea that that existed, all I know is that you have to pay $800 a year to exist in California as an LLC. No, not even doing business. You can you can spend the entire year not making a cent and you're still required to pay that within the first four months of your filing. And then every every year going forward. it you know, say good weather tax, you know, but no, but that's really cool. I didn't, I didn't know that. And one of the things that stuck out was literally right at the beginning of this story is that, you know, and I think it's where a lot of people struggle, I really want to talk about this is that the videos you made, were not for anyone else. But you. Yes. And I think that is such a very unique way to look at that, especially back then because it's just like you were teaching yourself, you weren't doing this for anyone else. You didn't give two shits about views you didn't like it didn't. This was for you to build your skills up to really build a portfolio to present to somebody else.

Jess Brohard:

Right? I was never intending to become a YouTuber. I was never, you know, like, if that happened, if people did watch and love my content, and they subscribed, great, but that was never my intention. I was never I didn't even care if anybody watched them really, except for you know, the people that could hire me. So, you know, so I got really lucky there.

Kyle Warren:

Right? Well, I mean, but you know, like, I think it's luck. But I also think that you know, when you really want to do something you the universe is going to be to where you're at, like I really like I especially at this point in my career, like, I don't really believe in luck anymore at all. Like I just like when you when you do when you put that when you put forth everyone honestly when you show up even when you don't want to. Yeah, that's that's the that's where the good shit happens. You know, like, even when I feel lazy, and I don't want to edit like all, like just do one piece or I'll make sure I organize something or I'll make sure it's like, little things at a time to do that. But it's, you know, I don't like my thing is like, I don't want to be a pro content creator. But like, I like creating content Twitch. So I can figure out how to edit my shit and like, learn how to use these things.

Jess Brohard:

But that's great. And that's such a great attitude to have. Because like so many people, here's the the fuck of it all is that so many people are like, "want to be a content creator. How do I do that?" And I go create some content, they go mmm... sounds like a lot of work. And I go well, if you don't like the work, then why are you pursuing this career? That's really innane. That's a really like, like, they like the idea they like because they look at people like Ninja Courage, Tim the Tatman, and fig, who are literally making millions of dollars a year who are famous, who have all the perks and it's that lifestyle that they want. They want the influencer lifestyle, but they don't actually want the work, you know, like, they care way more about the numbers than the actual content.

Kyle Warren:

Yeah, in this and it's not in what was funny when I first got into this world, like I like when I heard that I'm like, Okay, then I can't give two shits about the numbers, then it's only on the content. It's like, no, it's like, it doesn't mean you go to one extreme or the other. It's like, numbers are important, but it cannot be the most important. You know what I mean?

Jess Brohard:

Cuz I also disagree with people when when a very common piece of advice I hear for like, you know, aspiring streamers is, you know, hide your viewer numbers don't even look at how many viewers you're getting. And I kind of disagree with that. I think that has its place. I don't think that's necessarily bad advice. But I kind of disagree with that. Because, you know, if you are wanting to do it as a career, and you are wanting to like monetize it, and you are wanting to like grow and everything, then viewership is kind of important because it's a metric by which it is it is a metric, not the metric by which you can judge your content. You know, like if you are getting more viewers, you're probably doing something right. But I don't necessarily think the converse is true. I think if you're not getting more viewers, you're not necessarily you're you're maybe doing a few things wrong, but like you might because you might have great content. You just have really been discovered yet?

Kyle Warren:

Exactly. And I and I think that's the whole like, you know, I think people will get so and I was I kind of did things backwards apparently to like what a lot of people like Harris Heller do and like about like, wait like they started on YouTube and then they funnel to Twitch, you know, I mean, like I started on Twitch, and now I'm just now starting YouTube. Yeah. Because YouTube actually does work to make your content discoverable, Twitch doesn't, you know,

Jess Brohard:

Yes, I heard, that shoe. They both and you know, they really they both have their place and I think if you know what cut what works for you and what what kind of content you like, if you like the live or if you like the pre record because they both have their their advantages and disadvantages.

Kyle Warren:

100% some people are more comfortable with one than the other.

Jess Brohard:

Yeah, some people some people are more comfortable with live stuff because there is less expectation of it, you know, being perfect. If you stutter, if you say something weird or whatever, it's not you're not expected to be perfect. It's okay with it. versus if you're recording YouTube video and you like stutter, you know, like, well, I can redo this I probably should.

Kyle Warren:

Yeah. And I was actually talking with my last guest I had on here he like, I think we nailed like YouTube is so challenging and daunting for people because like, there's so much more room for doubt. Like, because YouTube takes so much longer.

Jess Brohard:

Yeah,

Kyle Warren:

Not only does it take longer, but you also have to deal manage yourself through the entire editing process and creating process and script. It's like, there's that much more reason why you shouldn't do it versus why you should?

Jess Brohard:

Yeah, well, yeah.

