Burnout, creating a distinct segment, and crossed fingers: PointCrow lays out the depths of content material creation


When a creator first sits all the way down to report a video or broadcast a stream, most of them have an concept of the content material they need to put into the world. And in the event that they don’t know what area of interest they’re concentrating on with their content material, discovering that preliminary viewers or breaking out of a rut shall be much more difficult to drag off in a extremely aggressive market. 

That’s one space of potential battle Eric “PointCrow” Morino keyed in on early in his content material profession, utilizing his success as a speedrunner and The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild streamer to pivot into a well-liked selection channel. 

For almost three years, PointCrow has been splitting his time between difficult himself in video games like BotW and Pokémon with mods and restrictive guidelines, to content material the place he semi-tortures himself by streaming for over 500 hours. And that’s all whereas making an attempt to cope with his completely not cultish viewers that’s all the time alongside for the trip and reminds him about his ​​collector’s anxiousness. 


On the again of his continued development as a content material creator, having surpassed a million subscribers in January, and the continued escalation of his tasks, PointCrow spoke with Dot Esports to share his perception into coping with burnout, increasing into new varieties of content material, and the chaotic technique behind his artistic course of—together with a couple of teasers for some massive scale tasks coming quickly. 

Once you made the leap right into a extra variety-based content material method in March 2020, your first “escape,” so to talk, was merely you watching paint dry for 10 hours. What made you are taking the primary leap into step by step scaling madness? 

PointCrow: That wasn’t precisely my first leap, however it was the deepest one. The one the place it sort of sunk all the way in which in and I might say Breath of the Wild is a enjoyable sport and all, however generally you need to stream extra. There are extra video games and concepts on the market. 

My first breakout was the Sidon glitch, the place I might take Sidon to completely different elements of the map. That was my first viral hit, however you by no means know when one thing will simply escape, so that you need to guarantee that sticks. And I knew for a undeniable fact that there was no means one thing like that might stick if I simply stored doing the identical factor. 

What number of TikTok creators have you ever seen the place they do the identical dance for like a month and then you definitely by no means see them once more? I had that very same concept round virality again then the place I simply needed to verify folks watch the content material for me. So I began delving into issues like chemistry, the paint drying stream, Animal Crossing esports—I even performed Barbie as properly. It was a complete bunch of selection as a result of I needed to verify I used to be diversifying. 

If I recall, one in every of your causes for making an attempt to department out was a battle with burnout and making an attempt to reclaim your enjoyment of making content material to an extent. Are you able to speak a bit about how even a creator who began with such a various method fights with that artistic hunch? 

I’m one of many uncommon streamers that also have that footage of their first stream. It was Breath of the Wild, me doing a three-heart problem till I beat the sport. Now that sounds tame as a result of issues have scaled, however again then that was so loopy and troublesome. Plus I actually loved it. 

However as issues stored scaling and the concepts stored getting crazier and crazier with the completely different challenges I used to be doing, I noticed that it sort of felt like I used to be going via the motions. Like, you do that job after which do that job, and ultimately, you beat the sport. It was the identical factor time and again. And though I used to be having enjoyable and it’s a nice sport the place you may match so many alternative artistic concepts into it because of that open world, it will get to the purpose the place you simply need to play extra and do different issues. 

For those who simply go stay with the identical sport time and again, you’ll burn out. So I ended doing that and swapped to different issues, one in every of them being Pokémon. I really like Pokémon. It was the primary sport I ever had as a baby and the primary sport I personally owned. I feel I’ve like 800 hours on my Pokémon FireRed cartridge as a result of it was all I needed to play for like a yr—so I needed to carry that into my content material to fight the burnout. 

That’s how I combated the hunch and the way others can too. What I made up my mind was, when you have a content material area of interest, like being identified for Zelda, what it’s good to do is have a look at the content material you need to make and create a video higher than another video like that on the platform. It’s onerous to do, however I needed to make Pokémon and IRL content material work on my channel, so I labored to make the transition work. 

If you would like folks to actually watch that Pokémon content material you may’t simply half-ass it. It’s a must to be the particular person folks go to after they need to watch Pokémon content material. I discovered that little area of interest of Zelda challenges and was feeling burnout, so I checked out Pokémon and nobody was doing that content material over in that house, so I did it. 

So that you made one thing that nobody else was doing on the time in that house slightly than going with one thing fundamental like simply taking part in a Pokémon sport with a slight twist for a “Let’s Play” because you didn’t need to go the area of interest route of somebody like Chuggaaconroy?

Precisely. Nobody does Let’s Performs like Cuggaaconroy. Personally, I watch all of his stuff, however I needed to carve out this good little area of interest of my very own. So I went with somebody who goes in and covers some actually cool Pokémon fan video games in tremendous succinct, digestible methods inside a single video. 

