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Gaming Interviews

Actress and Producer Akemi Look Is The Latest Call of Duty Addition

This week’s Inside The Screen hosted by Aaron “Don” Dukes welcomes Akemi Look. A woman of many talents, Akemi is an actor, writer, and producer, based in Los Angeles and one of the newest additions to the Call of Duty family where gamers were officially introduced to her character KITSUNE in the latest season of Call of Duty: Black Ops Cold War. KITSUNE embodies everything Akemi Look represents in real life: fierce, badass, and the ability to command attention. It’s always an interesting experience when you can merge your passions together, and Don caught up with Akemi aka KITSUNE to discuss the latest happenings in her career, bringing KITSUNE to life, and more during their nearly 40-minute conversation. 

So how exactly does one end up with a role in perhaps the biggest gaming franchise in the world. Don asked Akemi the question we all wanted to know. “This was a totally random audition for me,” she says before going a little further into the audition process and how she ultimately landed the role. “I’ve auditioned for a lot of video games before, and this one was interesting. My managers called me and basically asked if I could jump on a Zoom call on the spot.

They couldn’t give me much information about it at the time, but the casting director remembered me from a previous audition. I hopped on Zoom, and the casting director told me to make all of these different facial expressions while he took pictures of each one. It was all kinds of faces from screaming to really intense looks. As an actor I was like “great.”

Pointing out that Akemi’s path into esports and gaming is one that not many generally consider, Don asks the actress if her life is now partially connected to the gaming scene since her fiance Patrick creates music for video games, and video gaming acting is a part of her resume now. “Oh yeah! My fiance does video game music and all kinds of composing. It’s funny because this is the first project that I’ve done where there’s been so much hype surrounding it. COD fans are freaking amazing! They love this character and I get really excited when I get messages from the girl gamers who tell me they play as my character all of the time. It’s so cool and badass, and all of the guys in Patrick’s squad play as KITSUNE too! “

As Don and Akemi continue to chit-chat, the conversation pivots towards women in gaming, and the challenges female streamers regularly face. “That’s why I got so excited for this role because I knew it would be for all of the girl gamers out there. It goes back to the age old saying of representation and having a new face for a badass woman in combat. It’s fiction and it’s centered in this fantasy reality which I really love.  

As you can tell, Don and Akemi had a great conversation that you should check out not only if you are a gamer, but also into television and movies as well. You can continue to follow them both on Instagram.

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Gaming Interviews

FaZe Simp Chops It Up With Don About ‘Call of Duty’, Esports Majors and More

This week’s Inside The Screen hosted by Aaron “Don” Dukes features special guest FaZe Simp. Gaming enthusiasts already know what time it is when it comes to FaZe Simp, who has established himself as a recognizable face in esports and gaming, as a member of ATL FaZe where he took home the regular-season MVP trophy and battled with the squad for this year’s Call of Duty world championship. It takes a lot to emerge victorious as the last one standing in a pool full of talented teams, but ATL FaZe managed to do it seamlessly. Catching up with Don for a quick post-championship check-in, the two had a fun conversation that you should definitely check out if you are a Call of Duty fan. Below is a preview of their interview.

Don: First I want to get your predictions on Rostermania. There’s a lot of great talent going into it. 

FaZe Simp: I feel like a lot of teams are going to switch up. I don’t know if it will be the players, but I do feel like a lot of the teams will switch because a big problem this year was group chemistry. If teams can stick it out through the course of the year, then they will have a shot at being pretty good. 

Don: What team shocked you the most this season?

FaZe Simp: Toronto is probably the team that shocked everyone most this season just because they weren’t really one of the top teams at the beginning of the year, but around Stage 2 or 3 they became one of the best for the year.

Don: We are getting “World at War” for the new Call of Duty: Vanguard. How do you feel about that?

FaZe Simp: From what I’ve seen it looks like Modern Warfare and World War II combined. I’m just hoping that it’s a little more polished and smooth than Modern Warfare because some of the cameras were slightly messed up. As long as they have that and more time to kill it should be fine.

Don: You guys have won three out of the last five majors. Did you ever feel like you all hit a barrier?