Kyle Warren:

It's, it's a wild thing. And I'm learning how to get that, get that done myself. But when I hop forward to you know, like, you know, you worked for these, you know, kind of like MMO companies these like, we're kind of like websites, then you jumped a call, like then you jumped like straight to know, you went to Dota

Jess Brohard:

Yeah. Which is I've had kind of a weird, you know, cuz

Kyle Warren:

Yeah,

Jess Brohard:

I know, a lot of some people like some hosts and creators and stuff I've had, they're like one niche that they've been like looking for, and then they fall into it, and that everything's great. And I was kind of, I guess I should rephrase, I should say, some hosts have their have their niche that they are kind of in and it's great. And I was always like, looking for that niche, you know, I kind of found Dota, but I never really had like, you know, I didn't have like the success that I was hoping for there. I like hosted a few events, but you know, worked for some dream hacks, but never really made it onto like the big leagues of like Dota talent or whatever. And then I kind of like, had a few years where I was just sort of hopping from gig to gig like I was, you know, I've had the great fortune of working steadily as a host and and being able to support myself just as a host for left curse, which is, which is really, really great. But it wasn't always like, oh, then I hosted for this. And I was on the broadcast talent team or whatever, you know, it would be a lot of like, I hosted the Pokemon world championships one year, I hosted the Tetris World Championships one year, like those were fun events, but it's not like, Oh, that's Jess from Call of Duty or whatever, you know, it was, oh, she's just kind of a freelance host she bounces around didn't really have anything that I was like, known for sort of.

Kyle Warren:

That's cool, though. And so yeah, I mean, it's good that, you know, like, I won't say it's good, because I don't I don't know, but you know, as a as a as a host or as a, you know, as a caster as a host. You know, whenever Activision gave me your title for now, like, as that person, you know, like, why do you like, do you think it's important to be more like to like, like, host or cast a bunch of different games, or just to stick in your niche?

Jess Brohard:

That's, um, a really interesting question. Because I think that there are like, a lot of reasons why I was really glad when, you know, Call of Duty came to me and offered me a contract. And it was like, a, you know, and up until that point, all the work I had been doing, like I said, was kind of one offs. This was the first time a company had come to me and been like, Hey, we want you on our first of all, to be like, on the actual official broadcast talent team for like, an official pro scene. And second of all, to basically have a contract that was more than one event long, you know, because they were like, Hey, we're gonna bring you on for the first event of the season, if you don't completely suck, then we'll just hand you a contract for the rest of the season. So from December 2017, through you know, August 2018, you'll be working steady. And so that is like the huge advantage so I have to say it's its own most definitely better to have that that niche that one scene that you're in, but at the same time, the downside can be like cuz, you know, it's steady work, you get known for something but then kind of the downside is well if you if it's kind of like how you want to like diversify your stock portfolio, you know, that one company third year doesn't bring you back like that's what happened to me, you know, third year on you're known for a senior full time hosting for them, and then they don't bring you back the third year. It's like, oh, shoot, what do you do now kind of thing and I had this situation where like, after I kind of like quote unquote, announced that I wasn't with Call of Duty anymore cuz here's the other thing is I was even when I was with Call of Duty, I wasn't a full time employee of Activision Blizzard. I was like, still a contractor. I was contracting. So it's not like I had been fired. I just, you know, second year, they gave me a contract third year, they did not, you know, clearly like, still like me, they were still working with me. They just didn't, girl. So but it still it was you know, it was a big blow. Um, and then when I When I kind of posted like, Hey, I'm no longer with Call of Duty, they didn't bring me back, etc. I had all these companies reaching out to me and be like, Oh, can we hire you? We didn't want to hire you before or we thought we couldn't hire you before, because we were full time with Call of Duty that you didn't have the time to do anything else. And that you might have had some sort of contract in place without you're not allowed to. And I'm like, No, no, I've been freelance baby, like, hire me so. So you notice that, like, it's kind of a rare situation, because it's a little less common that you like, won't get hired? Because companies think that you're exclusively with it with you know, aim or whatever, but it happens.

Kyle Warren:

Yeah, I mean, the the example that sticks out of my mind when you say that is like you know, like Lottie, like, I I know Lottie through Halo like and, and I saw her jump to call duty. I'm like, what a creator. Like, what a cool jump, you know, I mean, so like, now she's known for both and she's not well known in both communities.

Jess Brohard:

Yeah. And she's doing both. She's I don't know what she did was killing it. Doing some Halo recently, which she was thrilled about, because that's her roots. And then of course, she's also doing Call of Duty, which is so good for her. I love her.