There are individuals who need to play these video games however they need to know whether it is good earlier than they play it. So I made my channel the place to go if you wish to see that sort of content material, and from there I simply branched out inside that Pokémon class extra till I made a decision so as to add one thing else to the listing too as a result of, by then, I used to be already identified for that content material. 

You’ve gotten grow to be often called a creator who takes concepts that you will have seen finished earlier than and pushes them to their absolute limits, what with movies like watching ice soften for 10 hours or breaking video games so as to add new ranges of problem and intrigue. How did you choose any such content material after breaking away out of your BotW area of interest to an extent? 

Easy reply? It’s enjoyable. I simply discover it extremely entertaining to take one thing like an idea that lots of people have finished earlier than and switching it up. 

Let’s say you’ve gotten a Pokémon Nuzlocke, simply a normal one. It’s not something particular anymore as a result of each creator in that house has finished one and the one purpose somebody would watch that on my channel is as a result of they like watching me. And whereas that’s good, I need to take that and make it particular once more with a brand new twist. Let’s add a randomizer, however not a small one, make all the pieces as random as doable so you might be combating Pokémon with a literal kitchen sink or utilizing Vine Whip on Teenager Joey. 

A greater instance for creators now’s the subathon mannequin, you’ve gotten so many individuals doing these the place you go stay for a few days with a sub extending the time by a minute or one thing like that. Ludwig popularized that, so once I did mine I added my very own twice by randomizing the subathon time. 

Each time somebody would subscribe it might add a random period of time to the timer. It might be wherever from zero to 60 seconds, with a small probability of being a Legendary Sub the place you’ll add 5 minutes, so everybody needed to see what they obtained by subbing. I gamified it, made it my very own, and I ended up being stay for like 25 days. 

Speaking about gamifying one thing. What do you view because the “hardest problem” that you’ve got taken half in over time? And, is there one that you’d by no means do once more?

I can reply that in two elements. The primary problem is time as a result of I by no means have sufficient of that in a day. However for the movies, the toughest problem I accomplished was one in every of my most up-to-date ones—the Breath of the Wild speedrunner vs. hunter problem that’s clearly a twice on Wilbur Soot’s concept that Dream popularized in Minecraft. I really did it with two hunters after that, which was even more durable. 

However there’s one even more durable one which I tried however by no means accomplished and sure received’t ever return to—beating BotW with out touching the bottom. In BotW there’s this glitch referred to as Moon Bounce that principally permits you to double and triple soar endlessly. You possibly can constantly soar and hover over the bottom. 

I did all the sport like that till the ultimate boss battle the place you tackle Ganon and the Blights. I obtained via three of them, however with Thunder Blight Ganon it’s a must to break his protect so as to hit him. So I’m doing that battle whereas mashing X to leap always and in addition urgent Y the place I can to slash, which drops you nearer to the bottom. And even with a number of the strats we had, like pinning him to a wall and capturing bomb arrows at particular instances, my palms obtained destroyed from spamming and double clawing the controller for therefore lengthy. 

I might do it with sufficient time, however I don’t suppose I’d have functioning palms afterward. I obtained tendinitis after speedrunning Calculator for Nintendo Change. I’ve given blood, sweat, and tears for this channel [laughs].

With the various content material you make, what sort of setup or gear do you are inclined to make the most of past the fundamentals of a digital camera and mic? Something particular you all the time flip to when doing a shoot or an space you suggest new creators deal with? 

I want I might present you my setup as a result of the way in which I’ve it laid out and it one way or the other nonetheless features is insane. However the primary factor is audio as a result of it’s by far crucial factor for any YouTube video or stream. I imply, first you want a good suggestion as a result of that’s really crucial factor, however your audio being good is the naked minimal. 

I exploit a Shure MV7 as a result of I personally suppose it is without doubt one of the finest mics in the marketplace as a result of it’s cheaper and extra moveable than others that I like to make use of just like the SM7B. With that, I’ve an audio switcher the place I can press a button and the sound goes to my audio system or to my headphones. I even have a very nice digital camera, however that issues much less as a result of a telephone digital camera would work so long as your audio is nice. 

However the remainder of my setup is the place issues get particular as a result of I’ve a bajillion cables in all places. That’s as a result of I run seize playing cards via all of my consoles just like the Wii U, Change, and stuff like that—however I even have cables as a result of I want to make use of them to assist spoof issues like my Change controller for my laptop. 