FaZe Simp: If we did hit a barrier it was around Major Five where we all started stressing too much about Champs. It reflected in the trust of our teamwork because that was the series where we couldn’t win a hard point. We lost control to Minnesota, and then Seattle as well since we couldn’t win a hard point. You can’t win without getting the hard points so that’s what we messed up on. 

You can check out the full conversation above, and be sure to keep up with Don and FaZe Simp on Instagram and Twitter.

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Gaming Interviews

ONE37pm Speaks With TSM FTX VP of Apparel Erik Marino

It’s only been a little over a month since TSM FTX VP of Apparel Erik Marino joined the company, but like everything else in his career so far, his first release with the brand was an instant success. Selling out within the first hour, the TSM FTX: Core collection is the first core program of their sportswear staples, and while TSM FTX has offered merchandise before, it has never been at this level. This collection is centered around the organization’s iconic logo, taking a clean approach in its monochromatic palette, incorporating raised embroideries, wax prints, and rubberized appliques ranging from fleece, tees, headwear, varsity jacket and bomber jackets.

TSM
 TSM FTX: Core Launch

TSM FTX continues to skyrocket as one of the most valuable esports organizations in the world, and Marino, who is the former Executive Creative Director of FaZe Clan, brings nearly two decades of experience developing high-level brands in streetwear. 

Marino has also previously partnered with hip hop legends Wu-Tang Clan, and was the co-founder of the internationally known music lifestyle brand Rocksmith, based in NYC and Tokyo. As mentioned earlier, the TSM FTX: Core Collection sold out within the first hour of its release, and we got a chance to speak with Marino following the drop to ask him about this collection, and what he has up his sleeve for TSM FTX Apparel in the coming months.

ONE37pm: First of all congratulations on TSM FTX Core selling out within the first hour! What was it about TSM FTX that attracted you to your role as VP of Apparel? It’s only been a little over a month!

Marino: Thank you. The reaction from TSM FTX fans was incredible! I joined TSM FTX because it’s a very prestigious org in esports that is globally respected. After my conversations with Walter Wang it felt like a good fit and an opportunity along with the creative freedom to build a true lifestyle and apparel component for the Org.

ONE37pm: You have an extensive resume with a long list of notable clients, how has your TSM FTX experience been different thus far?

Marino: Well, it’s just the beginning. I like that the Org is really focused on esports and winning, as opposed to companies that are fashion driven. This is refreshing to me as I have lived on the fashion industry calendar both for clients and with my own brands like Rocksmith NYC in the past.

TSM
TSM: Core Editorial

ONE37pm: What all went into designing this collection?

Marino: Really it was an objective to make a stylish but very core collection for our fans and players. This collection done in black and white, our team colors, is meant to be staple everyday wear items. We will be restocking in a matter of weeks and make this group readily available. Stay tuned for more collection drops and special projects!

ONE37pm: Obviously the demand is super high. Will there be another release of this specific capsule?

Marino: Yes, the Core collection will be restocked. Some items like tees have already been restocked, and we offer a custom jersey option that is always available.

TSM
TSM Apparel Editorial

ONE37pm: Last but not least, what do you guys have in store for the near future?

Marino: We have plans to really build out TSM FTX as an esports lifestyle brand by way of Apparel, home goods and gaming related products. We will be doing projects in collaboration, as well as expanding categories internally, with the goal to have fun in the process!

Be sure to keep up with all of TSM’s latest apparel releases via the official TSM Store

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Gaming Interviews

Arcadia Is Changing The Sports and Gaming Landscape

The digital worlds of sports and gaming continue to evolve into unimaginable heights, and Arcadia is here to take things to another dimension.

Arcadia is a new sports platform that combines the athleticism of traditional sports and the limitless possibilities of the digital world through its stadium-sized video game format where players become avatars and directly control movement and progress by running, jumping, pushing, and sliding. Arcadia creates a complete athletic experience that allows 2-10 players to compete in the world’s largest, multiplayer VR arena that can be played inside or outside while encouraging users to play and compete against each other.

Later this year, Arcadia will launch a six-city tour called the Arcadia Trials, where they will search for its first-ever pro-Arcadia Athletes where both gamers and fans will be given the chance to vote for Arcadia to visit their hometown, and a shot at being crowned the Arcadia Champion.