Kyle Warren:

Yeah, no, it was it was an incredible thing. Like, as I my first event, I went to the New Orleans, 2018 New Orleans MLG event where they went old school and they did both a halo and Gears of War competition at the same time. Well, not always. But that was really where I like I first got to meet her, I got to meet Golden Boy, I got to you know, I got to really like kind of fanboy a little bit, you know, I mean, and get to get to see these people that I've that I've watched for so long, like, right in person. And I mean, it's, it's a cool thing to know that like, because like where I come from, or like where the, like the clot I'm come from is like, you know, if you're if you're, if you've made a name somewhere else, like casting is casting is casting. And I mean, like, it may take a little bit of knowledge to learn a new game, but it's, you know, but but I want to ask, like, when you switch scenes Did you receive? Was there almost like an initiation period with the community? Or was it kind of just like they welcomed you with open arms?

Jess Brohard:

Yeah, that's a really fun topic to explore. Because, um, that always happens now, to some degree. And this is going to have this is this is partially rooted in misogyny because to some degree, this always happens when there's a new face on the scene. It's always, oh, who's that? You know, and they sometimes get some hate, Oh, we don't like this person, whatever. But I don't think it's surprised that it is much worse for women. And when a new woman appears on a scene, unfortunately, the thing that happens is they're always go, oh, who's this girl? Why did they hire her? Oh, they're just pandering. They think that we're a bunch of nerds. So we have to look at a girl presenting. She's talking about, I find that I feel like a woman's experience and knowledge is questioned way more often than twitch chat than a man's is. So and then the thing that that that also sucks is that when there are two women on a broadcast team, first of all, it's a very good thing. But second of all, twitch chat inevitably begins comparing the two which is so unfair, and so just toxic, and it's terrible. So, whatever neat, like, you know, so so that kind of happened, you know, with with so yeah, but the funny thing is, happens with Call of Duty where, you know, got a lot of hate got a lot of love as well, but definitely got a lot of hate. You know, especially at first but realistically all throughout the whole two years. I was there I got a lot of hate. And then as soon as I was no longer officially there, um, you know, there were all these comments of Oh my god, where did just go? Why did just leave? And it's like,

Kyle Warren:

they were the same people.

Jess Brohard:

Yeah, I'm, well, I you know, but they could have been, they could have been. And then I saw this is always so funny, because I saw a bunch of those comments of like, you know, where to just go and then other people are like, wait, you guys treated her like garbage while she was there? Why do you Why are you acting like you want her back? Now? You know, you can't have it both ways. And I'm like, Yeah, like, do you love me or not? I don't fucking know anymore. You guys anyway, I love Call of Duty. So I don't give a fuck what you think but

Kyle Warren:

right. Yeah, no. And I think you mentioned like having two women on the table. Like I I think that's a fantastic thing. Like, I think gaming needs so much more. Because, like, too much. I mean, honestly, man, too much testosterone in a room, especially with gaming, it just, it's there, we need to have some of that, you know, we need to have some of that presence. I mean, like that some of that strongest sort of presence to like, put these like put these kids and put these guys in check these manchild children in check. Yeah,

Jess Brohard:

when, like from a diversity perspective, and like, how we were talking about earlier how there is like, there's a lot more women playing games, watching games, if like, Okay, I'm not gonna pretend that half of twitch chat is women, you know, cuz I know it's not there yet. But like, when you're watching an event, like, at least let's say let's be generous, let's say 20 to 25%, or probably of the female persuasion. So it's, isn't it kind of doing a disservice to them, if you just have like a bunch of men presenting, you know, like, they like it. I don't know, it just kind of like and just I just always am pro diversity. So

Kyle Warren:

Well, absolutely. I mean, I think you do know, you know, you'd be modest, but like, you know, I'll call a spade a spade, you know. No, but I think that's I think that's a fantastic scene. So I mean, you you've, we were talking about it, like, you know, diversity, we're talking about all these, you know, all these things like, when it comes to like, what you know, like, is like what you're doing now is that like what you want to continue doing for your career? Or is there another step that you're looking to, like elevate yourself do

Jess Brohard:

that's something that I've thought about a lot, because it's always been a struggle for me when people go like, you know, there were times when I had like, career goals, right? And not that I don't know, but it's kind of like, Oh, I met a lot of those career goals, and I'm very happy. So part of me goes, Okay, well keep doing what you're doing. It's fucking great. Just keep doing it. And then the other part of me goes like, Okay, well, what's next? Should I be thinking about like something next? But ultimately, at the end of the day, I feel like this pandemic has proven that you... it's really difficult to plan for the future. You can you know, I'm I'm not a religious person. I pretty much consider myself an atheist, but I love the phrase, man plans and God laughs because, yeah, we'll see. Man plans and the universe laughs

Kyle Warren:

Yeah.

Jess Brohard:

Because many times when I've had something planned, it didn't go the way I planned. And then something even better came along. And, you know, and in the pandemic, in general, I, my, my career has just been like, going so well, like, it's been like, since April, or may is when it really started, like, kind of building up some momentum. And then starting over the summer is when I just got like, slammed I got really, really busy and like, which is amazing. I thought it was gonna happen. Because right at the beginning of pandemic, I was like, Oh, my gosh, events are canceled. What am I gonna do for work this year, right? And all of a sudden, all these remote events, which is like, Okay, well, I already streamed I already had, you know, a little studio set up here. So all these companies that I would potentially be hosting for in person, or now just, I'm just dialing in from the internet. And so it's just been like, a huge blessing. And I, I guess, to answer the question, like, I just kind of keep doing things, and then whatever works, I do more of that. Oh, man.

