We sat down with Peggy “Moirai” Forde, who has produced some of your favorite Overwatch Open Division and South American Contenders games. In this two-part series, Moirai discusses the responsibilities of producing, their journalism background, and how producers can manage the joys and stresses of this position.
Some readers may be unfamiliar with what goes on behind the scenes of a broadcast. What are your responsibilities as a producer?
So generally speaking in a traditional studio, you’ll have an audio operator, a graphics op, camera op, technical director, director, floor manager, all of the live production aspects, and it’s usually an entire crew. For producing, you’re that crew, you are the one-man band. You are technical directing because you’re going through scenes on Open Broadcaster Software (OBS) or using your Stream Deck. You are monitoring the audio – sometimes not well, but you do it – you make sure that your talent knows what’s happening.
And then you’re the camera in-game and you’re calling out specific plays as if a director would, and so in general, you’re the support/tank line – you’re the Brigitte of the comp. It’s very interesting, and it’s a lot of organization that you need, a lot of communication. But in general, I still think it’s the most rewarding part of a production. The main thing is if people don’t realize you’re there, then you’re doing it right. Because if they do, then you get TTours in the Twitch Chat and it’s terrible [laughter].
You have an extensive background in journalism. Were you introduced to producing through that?
So my start into media production was in college. I was a journalism and RTF, which is Radio, Television, Film production double major with a minor in sociology, and I had no time whatsoever. But I went from writing in my school’s newspaper to being the first female technical manager of the Rowan Television Network. I was the one running the tech and all that jazz, making sure the live productions were set up. Although live productions that we did that were at a studio, we had to bring the studio to them, be it a sport or special event, set everything up, make sure it all worked, and be ready to go for the live production. And then we broke down that entire set and brought it back to the office/studio to store it until the next production. So I was doing the producing thing long before Broadcast.GG/esports.
In terms of that, I got into production and journalism when I was in college, then when I got out of college, I started writing because I didn’t know there was a resource for [esports production] yet. I think at the time, there actually wasn’t – BGG wasn’t around until a couple months later, but even then, we’ll get to Broadcast.GG later, it’s fine. I started writing for GosuGamers, and then got into Winston’s Lab, which was a lot more analytical, and then from there, I ended up working for them at the World Cup at BlizzCon last year.
That’s when I met Alex “MooshuBeef” Chan, who is the head of Broadcast.GG,. He and I just happened to be sitting next to each other while we were with a whole bunch of other people. Just kinda meeting up with other semi-professionals at the time, and just kind of hanging out. He was like, “you know, there’s [this thing] called Broadcast.GG that I’m gonna be starting up, and it’s all about the broadcast production side” or maybe he said he had started it up already.
I was like, “Oh, that’s really cool, I’ll totally join in!” And I didn’t join for 3 months because I’m dumb. But the main thing is, that was kinda my first taste of knowing that I could do live productions in esports. I didn’t think that was feasible, I didn’t think that was possible. So then, I started transitioning from being a writer/video-editor into a producer/video-editor, and that’s when I met all of the people at Broadcast.GG pretty much officially at that point.
How did joining Broadcast.GG impact the next stage of your career?
It was January when I actually got into the server to do PlayerUnknown’s Battleground (PUBG) pugs because I was working for GoSu PUBG at the time. So I would be casting, in-game observing, and producing without realizing that’s what I was doing. And then I saw that the Overwatch scene in BGG was pretty lit as the cool kids say… ah, that’s gonna be written! Anyways! I saw that was the thing and was like, “I can do that”. I bought a gaming rig with like my first or second full-time paycheck because I was like, “I really want to do this, and this is something that looks so cool, and I’ve always wanted to be a camera op”.
I just never realized I could be an in-game camera op because that would be so awesome. So then from there, I just really hit the ground running and put my nose to the grindstone just kept on doing as much as I can, you know, I was editing a little bit for GosuGamers and then for Winston’s Lab, I wrote quite a bit. But then after that, it was editing for High Noon Podcast, editing for Overwatch Contenders daily, which I still do, and then eventually editing/producing for BGG, like all of their Contenders, South America coverage, generally most of those were my edits, and then just going from producing from like some smaller orgs to BGG scrim nights, and then to Open Division and Contenders most recently with Open Division Season 3.
So it’s been a wild [and not even full] year [laughter]. It [wasn’t] like I just kinda showed up and was like, “Hey, I produce” and they were like, “Oh, okay”. That’s not a thing that happened. At least up until right now, I’ve been in production for about six years and that counts college stuff because I just as soon as I hit college, they were like, “Yeah, you can like film stuff in college”. I was like done, give me all the live production that I could possibly want because that is the thing that I really want to do. So I guess six years, but like two years professionally, if you will.
It was a couple of years of trial and error because at the end of the day, we used a TriCaster 455. But a Switcher is basically a larger, more complex version of a Stream Deck. So when Mooshu was like, “Oh, you should get a Stream Deck”, I looked at it and was like, “It’s just a Switcher, cool”. There was a lot of things that followed from live production to esports production, and I still get made fun of because every once in a while, I’m like “copy” or “copy you” or “we’re standing by”, and I still get made fun of for saying that even though it is totally fine [laughter]!
What in your journalism career allowed you to get ahead of the game?
I mean, all of it did for sure. If I hadn’t gone into live, radio, television, film also known as RTF production in college, I would’ve had no damn clue what to do. There was a lot of things that I could skip from the beginning because all of it was covered when I was doing those four years of production. Those four years of not only just academics, but working with the television station specifically and being the tech manager and then being the station manager when I was a senior. That entire thing just gave me all the knowledge to start off with the basics.
Yeah, it’s a head start, but there are so many differences in esports production. Like, for example, I wouldn’t be doing audio if I was technical directing, or directing, or that sort of thing – you need to be the one-man band, you need to be the entire package, the entire backline. It is definitely new and it’s definitely challenging, and it’s definitely not for everyone.
You need to have the drive for this, because there’s a lot of things that are a little more complicated than you would expect, and to handle the studio, the in-game, the audio, and everything that comes with that – which is so much – is a lot. So it really does come down to how much you want it.
Part Two of our interview with Moirai will be released tomorrow. Look forward to advice for new and prospective producers, how a journalism background led to unique opportunities, and the importance of Overwatch on their career.