Arcadia

Fans and viewers can tune into Arcadia.tv to participate in a competitive stream where they can watch athletes move and compete inside the virtual arena or follow the action from the athletes’ POV. Even more exciting, Arcadia has plans to launch original series, and recently partnered with Warner Bros. for a once-in-a-lifetime Space Jam game.

Additionally, Arcadia will be working with renowned brands, major film studios, and talent. It’s going to be a fun second half of the year and beyond for Arcadia, and we sat down with CEO and co-founder Chris Olimpo to get the scoop on what’s been going on in their world. 

ONE37pm: It’s so good to speak with you, Chris! Let’s first start by asking how you guys developed the concept of Arcadia.

Olimpo: So the truth is—it’s a collective idea that has been around for a while going back to things like Tron in 1982, but we have been able to bring the concept together. I had the privilege of being able to direct and produce Tom Cruise’s first VR film and having had that experience, I was able to understand VR on a deeper level by seeing the things that people can’t see. We have been able to make Arcadia a reality by bridging gaming and sports. We are creating a new sport, and it is an original idea that blends the two together while also focusing on solving specific problems to make as a visual.

Arcadia

ONE37pm: How do you see esports and Arcadia, in general, evolving as a medium in the next five years?

Olimpo: I do think Arcadia is going to be a new category that is between sports and esports. It is going to celebrate both and sit in between. Going forward, I could see esports including a sport like Arcadia, and that it will be a hit game.

ONE37pm: You guys will be going on a six city tour called Arcadia Trials later this year. What do Arcadia’s recruiting efforts entail?

Olimpo: It is going to look like a real sports tryout in a virtual dimension, and it will be broadcast on social media. We actually like to use the term “athletic gamers,” and we had tryouts in Montreal with over 1,000 players. It was interesting because we never knew who was going to win. Sometimes when it was gamers vs athletes, the gamers would crush it. Usually, the players that had a leg up were the ones that were both gamers and athletes. As far as our tryouts—you can go to Arcadia.tv/tryouts and register to vote for your city.

From there, we will have people line up, and we are going to film them, do interviews, etc. We are going to select two players from each city to fly out, and they will compete in a bracket tournament that crowns the first-ever  Arcadia champion. That will close out Stage 1 of Arcadia.tv. We are aiming for a fall start date, but it’s not confirmed yet. We may start this year, and go into the first quarter of next year.

ONE37pm: What are some of Arcadia’s proudest accomplishments thus far?

Olimpo: We are proud to have launched to the world, and we are already working on the future! We are also proud to have announced a partnership with Warner Bros and bring Space Jam: A New Legacy into our Arcadia Sports Platform. It was absolutely insane! It was one of the most fun games I have ever played, and I’m not being biased either. To have that partnership with Warner Bros. was amazing, and there is definitely a lot in store for the future.

ONE37pm: Definitely! I’m going to take it back a little bit. Did the pandemic have an effect on you guys last year?

Olimpo: It definitely had an impact, but there were pros and cons. We were actually in the process of raising an investment round in February 2020, which was right around the time the pandemic started, and our trips to San Francisco and New York were faulted. We had to send videos to people, and they actually thought the tech was fake. They didn’t believe it was real, and it pretty much slowed us down in terms of funding.

We eventually decided to take a leap of faith and fly to San Francisco to host demos, and they were like “Wow! I can’t believe this isn’t vapourware.” From a gaming standpoint, however, it was a blessing in disguise. Sports had stopped, but there was sort of this underground movement that happened, and many of our Arcadia players wanted to still keep on playing. So they were playing in parks and parking lots, and it was cool. In a way, Covid gave us access to that underground movement and space.

ONE37pm: Final QuestionWhere do you see Arcadia in five years?

Olimpo: I see Arcadia being a fully legitimate sport where we have sold out stadium events. I see it being similar to the Olympics where there are a variety of games. I also envision technology being lighter for athletes, and that there will be a new status quo when it comes to sports and gaming. Fans and audiences will come to expect this as a new reality, and we will have star Arcadia athletes.

