Published Dec 03, 2018
Meet the Grad with Over 55,000 Twitch Followers
This 2014 Computer Animation grad, who goes by the tag Mav, shares her best tips for building a Twitch channel.
With more than 55,000 followers on Twitch, Computer Animation grad Mav has built a considerable following both on her personal page as well as through her work with the gaming collective Would You Kindly. Since 2014, she’s been streaming under the gamer tag TheMavShow. Through a partnership with Twitch, she’s been able to turn her love of video games into a full-time job — one that often finds her wearing silly costumes and dancing around her house with her dog. By all metrics, she’s living the dream.
But what did it take to get there? We spoke with Mav about her journey to professional content creator, and to get her three best tips for building a Twitch stream.
The best streamers stay true to themselves.
Streaming is a huge technical undertaking that goes way beyond simply turning on your laptop’s built-in camera. Polished content tends to outperform content that looks and sounds second-rate, so Mav suggests new streamers invest in a decent microphone to provide their stream with clear audio.
Once you’ve got your set-up ready, it’s go time. Mav says another big mistake new streamers make is putting pressure on themselves to be pros right out of the gate.
“You’re not going to be the best on your first day. You’re not going to be the best your first year. But that’s okay. Twitch isn’t about a curated, finished product. It’s something that grows along with you, and if you’re genuine then people will have a genuine response to you,” she says.
Staying true to yourself means playing games that make you happy, even if they’re not the most popular. The goal is to attract like-minded people to your channel and to make quality content that captures the joy you feel when you play.
“No one wants to watch anybody play a game for the first time. Your audience expects you to be knowledgeable about whatever you’re playing,” she says.
Work to build a good community on (and off) Twitch.
Early on, Mav found moderate streaming success through Twitch. She was living in Florida at the time and just finishing up school, and she was playing a lot of Destiny. “I was getting hundreds of people on my stream but not thousands,” she explains.
That all changed as she became more involved with the Destiny community. She made friends with Kevin Murray and Alex Bamberg, two Tampa-based streamers who produce content under the name Rare Drop. Kevin and Alex are also the co-founders of GuardianCon, Florida’s premier gaming convention.
“It started because all the Destiny streamers wanted to come together and meet our viewers and each other,” says Mav. “Now it’s this big convention where we raise a ton of money for St. Jude’s Children’s Hospital. GuardianCon has raised over $2 million in just a couple of years.”
When Mav relocated to Seattle, WA, she took her ties to the community along. “Destiny has been a really big part of my life,” she says. “They’re my best friends.”
Remember: Everyone is figuring it out together.
The best thing about platforms like Twitch is that they’re constantly evolving. Viewers expect consistently, but creators get to define the terms. For Mav, that means balancing life with her family (she’s a mom of two) with her life online.
“For me personally, I pick and choose,” she says. “Sometimes I’ll think, ‘I haven’t seen my kids much today,’ so I’ll take time off. Sometimes I want to take a day off but there are five games coming out that week and I can’t. We make it a point to have dinner together as a family, and I try to stream when they’re at school or in bed.”
In the end, just do what you love, she says.
“If you’re happy with a nine-to-five and you like streaming on the weekends, then you win. I wanted to do it the hard way and be my own boss. I wanted to create an awesome show and leave my mark on people. I wanted the sky and the stars, everything. And it all just made me work harder.”