It’s been a great few days in the life. Here’s the tl;dr:
coverage in 2019 requires more #MTG
commentators at each SCG Tour event… and we’re excited to
announce that @Em_TeeGee,
will be joining @CedricAPhillips,
in the booth! pic.twitter.com/WOsQw68fn8
Star City Games (@StarCityGames) December
To keep the weekend of dreams coming true rolling, very
excited to have my own token coming next year from @SCGTour
Representation is a big deal, and being a shapeshifter
is the closest thing I can think of that stays true to who I
I’ve wanted this token since
Emma Handy (@Em_TeeGee) December
Needless to say, I’m eternally grateful, and unbelievably excited for what
As with any opportunity of this magnitude, there’s also been more than a
little bit of attention that has come along with it, including people who
are in the process of starting their own journey in Magic and want to know
what they can do in order to “make it.”
Rather than repeatedly give people the same spiel, it felt more intuitive
to talk about the things that it takes in order to get from the start to
where I’ve been able to reach.
As a disclaimer, it’s worth noting that everything I say is through a lens
that is ultimately clouded by survivorship bias. While I certainly believe
I’ve worked very hard to reach my goals, these dreams weren’t realized
without some sort of luck, and not everything is always going to work out
in exactly the same way for everybody.
Finding out what it is that you want Magic to be in your life is the most
important “first step” in making that desire a reality.
What’s Your Endgame?
For most people, Magic is a hobby. That’s perfectly acceptable, and I’d
argue, ideal; for a lot of us, there’s a desire for Magic to be more than
Tolarian Community College
is the largest YouTube channel that produces exclusively Magic: the
Gathering related content. Despite this, it started out with The Professor
making videos in his basement, growing his channel over time. It didn’t
start out as something that he was planning on turning into a long-term
I’m exactly the same way. Grinding in Magic wasn’t something I had
originally planned to be a long-term excursion. I kept playing, and
producing content, until ultimately, I made more money producing content
than I did at my “normal” job and had the luxury of leaving.
Both mine and The Professor’s situations are incredibly atypical and not
something that should be planned for on the long term.
The happy medium I recommend to most people is to do whatever you can in
order to make Magic a self-sustaining hobby. Most people don’t start out
with the intention of turning Magic into a full-time job, and even if they
do, it isn’t something that happens overnight.
For anyone who wants to be “A Person of Interest” in the community, the
first thing is to try and identify what it is that you want to do. I’ve
alluded to this portion of Magic previously
, but this isn’t the entirety of making space for yourself in the community
– it’s simply figuring out the spot in the community that you want to
The next step is what outlet you want to use in order to express yourself
in that part of Magic. Be it YouTube, writing, winning tournaments,
streaming, podcasting, or even something else, understanding what it is
that you’re interested in doing is the most effective first step.
There’s obviously some overlap that can occur between different mediums. To
use myself as an example, I write, travel to events, stream, and am part of
a podcast. This isn’t even everything that I referenced in the previous
paragraph, and Magic is my full-time job. It isn’t possible to do
everything and be successful. You will burn out and Magic will make you
Once you’ve decided on your niche in Magic and your content medium, you
must put the effort into working towards whatever it is that you want.
You must do something that makes people want to see what you’re doing. That
may mean grinding until winning tournaments gets your name published. It
may mean streaming consistently without an initial high viewership or
writing on a blog instead of a large website. Most people start here,
because of an ugly fact that nobody wants to acknowledge:
You’re not initially going to be getting paid for whatever it is you do.
Nobody cashes their first tournament, starts at 500 viewers on their
stream, or instantly hits YouTube partner. Everybody starts somewhere.
Suckin’ at something is the first part of being sorta good at
To use myself as an example, I knew I wanted to end up writing Magic
articles for a major website. Without any sort of real tournament results
or evidence to back up the fact that I was a capable writer, I began
writing articles on my own and promoting them to my friends.
My first articles were literally published on my Tumblr blog, with all
sorts of hashtags to try and get it noticed by Magic players on the
platform. From there, I ended up finding a freebie content website on which
I could publish my articles. After doing this for a few months, I had a
catalogue of articles as a sort-of portfolio to show to content
coordinators and say “Hey, look, I’m able to consistently put out work on a
weekly basis, it’s all a length that’s standard in the industry, and I’m
taking the game seriously.”
This made it easier to get a column on Gathering Magic (now Coolstuffinc).
Similarly, my first few streams didn’t have a ton of viewers, and while I
wasn’t necessarily playing to an empty room, the interaction wasn’t high, I
couldn’t get subscribers, and didn’t look particularly professional.
Eventually I established a regular schedule and people would return to the
stream when they could expect it, which made it easier for me to establish
a larger stream.
The point here isn’t to say that content creators and competitors shouldn’t
get paid. It’s to drive home the fact that it’s easy to see someone who’s
publicly successful and get caught up in the final product, rather than the
things they did in transit.
I wrote articles on social media because I loved writing about Magic and
streamed because I liked the community. The fact that there was a non-zero
possibility of getting paid in the future was certainly a motivator to
maintain consistency, but it wasn’t why I started down the path that I did,
and for a long time, I did all these things while also holding down a
typical nine-to-five job.
Anything in the vein of content production is going to require people
consuming said content. The easiest way to raise the quantity of people
reading, watching, or hearing what it is you’re making is to find the right
flavor of social media to present your information.
The biggest mistake I consistently see new writers make is not promoting
their articles on all the channels they can. Twitter, Reddit, Facebook, and
other social media websites are great resources of connecting with other
Magic players; more specifically, the ones who are in the sect of the
community you’re interested in reaching. Put the “network” in “Social
Collaboration is great. Work with other people who want to do the same
things you do. Your craft will improve and you’ll each have a chance to
show off what it is you do with the people who are normally just followers
for the others’ work.
Once you start to gain any kind of following, it’s easy to relax and revel
in the newfound attention.
Assuming that whatever it is you’re doing is worth doing well, constant
improvement is the way to continue enjoying the success you’ve achieved.
Strive to be a better writer; find better recording software; dig deeper
into character backstories. Magic has been evolving at an absurd rate for
years now and it’s easy to get left behind if you aren’t constantly trying
to be the best that you can be.
On that note, put good into the community.
Everybody is going to have disagreements and get into spats they may regret
later, but at the end of the day, Magic is a hobby and it’s something that
people do for fun. They’re going to naturally gravitate towards content
creators who make the space around them a better place, because people want
to be in a happy place.
Do what you can to cultivate the group around you. At the risk of sounding
trite: Put good in and you’ll get good out.
Go be good.