We actually predict that a professional athlete will leave their league to join Arcadia, and that it will be a young up-and-coming athlete that makes that transition. We definitely think that could happen in five years!

Be sure to follow the official Arcadia Instagram for all of their latest updates, and check out their official website here.

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Gaming Interviews

Inside The Screen With The Founders of SWIPE

On this week’s edition of Inside The Screen, host Aaron “Don” Dukes sits down with Jay and Julian, founders of SWIPE to talk about all things related to their company. Jay has roughly five years of experience working in esports and gaming starting at Infinite (which is where he met Julian), and eventually moving over to Complexity Gaming where he has spent the last two years working in graphic design. Jay also does graphic work for a creative agency, and uses all of his skills now with Swipe Mouse Pads.

Julian has been leading esports organizations for nearly ten years, starting at Obey Alliance before jumping to Luminosity Gaming, and similar to Jay, Julian also uses his many years in the gaming industry as a basis for how he approaches SWIPE as it continues to grow as an organization. Don chopped it up with Jay and Julian in a 30-minute conversation that you will definitely want to check out. Here is a preview of their interview.

Don: What Inspired SWIPE? There are a lot of mouse brands out there, but what specifically inspired this one?

Julian: I think there is a lot of value in doing something that isn’t just gaming, and myself and Jay talked about doing something new. We are always in esports and working on all of this different stuff that is team based, and we began thinking about how to build this brand from a sponsored perspective. When it comes to SWIPE, the model we take on is very much one with a creator mentality.

The concept of creating a peripheral/mouse pad company was extremely exciting for us because I don’t believe there’s a lot of mousepad companies in this space that are going to be able to accommodate creators the way we can. The main reason that we wanted to start our business was because of the network we already had, and the excitement of the model we are applying to our company. It just felt like a really cool thing to do. 

Don: What video games raised you guys?

Jay: I was raised by a ton of Pokemon and fighting games. I actually stopped gaming for a while, and was into skateboarding for about six or seven years. After skateboarding I was full on Call of Duty! I played Call of Duty tournaments for such a long time, so I would say those were the games that shaped me. 

Julian: I say Call of Duty as well, and I think bo2 because that was the game that blew up the trickshotting and sniping scene for me, so I’ll always remember that!

Don: You guys both dropped out of college and started doing something that you were passionate about and could make capital from. What is the vision for Swipe Mouse Pads, and where do you want to take this?

Jay: For me, I am really big on branding. I want SWIPE to have an amazing brand that is known through the creator community, and I want us to create value for creators, esports players, and the consumer that buys the product. One of the biggest things I’ve seen in gaming recently is creators taking deals to strictly benefit themselves and not their fans.

SWIPE offers creators the opportunity to think about how they can create a partnership based on the value to their fans, not just on the check they are going to get. We’re here to serve the community, and that is what I feel is lost by brands specifically in the creative space because they are giving checks to creators without a second thought to their supporters. One of the visions I have is to be a brand in which creators can rely on. 

Julian: Jay is right on point. Swipe is a real natural partnership with our ability to customize and create a product for creators. It’s not just about “selling a swipe mouse pad”—we aren’t going to leak too much, but we’re making full blown products, packaging, and everything made by the creator with Swipe being secondary because we realize how important it is for creators to have their name on products and really own it.

This is something that I’ve talked about even from an esports team perspective because fans are very self aware of the deals that go on, the amount of effort that creators put into their deals, and even when their favorite creator is signing a new one. Fans know those things, so it’s important to have products that they can get behind. If I just went to a creator and asked them to promote—the engagement rate would be very low, but if I were to go to a creator and tell them to make their own mouse pad and put their name on it, that would go much further than any advertisement. 

Don, Julian, and Jay have a dope conversation that you can above. Be sure to follow all of them for their latest updates.

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Gaming Interviews

Caleb Cousens of Adamas Sports Joins “Inside The Screen”

This edition of Inside The Screen with Aaron “Don” Dukes looks a little different than what we are used to from the gamer extraordinaire. Don is taking his guests gaming. Literally. This week, the host brings on Caleb Cousens, co-founder and CEO of Adamas Sports for a round of League of Legends. Founded in 2020, Adamas Sports is a service that provides esports athletes with knowledge, tools, inspiration and guidance, along with specialized training from experienced mentors in the esports and gaming community to ensure esports athletes are at their best physically and mentally. Cousens himself has decades of entrepreneurial experience in the gaming, sports, apparel, and tech industries, and joined Don for a spirited discussion as the two teamed up for League of Legends bragging rights.

