Kicking off a new series called Streamer Spotlight, we sat down with Kripp to discuss the life of a full-time Twitch streamer, his time in Athens, what it takes to turn a passion for live streaming into a career, and more.
Check out the video below with highlights from the conversation. The full interview is copied below.
Streamlabs: At what point in time did you realize you could make content creation your full-time career?
Kripp: So the point at which I realized I could make a living off of streaming on YouTube was, basically when the rules changed to where you could actually monetize video game content yourself. And at that point, I was producing video game content just for fun, no money involved for a couple of years. And then I made like 250 bucks for my first month where there was this change in the rules I guess. And basically, I thought to myself, well, Diablo three is going to be launching in a few months and right now I’m doing one or two videos a week at most. So if I’d just do a video every day, I can probably survive. So basically I took leave from my job and I made a team. So I figured Diablo three will be a game that required you to have a team. I was wrong about that in the end, but regardless, they encouraged me to check out streaming and it’d be more organic to promote each other, which we did. And well, here we are today, many years later.
Streamlabs: What are some hobbies you enjoy that help you unwind or relax?
Kripp: In my spare time, I typically fill it something to do with my wife Rania. She’s the one who does the video editing and all the background stuff that you don’t see. We’re kind of 50/50 into it and we’re kind of 50/50 out of it as well. When we’re not streaming, when we are not making YouTube videos, we’re checking things out or going to a new restaurant. Maybe we go to a movie together, we plan on traveling a bit more in the future, but yeah, unwinding, relaxing - video games, they still do it for me. Sometimes when I do like an 18-hour stream on like a Hearthstone launch day or something like that, I still feel pretty good at the end of that, most of the time. I’ve been built for this I guess.
Streamlabs: What tips do you have for new live streamers entering the space?
Kripp: So if you’re entering the streamer space, and you want to become the next big deal on twitch, there are certainly some things you have to pay attention to. I always mentioned that everyone plays video games, so you can’t just play video games. You have to be a little bit extraordinary and you also need to be fairly consistent as well. You don’t necessarily succeed from consistency, but you will almost certainly fail without consistency. You need to have a schedule, you need to stick to it and you need to do your absolute best to not deviate whatsoever from it. If someone tunes into your stream at one specific time on a specific day of the week and the next week you’re not there at that time. Well, they’re probably going to check out someone else.
Streamlabs: You started out on YouTube and then eventually incorporated Twitch, at what point did you realize there was a lot of value in live streaming?
Kripp: Well I moved to Twitch from YouTube upon the recommendation of my team that I formed for Diablo three. I looked into twitch streaming at the time and it was basically an environment where people just streamed league of legends. And watching these guys do their thing, I’m like, well, I could just do that. It’s just playing the game. And when something interesting happens, you talk about it with the people that are watching you. And I guess if you have the personality where you don’t mind being judged all the time and you know, you have a pretty thick skin to comments, it’s a pretty natural thing to do to just, you know, do it with other people involved and the streaming environment.
Streamlabs: You have a pretty interesting streaming schedule. 11pm EST — 5am EST every day. Why did you decide to stream mainly at night vs during the day?
Kripp: So my streaming schedule might be a little bit weird. It’s certainly night heavy if you’re from the Americas. But if you’re from the west coast, maybe it’s a bit more convenient. Traditionally us gamers, we play games at night. That’s when I like playing games. So I imagine that some people like watching games, but, a lot of it is just how things turned out. I streamed at slightly different times, but also streamed more hours in the first few years of streaming. But when I met Rania, I went to Greece to be with her and in Greece she had a full-time job as she was teaching at the university in Athens. And it wasn’t possible for me to keep my old streaming schedule because it was opposite her work hours. So basically we wouldn’t be together whatsoever. So basically what I did is when I went to Greece, I switched my streaming hours, something close to what they are now, just so I could like live life with her at all, really and when I did that, I basically lost half of my audience. So a few years later when we decided to move to Canada, we didn’t want to adjust the streaming schedule too much again, cause you know, it kind of sucks to lose half your audience at any time, just because you know, life choices. So we only moved it a little bit and it is what it is now. It gives people an opportunity from Europe to watch if they want to get up really early in the morning. For the east coast of America’s, it’s not too bad if you’re one of those late night gamers and it’s pretty fitting for the West Coasters. So it’s not too bad.
Stremlabs: What does your typical daily routine look like?
Kripp: So the typical daily routine is get up in the morning, I’m not at all a morning person, I sleep really badly. So it’s typically a two to three-hour process to be like fully conscious for me. I’m typically taking the dogs out, playing with him a little bit, going through emails seeing what we’re going to do that day. If we do end up doing something that day, we have to make sure that the videos are done in advance. If not, well, we work on videos. Rania typically sends me the highlights from Facebook, some from Twitter. Even though I’m not on Twitter much myself, she’s a bit more of a social media fiend than I am. We’re working on the videos were talking to a lot of our partners. Just a lot of businessy stuff really. But if we have videos done for the day and if the day isn’t particularly busy, and more notably we like to do things on weekdays when other people are not doing them because it’s far less crowded in the outside world. Yeah. We might go to watch a basketball game together. You might go check out some part of the city together. We’ve been trying to do a bit more of that lately. So depends on the day but every day is certainly action-packed.
Streamlabs: What would you say is your proudest accomplishment?
