Hey all. This is going to be a bit of an off the top of my head post, so while I will try to keep it clean and concise, forgive me any rambling from the nature of the post.
Over the past few days, there has been a lot of discussion of my personal “crude butt lover” shtick and how it fits alongside some of the more serious industry criticism that I take part in. I thought it was worth giving a little insight into where the sillier aspects of my career came into play and what role they played in me getting to where I am today.
I found myself catapulted to prominence in the video games industry incredibly quickly. When I made the jump into full time video game criticism October 2014 the vast majority of my content was very serious in nature and slow to gain traction. I was a trans woman in the games industry who produced good quality serious critique, but who struggled to convert that into the kind of notability and invested fanbase needed to make a career move to Patreon viable for me. Those who loved my work loved it, but there was a limit to the speed at which I could grow my audience.
I was producing work that competed with what my contemporaries were producing, with limited ability to stand out from the crowd. As a trans woman in this industry, my success relied on me not only keeping pace with my contemporaries, but managing to exceed their audience and become someone whose industry voice had some unique, defining trait. That defining trait becoming “crude, but also intelligent, sex and butts humour” was never something I planned.
Without a doubt, the biggest factor in my Patreon becoming the financial success it needed to be, happening as fast as it needed to happen, is thanks to my working relationship with Jim Sterling. Jim invited me to be a permanent co-host on Podquisition around the time that I was first making the move to Patreon and the huge spotlight that shone on me made a huge difference to my solo career prospects. Still, it did not come without challenges.
Jim is a hugely popular, confident, loud and established media personality. Being invited to be the only woman on a show he was creating was a daunting task. While it may sound silly now, when the show was initially starting out I was terrified of getting drowned out by my pair of male co-hosts. Having listened to Jim’s past shows, most notably The Dismal Jesters, I was aware that if I allowed myself to naturally fall to a slot in the show dictated by my natural personality, I would likely end up in a Jonathan Holmes style position. I would either be the submissive joke foil, or just be drowned out of discussions.
I made a conscious effort before agreeing to be a co-host on the show that I was going to push myself as a personality and resist the easy option to fall into that dynamic on the show.
As someone relatively unknown, this strategy and personality have served me well while playing with the big dogs. It has allowed me to go toe to toe with some of the most outgoing voices in the industry, and have a unique and memorable angle while doing it.
I mixed what I was good at, serious critique of video games, with an outgoing, silly and brash persona. I was getting to be all of the things I’m normally not and it was a huge amount of fun for me as a creator. I discovered a love of combining the serious with the silly, this idea of juxtaposing traditionally silly topics with overly in depth and serious critique. I applied my usual level of serious critique to small games and topics that others might throw away as having no inherent discussion value. A perfect example of this being taking butts, and turning them into a vector to discuss serious topics regarding character design and narrative pacing. Creating serious from silly.
Here’s the thing, I’m well aware the brash, crude, silly aspects of what I do are not for everyone, and I respect that. That being said, for a lot of people it seems to have really resonated in a big way, which makes me unbelievably happy. I love that I can create content this silly, and have this many people enjoy it enough to fund a career of it.
So, where does this leave us? Well, I am under no false impressions of what my career is and why it’s successful. I’m also under no false impressions that this will ever be everyone’s cup of tea. All that really matters to me is that I am doing something I find incredibly enjoyable and rewarding, I can survive on the money it brings in and it has allowed me to have a memorable personal brand which has room for real growth within the industry. As a quiet, unqualified, aspergers and dyslexia riddled transgender woman in the video games industry, the fact I have carved out a niche, no matter how polorising a niche it may be, is more than I ever thought I would achieve.