Don and Caleb start their convo with Caleb giving a quick game explainer, and Don being well…Don, catches on very quickly. As the two make their way through the opening part of the game, Caleb describes how his sports background has helped in his esports career when it comes to performance coaching. “At the end of the day, human performance is the same across any industry or area,” he says before detailing the strategies behind how he is able to get the best out of athletes.

“Science doesn’t change. Esports is starting to show us different elements of human performance that maybe the industry hasn’t recognized before, and is driving the industry in terms of cognitive performance. People always ask if esports is a real “sport,” and we don’t need to have that debate because we both agree that it is. Esports athletes are cognitive and mental athletes first, and the tasks/challenges they take on in games are way more mentally taxing than any traditional sport. A lot of traditional sports are going to be learning from esports in the coming years as more research happens in this space.”

Agreeing on the longevity and influence that esports athletes have, Don points out just how challenging gaming can be due to the many different elements happening at one time that gamers have to look out for. “That’s exactly right, and it’s why esports has such an important part to play in the broader industry of human performance. One of the biggest misconceptions that people have in regards to esports is that it isn’t physical.

Research actually shows that as high level esports athletes go through highly competitive matches, their bodies are undergoing the same level of stress as Olympic runners during a race. It’s a physical undertaking for sure. Yes people don’t have to jump as high or run as fast, but the human body’s reaction and what it can withstand in esports, is very similar to traditional sports. A lot of people don’t know about that!”

As Don and Caleb continue their match, Don rewinds back to Caleb’s early gaming days, and how he developed a passion for playing. “We grew up on sports games like FIFA, and NHL—I’m Canadian so hockey was pretty big for me. That is how I first started, and where I really cut my teeth in the competitive gaming realm was in RTS (Real Time Strategy). My brother and I along with some friends were very good at a game called Battle For Middle Earth, and we played competitively. We were all ranked top 100 in the global ladder, and had a ton of fun. That was awesome, and well spent looking at my career now!”

You definitely don’t want to miss the full interview with Don and Caleb. Be sure to check it out above, and follow both Don and Caleb on Instagram and Twitter.

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Sports Strength

Jordan Fuller Talks Sports Psychology, Getting Stronger, and Family

When you play football at THE Ohio State… and then play in the NFL, you do a lot of interviews and answer a lot of questions. 

The prompts get old and repetitive, but for the most part, the athletes are gracious enough to answer without too much attitude, even though I am sure that they are uninterested. 

Jordan Fuller is no exception. For every question asked, he gives a thoughtful response.

Even the questions that he gets asked over and over, like ‘what is it like playing with Jalen Ramsey and Aaron Donald?’ or, ‘what was it like to intercept Tom Brady twice in the same game?’

“Yeah I get it asked a lot,” he laughed. “It’s all good though.” 

Fuller has dedicated a good portion of his offseason to his mental training. Of course, when you are in the early stages of your career, you need to get stronger physically. But he also realized that the mental fortitude needed to be as much of a focus.

ONE37pm: How does the body feel now compared to last season? The body is still growing. 

Fuller: “I definitely feel like I am getting stronger. As a rookie, I found out other things I need to work on. Strength, mobility, and overall wellness. My mental. I feel like I’ve grown a lot as a person too. The body feels great. Mentally and spiritually.” 

ONE37pm: So many players have committed to seeing a sports psychologist. Is that something you have dabbled in? 

Fuller: “I wanted to delve into speaking things into existence. And I have, I feel like I am in a good place.”

With the high-stress nature of football, there is a yin and yang to the mental approach of the sport. He explained how going too far on one end can be costly. 

“Get into your zone. Having enough stress so the adrenaline is pumping, but not too much to where it paralyzes you. You wanna get there on command. I’m not there yet, but I am trying” Fuller says.