I’ve a second laptop in case issues go flawed or so I can offload a stream or different applications over there and show it on Twitch since generally I run plenty of applications that might overload one rig. After which I’ve a bunch of customized stuff like this Titan Two, which lets me run code for issues like Twitch Performs via consoles as a substitute of only a PC program. 

The good factor about all of this although? It one way or the other works principally each time. Each visitor that comes over and sees this remarks ultimately like, “how the hell does this work,” as a result of it’s not speculated to in some instances. For instance, the weirdest factor was beginning to occur the place my seize card would have staticky audio. And so as a result of there was some kind of ungrounded factor in my setup, and I couldn’t work out what it was, I simply moved my seize card and it’s now on the bottom. It’s actually grounded and works completely. Patch it up and ship it out. It’s actually janky however it solely must work as soon as proper? 

Talking of BotW, you continue to focus plenty of your content material across the sport by way of mods, challenges, and extra. Is there a selected purpose you proceed to come back again to the sport that helped you begin all of it? Or is it merely since you prefer it that a lot?

I do like the sport that a lot. It’s incredible, however the factor that retains me coming again is the concepts. If I didn’t have any concepts for BotW I’d cease absolutely. If I ended having concepts tomorrow I’d transfer on, and there have been a couple of instances the place that has occurred and I’m going dry for a couple of months at a time. 

If that occurs and I can’t consider one thing I put different content material out, however I hold coming again due to the innovation we are able to get away with within the sport. We simply developed the multiplayer performance and that opens so many doorways. All of the concepts are flowing, perhaps somewhat an excessive amount of since I can’t put an excessive amount of of the sport onto the channel, or I’ll wreck my selection. 

It’s nonetheless on the channel as a result of the concepts are flowing. There are plenty of issues you are able to do with the sport, it’s loopy. 

Out of your entire BotW tasks, what’s the one which stands out to you probably the most as one thing that, when wanting again, you might be extraordinarily pleased with placing on the market? 

I used to be simply speaking about this with one in every of my editors Zoey after she obtained finished with the video, however each time a brand new video comes out from her or simply usually on the channel I really feel like I say it’s my favourite. She rolls her eyes however I’ve to say like “I promise, the one you simply made is now the brand new favourite.”

The subsequent one we’re going to place out is almost certainly going to be my subsequent favourite. It’s simply the way it sort of works as a result of I had this revelation about 10 months in the past once I began assembly a bunch of creators for the primary time. A few of them had been following me on Twitter and subscribing to my YouTube channel, some individuals who I seemed as much as, and I caught myself saying “I hope they watch solely these movies to see my finest stuff.”

As soon as that occurred I began reflecting and asking “why wouldn’t I need them to look at all of my movies? Why am I placing the opposite ones out.” That made me take a step again and begin working to verify the content material that I’m placing out is one thing I’m pleased with. And now we’re on the level that if a video goes out and doesn’t do properly, I’m nonetheless comfortable it’s on the channel as a result of I do know I put probably the most effort into it I might. It’s probably the most fundamental factor, however why else would you set a video out? I really feel like generally you neglect that. 

at present marks 1 yr the place I actually began placing in that further effort to verify every bit of content material I put out was value somebody’s time. you like to see it :,) pic.twitter.com/bbo2Fs0psy

— eric pointcrow (@PointCrow) September 20, 2022

Going again to a broad view, however as somebody who primarily has to maintain scaling their content material and discovering new methods to problem themselves both by way of new concepts or methods to contain different folks, what’s the hardest a part of your precise artistic course of? 

The toughest half is the concept. I don’t know the way I provide you with some of these things, however I sort of have a thoughts for it now after doing means an excessive amount of analysis into what works and what doesn’t whereas storyboarding it in my head. 

I all the time query if an concept is fascinating and fascinating. Would I click on on that concept and questions like that. I don’t have a components for these items outdoors of the actual fact I take plenty of showers and, I child you not, that’s the place 90 p.c of the concepts for the channels are from. Simply within the morning having a shower and increase, I don’t know. 

The one I keep in mind clearly is making YouTubers retake their highschool exams. I simply knew I needed to do one thing stay with my content material creator associates and I needed to make them do one thing they wouldn’t need to do. I simply sort of consider issues. I want I had a extra goal method to it. And perhaps I ought to sooner or later, however it’s extra like, what sounds enjoyable. I do put these concepts via different folks’s filters, like my supervisor, and she is going to inform me whether it is a good suggestion or not throughout these brainstorming periods. 

On that notice, how do you really make these challenges work on a technical degree? I do know you ceaselessly collaborate with different creators or the devs behind particular mods, however on prime of that, how does your setup and preparation play into your movies? 