Kripp: Personally, my biggest accomplishment is one that people might not really understand when I first say it. For me, it’s being able to do this for so long. I’ve been making a living off of it for seven years, but I’ve been doing YouTube videos for like nine years and people still come and watch them and it’s a big effort to do that. A lot of people don’t realize it. Everyone plays games in their free time, everyone wishes or are already good at the games that they play. But to do this, kind of thing professionally, you really have to take it pretty seriously. You have to do it more hardcore, you have to do a better job at it, you have to be more interesting and you have to do that all the time. Personally, I struggle with like sleeping enough all the time. I’ve had a real issue with sleep for like almost two decades now. So for me, I have to self motivate myself every time I get up. Every time, every day I get up, I just remind myself, do your best no matter what every day. And being able to keep up with you know, other people and their advantages and their efforts for such a long period is certainly my proudest moment.
Streamlabs: what was the biggest culture shock you experienced while you were in Athens?
Kripp: So I’ve been living in Toronto, Canada, most of my life. After about two decades, I met Rania and she had a fairly permanent spot at the university teaching, which is a pretty prestigious thing. And in Greece, that’s one of the best jobs that you can have. And me, I just needed an internet connection to do what I did. So, it was obvious that it was on me to go to her if we were going to be together. So I did that. But at the time before we started working together, every day was like, I’d stream for eight and a half hours and then I’d make my own videos and edit my own videos and, you know, we’d spend like four or five hours doing something together, which would typically involve watching stuff, going out to like a restaurant or something. But I didn’t really experience Greece as one would if they would perhaps go on a vacation there. We were really just trying to get our life on track. So we were still taking our business seriously. She ended up transitioning from her job at the university to work with me everyday and she just started editing the videos and since then we’ve been able to, I think, at least put up much better content and much more content. So yeah, not much of a cultural shock because my experience in Greece was largely doing everything with her and a lot of it inside the house. Ee didn’t really spend what one would take a vacation in Greece for let’s say.
Streamlabs: What is your favorite thing about working so closely with your wife every day?
Kripp: So Rania and I, we both have kind an equal stake in what we do. We always get to bounce ideas off of each other. We always get to decide how we want to move forward on an action. And it just kind of feels you have a sense of safety when you’re working on a team, especially with someone you, in every aspect of your life, trust. So, yeah, it feels good and it’s certainly better to have more people involved in your online presence. But for me to have someone like Rania, it’s very different than having like an editor or someone that just posts stuff on social media for you as some of the other streamers have. I get to be much, much more close with my audience because either I’m doing the work or Rania is doing the work or we are doing the work together. And in every case, I kind of feel like it’s our effort that’s going out there. It’s not like someone who’s a professional video editor or someone who’s a professional Instagram photographer doing stuff for us. It’s us at the end of the day and hopefully at least some people end up realizing the difference.
Streamlabs: Fans seem to embrace the fact that you are a “salty” streamer. Did you dislike this at first, or did you play into it a little bit eventually?
Kripp: Yeah, I can kind of understand why people see me as salty. A lot of the time I do get salty when bad stuff happens in Hearthstone. Hearthstone is a game where you can play really well and your opponent can play really badly and you can get absolutely destroyed by him. That’s kind of the game it is. And it can be a bit tilting, I wouldn’t see myself as salty. I feel like this is something that has kind of established itself over the last few years, more so than the early few years in Hearthstone. I feel in the early few years with Hearthstone, people just played it for their own reasons. And naturally, as with all games, people don’t play for that many years. I know I’m an exception to that. I’ve played games even longer than I have Hearthstone. I played games like dark age of Camelot for like seven years straight. So I’m a guy who loves to stick to games that I like. I’m very happy with Hearthstone, but I feel like a lot of the other content that’s out there is a lot more censored. Like people are intentionally trying to stay positive all the time. They’re intentionally trying to stay happy about what they’re doing all the time. And I don’t really have that. I just kind of do me. That’s why it’s not that hard for me to stream for 10 hours, 15 hours, 18 hours. I’m just myself and there’s no additional effort that I’m putting through. And with Hearthstone being a game of ups and downs, I, I ride the ups and I also ride the downs and I’m pretty honest with myself and I think that I, at least, I hope that, a decent part of my audience sees that and understands that. I mean certainly, if you’ve played Hearthstone, you can probably relate to my experience as well and know that I’m maybe not so much salty in the objective sense as a maybe more honest.
Streamlabs: What is your most memorable story from meeting a fan?
Kripp: We reach a really big audience and for some, this is a really big part of their life. A lot of the time when I’m traveling, I’ve done events where people just swarm to meet me. It seems crazy, but it happens. I think my most memorable case of this was I was invited by Blizzard to showcase the launch of an expansion. Don’t remember exactly where, but any case, it was a building. It was a nice building inside, but it didn’t have much personnel capacity. So a lot of people were just waiting outside the building for people to leave.
So what ended up happening is I just told him I’ll just stay in line here and I’ll just meet everyone. And we ended up staying there five hours after the show was done until the line finished. You know, if there’s someone at the back of a five-hour line taking time out of his day and he is just there because he so badly wants to just shake my hand, it feels wrong for me to deny that. So yeah, it gets crazy sometimes
Streamlabs: What is your favorite tool or feature from Streamlabs?
Kripp: Yeah, the chat. Having the chat part of the obs is surprisingly convenient cause you don’t have to have another browser and I already have like eight browsers and I have three monitors filled with crap and I have windows and layers and stuff everywhere. So yeah. Just more stuff stream related in the software is a good thing.