ONE37pm: Which way do you lean, the pumped up side or chill side?

Fuller: “I’m a thinker, so I’ll be on the more stressed side. So sometimes I need to scale it back. Understanding that nothing is good or bad, don’t make judgments in the moment cause it wastes time.”

Fuller dove deeper into those early judgments. 

“Living with regret. That’s what I hate. The way I approach workouts, games… I hate that. Why wouldn’t I give it my all? That’s what motivates me. Coulda, woulda, shoulda, I hate that” he explains.

Fuller’s awareness is really impressive. He understands his strengths and accepts some of his weaknesses. But his biggest focus is changing HOW he views his weaknesses.

Fuller: “My strengths… I’m smart. I’m consistent. I try to be a good teammate and be another coach on the field. But a lot of times, people won’t see that with the naked eye. There are a lot of things I will bring to the table. Maybe I’m not the quickest or the strongest… there are a bunch of other guys who have that on me. But talking to the psychologist, he reversed that thinking. At Ohio St., as a Freshman, it was a really big jump for me. That might have scarred my thinking a little bit. Thinking like, ‘man, these guys are way better than me.’ My thinking didn’t make sense. I just got in my head sometimes. 

ONE37pm: You make it sound really easy, but there is no way that is the case. Changing your thinking also means changing years and years of habits. So how do you rewire that process?

Fuller: “The other thing I am working on is being present. A little bit of meditation to center myself. Taking a few deep breaths and understanding that a lot of my worries aren’t real or things I can control.”

Needless to say, Jordan Fuller does not sound like your typical 23-year-old. 

ONE37pm: So many people talk about the cliche “welcome to the NFL” feeling or moment. But since you came from Ohio State and your entire family is full of superstars…was that still the case for you? 

Fuller: “In training camp, it might have happened. I was playing with the ones (starters)… blah blah blah. But then I got a pick or something and I said, ‘yeah, I am supposed to be here.’ 

Then we played the Cowboys, with a ton of big names. But then like the first play of the game, I made an assisted tackle with Jalen Ramsay on Amari Cooper. I feel like God sent that knowing that I needed it. Once you get that first hit, you’re good.”

ONE37pm: When you do these interviews, and you do 1,000’s of them, what do you want to be asked? 

Fuller: “Honestly, I want to be asked about other people that I care about. Whether it is my family or a teammate who had a great game. I don’t want to be like, ‘look at me.’ 

I am big on family. The people I am close with… My dad played at TCU. My brother was drafted by the Falcons, and he is one of my best friends. He’s into coaching, and I’ve gotten to watch him grow. Obviously, my mom is one of the best backup singers of all time. My little sister has grown into her own. My brother married into the Holiday family, if you know Jrue, Justin, and Aaron. I’m living rent-free because of Jrue and Lauren right now. She’s the real superstar. Real deal. Great, great people. For real. 

They’ve poured so much into me. It’s been really dope. Being surrounded by excellence has pushed me further. They are the reason why I am so motivated. I definitely think I have the best family in the world.”

That’s the kind of person Jordan Fuller is.

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Gaming Interviews

Matt Fisher Talks Esports Athletes’ Physical and Mental Health With ONE37pm

On this week’s episode of Inside The Screen, host Aaron aka “Don” has a conversation with Matt Fisher, performance manager of Adamas Esports. Working directly with the performance service team, Fisher focuses on enhancing esport performances through the Adamas Performance Methodology, which includes four components: gaming, lifestyle, health, and psychology. A holistic approach to gaming self-care remains the main goal for Adamas, with the objective being performance enhancement and mental/physical well-being amongst esports athletes. Fisher started his career as a strength and conditioning coach for athletes working with many different organizations through the years, including Golf Canada and Field Hockey Canada, while also serving as a mental performance consultant for Canadian Sport Institute Pacific and Douglas College.

In addition to teaching/coaching, Fisher has been a student himself as a member of the Canadian Sports Psychology Association and the Canadian Counseling and Psychotherapy Association. With many years of experience under his belt, Fisher is one of the best in the business and joined Don for a 30-minute conversation that discussed his career and the importance of esports athletes taking care of themselves in the best way possible from a physical and mental standpoint.