Kyle Warren:

I like that answer

Jess Brohard:

you less of that, you know, like, you know, like, I started a podcast, and I've been having so much fun with that. You know, because we talked about, like mental health and gaming and like, I've been having a really good reception to that all of my guests have been, have been really, really awesome. So it's like, Okay, well, that's going pretty well, I guess I'll keep doing that until it stops going. Well, you know, hosting and streaming has just been fun. It's been going really well. I don't have like, I don't have a streaming schedule. I'm super disorganized with it. But I have a lot of fun that people that showed my streams say that they have a lot of fun, too. So I'm like, I guess I'll keep doing that. I don't, I don't know. So and it's hard to for me to imagine what things are going to be like post pandemic because I have gotten really used to like hosting from home like I've gotten great pleasure of, you know, I got to host in studio for the Cold War multiplayer reveal

Kyle Warren:

all that I was really happy about that.

Jess Brohard:

Yeah, it was, it was such a cool thing, because it felt really good to be in a studio again. And then next week, I'll actually be hosting the call of duty and Dolman bowl here in Columbus because eSports is in here. So that's another studio job. But other than that I've been so like, I've been getting used to hosting from home and having everything I need and like, as soon as the camera is off, I can just go decompress and not have to worry about people. So now I'm like, Oh my gosh, when things go back to in person it's going to be it's going to be an adjustment. But it's also going to hurt for me to predict like what things exactly are going to look like so I don't really know I guess where I'm going with my career, but I'm just along for the ride. No, I like that answer because like I am a huge Gary Vee fan. You know, like Gary, Gary Vee is one of my favorite people in the world. I love that he has attached himself to gaming, I just think that is some of the coolest shit ever. Like one of the dudes I looked up to the most. And like, on one of it, I can't remember whether it was like an Instagram post or on his actual podcast where he was like, you know, everyone asked me like how to like us. Everyone's like talking about a business plan and creating these business plans. He's like, he's like, what's your plan for someone in China eating a fucking bat? And just and like, he's like, what happens to your plan, then, you know, and i and i and i really love it because I've always, like, been brought up like, you need to have a career path. You need to have a plan, you'd have this and like, I'm you know, I was actually talking about this to my therapist the other day, like Mike my favorite scene in The Dark Knight Rises where it's just like, you know, when the Joker's converting Harvey Dent, you know, and he's just like, you know, if I say a little truck of soldiers is gonna blow up no one panics, because it's all part of the plan. You don't like it? And then he like flips the gun. This has introduced a little anarch you know, like that seems just like it really it shook my whole body because it's just like, how can you plan for any of this like and he did in his character at its core. He literally just did things and disrupted everybody's plans. Everyone freaked the fuck out. Yeah. Thats a great reference. I'm gonna have to watch the movie again cuz I love that movie.

Kyle Warren:

I I learned something new about that movie. And honestly, that entire trilogy. I mean, every time I watched it, the Christopher Nolan just says Such a amazing job of telling stories and foreshadowing. And just, I like I know, The Dark Knight is like, it's it's great for so many reasons, but without the one before and the one after, it would be nothing, you know, I just I'm a huge fan of storytelling, I get emotional, like, you know, it's like, I love movies like that. Yeah. No, but that's, that's cool. Because it's it goes to show like, when you continue doing what you love, you know, opportunities will present itself and like, you know, you don't always know what you want. I think it's we we put such a burden on ourselves of like, trying to figure out like, when it has this timeline of like, we need to know what we want to do. It's like, how?!

Jess Brohard:

Right well, yeah, so when I was I was raised similar, I think in that, like, my parents had a lot of strong expectations of like, you go to college, you get the job. So there was some slight friction when I you know, chose gaming and pursued this career. And when I first when I first left my job at JPMorgan Chase, because while I was in college, while I was like, going through the, you know, getting ready to graduate going through the job interview process, my parents knew that I that I, they knew that I wanted to work in gaming. And so I think they were like, just buttholes firmly clenched until the day I came home. And I was like, Yeah, I got a job offer from JPMorgan Chase. And then it was just like a collective unclenching. And they were like, Oh, she's not doing the gaming thing. She has a real job. We did something right, pat ourselves on the back. And then so then a year later, when I was like, Hey, I'm moving to California to take like a two thirds pay cut. And you know, whose video games on the internet? I'm pretty sure they were shitting bricks, but I mean, they were they were supportive. They were as supportive as they could be, I think. But like they still have been, it's been a hard thing for me, too. That's one thing. I'm so glad you mentioned your therapist, because I have a therapist too. And it is so wonderful. It's one of the best things ever done. And one thing I've been working on my therapist a lot is being okay with not knowing what happens next, because my parents always had the mentality of like, okay, you know, and which, which is a good thing. Yes, you want to save, you want to plan as much as you can, you know, you want to have like your emergency fund. But my parents were, what I've realized works best in my career, because the way the way, like hosting and stuff works. Sometimes, you know, about an event months in advance, and sometimes you get a call that like, like, literally one time and this was kind of an extreme circumstance. But years ago, literally one time, I got a message saying, Hey, can you be in Bucharest, Romania tomorrow? And I said, Sure, you know, and like, that's an extreme example, usually doesn't happen like that. But you know, it literally does. So I might like, I've realized that the times that I like, I like having things lined up, I like knowing what's happening next. But the times that I don't, is when some of the best things come up. And sometimes just kind of gotta sit back and like, trust the process and like, let things happen. And it's really difficult talking to my parents about this sometimes, because they're like, they're like, oh, what's next? What work do you have coming up? And sometimes the answer is like, Well, I have one gig next week. And then I don't know, I have literally nothing on my calendar so far. But like, that doesn't mean I'm not going to have anything on my calendar. That doesn't mean I'm not working. It just means nothing has come up yet. And then like, and then also just the fact that like, it's like, when you're like, you know how, okay, like nothing, I'm nearly as well paid as like an actor and actress. But you know, they'll sometimes like, they'll go do a movie, they'll do a commercial or whatever. And then they won't really maybe need to do anything for a couple months. And it's kind of the same way. Like sometimes you get those really big gigs that are really lucrative that you're like, Oh, I'm set. So if nothing comes up for a few months, I'm okay. And that's when my parents started, like worrying about what are you going to do next? And I'm like, Mom, do I need to show you how much I made from this? Like, I'm okay, I can pay my rent. I don't need to have everything lined up now.

Kyle Warren:

Yeah, no, it's and I think that style that because they grew up in a different time than we did. Yes. You know, like, and like, we're this type of, like, spontaneous opportunity didn't exist into Word to them. This is like a baffling thing. Like, it's not secure. It's not safe. It's not, you know, and there's this thing like, this world's a big bad place, and you got to like plan and like, take care of your own and like, you know, buckle, you know what I mean?

Jess Brohard:

Yeah

Kyle Warren:

but that, to me, that just doesn't work with I think, honestly, even people who work normal jobs they it just doesn't work today, you know, like,

Jess Brohard:

Right well, because the other thing is like, you can like here's what's wrong with the mentality of like, always plan for the future. Always think about the future is like, let's say you are like let's say you do have a great career at a company you don't ever plan on leaving. Okay, well, what if the next day you get hit by the bus, hit by a bus break your leg and like you are unable to do this job? Or you can't make it into work? Or you have to take a leave of absence? You know, or what have you fucking die? What if you die then like all that planning is for nothing, you know? That's why you kind of have to like live in the moment.

Kyle Warren:

Mgmm,so weird. It's a weird place for people to live.

Jess Brohard:

It's so weird, especially like as as an alcoholic I drink to escape the present.

Kyle Warren:

And I think that you know, since we're on the therapy topic. Like I started actually doing therapy in March when this whole thing happened. I was like, you know what I get to deal with myself like now now that we're now that we are truly in lockdown, you know, we're in, I choose to take this seriously, you know, like, we're I, I try not to go out as much as I can. Yeah. But like now that I'm at home with my own self, what a perfect opportunity to really look at like, what real I really don't want to look at,

Jess Brohard:

yeah, get in tune with yourself, get to know yourself, like, figure out what it is that you actually want out of life. That's been like, the biggest gift that therapy has given me is like, teaching me what's actually important to me. And like, what, what I need versus what I think I want.

Kyle Warren:

Yeah, when I've adopted a lot of like, like, my, my actions, even when, because I've been doing I started streaming about two years ago and started this podcast about well started having guests on in March, you know, but like, I, I didn't realize until I went to therapy, I was taking actions besides the gaming thing. I was taking actions to appease my family and like what they think I should do. Yeah, I was doing everything for them. And not for me, you know,

Jess Brohard:

Yeah.

Kyle Warren:

And now and like, and that's why there was always such this conflict with streaming, because it was the one thing I was doing for myself. But it didn't really line up with what they were doing. So there was this massive meltdown that I would always have. And it was like, why? And I'm like, this year, I'm just like, oh, shit, like, I've literally lived my whole life, not thinking of myself.

