From the Archives: Conversations with Stepto, Fwiz, and More at RTX

From the Archives: Conversations with Stepto, Fwiz, and More at RTX

Holy hummingbird, guys. You won’t believe what happened. But first, some very mild backstory: I travel a lot. My bathroom drawer is stocked with travel-sized toothpaste and shampoo, and my bag is never fully unpacked. I’ve still got laundry from E3 that needs to get washed. (Don’t judge me.) If you want to get to the good stuff, just jump to the bottom. Otherwise, read on.

A part of living life is losing things. Sometimes you misplace your keys or you leave your backpack somewhere between classes. That is a facet of being human that increases exponentially with travel because everything is bonkers when you fall asleep and wake up in a strange city and a strange bed.

If you recall, I went to the Rooster Teeth Expo this year. Held annually in downtown Austin, Texas, it celebrates both Rooster Teeth and video games, which has slowly evolved into an appreciation for YouTube and oddities in entertainment.

RTX 2013 - View of the Hilton

While I was there, I managed to set up a great set of interviews. It was great. I sat down to talk to some big names for upwards for half an hour at a time because, quite frankly, RTX is still small enough to afford press the access necessary for that. I got some great stuff and I loved it.

I loved it until I got back home late Sunday night and realized I couldn’t find my SD cards. I had to go through two different memory cards to store all the audio I would later have to transcribe, and at the end of my scheduled appointments, I threw them into my work bag and began the three-hour drive back to Dallas.

And then I opened up the pocket I threw them in and it was, well, empty. Much like my hopes and dreams of cranking out fantastic features involving these great interviews. I chalked it up to bad luck (and a handful of Hamiltons to buy new SD cards) and tried to figure out a new coverage schedule for the upcoming week.

RTX 2013 - Assassin's Creed on the Loot Crate bus

That is until last night. Cleaning out my car after my friend spilled an entire box of Nerds in the backseat—AN ENTIRE GOD DAMN BOX OF GOD DAMN NERDS—led me to find two strange, small cases under my passenger seat. Picking them up, I notice they contain little blue cards. SD card, in fact. (I also found a Batman tie clip I thought I’d lost after a wedding, but that’s beside the point.)

I loaded their contents up on my laptop and gave them a listen. And, well, you know where this is going. But the point is that it’s pretty much way past the day when all of this was timely. Transcribing and writing something up doesn’t quite seem like the right move anymore. Also, most of the interviews got kind of, uh, wrecked after being in such high heat for the past few months, but a few made it out unscathed.

In light of that, I would like to try something new. Patrick Klepek started doing it at Giant Bomb and called it the Interview Dumptruck. I don’t have as snazzy of a name for it (or one at all, really), but it’s the same concept: upload raw interview audio and let you listen to it for yourself. Rather than filter and distill the contents myself and present the results to you, I feel like you are capable of doing that yourself. Think of it as a podcast but without the production value.

Stephen “Stepto” Toulouse

Stephen Toulouse

First up is Stephen Toulouse, better known as Stepto. You probably recognize his name from when he was the director of Xbox Live Policy and Enforcement or as a performer in w00tstock. Now he works for HBO doing, well, something, and I managed to con him into standing out in the sweltering Texas heat to talk to me.

Toulouse is used to it, though, as he actually used to live in Texas. We talk about his thoughts on RTX being PAX South, a notion he tweeted out back when RTX was actually happening; his time at Xbox and the evolution of his role there; and the upcoming consoles and their potential impact on the industry. I had a great time talking with him, but there was a light breeze coming in on the balcony, so hopefully that won’t bother all of you.

Ryan “Fwiz” Wyatt

RTX 2013 - Justine Ezarik and Ryan Wyatt

If you know eSports, you probably know Ryan Wyatt, although probably instead by his stage name Fwiz. He heads up Live and eSports programming over at Machinima, but also does a lot casting for Call of Duty, which he is very good at (both commentary and playing).

I was supposed to meet him in the press room at the top of the Austin Convention Center, but Wyatt had to somewhat narrowly escape an overly long autograph signing and skipped over to a restaurant across the street. So I descended the four flights of stairs, trucked across bustling downtown traffic, and sat down to talk with Wyatt and prevent him from eating his lunch.

Well, him and Justine Ezarik, a fellow Internet personality better known as iJustine and a part of my giant Women of YouTube feature from last year. There’s a moment early on where you may hear a long, strange pause with faint audio filling the gap. A fan spotted her from across the restaurant and came up to talk to her, so Wyatt and I just sort of sat there for a while and watched it happen.

And intermittently you’ll hear the server come by, a pen clicking, and then Ezarik drop a nice fat expletive while playing Animal Cross: New Leaf. It’s fantastic. Well, I guess Wyatt also talks a lot about eSports, which is also great, but it’s also pretty fun hearing Ezarik get super into her tiny town.

Milana Vayntrub and Stevie Nelson

RTX 2013 - Stevie Nelson and Milana Vayntrub

I personally dislike press rooms. But I hate combination press/interview rooms even more, which was the setup at RTX. So if you’re wondering why I’m talking so quietly to Milana Vayntrub and Stevie Nelson, the two wonderful YouTubers behind Live Prude Girls, it’s because we are surrounded by people trying to write who are also surrounded by people engaging in similarly quiet, awkwardly stilted conversations.

Except for the people with the cameras on the other side of the room who everyone else trying to write and conduct interviews kind of resent for being so boisterous. But here we are. We should focus on this interview. We talk a bit about their upcoming projects and what it means to be a YouTuber at a gaming show.

And we also take a brief detour into a yelling match with Wyatt, who was in the middle of an interview as well, before Vayntrub and Nelson left to speak at their panel. Like I said, weird things tend to happen in press rooms that smash all the journos and celebrities into a tiny, hot space. Oh and those cameras on the other side.

I’ll try to save more of those interviews, but I’m not making any promises. I have a computer science degree and I know someone who saves corrupt data for a living, but you can only do so much when a bunch of ones and zeros are just a smooth piece of silicon melted down in the 115-degree heat of Dallas summers. Besides, these three ought to tide you over until, well, whenever. Or never. I’m not sure how many of you will actually listen to any of these.

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