Don and Fisher begin their convo discussing how this past year has been for Fisher both personally and professionally. “I think like everybody else there has obviously been the challenges of COVID,” he tells Don before outlining how he has approached his career through the course of this pandemic.

Despite all of the challenges, Fisher has managed to maintain. “Hopefully we are getting over the hump, but I can’t complain. I have a lot to be grateful for and I have a great job. I’m also finishing up school, I have a wonderful family, and the esports world has brought along a lot of opportunities across my plate. I couldn’t ask for much more!”

Don then transitions the conversation to Fisher’s coaching career, asking Fisher to give listeners a rundown of the many different roles he’s had in his fifteen years of experience, and how those roles have prepared him for where he is today. “My background comes from traditional sports. The last fifteen years I’ve really been working with a lot of our Canadian National Teams as a strength and conditioning coach. A lot of my time was mainly spent in the gym, and part of that was mentoring other up and coming coaches.”

Taking it back to his love of video games, Fisher then goes into how he was able to merge his love of coaching, conditioning, and mentoring, with his passion for gaming. “I’ve always loved video games, and have paid attention to esports since the early Halo days. I’ve seen the evolution and a few years back I decided there was some sort of opportunity to help these guys and girls out by bringing structure to what they are doing. I wanted to allow them to take their natural abilities further. I’m not a coach for the tactical element of games, I’m more so the “coach of coaches” as I work with coaches from different esports organizations to help them take their knowledge and spread it in healthier, more motivating ways to get more out of their athletes.”

Recognizing that they both agree on esports gamers being recognized as legitimate athletes. Don points out that while esports athletes may not physically be “Lebron James,” they still use micro-muscles in their day to day gaming performances. “You are absolutely right! I think that is one of those things that comes down to the dedication of their craft. Of course it is more of a cognitive challenge in esports as opposed to traditional, but at the same time, we are getting more information on how gaming can improve reaction time, and everything needed to excel.”

Don and Fisher had a great interview that you can check out above. Be sure to follow them both on Instagram and Twitter.

Categories
Gaming Interviews

Arcitys and AbeZy of Atlanta FaZe Join “Inside The Screen” With Don

It has been just a little over a week since Atlanta FaZe captured the coveted $200k grand prize at the Call of Duty League’s Major III tournament. The victory means that FaZe is officially recognized as COD’s number one team, now being ranked above rivals Optic Chicago and Minnesota ROKKR, and a big part of their massive win is thanks in part to the performances of Tyler “AbeZy” Pharris and Alec “Arcitys” Sanderson. Speaking of AbeZy and Arcitys, the two gamers joined 137 Seconds host Aaron “Don” Dukes to discuss their win and more in a really cool interview that any avid Call of Duty fan will want to watch. Here is what they had to say.

Don: You guys are in the best world right now—esports and gaming. What was your guys’ first job before this even started?

Arcitys: I worked at Dairy Queen with my brother. We wanted to go to events and travel, but our family didn’t have that kind of money back then. It really all started because we wanted to get an Xbox One. So we were like “let’s just put our money together so that way we can buy a monitor and an Xbox.” We got the job so that way we could support our family and ourselves.

AbeZy: I actually didn’t have a job—I guess that means Call of Duty is my first!

Don: How does it feel winning two out of three majors so far? I feel like everybody already knows you guys are a dynasty!

AbeZy: It feels amazing! Obviously, we still have Champs and a few majors coming up that we want to win. Champs means the most to everyone, and that is the main one that everyone will be talking about for the next few years, so that will be our goal going into the next few majors. We want to practice and shape up our map pool for Champs.

Arcitys: I think going into this, all of us had the idea of trying to win everything, and obviously, that hasn’t happened. Shoutout to Crowder (Faze’s head coach); he told us during our first scrimmage that it was borderline impossible to win everything. We always had it in the back of our heads to prove him wrong, and I think that’s what he wants us to do. You know Major 2 was the heartbreaker one, but we realized we weren’t as good as what we thought we were, and it helped us get better.

Don: Thoughts on majors format and if they should be changed?