Jess Brohard:

Yeah. And it's what it is no wild, also, when you realize that's another huge thing that I've learned that it took me a very long time to learn is that like, your parents are human too. And even though they're doing the best they can, like, they don't necessarily know, they think they know what's best for you. But like, you're an adult, now, they can't really control your life, they can't tell you what to do. They don't even necessarily and there's a lot that they're wrong about because they're from a different generation. They just don't know how things work. And so my mom, I remember my mom, like, for a while there was this, there was friction, because my mother loved to try to give me career advice. And all of it was wrong. And like, like, I remember, I was hosting this. In particular, one thing that really got to me was I was hosting an event that was partially partially put on by ESPN eSports. My mom, um, you know, got all excited. And she's like, She's like, oh, make sure you do a good job, because you know, then ESPN might want to hire you again, etc. And I'm like, Mom, like, of course, I want to do a good job. I don't give a fuck. Of course, I'm gonna do a good job no matter what, first of all. Second of all, I know literally everybody who works for ESPN eSports. Like, they already have an opinion of me clearly, it's a good one like, and sort of all. They're not even the ones that hired me for this event. It's running on their twitch channel, but a completely different company is the one that hired me. So it doesn't matter, like and it was just and then three months later, ESPN eSports shuts down. So I'm like, I shouldn't so I get it, she's so well, meaning she wants me to be successful. And in her mind, this is the best way to support me, but like, it's also just kind of like you, you know, it's one of those. And for a very long time, I would just like listen to everything my mom said, and you know, grew up thinking like, Oh, she's my mom, she created me, so she must know what we're doing. But there's a lot that she just doesn't know, and especially when it comes like gaming and

Kyle Warren:

So it's kind of like what we talked about stuff. earlier with alcoholism, you know, it's like, it's like, you know, it's it takes and it takes a lot of self awareness and it and I think a lot of the spiritual journey, a lot of the present moments of wasn't really a popular thing back then either, you know, so like to really understand and have the awareness around like, okay, who is my child? How did they learn? Like, what are they like? Can I can I truly help here by Get it? Does my advice actually help them? Or does it hurt them? You know, because for me, it was the opposite for me. It hurt, but I was always too scared to oppose that I was always too scared to say no, you know, because they're my family. I'm the only child you know, like, yeah, I'm the mama's boy. And I'm, you know, like, and so it just there was always this this massive conflict that I finally gotten to address through, you know, through the therapy work and it's as as as startling as it is. It's also very freeing, you know, yeah. Oh, like, I'm 28 and I'm not understanding who Kyle is.

Jess Brohard:

Yes, yeah. Yeah.

Kyle Warren:

It's a Beautiful Thing.

Jess Brohard:

Yeah. Well, and here's another thing that um, it I've heard other alcoholics say that when you start drinking, the age you start drinking is the age that you really stop emotionally maturing and then it doesn't really pick back up again until after you get sober. Have you found that to be the case with your recovery as well?

Kyle Warren:

Good question. So for me, I'm like I started drink like I started really going heavy around 17 I took my first drink when I was 15. That's the first time I got drunk but then I didn't really start I didn't really pick back up a lot of 17 but i would i would say so you know like it but not really when I got sober because even though and I like that we're on this topic is even though I got sober and I'm in a and it solves a lot of problems. There's still a lot of stuff that he doesn't solve. Yes, no. And as in I was brought up very disciplined and very rigid in a community, which it worked for a certain extent. And it worked, because I needed to hear some of that stuff. And I like, I could not truly trust my own thinking I really could not do that SWAT. In the sense, I needed that. But it's taken almost seven and a half years of being sober to finally like, break down those walls, you know, the rigidness of like my view of a and like, what can work and what doesn't work? And now, not just being sober, but I'm 28. And now I still feel like I'm kind of 16 or 17 years old again.

Jess Brohard:

Yeah

Kyle Warren:

I mean, yeah. So in a sense, yes. It didn't happen. Right? When I got sober. It honestly took me a long fucking time, even in sobriety, to get to this point.

Jess Brohard:

Yeah, well, because there's a lot you have to do first to kind of recover. There's, there's, there's a lot that like, the further out you get from, you know, abusing substances, like you're, you're able to, like actually work on yourself, because right at first, when you first get sober, it's kind of a matter of like, literally just do not put drugs or alcohol into your body. You know, every every minute of every day is spent thinking about not getting drunk. And then after a few months, it's less of a struggle of Okay, well, you know, I know I trust myself not to relapse today, or whatever. And then you can actually begin like, the healing process is less of like, you're less in crisis mode, and you're more into healing mode.

Kyle Warren:

Yeah. And it's like, I've had an experience with this thing that we this power, whatever we want to call it, like, that's recreated my life, and therefore, I don't have to worry about it anymore. Like and actually trusting that, like, you know, because even when I work with a few guys, they're like, I don't know, am I doing this right? Or am I doing enough? I'm like, bro, the fact that you're just calling lets me know that you're like, you're doing the right thing. And so you have nothing to actually worry about?

Jess Brohard:

Do you sponsor people?

Kyle Warren:

I do.

Jess Brohard:

I do all good for you. I don't have any because my policy is I'm not going to volunteer to sponsor if somebody asks me to be their sponsor, I will accept but if somebody needs a sponsor, but is not asking me I'm not going to volunteer, but I'm so happy for you. That's really good.

