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Variety Streaming vs Creative Streaming

Posted by Summer (slowburnstudio) on

The Start

IPhoto by Tim Arterbury on Unsplash started as a Creative Streamer. This is to be taken seriously - although there are many hobbyists in the creative section, it is taboo to do anything other than art when you are an "artist". You can game, sure, Twitch is a gaming site, but don't do IRL, don't do dance stuff, don't dilute your BRAND. I felt this had merit. My friends were steadfast creatives. They ONLY streamed in the creative section, only art or gaming. I held to this for around a year.

It was hard to gain traction in creative. The viewership built up, but then became stagnant. I had to come up with cool ideas and games to make my mark and bring in viewers. To make people see me. I created That Celebrity Game and started streaming in IRL. I needed to be seen.

It built. The viewers came, quite a few stayed. My visibility was heightened in the new wild wild west of IRL. People who didn't know creative was a thing were being introduced to a whole new world. I hosted my creative friends to help share the wealth. The gamble was paying off. Finally, I was partnered. It was hard. Getting consistent viewership above the threshold Twitch wanted was difficult, and I applied numerous times before being accepted. I cried. On stream. And then the real work began. 

Emotes. Cheermotes. Different layouts. Setups. New computer build for reliability. Constant questions - are you going to go full-time? I wanted to. But that meant 5 days a week streaming...what? All art? For 8 hours a day? 

There's a real issue with creative streaming people don't really talk about. Content. When you stream a game, your entertainment value is how you play and your responses to what happens as well as audience interaction. When you stream painting or creative, your entertainment value is not only your interaction with the audience, but what you paint, how well, your vibe for the stream, everything. And you don't get to rely in any way on a game to help change it up, move things along, or create any part of your content. You're responsible for ALL of it. It's exhausting to be making decisions critical to good art while simultaneously talking to people. I've messed up so many paintings. All in full view. I've messed up sketches. Crumpled papers. Rage quit portraits - "I'm gonna grab some tea real quick." In the other room, I'm telling myself I'm a shitty, shitty artist. And grabbing tea. 

A few hours of this, and you're done! Mentally, at least. Some people stream for only 4 hours at a time. If you want to make a living though, you need to not only stream long hours, but put time into a website. Your overlays. Your panels. Your emotes. Maybe video uploads? Send out paintings. Develop ideas. Return emails for commissions. You're running a business. And being an entertainer on top of running a business is no joke. 

So back to the 8 hours a day streaming art. I knew mentally I couldn't handle that much, my mind and my hand needs rest and rumination to create beautiful pieces and ideas. But I needed to be online, streaming that much to make it my living and not just an intense, time-suck of a hobby. Here we go.

The Change

I was getting restless. I needed change! Expansion! I was going to add more days to my streaming schedule - WHAT was I going to DO for all those HOURS?! People told me to try ASMR, they told me to try dance streams. Not just any people. My chat moderators. My friends. Those close to me in my streaming community. Definitely NOT other creative streamers, but they looked on to see what would happen. Would I lose myself in the realm of IRL?

I had to try it. ASMR? Dancing streams with no game attached? Let's do both.

The views came in. ASMR brought massive viewership spikes, the dancing even more. I started changing my streams. I started changing my setup. I started going all-in on variety. 

I created an aesthetic for my channel to pull it together, a look. It's become my signature. Beautiful lights, great music, big smiles all around. My "dining room" is now a dance floor.

The Result

Changing things up has brought more, varied viewership. I'm seeing people asking for when the next stream is for all the things I focus on. "ASMR tonight?" is a common chat intro. "When's the next dance stream?" is often right up there.

It's exactly what I wanted and it's way more fun. I don't get art fatigue anymore. Sometimes I just do art for 8 hours. Sometimes I don't do art at all. I have CHOICES, and it's liberating. 

Takeaway

I have fun at my job. I'm an entertainer. That's the thing. If you're a streamer, you're not a gamer, an artist, a dancer, whatever. You're an entertainer. Do whatever within that realm that makes you happy and further supports your goals in that direction. It's not enough to stay within the lines. The lines don't exist. To stay competitive, to stay happy - I encourage variety. Change it up! Play! When you're delighted, so is your audience. Being happy is such a huge draw. Your channel will never be the same.

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