Far more than folks suppose. Lots of people simply suppose a streamer goes stay and performs a sport earlier than stopping, however Twitch and YouTube content material is like 30 p.c of what I do. The opposite 70 p.c is administration, organizing concepts, and ensuring issues just like the BotW multiplayer get finished and work. 

For Pokémon, now we have these map randomizers which might be finished on my own and three builders—AtSign, XLuma, and Turtleisaac—who’ve helped make this actually superior instrument to randomize the map and Pokémon. However we additionally work on different mods with solely half of them really getting completed, after which solely half of these are streamed. 

It’s the similar factor with the concepts I discussed earlier, now we have tons of them however I do know now we have scrapped at the least 10 movies this yr simply because the concept wasn’t ok to make it on the channel even when I’ve streamed a part of it. And it is a fixed factor too. 

Behind the scenes, I’ve six staff, two completely different improvement groups, and other people like a lawyer, monetary advisor, CPA, and all of that stuff that by no means pops up in content material as a result of it’s on the enterprise facet. I’m simply the particular person in entrance of the digital camera saying issues. 

I want I might leak some stuff to you, however I can’t as a result of now we have big productions within the works the place we’re placing greater than 1 / 4 million {dollars} into only one for later this yr. These are big productions or stuff like merchandise that takes without end, so I’ve different folks to assist handle that too. A single advertising determination or announcement can have dozens of hours put into it, and one has like 200 or 300 in it proper now simply to verify it goes out fantastic. 

So I’d say 70 p.c of my time is off-stream manufacturing as a result of it’s essential to work on issues which might be good slightly than issues getting out issues to get for the sake of getting out issues. And that’s with out entering into the time aspect for me if I used to be doing this all myself. The explanation I obtained a supervisor within the first was to primarily pay to avoid wasting time for myself proper? 

For those who can provide me an additional hour within the day to make it 25 hours a day, man, the cash I’d pay to only get an additional hour is insane. Time is the useful resource I don’t have. Properly, really cash can be one thing I don’t have as a result of I’ve a lot tied up in manufacturing [laughs] however when you have any spare hours mendacity round your room I’ll take it. 

How do you clarify the cult you’ve gotten created? Sure, one in every of your catchphrases has grow to be telling your chat that you just aren’t a cult, however do you really consider that with how your viewers proceed to point out up and assist in your fall into potential insanity? 

At this level, I feel we’ve absolutely embraced that if you happen to subscribe to my channel you’re a part of a cult. It occurs. However at the least now we have free dental.

For actual although, it’s good to have this neighborhood the place I do know folks as loopy as me will watch what I put out and suppose it’s completely nuts in one of the best ways. It’s so enjoyable, however it may also be overwhelming to see these numbers. 

I’ve over one million subscribers and I get round one million views per video. I can’t image one million folks watching my movies or subscribing to me. So it’s simple to get misplaced in that quantity, however I can’t thank folks sufficient for it. 

Then again, I simply love going stay as a result of I’ve this superior viewers who interacts with all the pieces. It’s enjoyable for me to see the shock and awe once I can present them one thing just like the BotW stream the place the sport will get weirder with stacking mods once I take injury. After which, after we introduced we obtained multiplayer working within the sport, these reactions make all the pieces value it. 

Simply seeing folks chuckle, folks have enjoyable, it makes me smile. I can really feel the power when individuals are having a great time and that’s what actually sells it. So I actually love my viewers for that purpose, as a result of they’ll simply go together with it, you already know, they’ll simply have enjoyable with no matter I put out.

Is there one challenge you’ve gotten in your thoughts that you’re simply ready for the appropriate second to drag out and get cracking on? Or is it simply sort of a “observe the concept fits you when it comes up” sort of artistic course of for you? 

Properly, I can’t leak something, as a result of I’ve a lot cash and energy going into these items [laughs]. It’ll be over 1 / 4 million {dollars} moving into, and I do know different creators have had this concept up to now, so advertising it now would possibly open the door for somebody to step in and do it first one way or the other. Not a enjoyable feeling. 

Simply usually, I need to do extra with huge budgets even when I’m restricted. The YouTubers taking their SATs video value someplace round $10,000 however it made sense as a result of it really works out that it might ultimately make that a lot. However then you’ve gotten stuff like me sitting and watching ice soften for 10 hours that value like $300 to ship the ice. 

In easy phrases, now we have two productions coming later this yr that shall be break up to value round $100,000 and $250,000 every. These are solely funded as a result of I’m not making any cash this yr, I’m taking all of the income, each single greenback I earned this yr, and placing it simply again into content material. Simply reinvesting within the channel. That subathon that obtained me to the sixteenth most subbed streamer ever? All of it went into the tasks.

Author: Joshua Evans