Arcitys: You know we said after Major 2 that Toronto had a better chance of winning because of how warmed up they were since they had three matches. After losing our New York match, we told ourselves that stuff didn’t matter because we were still in this tournament. Going into Sunday, the winning team has no chance of scrimming because nobody is playing that day except the teams that lose. 

AbeZy: It’s kind of tough because the way they did Major 1 this year was different. We used to play Winners Finals and Grand Finals on Sunday, so we would have a chance to warm up. Now you don’t have a warm-up going into the Grand Finals because like Arcitys said, nobody scrims on that day. You don’t really get much practice.

Don: Which team surprised them the most in stage 3?

AbeZY: I would say the New York Subliners. They are super talented. Hydra came in nasty and he has been doing very well. 

Arcitys: We have this thing where we like to beat up on the rookies that come in, and Hydra was not happy at all! He is actually very talented and it’s awesome to see him in the league.

Don: Last question. How do you guys feel about going back to LAN events? I know online takes its toll, but how does it feel to be going back?

Arcitys: I’m shaking right now! I don’t know if you’ve seen the tweets from the kids that troll me everyday, but there are supposedly four teams that are better than us on LAN! Just kidding, but I’m happy LAN is back. Though I don’t think it will have that ‘full feeling’ until the fans can come back too. 

AbeZy: It’s definitely exciting! With LAN you know you are on zero ping. Everything connects and feels amazing. People can’t make excuses anymore, and I am just excited to be back on.

Be sure to watch the interview above, and follow Don, AbeZy, and Arcitys on Instagram.

Categories
Gaming Interviews

Twitch Streamer Draynilla Talks Gaming And The Importance Of Being Yourself

Draynilla is a man of many talents and many names. Andre Joseph aka SoaR Dray aka ‘The Booty President’ is one of the most skilled and entertaining gamers in the esports and gaming community, and is the latest guest to join Aaron ‘Don’ Dukes in this latest episode of Inside The Screen. ‘Dray’ brought the laughs, fun, and epic gaming expertise in a 35-minute conversation with Don as he discussed his content journey, Twitch, and so much more that you won’t want to miss.

Don starts it off by asking Draynilla about when exactly he realized that he wanted to be a content creator. “I started my content creation journey when I was a lot younger. I used to make Minecraft videos on YouTube just for fun,” he tells Don as he reflects on his childhood gaming years. “I used to get made fun of in school for stuff like that, and I stopped doing it because I was super self-conscious as a kid. Around 2017 is when I started getting back on Twitch, and when I saw Daquan and Hamlinz, that is when I got back into it. I saw so much of myself in them, and I figured that if they could do it and pull all those numbers, then I could too!”

Don and Draynilla then went into a discussion about how his parents reacted when he told them that he wanted to quit his job to pursue a career in streaming, his passions outside of gaming, the importance of family, and his career growth over the last six months with Don asking him about his long-term vision. “Not to sound arrogant or anything, but I have always believed and envisioned myself to be one of the biggest content creators on Twitch. I’m a firm believer in my own content and my ability to get that position. At TwitchCon they always have these banners of the biggest streamers in Twitch, and I have also thought that I can get there. I want to take this global, and I want to be everywhere. Let’s say down the line I’m not streaming anymore, I still want to be in gaming, whether it’s being the manager of an up-and-coming streamer, or having an org.”

As the conversation progresses, Don and Dray chat about Dray’s Twitch evolution, with Don eventually asking Dray how long it has taken him to build his audience. “I want to let people know that it is a marathon not a sprint, and it is about what you do on a day to day basis that leads you to where you want to be in life. Just like with anything, you have to be consistent. I’ve been streaming for about two years now, and I’ve had a lot of ups and downs, but I’m a firm believer that everybody’s journey is different,” he tells Don before going into what has personally helped him achieve success.

“Honestly just being myself! I don’t try to put on a fake or front, and I feel people gravitate towards that more because they want to watch you for you. At first when you are really trying to grow, people are going to want to watch you for the game you play, but you have to get people into your stream. You have to keep in mind that timing is everything because I believe life won’t give you what you want when you want it, but when you need it.”

Don and Dray had an awesome convo that any avid gamer will not want to miss. You can follow Dray on Instagram and Twitter.