Kyle Warren:

It's honestly, if you if you can, it's one of the best. I mean, it's honestly one of them. It's like, to me, it's like the dope of the program. Like I there's nothing better than seeing like someone than the light. Come on. Yeah, like watching and hearing and like watching them walk through this because like, it's not based on my advice. Like, yeah, I role as a facilitator, like I am there to facilitate an experience for you. But it's your experience to have

Jess Brohard:

Yeah, yeah. Well, I do have I have a friend who I consider myself almost like an unofficial sponsor. I don't think of myself that way. But sometimes, because like he, he tells me that I'm the reason he stopped drinking, like, because he stopped drinking about six months after I did. And I just saw a lot of and I don't even it's funny, because it was, you know, I was six months sober. So this was a year and a half ago at this point. So I don't remember I barely remember but like, once a while I'll text him. It'll tell me like, he's like, Yeah, thanks. You helped me get sober. Like, you're the reason I stopped drinking. And I'm like, wow, like, that's, you know, putting a lot of power on me, like, give me a lot of credit. I'm like, No, no, like, seriously, you're the reason you stopped drinking, but I'm glad that I like.

Kyle Warren:

Yeah, but you played a apart because ultimately, it's up to him. You know, it's ultimately his his decision, just like it was yours. Just like it was man, you know?

Jess Brohard:

Yeah.

Kyle Warren:

And it's really like, you know, it's not the decision to just like, say, No, it's just the decision to do something about is that yeah, it's the decision of like, Okay, this fuck this, like, what needs to be done and really internalize and it's not just like, oh, man, let me just try something or like, it's like, No, I'm like it. And when you know, you know, like, either there's a moment where you know, and you have that just, like, a that moment of clarity that just stops you in your tracks. You're like, all of a sudden the fog parts for a little bit. And yeah, I have this opportunity of this window of opportunity to take action, or I don't,

Jess Brohard:

Yeah, and for you, for for me, since getting sober. I've had many, like, you know, I've had obviously I've questioned it a lot. I've had a lot of moments where I'm like, man, a drink sounds nice, obviously, you know, and a lot of moments where I'm like, is this gonna be the rest of my life? Am I pledging not to you know, and then I remember no, I woke up today said, I'm not going to drink today. And that's all I have to do first of all, but like, Oh, God, I don't even remember I was going with that. I feel like I had this really like, I mean, the thing that I was going to say, and oh, yeah, no, no, I, I remember it. I've had many moments where I have had those moments of clarity, where I'm like, yeah, I'm doing the right thing. Like, I have so many experiences, where I'm like, Yeah, I think that was my higher power telling me like, good job, you're still doing it. You're doing right. So for all those moments of doubt, like, I'll have a moment of clarity that comes in and just wipes out any of those doubts.

Kyle Warren:

Yeah, it happens all of a sudden, you know, happens all of a sudden. So I you know, want to want to start wrapping things up here. It's been an absolute No, no, I love these been an absolute pleasure. Um, you know, so I like to wrap these up with like, if you could give, you know, one piece of advice to either someone, either someone who's just starting off in the scene, someone who wants to be in the same position you are or just women in gaming in general, you know, what would that what would that be?

Jess Brohard:

Yeah, my main um, One thing that comes to mind is, which is a good life lesson as well, but especially has really helped me in being a woman in gaming and being like on camera and gaming is that you can't please everyone. And, you know, like, I think the there's a saying it's like, you could be the sweetest, sweetest peach in the What do Peach Orchard? Yeah, you could be the sweetest peach in the orchard, I didn't remember how peaches grew. And you could, you're still going to be someone who doesn't like peaches. And it's true, it's like, you could be doing the best you can at your job. And there's still someone who's just not gonna like you, and honestly says a lot more about those people than it does about you. And an example that comes to mind is I do a series for GameStop, which has been absolutely phenomenal to do. And the series is about, like how to get into hosting, casting and content creation. And a couple weeks ago, one of my segments aired, and I've been getting a lot of really kind feedback, which is awesome. And then I had someone tweeting at me, and they said, Your segment for GameStop is actually so fucking cringe stop policing, streaming, you weirdo. And like, I just, and it was just funny to me, sorry, my dogs have something. And, um, I just thought it was really funny because I was like, Well, I'm not policing, streaming, I'm literally doing the opposite. I'm trying to get more people into it. And I'm trying to do that by telling them how and how to be a better streamer and how to start streaming to begin with. And I went to this person's Twitter profile. And their previous tweet right before that, which had been like a few hours before was something about like, man, I hate myself so much. I really wish I could just kill myself, but I don't have the guts or something like that. And I was like, Oh, so that wasn't about me at all. That person does not actually think my series for GameStop is cringe, they do not actually think I'm policing streaming, they're in a really bad place. And they don't know what to do. They don't have the sort of emotional maturity to do something about it, or to figure their shit out. So they're lashing out at other people. And I just happen to be, you know, maybe that person was in a GameStop and saw me in it, it pinged a thing in their brain where maybe their own content is failing because their own stream isn't doing well. And they're getting upset about that. And so the easiest way for them to deal with that is to try to take it on someone else. So I even what I did is I even just tweeted back at that person, and I said, I hope you hate yourself a little less after tweeting that kind of being sarcastic. Kind of like I see that you're in a bad place. I see that you think this is helping but this is just the opposite, you know, and they actually deleted that tweet and DM me and was like, I apologize. I'm in a really bad place. And that's why I said that. And I was like, dawg, I know I can tell. I forgive you.

