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Student Shoutcaster turned Trophy Producer: Interview with Dan Parker

Author: Laura.Martin

Throughout March we’ve been fully immersed in esports; travelling across the length and breadth of the country to host our knockouts before the grand finale event on 10 April. Still, we’re not the only ones who have been busy. Behind the scenes, a whole host of people have contributed to making this tournament the biggest and best yet.

Dan Parker from New College Swindon has undertaken a multitude of roles offered through our esports programme: from Best Shoutcaster 2018 to Team Manager and finally, Trophy Producer. We caught up with Dan to find out about the impact of his involvement in the tournament so far.

How did you first get involved in the Digital Schoolhouse esports tournament?

Dan: I first got involved in the Digital Schoolhouse esports tournament last year through college. I was made aware of the competition by my lecturer who then showed me how I could sign up and be part of the tournament. This fuelled a lot of excitement for me - as gaming has and will always be a massive part of my life, being able to be part of the professional side of that community is stunning. When I heard that the tournament was to be happening again, I jumped on the first opportunity as I knew that it would be another great experience.

Why is being involved in the tournament important to you?

Dan: Being involved in the tournament is important to me in so many ways. I think the first is that it is reassuring to see that there is a professional side to the community that I love so very much, and that there is a career to be made from what you love. I believe that everyone has the capability to love gaming whether it’s an easy mobile game you can play when stuck in a queue, or a major league competitive game to make a living. Gaming brings people together and if I can have any part of that then sign me up!

Tell me about your roles in the tournament over the last couple of years.

Dan: My roles in the tournaments in the last two years have changed on a large scale. The first year I got involved in the tournament I was only a shoutcaster to support my friends and other students at my college - I knew I didn't have the talent to be a player. Upon casting for less than a week I fell in love with the art of it all and tried my very best to put on a good show for the viewers which led to me making my way to the finals and winning best shoutcaster of the tournament. When the following year came around and the tournament was to have its new roster of teams, I jumped on the opportunity immediately to take a more managerial role which has allowed me to understand even more about the deeper side to professional gaming such as team management: keeping morale high, making sure people are practising and most importantly, actually showing up to their games. If it wasn't for Digital Schoolhouse I would have never got to learn about something I am so passionate about.

What skills did you gain through participation in the tournament?

Dan: I gained many skills that I can use in my daily life and in the future due to these tournaments. For example leadership; I have learned that leadership is very important when it comes to having a managerial position in an event such as this tournament. I can use this as well as other skills such as teamwork and higher responsibility when going into future employment and endeavors, helping me be the best me possible and to give the world everything I can. 

How have you used these skills and your experience since?

Dan: I have used these skills recently - in my current job - to display a more professional outlook to customers which doesn’t go unnoticed. As well as this, I have also taken part in a smaller level of gaming competition as they saw my shoutcasting in the previous tournament and wanted me to do the same for them. In group activities, I am also able to organise my group using the skills I have gained from the tournaments. 

Has your involvement changed your perception of careers opportunities in the video games industry?

Dan: My involvement in the tournament has only strengthened my wish to be part of the esports scene professionally and that if there is any way I could be part of that I would be honoured. Gaming has been a passion of mine since I was a child back playing crash bandicoot racing with my dad on the PlayStation 2 and I have only just gotten more and more lost in depths of different realities that gaming holds available for us. The fact that I can continue my passion knowing it is a professional route to take, not only brings joy but also reassurance. Because if there is any way I can give people even a fraction of the joy that little 4-year boy had when beating his dad in a racing game, then I’ll know I’m doing something right. 

What advice would you give to students who want to get involved in the tournament?

Dan: If there is anyone out there who doesn’t know what to do in terms of this tournament there is only one thing I can say to you and that is to take that leap and just jump into the tournament. Dive head first into that experience while you can, because if you wait too long you may miss the chance to do one of the best things you could ever do in the gaming industry at your age and the fact that Digital Schoolhouse lay all these opportunities out on a plate for you, it would be silly not to give it a chance. 

The trophy will be revealed at the Grand Final on 10 April at Gfinity’s London arena. Sign up for your free place here.


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