The world of esports and content creation is growing at a rapid pace, particularly at the college level. More and more schools around North America are beginning to develop their own esports programs to get in on the action. If your school isn’t already considering how to get involved in this new and exciting industry, they are missing out.
Of course, to navigate the mysterious world of esports and content creation, you’ll need someone who has extensive experience in the field. You’ll need someone who knows how to work in this newest branch of the entertainment industry.
You need someone like Bennett Newsome.
Bennett “DamnitBennett” Newsome is a streamer and content creator who currently works as the esports strategist for Full Sail Armada, the competitive esports program at Full Sail University.
Originally a touring musician when he became associated with Full Sail, his experience with livestreaming and video games led to an opportunity to develop the esports program at the university.
Since then, Full Sail Armada has fielded teams for multiple esports titles, helped organize major events, grown a sizable Twitch channel and also built “The Fortress,” the largest collegiate esports arena in the United States with a guest capacity of 500.
“I’ve been very lucky to work with Full Sail when it comes to esports” Newsome told ggn00b in an interview. “The administration has been great for jumping in and getting ahead of the curve [of collegiate esports.]
Life at Full Sail is demanding (“You’re looking at a bare minimum of 45 hours per week of study time and coursework” Newsome says.) What Full Sail offers for aspiring esports enthusiasts, aside from nurturing their passion and building a community, is a concentrated effort at building towards a career.
“At Full Sail, we are career-focused. And at the end of the day, you’re coming here to study something cool, whether it’s music, film or video games.”
A Twitch Partner who has streamed for many years, Newsome understands just how quickly and drastically things can change in this industry. Navigating this constantly-evolving industry is one of the primary challenges as an esports strategist.
When it comes to streaming, Newsome’s advice for aspiring content creators is to use the space for a specific purpose to their overall brand, but to make sure they create content for other platforms. He points to TikTok and YouTube shorts as exciting avenues to develop videos that can help build an audience.
“You’re doing a disservice to yourself streaming for 10 hours at a time to only a couple of viewers.” Newsome explains. “You really have to invest your time into creating content on many platforms, and use streaming as the place where [it] happens live.”
“Take a few hours where you would’ve streamed and use that to work on editing videos and posting to different platforms, making sure every video is catered to the format of each platform.”
Every part of esports at Full Sail is geared towards helping students build career skills out of their passions. This includes getting students involved with event organization, as well as every facet of on-campus esports.
Perhaps the most notable investment that Full Sail Armada has towards esports at the college level is The Fortress, the largest collegiate esports arena in the country. The state of the art venue is open not only to varsity players, but students who are passionate about the broader esports community.
“It’s not just an arena; it’s a classroom. People can go there to learn and connect and develop themselves.” Newsome says in regards to The Fortress.
The era of COVID has brought its share of problems—Newsome mentions the struggle of maintaining the strong sense of community that Full Sail Armada offers—there is reason to believe that esports has benefited from the drastic shift in lifestyle.
“Esports is sort of geared towards this kind of thing; as a result, I think esports is at a place right now where most thought it would be five years from now.” Newsome explains. “Part of that has just been the level of exposure during this time.”
There are exciting things planned at Full Sail, and as things slowly return to “normal,” Newsome and the rest of the Armada staff will be ready to hit the new era of collegiate esports in a big way.
“The Fortress is ready.”
For the full interview with Bennett Newsome, click below!
Content has been edited for clarity.
Be sure to follow all of Bennett Newsome’s social media links, as well as follow Full Sail Armada on Twitch!