Kyle Warren:

Yeah, well, no, that's a cool thing that people don't people aren't you know, people aren't. They just don't want to wake up and be assholes. There's, there's a lot that's going on. We are dealing with so many things as human beings. Whether you're an alcoholic, whether you're driving or whether you're just whether you're just in a shit where you got depression, what do you suffer from anything like everyone's human.

Jess Brohard:

It's hard to be a human!

Kyle Warren:

It really is. And we didn't ask for this.

Jess Brohard:

To be born 32 years later, I gotta pay rent. I gotta feed myself. I got to do laundry like Mom, come on.

Kyle Warren:

We didn't ask for any of this. No, no, no, I love that. It's you drive a really good point. I really enjoyed having that. If you Where are you the most active you know and what? Where can people find you? Where do you want people to go check out the most

Jess Brohard:

Yeah, the most the main things would be I guess probably just Twitter and Twitch. like Twitter is just my name at just bro heart. I tweet a lot of really, I don't know, I mean a lot. I'm rarely ever serious on Twitter and then Twitch, twitch.tv/Jess. I stream almost every day. Like I said, I don't have a streaming schedule. And then here's the other thing I'm very forgiving with myself. Because like if I if I I say a stream most days if I go three days love streaming and I see my subscriber count drop. I don't beat myself up. I say that's not why I'm doing it. You know, hosting is my job if I get subscribers great, but if they unsubscribe, whatever, I can still pay my rent, you know?

Kyle Warren:

Exactly. No, that's dope and you have a podcast where can I?

Jess Brohard:

Yeah, so that podcast is called Happy Hour spelled HAPPI hour so the website for that is happy hour.io so HAPPIhour.io. That has a little blurb about the podcast has the episodes and all that good stuff.

Kyle Warren:

Fantastic. I'll grab the link from you know, I'll put that in the show notes below. where people can find that awesome. Thanks. So fantastic having you on Jess. This has been a treat Yeah,

Jess Brohard:

thank you so much. This was thiswas really really fun and I love I really love getting into all the alcoholism addiction stuff like that just does not get talked about enough. I like people I think a lot of people when they want to like cuz like other times when people are like, invited me to be on podcasts or anything like that. I think they're always like, they're always like, they have this idea of like they're like, Is it okay? They're like they're like I hear you're an alcoholic like you know Don't we don't need to get into that. I'm like, no, no. But can we though please genuinely because like, the more it gets talked about the markets D stigmatized, and the more people realize that, like alcoholics are just walking around among us, you know, you wouldn't you might not even know because they don't look like like you honestly, I'm looking at you right now, Kyle, you do not look like a heroin addict, you know. So I would never would have known I wouldn't tell you, except you say you put it right on your Twitter profile like you You are out there with it, which, which is great. I think more people should do that.

Kyle Warren:

Yeah, yeah. And I personally, I used how I quote unquote, look to my advantage as a heroin addict. Because no one ever thought so. No one ever thought so so I did it. But yeah, I, you know, let's definitely schedule a follow up for sometime later. Because like, I think that would be a fantastic and if fantastic opportunity. If there ever is an opportunity for me to come talk about mental health on yours. I would absolutely love the app. Yeah, that'd be great. fantastic way to always get back to your Skyrim thing.

Jess Brohard:

Thanks, you too.

Kyle Warren:

Well, if you made it this far, that means you really liked this episode. So I'd appreciate you taking some time out right now to go ahead and like and subscribe, share this podcast out, get it into the ears of people who have not heard either about eSports, who are on the fence about eSports, or who just flat out enjoy eSports and want to know more about the industry. That's what this podcast is about. It's meant to inspire young individuals in doubt, change the conversation of the way gaming is currently perceived, and help amplify the voice of those of the future. If you guys do like additional content, I also upload these to my YouTube channel if you want to see the video format of this. In addition to that I am uploading vlogs about some of my unboxings some of my life journeys. So if you want to get to know a little bit more about me, you can get an in depth look there. If you want to chat with me live I do stream on Tuesdays and Thursdays on Twitch. I am putting all these scripts in the descriptions below. Right now we are going to be diving headfirst into Night City playing Cyberpunk 2077. So if you want to get to know me a little bit better, personally live, that's where you can find me. Otherwise, I'll see you all next week for another fantastic episode. Have a good one.

Jess Brohard

Guest

Esports host (currently: GameStop & CODLeague) | Twitch partner | adjunct at Shawnee State University teaching Intro to Esports!