Esports Broadcasting Pointers #1: Clipboards, cue cards and teleprompters

One of the many things newer hosts and commentators complain about is the lack of reasonable, constructive feedback in order to help them get better. Over the course of the last 10 years, I’ve done many 1 on 1 feedback sessions, reviewing vods and trying to help give newer talent in esports a way to improve. Ultimately, it’s down to you to get better, but if you don’t know or understand what you are doing wrong or how to improve it in the first place, it’s a lot tougher, especially if you are just reading the polarising views of reddit users ;)

With that in mind, I wanted to extend this a little as time has become a bit of a problem in helping people in more recent months, so hopefully this series will help more people than regular 1 on 1 sessions. I won’t kid, I also hope it helps me with time management issues too!

Please do note that I am not picking on anyone in particular, if it happens to be you, I apologise for what might seem harsh critique at first, but it’s not personal, just feedback, you can take it or leave it, but hopefully pointing out some of the issues and common mistakes will help you and others improve.

A) Clipboards, cue cards and teleprompters

Not a big fan of clipboards and they can cause all sorts of issues with how the shot looks. For starters, they don’t look particularly pleasing to the eye and that leads to others taking you less seriously perhaps. They can work of course, but in the stand up position of stage host, not so much. If you can, try and memorize the order or if it’s particularly difficult, use a cue card to write up bullet points to help you remember as you go along. Usually these cards are cheap and effective, but also very professional, often used by stage hosts in other sports and TV shows.

If you are working with a large partner or TV company, you can even ask for a teleprompter, which will help you read from a script. Don’t worry about it being scripted, you can learn techniques to help you read from it without it sounding like you are actually reading from a script! These are usually only available where budgets allow, which is not every esports event just yet, so the easiest solution to the issue of remembering what you need to say is to use the cue cards.

I’ve seen others use pieces of paper (often looking crinkled), sticky notes and even a reporters note pad in the past, all of these should be avoided, specifically for a stage host. Desk hosts often use lots of different pieces of paper, show rundowns and books, which are mostly fine in my opinion as they are on the desk and part of the show, though do check with the organiser as some prefer the desks to be clear on their shows. If this is the case, you can sometimes use props like a laptop to hide the paperwork.