Clayton “CaptainFlowers” Raines is a familiar face in the League community. An up and coming caster, he has turned his passion into a hobby, aiming to eventually turn it into a career. While his dream of being an LCS caster is still something he strives to accomplish, he has already made a name for himself, becoming a favorite amongst redditors and League e-Sports fans. Break The Game’s Natsu talked to CaptainFlowers on who he idolizes, what his schedule is like and more:
Natsu: Hello and thank you for taking the time to do this interview with me. To start us off, can you give me an idea of what the life of an up and coming caster is like? What is your schedule like and how often do you practice your shoutcasting?
CaptainFlowers: Well, the first thing I learned when I started casting last summer was that amateur casting is exactly what you make of it. There’s no programs or paths to follow. You have to find your own way. When I first started and I was mostly casting amateur leagues, most of my casting was done Monday to Wednesday, casting random games of my friends. Then Saturday or Sunday was when I casted those amateur leagues. These days, I’m not associated with any specific leagues and mostly seek out my own projects. I practice from Monday to Thursday with a color caster, doing VODs of any pro games we feel like casting. And I’m always looking for stuff like Demacia Cup to jump into as well. I do most of my practice in the evening so it doesn’t usually interfere with normal life. But the exception to that is non-english events halfway across the world (Demacia Cup, LMS Playoffs, etc) where I have no choice but to to completely mess up my sleep schedule so I can wake up and cast them at 3 am or something like that.
N: How do you usually practice? Do you have a partner you do it with? What methods do you employ in your practice that bring constant improvement to your casting?
CF: One of the most important things to do is this: before every cast, identify one specific thing you want to work on. Maybe it’s the flow of your words. Maybe it’s using non-repetitive phrasing. Maybe it’s properly handing off the conversation to your casting partner. Whatever it is, have that goal in mind and specifically take steps to improve at it with that cast. One thing that I didn’t know when I first started that has also helped me a lot is having a reliable casting partner with similar goals. If you’re both serious about casting games and improving, it helps both of you improve and makes it easier to spot each other’s weaknesses.
N: Which caster do you idolize the most and why?
CF: That’s a tough one! I think that different casters all have different aspects to their casting that stand out the most. I really enjoy Phreak’s excitement levels. Everyone makes jokes about the quadra kill voice crack, but moments like that show me that he can really lose himself in what he’s doing and just go all out. To me that’s great. In terms of mechanical ability and narrative flow, I really like Quickshot. Especially during Worlds, where he casted multiple 60+ minute games, he was able to keep the conversation going during the slower times and bring the excitement right back to a climax when things finally ended. That long-term control is something I think takes a lot of practice to get right.
N: If you were to become a full time caster, what do you think will set you apart from all of the other casters out there?
CF: For me, the entire idea of casting is based in excitement. Getting people excited, involved, and totally invested in a game is what a good cast is supposed to do. Every time I cast, that’s my end-game goal. People who enjoy my casting have talked about liking the energy I bring to the games, and that energy is something I never intend to lose. I’ve always loved games, and when I cast, I want people to be just as excited watching them as I am. So that level of excitement, that primal “heck yeah” kind of energy, that is what I want to bring to the table.
N: What kind of games do you enjoy casting the most and why?
CF: Two words: calculated aggression. I love watching a team (or better yet two teams) that knows what they’re doing, make clean and swift plays. Decisive game plans with good execution, that’s the dream. If you don’t have the execution down, you end up with a fiesta. And if you aren’t decisive enough, you go full resident sleeper. It’s a tricky line to walk, but when you get one of those really clean games, it’s a lot of fun to see!
N: Which region would you want to cast in the most?
CF: North America! It’s home turf for me and it has some great, long-established teams and storylines. The narratives you can build for matches like TSM vs CLG are the kinds of things that make people jump up outta their seats. Yeah it goes full fiesta sometimes, but the good moments make up for it. Plus I love an underdog story. I’m still rooting for NA to do something other than become a meme at Worlds!
N: If you were to cast in NA, which color caster would you wanna cast with the most?
CF: Kobe is my favorite color caster. The energy he has during a close game or a big play is unmatched in my opinion. I think casting one of those big games with him would be one hell of a ride.
N: What is the best advice you can give to any aspiring casters out there?
CF: Record your VODs and watch them. When I first started, I recorded myself solo casting over diamond people on my friends list playing solo queue. I was sure my casting would be too lackluster for anyone else to wanna hear it. So for the first couple months I would cast a game, then sit and listen to it all the way through to pick out what I liked and what I didn’t. It really helped me get to a point where I was more confident with what I was doing. Even if you don’t think you’re bad like I did, the amount of benefit you get out of reviewing yourself is big. It’s like proofreading a paper. You don’t think you need to do it until you turn something in with 25 spelling errors.
N: Any last words or shoutouts?
CF: I still can’t believe that I’ve received so much support from so many different people in the League of Legends community that have enjoyed my casting. So my shout out is to everyone rooting for me: I’ll make sure to do you guys proud!